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Re: Radio carboned dss

On Fri, 7 Sep 1956, Brad Harrison wrote:

> Ian,
>      Schiffman gives very much earlier dating for some scrolls. But 
> not all the scrolls were tested. C14 dates are 405 BCE to well into 
> the CE. The range suggests genizah style burials over generations. 
> All the scrolls should be C14 dated as if they were all from 
> different periods. We cannot assume too much on dates of untested 
> scrolls. Too much room for error. See p 32-33 "R. the DSS"
> Lechem
> aka:Brad Harrison 
> Gratz College
> Philla Pa

I think the salient point about the C14 dates is that they mostly
vindicated the dates determined by paleographic analysis.  Therefore, we
can at least go by the paleographically determined dates with a little
more certainty.  Also, the dates of "405 BCE to well into the 1st century
CE" are only the extremes of the range possible by the statistical error
determined for this method of C14 dating.

Interestingly enough, I had heard that the scientists in Zurich who
conducted these tests were not aware about any disputes over the dating of
the scrolls, and they had simply assumed that the dating of the scrolls
was already a fait accompli (which is true for those that contain internal
dating).  In other words, they had figured that the scrolls were a set of
ancient organic material that had *already* been accurately dated, and
thus could be used to *test* the new C14 dating method they had developed!
At least that's what I have been told.

andrew gross