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Re: response to S. Goranson

> Dear Greg, Thanks for your interesting response. I have to prepare
> for a class, but some quick response. I look forward to your articles 
> on AMS dates. Provisionally, though, doesn't accepting some first
> century CE Qumran mss dates make your 62 BCE a quo (proposed on
> other grounds yet relevant [beware of atomistic approaches you may be
> offered, if I may sayu so]) moot?

The question is whether there is radiocarbon evidence for
any first CE texts.  Let me propose my rule of thumb.  If
two labs give two-sigma date ranges on the same text that 
exclude first BCE, or three labs give one-sigma date 
ranges on the same text that exclude first BCE, that would
look like evidence to me.  Hate to be hardline about this,
but I have talked with radiocarbon professionals and it is
not an easy matter to decide something like this on the
basis of one or two radiocarbon dates.  There is
one message that is unanimous from radiocarbon scientists:
the best precision and partial reduction of margin of error
in carbon dates comes from mass testing and averaging of
dates.  There is simply no other or better way.  This is
absolutely not a smokescreen to disparage the radiocarbon
evidence that now exists (may Tov be praised for getting
the second round done).  It is a serious, honest attempt
to accurately interpret what exists and set up the right
questions for a further test battery proposal.      

As for 62 BCE, please note I asked
how far forward on the basis of evidence that "a quo"
could be moved.  While 62 BCE as an absolute date may
seem early in light of the partial radiocarbon evidence
that exists, I disagree that the question is moot.
Another way of framing the question is: nearly the whole
Qumran field thinks the "a quo" is 68 CE.  62 BCE is 
my counteroffer.  Lets negotiate this--with evidence 
as bargaining chips.  (Ironically, I wouldn't mind
losing--because the real sweepstakes is not in winning
but in finding out what happened--and the issue
of the date seems so fundamental.)  

> Though you didn't respond to the inkwell section (and if "obliviousness"
> was insulting, my apologies), but I sence we may be making progress: 
> Can we agree that it is probable that some of the Qumran mss were
> copied in Jerusalem, and some at Qumran, and some elsewhere?
> With hope and best wishes, Stephen goranson

No offense taken at all.  On provenance of copying of Qumran texts,
the only real evidence seems to be an important negative point
brought out especially by Tov in his "Qumran orthography"
articles--the texts were not all copied by the same school
of scribes.  Qumran as a site is certainly not excluded by
any evidence of which I am aware.  But if at Qumran some jars 
with texts from elsewhere were going out to the caves 
(that is a certainty), on what grounds is it improbable that all
the texts were from elsewhere (than Qumran)?  If you changed 
your "probable" to "possible" I would have no problem in agreeing.
Anyway thanks,

Greg Doudna