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Re: orion On Greg Doudna's Ib and II dates
> Notes on Greg Doudna's Ib and II dates:
> A few months ago, you dated all the Qumran inkwells (no number was
> given) to circa 60s CE. Now you date them all to pre-63 BCE. That's
> quite a change. No evidence accompanies either claim. One would
> ordinarily present typological sequence parallels.
I agree that no evidence accompanies either claim, and present
the 1b dating for inkwells as a proposal, and am interested
in any means of getting at a date for those inkwells.
The basis for the proposal is I have come to suspect the Loc 30
roof crashing and the long tables falling through is not a product
of the c. 68 CE destruction as everyone thinks, but rather a
product of the earlier earthquake destruction which seems to have
occurred post-1b yet pre-II.
> It is a shame that the fine article by Magness has been misrepresented.
> Random coins is not the focus; it does not slavishly follow de Vaux (or
> Humbert or others).
It is true the Archeleus coin was not the entirety of Magness'
argument. There was also an argument from a dating of the
hoard of coins dated to c. 4 BCE. (The dating of this hoard
was also seen to be significant in dating Qumran settlements
by De Vaux and Cross, though the individual conclusions drawn
were not the same.) Let me say here the date of that hoard has
zero relevance or evidential value for dating a habitation period
at Qumran, Cross, De Vaux et al notwithstanding. It is simply
a total non sequitor.
There is, however, no intent to misrepresent J. Magness's article
and any engagement with the archaeological data is useful and
> Radiocarbon data of mss and cloth exclude the possibility of a 63 BCE
> end date for the mss.
Mss C14 is debateable and I do not wish to preempt an article
in press on this subject which will give an analysis speaking
to this issue. But to say that radiocarbon data of cloth,
i.e. linen wrappings, excludes a 63 BCE end date is an astonishing
assertion, since 63 BCE is within the one-sigma ranges of both
the early Libby date and the modern AMS date from Tucson.
68 CE is, however, outside (later than) both the one-sigma and two-
sigma C14 date ranges for the Cave 4 linen reported from Tucson.
> If paleography is even half as accurrate as claimed, it excludes the 63
> BCE end date for the mss.
The assertion needs to be focused. It is not the date
estimates for the "Hasmonean" scripts which are at issue,
nor the paleohebrew or Greek script conventional paleographic
date estimates. Cross noted already in 1961 that (strangely)
no cursives or semicursives in the Herodian period seem to
exist at all in Qumran literary texts. The point at issue is
limited to the single, albeit large, class of "Herodian" scripts
(formal and semiformal) in Qumran texts. Cross dated these
"Herodian" scripts without a single dated manuscript exemplar
in this type of script in any of the centuries at issue and
furthermore provided no evidence at all that "Herodian" scripts
did not begin to appear in Palestine until as late as c. 30 BCE.
This is not to say this was a bad guess at the time.
But it was a guess and should not be confused with data (such
as radiocarbon data). The proposal here is that the guess
for the floruit of "Herodian" Qumran scripts (as Cross named them)
was simply a little wrong--not by much (not by more than a
century or so)--but a little wrong.
> Stephen Pfann, who is preparing an English translation of the notes of
> de Vaux, has cautioned that items were gathered (not by de Vaux) into
> locus lists in a way that introduced errors. These locus descriptions in
> any case are incomplete. Hence the BCE fire is not dismissed by the
> method suggested.
Non sequitor. The issue is not whether there is evidence in
these incomplete descriptions dismissing a 1b fire, but whether
there was any evidence at all to begin with FOR a 1b fire.
The only reason for thinking there was is De Vaux's early
claims. I am saying none of those early claims are borne out
in the 1994 publication of his notes. Is it legitimate to ask
for evidence or is this to be a matter of faith in authority?
> Can you date the "scroll jars" to pre-63 BCE?
I believe the ones at the site at Qumran can be dated, on the
limited and partial evidence in De Vaux's notes, to 1b. The
dating of these jars--whichever way the argument and evidence
goes--may be one of the best means at getting at a real
answer to the question of the date of the texts deposits
in the caves (if it is accepted, as seems correct to me,
that the scrolls jars are the same as the jars buried in
floors at Qumran, and that the text deposits were
more or less simultaneous, another assumption).
> The post-63 BCE coin hoard (jars with silver coins) is difficult to
> explain if the site were uninhabited. Who would hide such wealth in an
> abandoned settlement?
I cannot speculate. It seems as easily explicable whether the
site was uninhabited or inhabited, meaning there is no
information in this hoard for the presence or absence of
a larger community habitation at the time of the hoard.
> Continuity of use in the loci should not be underestimated.
> Do you deny runoff sediment atop ash?
This was one of De Vaux's arguments in favor of a
1b fire. From memory I believe De Vaux reported this in only
one case, I think Loc 130 (which was outside the walls of Qumran).
In the absence of other evidence from the site, this seems
too ambiguous and unconvincing to show a fire preceded the
> Where was the second floor rebuilt?
Don't understand the question.
> Why so many similar graves?
Understand the question but not its point. Proposal
(that is, hypothesis): the graves are 1b floruit. There
is one item of possible counterevidence, and that is a
Herodian lamp De Vaux reported in one grave fill (not
in the grave itself). The grave number reported by
De Vaux in the 1950's does not
match the grave identified with what what appears to be
this item in Humbert and Chambon, and more to the point
this alleged Herodian lamp has never been published or
a drawing presented for examination. So it is all in
the nature of an unverified claim to a single artifact.
Nevertheless, if such a lamp can be verified and the
evidence presented, it would be significant evidence.
One could then conjecture cemetery use beyond the 1b
habitation floruit. But I personally would like to
see the evidence first.
> Why would Essenes, who still survived, not retrieve their mss?
Substituting the term "people who deposited the texts" for
your "Essenes", this is an equally good question no matter
what date the texts were deposited, therefore it is not
decisive to an argument for the date. Answering the question
of the date of the deposit does not require an answer to
> Were changes in S and D finished pre-63 BCE?
I propose so, yes. (With Ian.)
> M. V. Agrippa, governor of Syria, was guest of Herod in Judaea,
> including Herodion, in 15 BCE. To say he reported on imaginary
> inhabitants at Qumran appears to be wishful thinking.
Not quite what I meant. I have not yet seen your 15 BCE argument
for Pliny's source date. What I meant was that the Essenes of
Pliny--whatever his source--may be a legend of the real pre-63 BCE
inhabitants of Qumran (if the reference is to Qumran).
> Thanks for your posts, Greg. Unlike much e-mail, your posts are
> frequently interesting and educational.
> Stephen Goranson
U. of Copenhagen Dead Sea Scrolls Initiative