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orion Re: dates, deposits, methods
Dear Greg Doudna,
Of course the AMS test on 4QpPs a *could* be contaminated, but then
*any* of them could be, as you and N. Caldararo (Radiocarbon 37 
21-32) appear to agree. It would be a real contribution if you or someone
could eliminate possible contamination from castor oil, etc. But your
decision to single out 4QpPs a as suspect relies on your authority, does it
not? Your authority in this case makes different assmptions about Qumran in
first century CE (to c70) than some other authorities. Will the Denmark
tests reflect your authority? This is not an argument pro or con on
authority, but a question: how do science and authority and history-writing
mix? If you dispute paleographic dates, fine. If you can improve them,
great. Is it fair to say that--admirable or not--minimalist methodologies
are sometimes chosen to escape authority?
It's not clear to me: do you date 4QpNah in your one generation
before c55 BCE? Are all pesharim copies or are some autographs? Why should
4QpPs a date with the others?
I just read an interesting study on ancient oil lamps which
included all sorts of technical data on the clays, as well as discussion of
production, use, iconography, trade distribution, etc. It is an example of
science helping historians, IMO. Science can help historians, but can it do
the whole job of history-writing?
Sincerely, Stephen Goranson email@example.com