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Re: orion Radiocarbon dating and other issues

The Problem with Pliny is not that he is second hand. The same is true of
Josephus (in spite of his claim to have investigated Jewish groups
personally) and many others, as you correctly note. Rather, it consists of
two points: (a) the general fuziness, if not downright inaccuracy of some
of his information on Palestine, not inspiring great confidence, and (b)
the argument that to make fine distinctions and identifications between
similar competing groups one needs a lot of information of the sort
normally only available to insiders. Neither Pliny nor any of his proposed
sources fits that bill.
Al Baumgarten