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Re: orion: Castor oil impact on C14 tests

On Sun, 26 Oct 1997, Greg Doudna wrote:

> But with 4QpPs(a) there is a way to get a real answer.  The scribe 
> who wrote 4QpPs(a) also wrote 4QpIsa(a) and 4QpHos(a).  In the 
> upcoming battery I have recommended to Fred, who is coordinating 
> the arrangements, that we have samples from all three of these texts 
> measured.  If all three agree with the 1st CE 14C date for 4QpPs(a), 
> then there is some real information that this is not an outlier situation 
> but a true 1st CE date.  And that would be the first evidence of such 
> yet in Qumran scrolls study history. 
> On the other hand, let us suppose these three pesharim texts, 
> whose dates of skins we expect to be contemporary because it 
> is the same scribe, give 14C dates in agreement with the 14C date for 
> pHab, in the 1st BCE.  Then we would have a good reason to argue 
> that the first 4QpPs(a) date, the 1st CE date, was, indeed, an outlier.  

Certainly if the three documents retest to an earlier date this offers
very strong grounds to consider the later date a result of contamination
(either of the test or of the sample.) If all the documents test to the
later date, than this is a yet stronger claim for the authentic nature of
the later date - as you noted. If just the two other documents test to an
early date and 4QpPs(a) again tests late, one could still see this as
supporting the "outlier" conclusion: this could happen if 4QpPs(a) is
contaminated in toto, in which case it would repeatedly test to a late
date. Of course the last position would very closely depend on the
persuasiveness of the handwriting analysis, and the determination that
the three documents were written by the same hand.

Various other combinations of tests results (4QpPs(a) testing early and
4QpIsa(a) testing late :) would I guess just be a warning against coming
to any kind of conclusions.  

	Best regards,	Asia Lerner