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orion 1st BCE generation hypothesis
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Stephen Goranson writes:
> On the other hand, Greg: your hypothesis. Sure, let's stipulate
> that the so-called "Herodian" hands did not commence precisely at the
> moment in which Herod took power--either de facto or de jure. Though I
> think I'm not alone in considering your "one-generation production"
> proposal already falsified, since you call for precise dates, how about
> providing the year your proposed one generation began and the year it
This is a logical non sequitur. I will not propose precise dates for I know
of no basis to do so. On the other hand, it is THE relevant point for
the validity of all alleged Qumran text datings of Herodian formal scripts
to know, through some independent means, at what date those script
characteristics came into use by scribes in the various centers of scribal
production throughout the region. If one does not know this for the 1st
century BCE--and it simply is not known--as SG appeared to concede
without realizing the full implications of his concession--then one cannot
know that the c. 200-400 manuscripts in the Qumran corpus in these
types of hands, including "late Herodian", cannot all be mid-first BCE.
This is simply basic. It is really irrelevant how many authorities can be
cited who assert otherwise. What convinces is not argument from
authority but argument from data.
Instead of citing modern authorities who think palaeographic datings
are this or that quarter-century in the 1st CE and 1st BCE,
how about citing some site in which texts are found in quarter-century
strata in which the first appearances of certain script forms in the 1st
BCE could be dated and verified? Of course it is precisely this information
which does not exist (as distinguished from, e.g. the basis for dating
the beginning of Herodian lamp types, where this type of information does
SG has now asserted twice that my 1st BCE-generation proposal is
falsified. I would like to know, specifically, wherein such a falsification
lies. I studied SG's post carefully and could not find it. The Qumran
Ostracon dated to 1st CE? No problem from me with that Ostracon
being from Year 2 of the Revolt in 68 CE since it is otherwise
clear there was much human activity at the site at that time. But what
demonstrable connection is there between that Ostracon and the Scrolls,
the people who produced the Scrolls, or my dating hypothesis? (I take
Yardeni's reading of the Ostracon to be the accurate and correct reading,
as distinguished from the publications of Cross/Eshel or Cryer. In
Yardeni's reading there is no Yachad.)
Again, textual development in various editions of the Serekh texts was
cited as if this was self-evidently an objection to my thesis. I freely
admit that such development in editions of that text require some time--
I would personally want to allow a matter of days, at minimum, for such
changes in successive editions to be accounted for (and that is simply
a minimum--the time frame could of course be greater, in weeks,
months, years, decades, or centuries--this is unknown). So I agree
that some minimum time is necessary for the production of such
variants in editions. But what I do not understand is what that
has to do with my mid-1st BCE generation thesis.
On radiocarbon, it was noted that the data does not prove my thesis.
Perhaps there is a misunderstanding here, for I do not claim that it
does. I argue that existing data is not in disagreement with it, which is
not the same thing. For the record, my basis for proposing the single-
generation hypothesis derived for me fundamentally because it seemed
to me to be common sense--any modern library has the bulk of
copyright dates of its texts in the most recent generation, and that
is the common sense basis upon which I asked myself, one day
long ago at Cornell, "wouldn't it make more sense to suppose
the Qumran texts follow a similar distribution than this synthetic,
artificial two- and three-century stretch that is commonly assumed?"
And, "how certain is it that there is a 1st CE at all in these texts?"
The lack of a demonstrable canon in the Qumran texts (whereas both Josephus
and the New Testament appear to assume the existence
of a canon by the 1st CE), and the lack of any historical reference
or allusion in a text at Qumran dated later than the mid-1st BCE,
added further impetus to me in the formation of the hypothesis.
Although I call it a hypothesis, in fact I think it is correct.
For anyone interested, a first reaction to my thesis in print appeared
in Robert Eisenman, _James the Brother of Jesus_, p. 87-89, where
Eisenman refers to me although not by name. Eisenman's response
to my proposal to remove the 1st CE from the Qumran texts was
(a) it derives from psychological problems on my part (b) it derives
from a motivation to attack the position of Eisenman (total
nonsense--GD); (c) the notion is so absurd it has never been
proposed before; (d) any date for the deposit earlier than 136 CE is
unknowable on available data.
(That was mild compared to the reaction at Cornell, which I will not
go into here.)
Any real argument for falsification I would truly welcome.
> On 4Q468g, I'm still making up my mind about it. Here are some
> preliminary questions and comments. The pe is not the clearest in the
> world; a letter rather than a space could, hypothetically, have preceded
> the pe, though I think that is not likely, and so on...but, for know, I
> accept Ada Yardeni's transcription as plausible. How many fragments are
> identifiably remnants of 4Qhistorical text B? The proposed paleographic
> date of late first century BCE or early first century CE (presumably
> Yardeni's evaluation) should be noted.
> Samuel Krauss, Griechische und Lateinische Lehnwoerter im Talmud,
> Midrasch und Targum (2 vols.; Berlin: S. Calvary, 1898) may be worth a
> look, even though it draws on later texts. Krauss, e.g., in vol. 2, p. 5
> notes Abtalion, known from Mishna Avot I, 10 (and m and tosefta 'Eduyoth
> 3 and bYoma 71b). There is bibliography there and in Nachtraege p. 595,
> which I haven't deciphered nor seen yet. Krauss lists Greek Ptollion =
> Pollion. Is some metathesis possible here? (Just asking, not asserting.)
> Besides Krauss, Broshi didn't cite E. Eshel "Personal Names in the Qumran
> Sect," These are the Names... ed. A. Demsky et al. (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan U.
> 1997) 39-52; M. Ohana and M. Heltzer, The Extra-Biblical Tradition of
> Hebrew Personal Names (U. Haifa, 1978, in Hebrew); among places which may
> provide a clue, as well as classics references. (Duke library doesn't own
> the first installment of the Materials for the Dictionary/Israel
> Academy/Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language, which was on
> microfiche, and I think may be on CD now.)
> If the text does relate to the killing which Broshi suggests, it
> should perhaps be placed not at Passover 4 BC but 3 BC, if A.
> Kushnir-Stein, "Another Look at Josephus' Evidence for the Date of Herod's
> Death," Scripta Classica Israelica 14 (1995) 73-86 is right. The fire
> dating as described by Jodi Magness in DSD 2 could be relevant, if the
> destruction in Jerusalem was contemporary to that at Qumran.
> The second letter in the name looks to me more likely a waw than a
> yod, by length and by comparison to other letters on the fragment; if so,
> Greg's suggested alternate name is difficult.
> These, admittedly, are provisional remarks.
> Stephen Goranson