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SV: orion-list repair patch
In response to Virgil Brown:
> On page 450 you mention 4Q22 as having a repair patch. The
> patch was applied some time after the writing of the text
> and was C14 dated to BP 2024 +/- 39 or sometime between
> 51 BCE and 47 CE. . . . . . . May I not also draw the conclusion
> that someone had access to 4Q22 after the time of Pompey?
Such a conclusion would be improper on the basis of this radiocarbon
date alone for this reason: the calibration of 51 BCE to 47 CE is
the one-sigma range, or 68% confidence. That is, this radiocarbon
date range is not claiming 100% confidence, but only 68% confidence
that the true date is anywhere within that range. One cannot rely
upon a 68% confidence single dating to draw a secure conclusion.
The two-sigma dating for the 4Q22 patch gives a 95% confidence claim
from the lab, which is (after calibration) 161 BCE to 70 CE (but not
145 BCE to 114 BCE). The two-sigma range covers dates well before
Pompey as well as well after Pompey. This is the real information, and
it is unfortunately indecisive. For SINGLE radiocarbon dates used to
date specific items, the two-sigma ranges, and not the one-sigma
ranges, should be used. Even two-sigma ranges are far from infallible,
but at least there is more reality to a 95% confidence claim than a 68%
It is of course possible in theory to bring in OTHER reasons to
argue that the 4Q22 patch is later than the time of Pompey. But
the reported radiocarbon date for the 4Q22 patch alone is not
a sufficient basis for such a conclusion.
Also, the radiocarbon dates of 4Q22 and the 4Q22 patch neither
establish nor confirm, in themselves, that the patch was applied
to the text later than the text was written. That particular point is
correct, but it is known for other reasons--namely, the fact that
a patch must be applied later than the text it repairs. But this detail
is not known or confirmed from the radiocarbon datings. The
radiocarbon datings are, however, consistent with this relative
sequence which was already known on other grounds.
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