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> Concerning the radiocarbon on 4QpPsA, I have no assumption
> that its 1st century CE radiocarbon dating will be robust and
> corroborated, any more than any other farthest-out dating in
> one direction in any other battery of twelve datings. In _any_
> radiocarbon battery the data at the edges should be viewed
> suspiciously. This perception of the 4QpPsA date is not
> derivative from a theory of no 1st CE Qumran texts, but rather
> from the different reasoning that all of the other radiocarbon
> dates on Qumran texts (including the pHab copy) are earlier
> than 4QpPsA.
> Although I don't have figures to quote, a study of major
> archaeological contexts with known dates and batteries
> of radiocarbon datings would likely show in almost every
> case one or more individual radiocarbon dates from that
> context _later_ than the true dating of that context. This is
> so very frequent that it is simply expected. Typically in a
> battery with ten items eight will come up in agreement and
> establish the age, and two will be inexplicably significantly
> out in one or the other direction--and no one will know why.
> Actual reasons can range from anything from
> archaeologist/lab error in identification to sample
> contamination, but in most cases there simply never is
> any explanation. It just disagrees with massive other
> evidence, and therefore is rejected. Similarly the 4QQahat
> radiocarbon date is rejected by most Qumran scholars: it
> is significantly earlier than all other Qumran texts, and
> earlier than Qumran scholars' expectatations; so it is not
> regarded by most as accurate. The principle is a sound
> one: in any battery of lab data, data points at one end or
> the other of distributions _must_ be regarded skeptically.
> In the Tucson battery in which 4QpPs(a) received its 1st
> century CE radiocarbon dating, 4QS(d) received a 2nd-3rd
> century CE radiocarbon dating. There was nothing in the
> radiocarbon date itself, viewed in isolation, which would
> indicate this as suspicious. The only reasons it was
> regarded with suspicion are because (a) it was later than
> all other Qumran literary text C14 datings, and (b) it
> did not agree with existing theories on the Scrolls. It was
> retested, and the suspicions were justified. The second
> sample gave a dating in agreement with the other Qumran
> texts. There are now two reported C14 dates for 4QS(d),
> and both cannot be correct. There is no reason to reject
> the 2nd century CE dating other than that it is outside
> the pattern of other Qumran text radiocarbon datings, as
> well as outside of expectations on other grounds.
> All of this is background on why I do consider the 4QpPsA
> radiocarbon date a frankly suspicious radiocarbon
> date, for the same reasons that the original dating of
> 4QS(d) correctly was earlier considered suspicious.
> In any case, in no sense do I "know" that it is "probable"
> that the 4QpPsA date is more correct than the first
> dating of 4QS(d) or the Zurich datings of 4QQahat.
> Finally, on the matter of regional calibration. SG has said
> on this list that I was "hoping" for a "massive recalibration"
> in order to "explain away" existing information. While that
> may be his perception in his mental universe, let it be
> clear: first, I don't hope for anything except answers to
> questions. Second, it is not an issue of a recalibration,
> to be precise. There is a calibration, which is for trees in
> Europe and North America. There is no calibration, yet,
> for the Middle East. It is not me, but mainstream current
> radiocarbon science which says there could be up to
> 20 years offset either way on all radiocarbon dates in
> the Middle East from the Seattle-Belfast calibration curve.
> That is simply published as a disclaimer in the scientific
> publication of that calibration curve. The issue is not
> hoping for a "recalibration" but wondering what the exact
> calibration in the Middle East IS. All of the reported
> radiocarbon dates for Scrolls texts simply now must
> be read with this specific uncertainty as a variable, even
> when we continue to use the Seattle-Belfast calibrated
> dates by convention. Hopefully, the time will come
> when that uncertainty can be removed. But it is wholly
> inappropriate to assume no regional offset until proven
> otherwise. It is appropriate to assume lack of knowledge
> on this point until there is knowledge.
> In fact, the existence of a regional offset, possibly
> significant (i.e. up to the 20 years estimated possible),
> might already be suggested by existing Scrolls data.
> I refer to the five dates on the Bar Kochba texts.
> The distribution of dates was Zurich had two one way
> from the Seattle-Belfast curve, the Seattle-Belfast
> curve was in the middle, and all three of Tucson's dates
> were in the _other_ direction. Making sense of those
> Bar Kochba dates is very difficult. There is no reason
> in principle to privilege the Seattle-Belfast curve as
> being more accurate for the Middle East than either
> the Zurich lab or the Tucson lab when dating Middle
> East items.
> Finally, I regret that I will not have time to read or
> respond to further posts from Stephen Goranson,
> because of the level of misunderstanding and the tone
> of the posts. I will operate on the assumption that
> what I don't know he writes won't hurt me, and that
> any occasional legitimate question or issue he raises,
> someone else will ask it or bring it to my attention
> (and I will of course gladly respond).
> Greg Doudna
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