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orion-list The Doudna Essay
Hello list members.
I'm not a scholar in the field but I have been following the discussions with
interest as a lurker. I feel though that with Doctor Goranson's most recent
posts regarding Doctor Doudna's paper I may be so bold as to comment. Doctor
Doudna has misled orion list on radiocarbon vis-a-vis
archaeology in this particular case.
following up his earlier post:
this note is intended to
point out, again, that *one* of the arguments used by Greg
Doudna is wrong, when applied to Qumran. He asserts, for his
"one-generation" scroll production proposal, that artifacts
ordinarily are most plentiful from the time just
before the destruction of a site.
Qumran was not destroyed in circa 63 BC. Rather,
Qumran was destroyed in circa 68 AD
So, whatever one makes of Greg Doudna's essay
vis-a-vis paleography dating, his argument based on
archaeology is mistaken.
I took the time to read the Doudna article and I found that if one actually did
read the particular essay, one would find no claim that Qumran was destroyed in
63 BC, nor any rationale that necessitated a destruction of Qumran. Doudna
I proposed that most of the Qumran text copies are contemporary
from the 1st century BCE, with a smaller number of dates of copies
stretching back in one direction perhaps up to a century earlier;
and no Qumran text, whether in composition or copy, from the 1st
century CE. This alternative view [snip] agrees with analogies from
find distributions in destruction layers at archaeological sites
(large numbers of artifacts clustered at the late end; smaller
numbers stretching back earlier) and patterns of copyright
distributions in modern libraries
which merely indicates to this reader that samples from any point in time (such
as often noted by archaeologists regarding the time of destruction of a site)
will cluster close to that point. This does not necessarily refer to any
destruction. For example, such a point may have been when they put the scrolls
in the caves -- if they were all placed there at one time --, but it's not for
me to postulate. Doctor Goranson has no basis whatsoever for his flamboyant
claim that "Doudna has misled orion list on radiocarbon vis-a-vis archaeology in
this particular case."
Either Doctor Goranson has misread or misrepresented Doudna's paper. I would
think that a scholar of thirty years, as he indicates in another post, doesn't
usually misread papers. This is grave enough, but he has deliberately
misrepresented Doudna twice in successive posts, persisting in the most recent
What Professor Jull wrote was not merely generalities unconnected
to Greg Doudna's pathetically fallacious insistance that all Qumran mss
were produced by 63 BC, but, rather, a response to Doudna's own words on
orion, a response not generally referring but specifically referring to
texts including 4Q171 and its test results at Prof. Jull's own lab and
Doudna's dismissal of that data due to his other hypothesis.
While I cannot see any provided reasoning to support his claims here, I can see
a behaviour that I would not normally expect on a scholarly list. One does not
condone such terminology as "pathetically fallacious insistance" to be used by
one peer of another. I haven't seen quite such vituperative language from anyone
on this list. I would only expect it from someone who has nothing better to
With that said, I can fade back into the woodwork.
Bruce W. Davison
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