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orion-list Re: turn of discussion
Dear Avital and Greg and list,
I also noticed that the "hello" from "Bruce W, Davison" was from Ian.
I have been asked to substantiate my claim that Greg misinterpreted
C14 data, which is disputed by Ian and supported by Timothy Jull.
If the manner in which I expressed myself offended anyone, I
apologize for my manners. I have been known to use words poorly and
inappropriately at times.
Here, I will try again to express my objection to what I see as a
misleading presentation of history. Though the exact numbers are more
complex, here is a heuristic exercise. Go to the very learned essay by Dr.
Doudna in Flint and VanderKam volume one. page 462, figure 3, which
helpfully gives the date ranges for AMS tested mss. Draw (or imagine) a
line at 63 BC. You will notice that not only does the estimated date range
of 4QpPs(a) fall entirely after this date, but so do the date ranges for
4QMessApoc and 1QH(a) and 4QSd (2nd) and 4Q266. That is, 5 of the 21 tests
listed there, at a claimed 95% reliability, are commpletely later than 63
BC, with time/space between 63 BC and the beginning of the ranges. How many
date ranges are entirely before this line at 63 BC? One, the disputed
reading of 4QTQahat. All other date ranges overlap the 63 BC line. This
does not support 63 BC as the latest date of the manuscripts. Rather, these
data show 63 is too early to be the end date. In fact, one may ask whether
63 BC is suitable even as a midpoint of the AMS readings.
If one had an archaeological "assemblage" which one knew was all of
about the same time--for example, grave goods prepared for a single burial,
found in a sealed locus, one could look for a sudden end date. But it is
circular reasoning to assume that the Qumran mss had a brief, rapid
production and sudden end date (much less with an assumed specified end
date of 63) or that they were found in one sealed locus, and then to use
that assumption, that other hypothesis, to pick and choose what data will
be accepted and what data will be rejected. That, as Prof. Jull indicated,
is not scientific method.
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