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Re: orion-list Creation Date of Documents/ C-14

On Mon, 23 Aug 1999 17:10:40 -0400 (EDT),  petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu
>Tom Simms cited someone anonymously as follows:
> "For damn certain, a site isn't usually destroyed
> _prior_ to the creation date of documents contained
> therein.  :)"
>I may already have made this observation in another context, but perhaps
>it's worth repeating. In the case of material purportedly from Cave 4, 
>a certain amount of that material was purchased from the Bedouin. Some
>unknown quantity of Cave 4 document fragments were *then found by
>excavation of another layer of material in the cave. To some extent, the
>purchased fragments and the excavated fragments were matched up as coming
>from the same document. This is noted, as I recall, in Allegro's first
>book, THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS (1956), which contains a wealth of
>archaeological information in English. Topics on which he has fairly first
>hand information include the discovery of Cave 4, and the caves at Wadi

   Good grief - do you mean my library is CURRENT!!  Egad.

   Provenance of DSS mss has always seemed poorly documented to
   me.  If serious decontamination procedures are followed
   and a fragment's date is still late then it MAY be late and 
   created later BUT, that needs very careful find data.  

   A week or so in a smoker's and seller's lair can add a century
   of youth to a fragment.
   I suspect that doctrine has made it too easy to ignore those

   Rant over and out - even in his 70th year.



>Far later, Ada Yardeni has discovered that some of the purported Cave 4
>material--mostly papyri regarding business--actually could be matched to
>papyri from Nahal Hever. This is documented in DJD XXVII, _Aramaic, Hebrew
>and Greek documentary texts from Nahal Hever and other sites : with an
>appendix containing alleged Qumran texts_ Hannah M. Cotton and Ada
>Yardeni. Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press,
>I have not read any accounts/publications of Qumran Cave 4 texts that
>include documentation that establishes that the manuscript was actually in
>the secure pristine section that was excavated by Father de Vaux. I guess
>that the information does exist somewhere, or some of it does exist
>somewhere, and could be retrieved.
>The problem exists to a lesser degree in some of the other caves.
>Without this authentication that a manuscript is from Cave 4, Carbon 14
>dating could yield *anomalous* or apparently erroneous dates for Qumran
>Cave 4 manuscripts that place them in the 2d century, when the dates are
>actually correct assessments of manuscripts that weren't inscribed until
>120 or 130 CE. 
>It might also be true that the TAhat manuscript, which also gives
>anomalous C14 determinations--except that they are earlier than the range
>of variability of most of the Qumran MSS--has a provenance that is other
>than Qumran. That is, if it is a purchase from the Bedouin, it may have
>come from another site--or another cave. 
>This does put us into a circle, though. The Carbon 14 data allows us to
>date manuscripts apparently from Qumran. The manuscripts dated within a
>consistent range of variability are the set of MSS from Qumran; outside
>the range, the MSS are (probably) not from Qumran. That turns the Carbon
>14 test into an exclusion/inclusion criterion, a determination of the 
>"Qumranness" of the date of a document. 
>In other words, if you're completely committed to Carbon 14 dating, you
>don't want to consider my reasoning regarding the possibility of
>alternative sources. 
>To circle back to Tom's anonymous source, in the case of Qumran, a
>document might indeed be dated after its (supposed) site, Qumran, had been

   See my rant, above... Tom
>Sigrid Peterson  UPenn  petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu

For private reply, e-mail to Tom Simms <tsimms@mailserv.nbnet.nb.ca>
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