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RE: orion-list radiocarbon/63

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greg Doudna [mailto:gd@teol.ku.dk]
> Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 1999 12:25 PM
> To: 'orion@mscc.huji.ac.il'
> Subject: orion-list radiocarbon/63
> I wish to argue strongly, in agreement with Ian although not 
> always for 
> the same reasons, that a 63 BCE terminus is the strongest existing 
> hypothesis concerning the latest deposit date for the Qumran texts,
> when all evidence is considered.  


Shouldn't 63 BCE be termed the terminus a quo and therefore, from the
presence of historical references, be taken as the earliest date at which
the deposits could have taken place?  Note that a variety of hypotheses
could be adduced for the ending of the allusions at that point, including
the possibility that the caves serves as genizoth (under which circumstances
the point at which scrolls were withdrawn from use would not be identical to
the dates of historical allusions in their contents).  I recognize that your
argument goes further than this, but it seems to me that the argument that
these must be the historical circumstances under which the deposit took
place is of a different rhetorical character than the argument that this is
the earliest point at which the deposits could have taken place.

Incidentally, the fact that the discussion showed up on IOUDAIOS was a
mistake.  I responded to a message posted there and realized only as I sent
it that the discussion had been taking place on Orion.  My guess is that the
message to which I responded was posted on IOUDAIOS by mistake and not by
intention.  The observation about allusions ending at 63 BCE strikes me a an
important observation, although I am hesitant to move directly from that
observation to a conclusion about a date of deposit.  

The dating of the deposit of the scrolls based on the excavation of the
Qumran site depends upon a connection between the caves and the scrolls.
Does anyone have any information about the neutron activation analysis done
on the cave pottery and material from the site that would shed light on that

David Suter
Saint Martin's College
For private reply, e-mail to "Suter, David" <dsuter@stmartin.edu>
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