Notes About Dating the Dead Sea
When were these Copies Made?
The book Scrolls From The Dead Sea (New
York: George Braziller, 1993.
Edited by Ayala Sussman and Ruth Peled)
approaches the issue of dating as follows,
…“Because no document yet published
bears an explicit date, Qumran scholars must rely on historical,
archeological, and paleographic data. Thus, the earliest documents from
Qumran have been dated to the late third or early second century B.C.E.”
From the same work, dating based on
orthography is described.
“Three main periods
in the development of the Jewish script are distinguished: the Hasmonean
period (167–30 B.C.E.), the Herodian period (30 B.C.E.–70 C.E.), and the
post–Herodian period (70–135 C.E.). The majority of Qumran documents
belong to the first two periods, although some earlier fragments are
available. The variety of handwriting testifies to the activity of scores
of scribes. It is reasonable, therefore, to believe that a great many
documents found in the caves of Qumran came from other places.” [p. 131]
Herodian (30 B.C.–70
More on Paleography
What About Carbon–14 (14C)?
It’s been done and the results are
favorable and consistent with the paleographic estimates. This kind of testing
serves to debunk ‘hoax’ theories about the scrolls and confirms mainstream
scholarship. Dates can’t be set precisely. As an example, the Isaiah Scroll
1QIsa was dated to a range from 159 B.C. to
You can read all the specifics as
published by the University of Arizona Physic team:
RADIOCARBON Vol. 37, No. 1 1995
The Use of Papyri by Jews of Judea in the First
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