Daniel Qumran Dating

12/01/06

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Notes About Dating the Dead Sea Scrolls…

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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.” [p.131]

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]

Handwriting Styles:

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Hasmonean (167–30 B.C.)

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Herodian (30 B.C.–70 A.D.)

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post–Herodian (70–135 A.D.)

More on Paleography

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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 20 A.D.

You can read all the specifics as published by the University of Arizona Physic team:

RADIOCARBON Vol. 37, No. 1 1995

Press Release

 

The Use of Papyri by Jews of Judea in the First Century

   
   

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