Saturday, June 05, 2004

GREG DOUDNA has another essay on the Bible and Interpretation website, which I gather he presented at the Brown University conference:
Redating the Dead Sea Scroll Deposits at Qumran: the Legacy of an error in Archaeological Interpretation

Abstract: There was no actual basis for de Vaux�s confidence in 1952 (when he announced the first excavation findings from Qumran) that the scrolls of Cave 1 had been deposited as late as the first century CE, since the dating of a "scroll jar" found in locus 2 was uncertain. A distinct, earlier first-century BCE occupation at Qumran was discovered by de Vaux in the second excavation season in 1953. Yet the perception of certainty surrounding the First Revolt deposit date for the scroll deposits have remained to the present day. In fact it has never been soundly established that texts found in the Qumran caves were composed, copied, or deposited in the caves later than the time of Qumran�s Period Ib in the first century BCE. The dating of the Qumran text deposits is a classic example of an unfounded scholarly paradigm filtering subsequent perception of data (archaeological, palaeographic, and radiocarbon), creating illusions of independent corroboration.

In it, he cites my last comment here on his theory and says I missed the article "The Stabilization of the Biblical Text in the Light of Qumran and Masada: A Challenge for Conventional Qumran Chronology?" by Ian Young in Dead Sea Discoveries 9 (2002): 364-90 (the online version requires a personal or institutional paid subscription to access). As soon as I get time, which probably won't be as soon as I would like, I'll have a look at it.

UPDATE (7 June): More here.

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