Radiocarbon dating theory
To put this in another way, they framed their request in this manner because they did not believe that anything conclusive regarding the absolute dating of the Scrolls could be achieved with a technique as subject to multiple imprecisions as carbon testing was.
As a second caveat, they insisted that opposition scholars be included in the process because they were the ones must likely to understand which were the key documents that should be tested and "they were the ones who felt the most need for it.
In the first place, radiocarbon dating is only able to give approximate dates and its results, therefore, are given in units of mean and standard deviations -- known as sigmas -- that represent the statistical range in which the mean date may fall.
The first sigma is the time span that radiocarbon dating theory posits would contain the actual date 68% of the time; the second sigma is a wider time span that would theoretically include the date 98% of the time.
4) Finally -- and this is a general statement -- carbon testing (and to some extent as a result the findings of paleography) is too imprecise a tool to provide conclusive evidence for a time span as short as the one at issue in the debate concerning when the sectarian Scrolls were written.
ANALYSIS Let us go into these conclusions separately and more fully.
The letter stemmed from their frustration at the denial of an earlier request in March 16, 1989 , addressed to John Strugnell and copied to Mr.
In particular, these attacks focused upon Eisenman, possibly because, though he was the scholar who had initially called for the tests, they did not wish to follow his caveats or possibly because it had since become clear that he was one of the prime movers in the campaign to gain access to and free the Scrolls.
Not only did the framers of these articles directly attack his theories, but Magen Broshi took this attack to a new level of personalized invective in the press releases and news stories accompanying these reports, calling Eisenman ignorant, "vain, even worse, and describing his theories as cranky. ( who while not part of the team appointed to test the Scrolls was generally representative of network theorizing regarding them ) was quoted as referring to Eisenmans position that there was a connection between the Scrolls and the movement we call Christianity as a wholesale theft from the Jewish people.
However these things may be, following the tests, the group controlling the process was governed by the belief that the C14 results -- which were on the whole inconclusive or to use the words of BARs reportage skewed -- in some manner confirmed the accuracy of the results arrived at by those basing their chronological determinations on paleography.
This was clear not only from the two articles drafted after both runs, but also in press releases and interviews accompanying the announcements of the results in which the personal bitterness that has characterized the debate from the beginning was so evident.