Redating the radiocarbon dating of the dead sea scrolls
Renfrew sums up the impact thus The succession of cultures which had previously been squeezed into 500 years now occupied more than 1,500. challenged in any way the conventional view that the significant advances in the European neolithic and bronze age were brought by influences from the Near East. There were indeed uncomfortable exceptions, but these could be put down to minor inconsistencies that later work would tidy up.
This implies more than the alteration of a few dates: it changes the entire pace and nature of the cultural development. it did not greatly affect the relative chronology for the different regions of Europe: the megalithic tombs of Britain, for instance, were still later than those further south. Then in 1966 came a second revolution, the calibration of the radiocarbon datings by dendrochronology, or the evidence of tree-rings, in particular of the incredibly long-lived Californian bristle-cone pine.
Then in 1949 came the first radio-carbon revolution, which made possible the absolute dating of prehistoric materials for the first time.
The immediate effect was greatly to extend the time span.
In each of these both Peter and Paul are celebrated in the same breath without a trace of rivalry , and he demonstrated how groundless were Baur’s second-century datings.
This achievement was acknowledged by the great German scholar Adolf von Harnack (1851-1930), who in 1897 published as the second volume of a massive history of early Christian literature , gives a good indication of where critical opinion stood at the turn of the century.
There are a limited number of more or less fixed points, and between them phenomena to be accounted for are strung along at intervals like beads on a string according to the supposed requirements of dependence, diffusion and development.
“One of the oddest facts about the New Testament is that what on any showing would appear to be the single most datable and climactic event of the period – the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple – is never once mentioned as a past fact. Moule from whose New Testament seminar so small a seed has produced so monstrous a manuscript, on which he gave such kindly judgment; to my friends, Ed Ball, Gerald Bray, Chip Coakley, Paul Hammond and David Mc Kie, who advised or corrected at many points; and finally to Miss Jean Cunningham of the SCM Press for all her devoted attention to tedious detail. This is a question that the outsider might be forgiven for thinking that the experts must by now have settled.
“I really have no more to say than thank you — to my long-suffering secretary Stella Haughton and her husband; to Professor C. Yet, as in archaeology, datings that seem agreed in the textbooks can suddenly appear much less secure than the consensus would suggest.
The effect of this was not merely to shift all the dates back once more: it was to introduce a fundamental change in the pattern of relationships, making it impossible for the supposed diffusion to have taken place.
For what should have been dependent turned out to be earlier.
The end-term of the process was still the gospel of John, which was dated c. The span of composition was therefore more than doubled to well over a hundred years – from 50 to 160 ..