What is unusual about the two laboratory methods of dating is how they are being used. Carbon dating is used to measure the age of objects thought to be thousands of years old, whereas the radiometric methods are used to date everything thought to be in the millions of years.
Partly that is because radiometric methods are very inaccurate. It has even read living snails to be thousands of years old. What is curious about the carbon method is that nothing has ever measured older than about 55, years. Is that due to some as yet unknown property of carbon, or do we live on a planet much younger than most say? A fundamentalist would deny this, since fundamentalism is antihistorical: The examination of the documents that translate into the Bible begins with the determination of their age.
Knowing the approximate age of the writings helps put the writings into historical context. This will help clarify the finer Carbon dating documents of their meaning as as gauge the veracity of their prophecies. Obviously no one is going to find any date on an ancient document followed by a big "BC".
Therefore, other methods must be used to accurately place these in time. Consider the peculiar problems found in dating texts from ancient calendars. One problem is that different cultures used different calendars, and no single
Carbon dating documents even maintained the same calendar.
Many ancient cultures marked themselves as relative to a particular monarch's reign. To coordinate chronologies between those cultures, we must note the length of reign of different Carbon dating documents and then Carbon dating documents cross-cultural events such as wars, treaties, earthquakes, or comets, relative to the number of years into or out of a particular reign.
This is a workable solution, but is complicated by the fact that different cultures also used different methods of recording the years of a monarch's reign. These regnal years could be dated from when a new ruler was named, or when a new ruler began to co-reign with an existing ruler, or when a ruler actually assumed the throne, or at the beginning of the first year after a ruler had come to power. Because ancient dating is mostly limited to these kinds of associations, accuracy is somewhat relative to an ever-sliding scale of when a handful of major events are best determined to have taken place.
Further complicating this is the problem of incomplete archaeology.
Archaeology, as we recognize it today, is a comparatively young science. With each of the many new archaeological finds being made come adjustments to previous theories and relative placements in time. The following is an excellent example of how progressive discoveries and research have contributed to the turbulent history of establishing just a single ancient date [paragraph breaks mine]: As has been observed above, the association of Amraphel, king of Shinar Gen.
Fotheringham placed the reign of Hammurabi ca. Thureau-Dangin reduced the dating by more than half a century to ca. Evidence from Mari led to the general conclusion that the earlier dates "Carbon dating documents" much too high, and when Thureau-Dangin published evidence in that Shamshi-Adad I was contemporary with the earlier portion of the reign of Hammurabi, Albright suggested a date for the accession of the latter at ca.
Albright reduced his own dating still further to BC. This accorded generally with the conclusions of Neugenbauer, who had argued that the Venus astronomical observations required the date of B. And on and on the process of dating goes, illustrating that the more ancient the document, the more imprecise and relative any assignable date.
Conversely, the later Carbon dating documents event or writing, the more precise the date assigned. One additional difficulty in dating the biblical writings is that none of the original documents, as penned by the hand of the original authors called autographs or autographais known to still exist.
The biblical writings were actively used in teaching and worship, and as such, were subject to wearing out. The fact that copies were made is typical of document preservation in ancient times. Just how atypical the copying process was concerning documents believed directly inspired by God is the focus of another chapter. Having introduced some of the challenges in dating writings, what follows are methods which are currently being used in combination to arrive at the most likely answers.
References by other works. Simple study of the content of a text sometimes reveals its authorship and date. One author of a commentary on Habbukuk mentions certain events current to his time.
These could place the commentary's origin at the time of the Roman capture of Palestine under Pompey in 63 BC. Customs and other practices of life are another way to gain insight as to when a text was written. Also to be taken into account are details within a text which are Carbon dating documents longer available, such as fine descriptions of cities and structures which have long since been destroyed.
Those who approach biblical writings with the presupposition that prophecy is impossible sometimes use prophecy as proof of a late date. Some critics in the Enlightenment period who recognized the prophecy of Christ's atonement in Isaiah chapter fifty-three, for example, assigned the book to a date as late as the Middle Ages.
However, that assignment was upon a preconceived rejection of the text's contents rather than on historical or literary grounds.
Linguistic peculiarities may also offer insight into when and by whom a text was written. The style, the particular words or phrases chosen, and specific topics for which detail is provided or emphasis is given tend to indicate the authors' background and the general period in history.
At one point it was assumed that of the various Semitic dialects known collectively as Aramaicwestern Carbon dating documents was of late origin.
This was assumed for lack of evidence to the contrary. However, subsequent discoveries have proved otherwise as R. The presence of Aramaic elements in the cuneiform compositions from Ras Shamra, as illustrated particularly by the consonantal shift from z to d in the relative pronoun and elsewhere, attests further to the antiquity of the tongue.
Consequently, it is no longer possible to argue for a later date for a given composition on the basis of Aramaic words and expressions in it. The danger here is "Carbon dating documents" the search for peculiarities can be misused if it is applied too finely ; that is, if it is applied to each word or sentence of a document, instead of to the document as a whole.
Such an application is how critics of a previous era proceeded from their premise that the Bible was appended through the centuries. In the documentary hypothesis, as exemplified by the 18th century French physician Jean Astruc and later modified by a number of German scholars in the 19th century, each sentence of an early "Carbon dating documents" could be subjected to individual evaluation for its Carbon dating documents authorship.
If God was referred to as Elohim in one passage, for example, and then as Yahweh the next, the conclusion drawn by critics seeking proof of multiple authorship was that each of these sentences evidenced the preference of different authors. This theory will be further discussed in here ; and predominant philosophies of the 18th and 19th century here. But by that standard, even the original content of this site would fail to confirm myself as the sole writer. Carbon dating documents is because I have referred to God as Lord, Creator, and many other titles.
Paleographythe study of ancient handwriting, is a comparative method of dating that can be used to discover the date of manuscripts or to corroborate the witness of other dating methods. Albright and John C. Trevor came to separate but identical conclusions on paleographic studies of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They both place the writings to have been done as early as BC. Archaeology provides more clues as to when copies of Scripture were written.
More specifically, excavations at Qumran have revealed general period of occupation was from BC to AD 68, when Rome crushed the Zealot revolt.