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This unusual story starts with Eisenman’s account of a conversation at his home with me regarding radiocarbon dating, on the occasion of the “Nova” filming.
The Huntingon Library had just announced that photographs on microfilm of all of the heretofore unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls would be made publicly available, breaking decades of secrecy and controversy over that secrecy.
In this way, at Eisenman’s invitation, I became the first student in the world to view photographs of the previously unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls now made public.
22, 2013, “James the Just as Righteous Teacher—The Radiocarbon Controversy”) and the Jerusalem Post (Oct.
21, 2013, same article), Eisenman refers to me as one of his worst disappointments and states the reason for his displeasure: because I brought about the second series of radiocarbon datings on the Dead Sea Scrolls carried out at Tucson in 1994-95.
Robert Eisenman and Philip Davies had written the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Amir Drori, urging the new method, AMS radiocarbon dating, be used to date the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Several months later this request of Eisenman and Davies was acted upon by the Israel Antiquities Authority and fourteen Dead Sea texts were radiocarbon dated, eight from Qumran.
At this stage Eisenman commented to me how few texts had been radiocarbon dated when, as he told me then, the Israel Antiquities Authority officials should have decided to radiocarbon date all of the Qumran texts.
When I returned to Ithaca, New York, with radiocarbon dating on my mind I composed a letter to Biblical Archaeology Review, not criticizing the Zurich datings but urging more datings and, thinking to help things along, offering to pay for a radiocarbon dating of a text myself.
“I was also indirectly responsible for the second run of carbon tests in 1995. He gave advice as I entered the academic world and then applied to graduate schools.
42) By Greg Doudna October 2013 I became interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls from reading books by Robert Eisenman, and it was the first radiocarbon datings done on Dead Sea texts at Zurich in 1991 prompted by a letter of Eisenman and Philip Davies that started my interest in radiocarbon dating. I first met him at a Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in Boston in 1987.