Carbon 14 dating of papyrus fragments

Fragments of every book of the Old Testament (Hebrew canon) have been discovered, except for the book of Esther.

Now identified among the scrolls are 19 fragments of Isaiah, 25 fragments of Deuteronomy and 30 fragments of the Psalms.

The problem, instead, starts when trying to date the text on the papyrus. According to the first, the text and illustrations date from the same period as the papyrus itself, so from the first century A. According to the second school of thought, both the text and illustrations are the work of one or more forgers in the 19th and 20th century (among these Costantino Simonidis, a highly skilled forger of the 1800s).

According to several scholars of the papyrus, it's a portion of the work of geographer Artemidorus of Ephesus, who lived between the second and first century B. The work, titled “Ta Geographoumena o Geographia,” is is a treatise of 11 books.

Near the caves are the ancient ruins of Qumran, a village excavated in the early 1950’s that shows connections to both the Essenes and the scrolls. Many crucial biblical manuscripts (such as Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 61) date to at least 100 B. As such, the Dead Sea Scrolls have revolutionized textual criticism of the Old Testament.

According to analysis conducted by specialists in Carbon 14 dating, the papyrus, which is made of fragments of various dimensions and is 2.5 meters long, was created between the first century B. The latter refers to part of the Spanish peninsula.The last part of the papyrus, instead, includes more than 40 drawings of animals, real or imaginary, that were made over the course of the 1st century A.D., when the scroll was “recycled” in an artists studio as a design catalog for frescos and mosaics.Most of the texts are written in Hebrew and Aramaic, with a few in Greek.The Dead Sea Scrolls appear to be the library of a Jewish sect, considered most likely the Essenes.

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