Carbon dating four gospels
Adding any other factors into consideration in dating this codex (other than these dated papyri) would add yet more complexity.But this is just the date for Codex VII specifically, not for all the Nag Hammadi codices, which must not be simply assumed to have been produced in the very same year or even the very same decade. The book itself provides a discussion of all four fragments found in the covers of Codex VII (pp. Nobody knows what the future might hold, of course.
Moreover, there are some actual references regarding the dating of the Nag Hammadi codices that can be found in the literature, and they speak of other criteria for dating entirely. The “mountainman” form of the myth had some legs, as its originator was able to propagate this myth for several years, without coming to realize his own error and without very serious opposition to the claim. The answer, in part, may lie with the fact that the myth was partially consistent with reality.A lot of the issues raised hinge on the difference between uncalibrated C-14 results and calibrated C-14 results, which ones have actually been published regarding the Gospel of Judas, how they should be interpreted, and how one should go from the uncalibrated to the calibrated results in the case of the Gospel of Judas, all of which is best left for another time.Brown, with the help of a few friends, can even show us charts with the and therefore needed to be calibrated by him), complete with some very specific numbers.The Coptic manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas (and its codex in the Nag Hammadi Library), however, has not been carbon dated by any lab, anywhere, at this time. Brown had come to realize the likelihood that he had made an error (perhaps on his own, or perhaps with someone else pointing it out to him).Regardless, this supposed fact is not only being used to argue that Browns’ project is possible but also, further, that it is somehow probable, starting with myths and proceeding through fallacies to arrive at a “hypothesis” that most would not even give the respect of such a neutrally-worded term. Yet he let the presentation with its misinformation remain on his website, unchanged, for another three years.But there are also things that are known to be false that are often taken as true, and of such things it is said: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” One of these urban legends is the idea that the texts or the cartonnage of the Nag Hammadi Library codices have been examined with C-14 radiometric dating. Day Brown wrote (August 3, 2001): This is not even the same century as the one usually credited for the Nag Hammadi Library (the fourth century), let alone accurate information regarding the Carbon 14 dating of the Nag Hammadi codices. Brown himself as a consideration; it is used in reply to another person, who challenges P. The legend was soon to take on more particular shape. 2) The recent GJudas – dated 280 CE ( /- 60 years) Six weeks later, the date had morphed to “350 CE” and the material said to have been dated is connected with the Gospel of Thomas in the re-telling of the legend, along with the first use of the word “citation” in this connection, albeit without any actual citations (July 26, 2006): By my research to date however, there appears to be only two actual carbon dating citations with respect to the new testament texts.
Roger Pearse replies (August 4, 2001): This early “fifth century” form of the legend does not recur much, if at all, but in 2006, we find another spotting of the claim of “carbon dating of the Nag Hammadi literature,” although without any specific date, and it is to be quite significant for the development of this urban legend. Brown (June 8, 2006): This is the oldest dated sighting of the “fourth century” form (AKA the “mountainman” form) of the legend. These appear to be the following: 1) Binding on the text – gospel of Thomas (to 350 CE) 2) Binding on the recent gospel Judas (to 280 CE /- 60 years) Notice the amount of uncertainty above (“there appears to be” and “these appear to be”).
There was some pushback at first, but apparently the repetition of the legend, along with increasing amounts of detail and certainty expressed, helped the myth to survive so long.
For a moment, I almost believed it, in the conversations taking place on the Biblical Criticism & History forum.
The Nag Hammadi codices are typically dated to the fourth century.
Without raising any very obvious red flags and without promoting a conclusion to which many would object (a fourth century date for the Nag Hammadi codices), the myth went largely undetected.
By 2014, Brown had incidentally acknowledged the error (and not just a doubt), when stating that he knows of only two manuscripts relevant to the New Testament and early Christianity that have received carbon dating analysis, with Nag Hammadi not being one of them (September 4, 2014): There are quite a number of issues being raised here.