Redating the radiocarbon dating of the dead sea scrolls
This is a greatly oversimplified account, which would doubtless also be challenged by other archaeologists.
Isolating the canonical books of the New Testament (for Harnack covered all the early Christian writings, a number of which he placed before the later parts of the New Testament), we have the following summary [Chron.717-22.
1.13-2.1 of an interval of up to seventeen ‘silent’ years following his conversion, which itself had to be set a few years after the crucifixion of Jesus in c. The span of time for the composition of the New Testament was therefore about fifty years – from 50 to 100. Romans, I and II Corinthians and Galatians he allowed were by Paul, and Revelation by the apostle John. The rest, including Acts and Mark (for him the last of the synoptists, ‘reconciling’ the Jewish gospel of Matthew and the Gentile gospel of Luke), were composed up to or beyond 150 AD, to effect the mediation of what Baur saw as the fundamental and all-pervasive conflict between the narrow Jewish Christianity of Jesus’ original disciples, represented by Peter and John, and the universalistic message preached by Paul.
Only a closing of the church’s ranks in face of threats from the Gnostic and Montanist movements of the second century produced the via media of early Catholicism.
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.
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.