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By: John Argubright. Wishlist Wishlist. Write a Review. Advanced Search Links. Product Close-up This product is not available for expedited shipping. Add To Cart. It has withstood the passing of centuries and even millennia, and still inspires songs and movies. Lack of proof for a Semitic presence in Egypt at the time of Ramses II, for example, tore down the historical status of this story which is so foundational for both Jews and Christians.
The current paradigm in science as a whole, is indeed to follow where the evidence leads, and not the other way around. In J. Most people really think that archaeology is out there to prove the Bible. And for a long time it was thought to work.
However, the current counter idea that all claims that seem to support the Biblical narrative are unfounded because supporting the discredited Bible is likewise an a priori. New discoveries are constantly being made, and so our understanding changes. When we look specifically at the Exodus story, we see that most scholars accept that Ramesses was the Pharaoh of Exodus, as championed by William Foxwell Allbright, an important figure in Biblical Archaeology. But was he? Several people have started to pull this loose thread, and as the current view on Exodus started to unravel, they proposed their own theories that appear to be a much better fit, as I will show in this article.
One of the recent —and well supported — propositions for a revised interpretation of Exodus was offered by David Rohl in his book Exodus — Myth or History? The irony cannot be ignored when you realize that the only reason to accept Ramesses as Pharaoh of Exodus is because the Bible says so. So the bible is wrong, because the Bible says so! Here is where I depart from this discussion about Yes Bible vs. No bible. As an archaeologist, I was impressed by the case as made from the material record, able to sketch a picture that is simply remarkable.
If we are going to make a sound case about Exodus, we need to look at the material record. Before we can do that, we have to take a look at the current interpretation and chronology. Who better to pit against Moses, making the miracle of the Exodus even sweeter? And it is right in the Bible: the slaves built the store city of Pi Ramesse!
And who oversaw that project? This shows the dangers of a priori research aimed to prove or explain the Bible. But somehow modern archaeology and Egyptology have failed to re-examine this connection. The date for the Exodus has always been a fiercely debated topic. Or to be more precise: Ramesses II was the Pharaoh of the enslavement, and his son, Merneptah, was the Pharaoh of the actual exodus of the slaves. But in Flinders Petrie unearthed the Merneptah Stele in Thebes, and this changed the discussion completely.
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It is the victory stele of Merneptah, detailing his military prowess and victories against the Libyans who had invaded Egypt from the West. Most of the stele deals with this. Yet the last 3 lines out of 28 mention a campaign in the East. They read as follows:. It recaps that Libya is done for, and then that the Hittites Hatti are pacified.
It concludes with two other larger powers, Israel and Syria Hurru. If Israel were just out of the exodus, barely having arrived and settled down, they would have been a tribal confederacy. Why then would Merneptah list them next to significant players and well established and rich cities, unless Israel already was an established power and major player in the region?
In James Jack proposed a midth century date to solve this apparent problem. This would indicate that they were merely nomads, and not a formal kingdom. So this controversy is not new. On this fragment 3 name-rings are visible, with the first two reading Ashkelon, the second Canaan, and the third partially preserved reads Israel.
Either way, this indicates the presence of a recognizable people named Israel, well before the conventional exodus. David Rohl has made a convincing study, which seems to support his New Chronology. I understand that there is debate regarding his revised chronology see below , but I want to focus on the material evidence and the picture that is painted by it. The parallels become very strong, even in quite unexpected ways.
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And chronology should fit the material evidence, not the other way around. I will concede that single elements of what I will present here can be and are debated. However, we need to keep in mind that the case I am making here does not depend on any single point of proof. Compare it with fingerprint examination, if you will. What is looked for is a sequence of distinctive elements in the skin patterns of our fingertips that in sufficient degree should match the sequence of interest.
The more points of comparison one can find, the higher the probability and certainty of a match. Likewise, I will present here a combination of both archaeological and historical elements that, when followed chronologically, tells a story that is remarkably parallel to the story of Exodus and conquest that the Bible offers. Note that, for the purposes of this article, I am not assuming that Exodus should be read as a history book, but that the historical elements it provides in regard to the Exodus and the conquest are at least in large part trustworthy and should be used as an additional reference point.
Before we venture into the archaeological and historical records, we need to address the issue of chronology in some more depth first. Based on surviving lists of kings and the years they reigned, relative chronologies can be put together. But without conclusive events that allow linking those historical chronologies to the astronomical calendar we use now, they remain floating.
The method used is searching for so called synchronisms, events that link two chronologies, such as an invasion, a battle, a treaty, a marriage, etc. Now both chronologies are linked. This repeats until the chronologies can be linked to an event with a known astronomical date. This relative date and link can now be tied to the Assyrian chronology through another synchronism based on the battle of Qarqar, fought in BC between the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III in his 6th year and a coalition of Levantine kings, among them king Ahab of Israel.
The Assyrian chronology, in turn, can be dated absolutely through a record of a solar eclipse. Going back through the Biblical to the Egyptian chronology, the year BC can be assigned to the 20th regnal year of Shoshenq I, and thus to the Egyptian chronology.
This is also seen in the following statement by K. But is this synchronism correct?
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One of the reasons for assigning this link between the Egyptian Shoshenq I and the Biblical Shishak, apart from the obvious similarity in names, is the Shoshenq campaign relief in Karnak, which shows all the cities and strongholds he conquered. It was Champollion who found this, and he was the first to translate the place names. Yet soon thereafter, questions were raised.
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Moreover, when looking at the place names and reconstructing the campaign, we see that Judah is completely left out, and that it is the northern kingdom of Israel that was invaded! And the list of places sacked by Shishak in the Bible record Judean cities, Jerusalem chiefly among them as an important prize after the reign of king Solomon and the riches he had stored in the temple, leaving Israel alone. The biblical name Shishak can be read as the Egyptian Sysa, a hypocoristicon short form, pet name, like calling William J. It has been shown that both can interchange between Egyptian and Hebrew, and David Rohl gives a series of examples e.
The Bible has been under attack in the western world for over years but never more intensely than today. These attacks have taken different forms and have come from many different corners of the academic world, from philosophers, to scientists, to textual critics. In the specialized world of archaeology the attacks have increased dramatically in the past 50 years. Once a specialization filled with Bible believing individuals, the field of archaeology is now overrun with atheists and skeptics, agnostics and those committed to the destruction of the Bible as a source of true historical information.
These attacks on the Bible are a part of a sweeping movement in western culture. Spearheaded by academic elitists in the university and the public educational system, the news and popular media, and the entertainment industry, these revisionists cloak themselves with supposed objectivity, purity of motives, and the superiority of science over the "uninformed", "unscientific", religious community.
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