Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Does Egyptian History Contradict Judaism?

[Great Pyramid of Giza]

One apparent conflict between science and Judaism is that according to traditional Jewish chronology, the Deluge (Genesis 7) occurred in 2106 BCE. The Dispersion (Genesis 11) occurred in 1765 BCE. This means that between those two dates, for a period of 340 years, the earth was uninhabited outside of Mesopotamia. Also, presumably, people after the Dispersion spoke different languages than they did before the Deluge.

Egyptians, however, continued speaking the same language from 3200 BCE until 1300 CE. How can this be explained?

My guess is as follows:

I would assume that the antediluvian Egyptians were among the “mighty men of old” (Genesis 6:4). They built the Great Pyramid and spoke Old Egyptian. They died in the Deluge. [I suspect that this early race of superior men also built the remarkable Stonehenge monument which dates from about the same period.]

Following the Dispersion, new settlers arrived in Egypt who wished to revive the language and culture of the earlier inhabitants. They never approached the architectural achievement of the original Egyptians, however they emulated Old Egyptian culture and claimed descent from them. (Many ancient dynasties claimed descent from ancient gods or heroes.)

This is similar to medieval northern Europeans who continued using Latin long after the destruction of Rome and even though they were not Roman. American high schools taught Latin until the 1960s. In fact, this blog is being written in the Latin alphabet. Classical Greek and Roman architectures were often revived. Most people today use a slightly modified Roman calendar.

Interestingly, the Egyptians are virtually the only ancient culture not possessing a flood legend, I would suppose because they wished to deny their lack of continuity with the pyramid builders.

Incidentally, the Deluge itself was obviously a supernatural event, which did not necessarily leave any physical evidence remaining today.


Anonymous said...

I believe the deluge first appears in the epic Gilgamesh. This story is older than the bible and is Sumerian. The story of Moses floating down the river is also a Sumerian goddess story which is older than the bible. Iron age philosophy and science are 2 different things. Do you believe the master of the microscopic and macrocosmic actually has a covenant with the jews over circumcision? Do you believe in iron age medicine?

jewish philosopher said...

The Deluge occured in 2105 BCE and Moses wrote Genesis in 1274 BCE. It is hardly surprising that other books written in the intervening 831 years mention the Deluge.

I'm not familiar with the Sumerian Moses story. Can you provide a source?

M.E.Taylor said...

I will look for the source I used.

MechanicalCrowds said...

Are you an archaeologist, a historian, or an egyptologist?

If not, then you should be quoting scientists that can support these claims with proper evidence.

I have read a couple of Egyptology books, one of which is the widely accepted Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, and there is no mention of such a discontinuity. Please quote any physical evidence that supports your claims.

jewish philosopher said...

Mechanical, what type of evidence would there be of a discontinuity? People not living in Egypt for a few hundred years would not leave evidence of not being there.

We know however that the Old Kingdom ended at about the time of the Deluge for reasons which are unclear.

SearchingForMeaning said...

Allow me to take great issue with your post.

To begin, the idea that the flood was a miraculous event that left no trace, to my knowledge, does not jive with Jewish belief. More significantly, though, it's an "easy way out," as it were -- a sweeping under the rug of the massive evidence contradicting any worldwide flood, and moreso a flood in the Mesopotamian region at the traditional time. I cannot accept nor lend credence to such escape-clause, for it opens the floodgates for justification of the belief in practically anything, once evidence is not a requirement. It is a very slippery slope that I do not believe is supported by traditional opinion.

That being said, allow me to address the matter of the Egyptian Histories. To my knowledge, there is no gap whatsoever in the Egyptian record anywhere near the traditional time, and if I recall correctly, this is corroborated by Egyptologists. In my mind, the notion that another group meandered in, and in short order proceeded to dig up the remains of the Egyptian civilization and reenact their entire way of life is preposterous, not to mention highly improbable and lacking of any evidence. You are not simply claiming an adaptation of a character set, which is the case in reference to the Latin characters. The newcomers did not just adapt ancient language and architecture. You are positing a veritable masquerade, the new peoples' adapting practically every facet of the ancient society. Why any society would do this, and furthermore claim descendance from an obviously extinct people, and even go so far as to deny the history of a flood, is far beyond me. Moreover, unless the newcomers were familiar with hieroglyphs, it would have been nearly impossible for them to have revived the language. The hieroglyphs have no obvious phonologic value, no relation to other character sets, and hence the newcomers would have had no idea what they were reading. To my knowledge, there is no precedent for such an occurrence in all of recorded history, and is completely atypical national-sociological behavior. The bending-over backwards that this explanation requires would challenge even a contortionist. This is all moot, though; The most significant fact remains the absence of any gap in the Egyptian Record.

As for the flood, let's look at the evidence (or lack thereof). The geological record completely and thoroughly crushes any possibility of a worldwide flood. Noah could not have possibly fit one-ten-thousandth of all the living species of creature into the Ark. Polar bears and kangaroos didn't swim across the world to hitch a ride in Mesopotamia. The story, fron any angle, is folklore. Or, you can claim the "supernatural thing," but my position on that is, needless to say, clear.

On the other hand, we have plenty of evidence for many, many local floods throughout history. Hundreds of cultures from around the globe have flood stories. Of note is that the stories vary widely -- further evidence of numerous separate affairs. The Ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh does superficially appear to have many similarities to the Bereshit story -- but that could be because the two may very well be referring to the same myth or the mythicized version of the same historical event. The event described both by our story and the Gilgamesh Epic, at very least, take place in Mesopotamia.

Hence, a much more likely explanation: Our story refers to a known local Mesopotamian event. While it is obviously an exaggeration, a folkification, (due to the glaring scientific and logical impossibilities), it may very well be based on an actual event, and as such, was part of the folklore and history of the Semitic peoples that were to become the Jews.

Anonymous said...

nicely done

jewish philosopher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jewish philosopher said...

There are significant differences between the Old Kingdom and later Egyptian culture – for one thing, the lack of massive pyramids.

Secondly, what proof is there that Egypt was not uninhabited for several centuries? Chronicles which were written many centuries later? In general, our knowledge of life 4,000 is extremely limited.

And if the flood legends found world wide have no connection and are memories of different events, are there similar volcano or earthquake legends worldwide? Why only floods?

SearchingForMeaning said...

I did a quick search, and it turns out there is plenty of Volcano Myth. Numerous Hawaiian volcanoes, including Kilauea, were formed when the god(ess?") Pele ho, skip and jumped across the island. Mount saint helens is associated with some character named loowit, who became a beautiful woman and was fought over by two suitors. Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl , both Aztec-named volcs in Mexico, are part of a Romeo-Juliet type folk story. Some sort of fire ritual takes place involving Mount Fuji every year. I could go on and on with this, but you get the idea. As for earthquakes, I didn't research, but i'd bet there are plenty of myths there too.

It's important to note that most of early civ. existed either next to or near a river or body of water. Therefore, flood were the most common natural disaster they would have encountered. The Nile flooded yearly, and I believe still does. Flood stories would naturally be common among early peoples.

As for the Egyptian history, at least according to wikipedia's history, which they admit is "approximate" and "one interpretation". In any case, I paraphrase, the approx. period in question,bereshut Wikipedia:
The Third Dynasty ruled from 2686 to 2613 BC...The Fourth Dynasty ruled from 2613 to 2498 BC...The Fifth Dynasty ruled from 2498 to 2345 BC...The Sixth Dynasty ruled from 2345 to 2181 BC...
"The First Intermediate Period is the period between the end of the Old Kingdom and the advent of the Middle Kingdom. The Old Kingdom rapidly collapsed after the death of Pepi II. He had reigned for 94 years...The latter years of his reign were marked by ineffeciency because of his advanced age...The Union of the Two Kingdoms fell apart and regional leaders had to cope with the resulting famine...Around 2160 BC, a new line of pharaohs tried to reunite Lower Egypt from their capital in Herakleopolis Magna. In the meantime, however, a rival line based at Thebes was reuniting Upper Egypt and a clash between the two rival dynasties was inevitable...Around 2055 BC, a descendant of the pharaoh Intef III defeated the Herakleopolitan pharaohs, reunited the Two Lands, founded the Eleventh Dynasty and ruled as Mentuhotep II, the first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom...
"The Seventh and Eighth Dynasties ruled from 2181 to 2160 BC...The Ninth Dynasty ruled from 2160 to 2130 BC...The Tenth Dynasty was a local group that held sway over Lower Egypt that ruled from 2130 to 2040 BC...The Eleventh Dynasty was a local group with roots in Upper Egypt that ruled from 2134 to 1991 BC...The Twelfth Dynasty ruled from 1991 to 1802 BC, and is considered by later Egyptians to have been their greatest dynasty..."

That covers the period well before and after the alleged flood. As you can see, no gap whatsoever.

As for the timing, I believe that the pharoes themselves had scribes who kept records in regards to historical events (with a pro-Egyptian bent, of course). I have no reason to believe the historical information was not concurrent or recorded soon after the events they describe. There is much historical information inscribed on coffins, in pyramids, and the like, dating back to at least 2800 BCE, well into the old kingdom.

Online, I found yet another interesting problem. If in fact the world was wiped out by a flood, we are tlaking about 8 people repopulating the planet. They would have had to work real hard to reproduce fast enough to supply enough people to, among other things, reincarnate the entire Egyptian culture, in a manner so quick that the histories don't even reflect it. Even if his three children were popping out quintuplets every year, with a new generation every thirteen years, I don't think that would be remotely enough to pull up the numbers necessary.

I should mention that from a Torah perspective, there really is nothing wrong with imagining the flood as a myth. To my knowledge, there were at least a few meforshim who were willing to view everything up until Avraham as "Mashal", and that in no way detracted from their faith; It is the concept, the morals in the story that are significant, even for those literalists.

Anonymous said...

"Searching" has done a great job here; let me try to add a bit from a logical vs. torah perspective.

According to the Torah chronology there should have not been different languages at all before the Great Flood. When the Deluge happened the world was only 1656 years. In itself it is long enough to have developed different languages, however if the people really lived as long as hundreds of years, many almost reaching a thousand, then Noah was just one or two people away from knowing Adam himself. Generation wise he was only 10 generations away. Were they all multi-lingual? And how exactly did that happen?

The Tower of Babel story is the only "reasonable" explanation to the occurrence of many languages. (Of course "reasonable" as much as the whole story is reasonable, but that is not the issue.)

Secondly, according to the rabbinical sources nothing was left standing till three feet under (okay, not feet but טפחים). Even "grinding stones" those used to mill wheat where "melted". So how come anything at all was left standing in the area? We must use here some sort of Omphalism, and all we see now are from AFTER the flood but god somehow made it LOOK older.

Thirdly, "searching" already dealt with it, but in light of the above, how can you imagine those people could revive an extinct language and culture. Based on what did they talk, write and live? Any reason they did NOT build pyramids? Did they perhaps find only records for talking, writing, living, and culture, but not how to build pyramids? Is that what they wanted the Jews to build but the Jews couldn't either?

My friend, you have to discard everything those evil scientists and their ideas. Everything they say is worthless and proofless for as we know the world was created "whole" and even Adam had a navel. All those pyramids we see, all the records, cave marks, papyruses and clay tablets only LOOK old. They are all within chorological order of the Torah.

Go try to unprove the proofless. Go talk logic to a fundie.

jewish philosopher said...

My point is simply that Egyptian history does not convincingly refute the Torah narrative. I don't think we have a very clear picture of what was actually happening 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. And remember that the Bible is in fact mankind's oldest history book.

Anonymous said...

I very well understood your point otherwise I wouldn’t be able to refute it.

Of course we don’t have a clear picture, all we do know from what we have discovered so far is that the torah got some things wrong for sure. we can’t really blame the torah for as you yourself noted that it’s man’s first history book. Much still needs to prefect a history from the first appearance of it, especially in light of the vast difference in how we “create facts” nowadays.

jewish philosopher said...

Searchformeaning, I don't what happened, but somehow I didn't see your second post until now.

Yes, I'm sure that there are legends about volcanos, as well as about butterflies and dandelions. However my question was - are there legends about the gods getting angry, destroying all mankind with a volcano except for one couple who were saved and repopulated the earth? There are none. However there are dozens of legends worldwide about a flood doing this. Why? Either there was a world wide conspiracy about 4,000 years ago to fabricate this particular legend or there really was a historical incident like this.

Regarding Egyptian history, the basis for our chronology of Egyptian history is Aegyptiaca by Manetho. Aegyptiaca was written about 1800 years after the Deluge and we only possess very corrupted versions of the book written centuries after that. Maybe I am a fundimentalist nut, however I don't consider Aegyptiaca, or whatever fragments we have of it, to be an absolute refutation of the Bible.

Streimel, you mention "the torah got some things wrong for sure". Like what?

Anonymous said...

Like this:

"according to traditional Jewish chronology, the Deluge (Genesis 7) occurred in 2105 BCE. The Dispersion (Genesis 11) occurred in 1765 BCE. This means that between those two dates, for a period of 340 years, the earth was uninhabited outside of Mesopotamia. Also, presumably, people after the Dispersion spoke different languages than they did before the Deluge.

Egyptians, however, continued speaking the same language from 3200 BCE until 1300 CE.

jewish philosopher said...

I think my post explains why this is not a problem.

Anonymous said...

So you didn't read the comments at all?

jewish philosopher said...

I think I have commented on all the comments.

Anonymous said...

I know you "commented". My question was if you READ the comments.

The reason I suspect that you didn't read them (or worse, didn't understand them) is your claim that "my post explains why this is not a problem". After debunking your post, after explaining why your logic has no merit or "logic" how can you still use your now unexplained explanation, unless you commented without reading.

jewish philosopher said...

You asked a lot of questions about the details of what happened 4000 to 5000 years ago. I don't think anyone knows. We don't have any books from that period.

Anonymous said...

Sadly I must inform you that you didn’t understand the comments. I’ll explain what I wrote, hopefully you’ll get it this time.

Whatever reasons you gave as to reconcile Torah and Truth is invalid and against logic and the Torah. Here’s why:

1. According to the Torah there was only one language before the Tower of Babel story.
2. If you believe in the Torah literally, then there is no logical way people could have spoken different languages before the flood.
3. There were no records left after the Flood, nothing. Even the pyramids itself must be from a latter period. Whatever you see was made AFTER the flood.
4. How could people revive a culture and language without any records?

jewish philosopher said...

"1. According to the Torah there was only one language before the Tower of Babel story."

Where does the Torah say that?

"2. If you believe in the Torah literally, then there is no logical way people could have spoken different languages before the flood."

Why not?

"3. There were no records left after the Flood, nothing. Even the pyramids itself must be from a latter period. Whatever you see was made AFTER the flood."


"4. How could people revive a culture and language without any records?"

Eight people survived the flood and so did the Egyptian inscriptions.

Anonymous said...

1. The same place where the Torah tells us the Tower story. Why don’t you READ before you comment?

2. READ the first paragraph.

3. Please READ chazal. I include a few samples incase you’re too lazy to READ:

שאף ג' טפחים של עומק המחרישה נמוחו ונטשטשו (רש"י)
וכן אמרו (ב"ר ל ח) אפילו איצטרובולין של ריחים נמוחו במבול, ודרשו בו אבנים שחקו מים (איוב יד יט)- רמב"ן

4. Again, if huge stones melted how did inscriptions survive?

I think I know your answer:

“I think my post explains why this is not a problem”

What a copout!

Anonymous said...

The link didn't paste.

#2 Should point to this comment. READ it!

At Saturday, October 07, 2006 12:47:10 PM, Shtriemel said...

jewish philosopher said...

Genesis 11:1 states that at the time of the Tower, the entire world spoke one language. I don't know of any source stating that during the 1996 years preceding the Tower, only one language was spoken. If based on archeology there were many languages, then I guess there were.

Regarding the destruction caused by the Deluge, it seems incredible that the Deluge polished the entire earth smooth. We find Genesis 8:11 stating that the dove brought back an olive leaf less than two months after mountain tops became visible. Apparently trees survived. I guess the Pyramids did too.

I think you like making things up about Judaism and then claiming "Oh, you see, this shows how stupid Judaism is." Try sticking to the facts.

Anonymous said...

This conversation is becoming really boring. You pick and chose what to reply to, until pushed to the wall that is. Sorry for being so guileless.

As previously stated it is illogical for a people to have completely diverse languages in just a couple of generations. Logic too affirms that if everything on the world got "melted" than there were no records left to revive an old language.

Your "question" as to how then did the bird find an olive branch is dealt with in the teachings of Chazal and the Rishonim. I wouldn't chas ve'sholom think that you actually READ it, for you don’t even read the comment here. However, if you'll ever find some time (and seriousness) check out the Ramban on the parsha. In short, some say that god opened the gates of heaven to produce a branch, while some "prove" with this absurdity another absurdity—that there was no flood in Israel.

In either way it would be nice to READ before you comment again.

Anonymous said...

Should read:

As previously stated it is illogical for a people to have completely diverse languages in just a couple of generations. Logic too affirms that if everything on the world got "melted", thEn there were no records left to revive an old language.

Anonymous said...

I found this site via a link, was somewhat intrigued at the topics, but quickly found a very unintellectually demanding approach to said topics which used the very same techniques of Christian missionaries. 1) ignore what you can't respond to (SearchingForMeaning and shtreimel's posts) 2) counter everything with "but the Bible says" (I don't think we have a very clear picture of what was actually happening 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. And remember that the Bible is in fact mankind's oldest history book.).

Too little time for an intellectual lightweight. Bye...

jewish philosopher said...

I'm afraid that I'm not intellectually sophisticated enough to automatically reject anything written in the Bible just because it's written in the Bible.

I try to respond to most comments, but I have a life too.

Anonymous said...

"I try to respond to most comments, but I have a life too. "

How much time you think you need?

jewish philosopher said...

For you Streimel, I think about 3,000 years.

By the way, what questions are still bothering you?

Anonymous said...

Every single question I already asked you previously and got no answer is still bothering me.

jewish philosopher said...

Regarding "How can it be that the Pyramids survived the Deluge?", well we know that plants survived, see Genesis 8:11. We also know that fish survived. Only terrestrial life was taken into the Ark, see Genesis 7:2-3. So I am surprised that you don't believe the Pyramids could have survived the Deluge.

Sabzi Aash said...

Some of the meforshim say that there were multiple languages at the time of the dispersion, and the Torah's "one language" refers to an additional common language that everyone spoke, a lingua franca. What happened in the Bavel episode then, was that knowledge of this language was lost, and the different groups were left with only their own national languages. Maybe someone who has a mikraot g'dolot handy can check up on this further - I don't have one and it's been a while since I read it.

The idea of another group taking over the Egyptians' identity is far-fetched and I don't necessarily agree with it, but it's not impossible, with a little imagination, to imagine ways in which it could occur, or at least be attempted. We see weak examples of this in modern subcultures like Modern Pagans, Wiccans, Goths, who take over some aspects, real or imagined, of other groups. The Palestinians invented a national identity for political purposes, and there have been some attempts among them to adopt ancient Canaanite practices. Look at Trekkie conventions, where you see emulation of cultures that weren't even real to begin with. There was a guy who actually learned the invented Klingon language and imparted it to his infant son, though the son abandoned it once it became clear to him that English was sufficient for his needs. These emulations don't usually go so far - but imagine a more isolated group, with charismatic leaders, in a cult-like atmosphere, and who knows what could happen?

Assuming some records did survive the flood, and I don't really know anything about this point, there could have been more illuminating documents than what we're left with today. Maybe along with all the world's animals (for which we clearly need a miracle) Noah's family carried with them grammar books and dictionaries of all the worlds' languages. Of course even if they did, it's not a simple thing to revive a language. To do it perfectly is almost certainly impossible (ditto, I assume, for culture in general). Even Hebrew, which was always kept in use in one way or another, has a modern form that's drastically from its predecessors. Some linguists maintain that it's really Yiddish relexified. Admitting I don't know much about Ancient Egyptian, I have never heard of any heretofore-unexplained linguistic discontinuities there on the order of those we find in Hebrew. Maybe then, Noah's family members themselves were polyglots, and preserved other tongues in living form, which they then taught to others. I don't know of any evidence or motivation for them doing this, but then we don't know a lot of things. It's a possibility, that's all.

Saying "I don't think we have a very clear picture of what was actually happening 4,000 to 6,000 years ago" may be a cop out, or it can be an acknowledgment of our own limitations and capacity for error. There have been serious criticisms and revisions of Egyptian (and other) chronology that most people are blissfully unaware of. For example, David Rohl contends (with a lot of evidence and compelling results) that Egyptian chronology is a few centuries off. Anatoly Fomenko says that the whole Dark Ages were invented by historians, and conflates many ancient events with parallel medieval ones. I would be out of my league to pronounce either of these two right or wrong, especially since I haven't read the second one, but they do point out that much of history as we know rests on a smaller number of foundations than we might asumme, and that these are not as sturdy as we might expect. Various identifications are called into question, dating methods are exposed for all their unreliability, variances between given dates of eclipses, floods, etc. and actual data are noted. Again, my only point is that there is a lot of wiggle room in any field of knowledge. Ideas can become accepted for less than objective reasons, while dissent is thereafter scorned or ignored. And sometimes ideas are overturned too. There's no reason why there couldn't be myriad historiographical errors, unaddressed because they'd be very inconvenient to rectify, not to mention embarrassing, and that events in the Bible could not fit real history better then it seems now.

AFAIC, the question of how to reconcile Jewish assertions of a deluge and a dispersion with other evidence is still there. Jewish Philosopher has not convinced me of his theory about the Egyptians, and neither has anyone convinced me he's wrong.

jewish philosopher said...

I would just add that mankind has no other historical chronicles nearly as old as the Bible. And secondly, my impression is the Egyptian researchers are generally atheists, as are most scientists. Therefore, they do not believe in miracles. Therefore they do not believe in the Deluge. So any possible evidence of it would be ignored.

The Old Kingdom and the Old Egyptian language did end c 2200 BCE and the Deluge occured 2105 BCE. I believe there is a connection.

Sabzi Aash said...

What about the Egyptian, Sumerian, Assyrian, and Hittite documents that date to before the Torah?

But what's the relevance anyway? No one's going to accept the Bible as true just because it's old. And if they did, then why not other older contradictory documents?

As for Egyptologists ignoring evidence of the flood, do you know of any evidence they've ignored? I think the problem, rather, is that there appears to be counterevidence: things proceeding as usual when according to the Torah they shouldn't be.

What source do you have for the language "ending" c. 2200?

jewish philosopher said...

There are documents older than 3,000 years, but not historic chronicles.

"Things proceeded as usual" but how do we know that? From the Egyptian newspapers 3,000 BCE? Or are scholars just assuming that?

The Old Kingdom ended about 2,200 BCE and the Middle Kingdom and Middle Egyptian followed it.

Anonymous said...

Then you wonder “what questions are still bothering you”.

You already said that “we know that plants survived, see Genesis 8:11” before, in other words. And I answered you that you’re wrong according the chazal. Also, there were many more things I asked you but you choose to conveniently disregard them.

Is there anyone here who wonders why? I don’t.

Sabzi Aash said...

They're not "historical chronicles"? Why? Because they're not as long as the Torah? Those ancient documents have all sorts of information - historical, religious, and mundane (just like the Bible). But it's irrelevant anyway, as I said.

The Old Kingdom ended at some disputed date, and then went right into the Intermediate Period. The language on the other hand, never ended. A language does not end when a kingdom does. I could give you a million examples but I shouldn't have to. Again, if you're going to say the language stopped being spoken c. 2200 (which is 95 years too early to be due to the flood anyway), can you give a source for it?

[BTW, I think I was wrong to include Rohl and Fomenko in the same paragraph above - the latter uses some very dubious methods and is much harder to take seriously.]

jewish philosopher said...

Streimel, if Chazal disagree with the Bible, then I think I'll go with the Bible. However I doubt that is the case. Perhaps you need to study Chazal a little more carefully, with a rebbe perhaps.

Sabzi, I know Egyptian language did not entirely end. That's the point of my post.

Sabzi Aash said...

Your point was that it ended and the was revived after some time. You wrote a few comments up "the Old Egyptian language did end c 2200 BCE." I'm asking for a source for that.

jewish philosopher said...

This article mentions it.

And incidentally, the Bible does not identify the women in the Ark. How do we know that Ham's wife, let's say, was not Egyptian?

Sabzi Aash said...

I'm already acquainted with that article, and it doesn't make the contention that you are. Maybe you're not aware that identifying stages in a language such as Old, Middle, and Modern. does not mean that the languages stopped and started between each one. We draw these lines for our convenience, and where we draw them is arbitrary. We use the same labels for French, English, Welsh, etc., and the same applies there.

I agree with you that Ham's wife could have been Egyptian. I already said the family members in general could have been polyglots. But that doesn't explain the lack of a gap, let alone a 340-year one, in the lingustic record in Egypt.

jewish philosopher said...

How do we know that there wasn't a gap? Do we have a continuous record of books published in Egypt between 2105 BCE and 1765 BCE? Or are we simply assuming that there was no gap because there is no reason for there to be a gap?

Sabzi Aash said...

I'm no Egyptologist and I don't know what all the texts are and when they're dated to. All I know is that I haven't heard of, and can't find reference (in my admittedly cursory searches) to a 340-year gap in the record, which would be surprising if there were one. I have heard of a 400-year Greek dark ages where little was written. Secondly, if there were no attested writing from 2105 until 1765, you'd expect "Middle Egyptian" to begin in 1765, instead of in the middle of that period, in 2000.

I'll answer your final question with a question: if scholars admit to a gap in the Greek record, why wouldn't they for the Egyptian? There is no obvious reason for the former, but instead of denying it, they theorize on why it might have occurred.

All of this is meaningful only insofar as the dating is correct in the first place, and as I've said it may not be. Do you think the dates are wrong? It would be interesting to apply another posited chronology and see if it fit better.

jewish philosopher said...

The Greek Dark Age was 1000 years more recent than the Deluge. Probably we have more knowledge about this period than we do about the period following the Deluge.

Also, the post Deluge period was not a Dark Age, it was a deserted age. There was not a poorer civilization which left remains, there was no civilization.

Also, I believe that the Egyptians themselves wished to deny any interruption and altered their chronicles accordingly. Egypt is the only ancient civilization with no flood legend. I think this explains why.

Sabzi Aash said...

You're basically alleging that ancient "Neo-Egyptians" falsified their records, and that modern scholars have ignored any evidence that would show this. Conspiracies and coverups occur, but you have no evidence that they did here, and not even any motives. Your ideas are possible, but improbable and unprecedented. It's also possible that leprechauns wrote all the hieroglyphics. But to actually believe either, most people would want a lot more evidence.

jewish philosopher said...

What I think happened is that before the Deluge Egypt was inhabited by a superior race of people whose works are seen in the Pyramids. The Pyramids are among the most massive building ever built by man.

Following the Dispersion, settlers returned to Egypt and attempted to ressurect this earlier era of glory. See for example the very beginning of the Epic of Gilgamesh "He [Gilgamesh] recovered the knowledge of all the times before the Flood." This was apparently the greatest praise which could be said about anyone.

As far as falsifying records or ignoring evidence goes, I'm not sure what records exist other than Manetho, written 18 centuries after the Deluge.

I suspect however that later Pharaohs may have supressed the Flood story in order to create an impression that Egytian history was continuous from the antediluvian period.

Anonymous said...

"Streimel, if Chazal disagree with the Bible, then I think I'll go with the Bible."

Whoa, a karaite? Cool!

jewish philosopher said...

I finally found the Midrash you are talking about. Genesis 6:7 states "And the Lord said I will erase man whom I have created from the face of the earth" Midrash Rabbah Breishis 28:3 comments "even the astrobilin of the mill was wiped out".

Your question is: So how did the Great Pyramid survive?

I would say, I don't know. Perhaps smaller, movable man made artifacts melted however not immovable buildings.

Anonymous said...

Wait, are you retracting the previous statement against rabbinical tradition?

Did you read the Midrash? Did you see HOW they came to their conclusion?

jewish philosopher said...

Sure, I read it.

What we actually know about the Deluge, based and Biblical and Talmudic sources, is this:

It was a unique, miraculous event which involved a flood of thick, hot liquid which actually dissolved all human and other terrestrial life outside the Ark. Human utensils were also dissolved. Aquatic life was unaffected. It is unclear what the effect was on plant life.

That's basically it.

Anonymous said...

You might have read it but you didn't understand it.

I'm not surprised at all that you didn't answer my question of the previous comment.

jewish philosopher said...

JPhil understands everything. It's all in my comments somewhere.

Anonymous said...

What a copout. I’m not surprised.

jewish philosopher said...

Streimel, could you be more rude? I think I see why you don't fit in the Frum world too well. Maybe Negros might fit you better.

Adam Shajnfeld said...


You really are nuts.

Were you raised by a pack of wolves?

jewish philosopher said...

Which expression would you prefer? African-American? The only African-American I know is an Ashkenazi Jewish woman who was born and raised in Cairo. Black? I'm not referring to people from India who look quite black to me.

I'm not going to use stupid euphemisms which make speaking clear English impossible.

Adam Shajnfeld said...

I am not objecting to oyur use of the word. I am objecting to the racism inherent in the statement. It's unbecoming of a ben torah and a human being.

jewish philosopher said...

Not nearly as racist as Darwin.

Adam Shajnfeld said...

I'm not sure how anything Darwin did makes you less culpable.

If one of oyur kids said something wrong, and claimed that there were others who had said worse things, would that matter?

jewish philosopher said...

I'm not a politician. I am not worried about the Negro vote.

Anonymous said...

It's not about being a politician, its about having derech eretz, and chilul hashem.

jewish philosopher said...

I merely suggested to my esteemed colleague Streimel where he might feel more at home.

Adam Shajnfeld said...

Yes, and you merely made a chilul hashem.

jewish philosopher said...

Well, anyway, I meant ghetto Negros. The kind who live around Crown Heights, which is where I suspect Streimel is hiding out.

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dunebat said...

First off, Egyptologists DO admit to a gap in the Egyptian chronology. Your Google search was too "cursory".

As for "Neo-Egyptians" - the Thebans, to clarify - falsifying their records to seem like some pre-Theban Egyptians, why not? That essentially happened with the Hyksos, who were foreign but took on the appearances of Theban culture.

Anonymous said...

The oldest and the original deluge story is indian.

Infact it is the mother of all deluge stories, sumerian, egyptian, greek ....

this story spraed to other cultures after indo aryan expansion.