Welcome to this sample of lesson one of the Dr. of Biblical Egyptology program. Each week you will receive a discourse that talks about the study of Moses and the Exodus. You'll be getting lessons once a week for approx. 23 weeks and if you don't get one for any reason, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know so she can re-send your material. To order this course, go to:
Biblical Egyptology, The Search for Exodus and Moses
A Review of Ancient Artifacts, Literature and Contemporary Theories
Lesson 1: Basic Biblical Egyptology Introduction Part I of II
The 12th and 17th – 18th - 19th Dynasties
"... many scholars contend that Moses was a legendary hero created by the Hebrews to instill a feeling of national identity and solidarity. Apart from the Bible, there is no evidence that such a man ever lived."
Ref: "Time" magazine's cover story dated December 18th 1995.
It is still commonly written that the ‘faithful’ must accept the Old Testament (Jewish and Christian thus implied also Islam) on faith as there is no archeological support for it. It is easy to find quotations via the Internet and in current publications addressing the question "Was there an Exodus and a Moses?” This course will explore that issue, and students that apply themselves will become very versed in the theories, arguments and FACTS of history pertaining to this debate. Is the "Times" statement and others like it TRUE or FALSE? That is what this course is all about.
The focus of this course is to provide you with insight and research guides including many current and ancient references to Moses and Exodus of the Old Testament Bible, of the Jewish Tanaka, and the Islamic Quran. It is my opinion records of antiquity certainly do exist and support an “event” the faithful (me included) refer to as “Exodus” and was lead by a great person named “Moses.” You may be your own judge, as some commonly published "proofs" that will be reviewed are simply gibberish, but others are substitutable and thus ancient records external to the Bible DO exist! This course will discuss the strengths and weakness of many theories as well as the facts. 'The facts' come from ancient writings as well as from excavations of Biblical Archeologists. One future lesson rates the theories as True, Maybe and False. No effort will be made to fit faux or actual facts into a script to prove a point one way or the other.
This is not entertainment this is an academic review of what history has to say about Exodus and Moses. Why do we seek this information from antiquity? Because Christians are not extinct, not disregarding extreme efforts employed by many to achieve exactly, that the new and Old Testaments are still studied by millions. Also, and no minor point, is that Moses and Exodus are found recorded in the foundations to Islam, Judaism and Christianity all of which will be discussed in future lessons.
Text 18.3.2 “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive on the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold of these and then thousand wonderful things concerning him, and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day…”
Josephus (Jewish Pharisee and Roman Historian c 37 – 100 A.D.)
Introduction Objectives: Upon completion of these lessons ( 1-4) and assignments the ULC Seminary student will be introduced to and thus better understand the very basics of Biblical Egyptology:
a) Conversant with the system utilized by historians and Egyptologists to identify the sequence of Pharaohs.
b) Be aware of the major pagan gods of Egypt poly-monotheism Amun and Aten respectively.
c) Conversant with the dynasties associated with Moses and Exodus.
The primary reference for this lesson is: A History of Ancient Egypt, Nicolas Grimal; Blackwell Ltd, 1992
Moses was a popular name and suffix and we are all aware of its Biblical association. What is not as commonly known is how names changed after the developing influence of monotheism and most specifically how that relates to the name ‘Moses.” By example:
Under Akhenaton those that included ‘Aten’ components to their names had to change them. The name of Moses does derive from the Egyptian ‘ms.’ that would most likely have been preceded by the name of a traditional Egyptian god such as Ptahmoses or Ramoses. Under Akhenaton however Amen (Amun) the traditional Osiris gods were replaced by the one Aten and all those with ‘earlier’ effected names altered accordingly. Oscarseph was one such name. The god Akhenaton embraced was Aten - Re the Horizon Horus. There was such a person as Oscarseph recorded in the service of Akhenaton and his name changed to Ramoses. Ramose(s) in consonant only hieroglyphics and hieratic script was and is represented by ‘ms’ aka in English as ‘Moses.’
(This is significant and will be explored in subsequent lessons. N.F.)
Reference the Bible Myths; Gary Greenberg, Pres. of the Biblical Archaeological Society of New York; RE: the African origins of the Jewish people, Page 188
FIRST! This course is an academic exercise NOT a Christian Bible apologetics or literalist interpretation presentation. It is intended to be respectful of and a study guide for students of all faiths.
For any of the above quotation by Greenberg to make sense what so ever we need a basic understanding of Egyptian history of which numerous thesis, books and movies have been made. All too frequently I find it necessary to undo Hollywood and restore the facts. If Hollywood were such true historians we all would have distant learning PhDs. in innumerable subjects documented by a thesis length display of theater ticket stubs – which altogether with the cost of refreshments equates to the tuition expenses of a graduate education! To wit this course is a bargain deal.
a) The sequence of dynasties in ancient Egypt
The Pharaohs of Egypt save rare exceptions like Hatshepsut were males. However, the female carried the royal blood line. When a marriage failed to produce an heir that family line was discontinued and another was instituted. Each change became known as a dynasty relative to Egyptian history. There are 31 dynasties beginning in 3,000 B.C.E. ending with the Egyptian control by the Roman Empire in the fourth century A.D. in all 3,400 years of dynastic history, on the average of one dynasty per century.
This course is focused on the 12th, 17th – 19th dynasties. By all available accounts these are or could be associated with the people and events of Exodus. There are about 400 pharaohs in the kings list we will be concerned with only about a dozen.
Predynastic Period 4,000 B.C.E.
Protodynastic Period of Egypt
Early Dynastic Period 3,000 B.C.E.
First dynasty of Egypt
Second dynasty of Egypt
Third dynasty of Egypt
Fourth dynasty of Egypt
Fifth dynasty of Egypt
Sixth dynasty of Egypt
First Intermediate Period
Seventh dynasty of Egypt
Eighth dynasty of Egypt
Ninth dynasty of Egypt
Tenth dynasty of Egypt
Middle Kingdom 2,000 - 1785 B.C.E. (Biblical Joseph and Famine)
Eleventh dynasty of Egypt
Twelfth dynasty of Egypt 1991 – 1785 B.C.E.
Thirteenth dynasty of Egypt
Second Intermediate Period
Fourteenth dynasty of Egypt
Fifteenth dynasty of Egypt
Sixteenth dynasty of Egypt
Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt 1650 B.C.E. (Hyksos expelled)
New Kingdom (Egypt unified)
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt 1552 – 1314 or perhaps 1295 B.C.E.
Nineteenth dynasty of Egypt to 1188 B.C.E. (Ramses II)
Twentieth dynasty of Egypt
Third Intermediate Period
Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt, (Biblical David and Solomon)
Twenty-second dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-third dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-fourth dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-seventh dynasty of EgyptTwenty-eighth dynasty of Egypt
Note the above represents one common opinion of dates, but certainly not the only one. However, I do present but NOT analyze dates in this course as it is a futile exercise. I am more interested in the subject and the message described by/on artifacts and in literature and not ‘exactly’ what was said specifically of each subject or its date. Date theories abound and kings lists are more or less agreed upon by Egyptologists, but not exactly. The student will find a 100 year +/- discrepancy among many experts in the era of 1350 B.C.E.. Again, I leave that academic ‘dog’ peacefully alone in this course. Therefore, please do not fret over dates. You will see many 18th dynasty approximate dates in this course, and you will learn everybody has a date theory – thirty-two at my last count. I will put forth my best effort. Below is a typical example for which there is no final solution known today due to issues I do discuss in future lessons.
It is important to understand that the Biblical chronology does not put the Exodus at 1300 BC, but rather some 150 years before that, around 1450 BC. What a difference a couple of hundred years make! At that time period, there is evidence of a massive Semitic occupation of Goshen. Until recently, though, Egyptologists have claimed that this could not be the Hebrew occupation described in the Scriptures, because it is too early. They ascribe this occupation to other type Semites, such as the Hittites. However, there is a small but very vocal group of Egyptologists, led by British scholar David Rohl (author of Pharaohs and Kings), that is vehemently challenging the conventional chronology. They assert that there are numerous fallacies in the assumptions of the accepted chronology, and they have established a new chronology based on what they believe is more sound Egyptian archaeological grounds. Having done this, these secular scientists were astonished to discover that the new chronology supports the Biblical chronology, and the once mute Egyptian evidence is alive with testimony to the validity of Biblical history.
Joseph and Jacob of the Genesis chapter 46-47 famine story are considered by most to be dated about 1900 B.C.E. or the 12th dynasty under Pharaohs Sesostris I-III. Thus that period could begin the arrival and growth of the Jewish people in Egypt. We will review in due course the ancient literature that discusses the Hyksos, a massive Jewish departure, and a leader named Moses. The 12th dynasty is commonly accepted as establishing the earliest date for a complete or partial Exodus event that in any way can be related to Biblical Genesis.
Kings 6:1 establishes Exodus 480 years prior to Solomon. Scholars reasonably agree Solomon was about c 1000 B.C.E. Thus adding 480 years equals 1475 B.C.E. Since dates are not absolutely ascertained that far back we arrive at approximately the earliest third the 18th dynasty. This is approximately during the reigns of Ahmose, Tuthmose (Tuthmosis) I-III, Hatshepsut but probably not as recently as Amenophis IV-Akhenaton. Kings 6:1 dating will be discussed in a future lesson. However, not all Biblical scholars interpret the scripture’s 480 years as intending that literally. The dates for Solomon are not absolute either, but tenth century B.C. is commonly accepted. Thus the window of Exodus based on many analysis’s can be anywhere within the 18th Dynasty and mathematically the best estimate put forth is from 1300 to 1500 B.C.E. That is why we debate – the ancient writings and authors vs. the best efforts interpreting the Egyptian Kings Lists vs. Kings 6:1!
Solomon provided a relatively high degree and period of security and prosperity during his reign. The prophet Nathan called him Jedidiah, meaning loved by The Lord (2 Samuel 12:24-25). He was born approximately 1030 B.C., the tenth son of King David.
3. The Royal Turin Canon (kings list) we will discus that as well.
When it was first acquired by Bernardino Drovetti in the early nineteenth century, it seems to have been largely intact, but by the time it had become part of the collection of the Museo Egizio di Turin, its condition had - crumbled.
The diligent work of Egyptologists Jean-Francois Champollion and Gustavus Seyffarth ensured that the many fragments were placed in the correct order, but many parts are missing.
The list included the Hyksos rulers (often left out of other King Lists), although they were not given Cartouches and a hieroglyphic sign was added to indicate that they were foreigners. Apart from the names of each of the rulers, the list also cited the precise duration of each reign, and occasionally provided a summary of the numbers of years that had elapsed since the time of the semi-mythical ruler Memes. There was also an attempt to go back beyond the reigns of known kings and to assign regal lengths to the series of unnamed spirits and gods who had ruled before the appearance of the human pharaohs. It is presumed that similar documents provided Manetho with the basis for the history that he compiled in the early third century B.C., which has supplied a sequence of dynasties currently used by Egyptologists.
4. The walls of the temple at Karnack include extensive kings list recorded as cartouches. The list starts from what many consider to be the first pharaohs and sequences through to Tuthmoses III. A pharaoh’s name is enclosed in an oval called a ‘cartouche’ and be advised that the names of others (not pharaohs) are NOT enclosed in a royal cartouche.
5. The Royal List of Abydos In the Hall of the Records at the Temple of Abydos, Seti I and his young son the future Ramses II, are shown worshipping the cartouche names of 76 of their ancestors. However, "unacceptable" predecessors, such as Hatshepsut and Akhenaton are conveniently omitted from this list.
The list also does not have records of any of the kings from the Second Intermediate Period.
It does not take the student long to comprehend from viewing these fragmented, partial and damaged lists to realize ONE complete list spanning 3,000 years of pharaohs does NOT exist. Your first hint as to why we have date problems. Also successors had a nasty habit of defacing their predecessor’s art work second hint. Some scribes just made errors do to the complexity of the subject. Last but not least pharaohs had numerous names to be expanded upon later – your third hint. Thus Egyptologists combine all the sources and do their best – no easy task which will become clear to you by mid course and as we move forward.
d) 12th Dynasty perhaps 1991 – 1785 B.C.E.
This is the dynasty of Genesis’ Joseph his brothers, the famine and Jacob’s immigration into Egypt per many scholars. I find little rebuttal to that. Oh, there are always those that said it never happened at all, but their proofs are secular, emotional or biased. The pharaohs of interest in the 12th dynasty you will encounter in Biblical articles are: Ammenemes I – IV and Sesostres I-III.
RaHotep is considered 17th dynasty. Also a RaHotep may have existed much earlier about the 4th dynasty – thus two. We will study his statue in a future lesson that is attributed to the dates coterminous with Moses. As I am writing this I opened one from a stack of reference books and this particular book does not define exact dates for he 15th - 17th dynasties thus Rahotep. This is due to Hyksos records of history defacements of the 18th dynasty. The Hyksos will be much discussed in this course in future lessons.
e) 18th Dynasty approximately 1552- 1295 B.C.E. is the dynasty without the Hyksos and with a reunited Egypt under native pharaohs. It is a dynasty of intense scrutiny relative to Moses and is the dynasty of monotheism. A believer I am BUT Aten monotheism of Amenophis IV-Akenhaten is not Jewish – perhaps a step in the right direction. Aten as the god was promoted in earnest, but it lost its leadership probably midst treachery and the entrenched Amun priesthood prevailed in the 19th dynasty. Some say that occurred because Moses avoided becoming the victim of political treachery. He withdrew from his loyalty to Egypt that he displayed so well in his earlier life to become the prophet chosen by God to lead the Jews. Many scholars consider Moses to have been a viable heir to the Egyptian 18th dynasty throne which we will explore in future lessons. As always it seems when the Amun supported resumed power Aten art, records and even the capital city were destroyed; thus again as with the Hyksos era we are left with scraps for records when once there were volumes.
f) 19th Dynasty approximately 1295-1188. This is the era of the now famous Tutankhamen (King Tut) and Ramses II and his son Merneptah. Polytheism was reestablished. Ramses II reigned for a long period and Egypt regained stability. This is the close of any window for Exodus as skimpy historical records outside of Egypt simply won’t support it. Also Kings 6:1 would put Solomon back (perhaps) into the era of Necho I-II. Only a few fringe scholars accept that! Why, because Ramses II and Merneptah dates are approximately 1279 – 1212 B.C.E. minus 400 to 480 years is the 22nd dynasty not 24th and many records of that era simply won’t support a coterminous Solomon.
The 12th dynasty was the era of Joseph and the famine of Biblical Genesis. This, many scholars consider, defines the immigration into Egypt of some of the then existing population of the Jews (Jacob’s entourage). These Jews (Genesis 46:27) in another 500 -600 years become the subjects of Exodus. The Jews that remained behind are likely responsible for the Semitic influence we read into words and names within other “groups” in the greater Holy Land area (Genesis 19:37-38, etc.).
The 17th dynasty saw major Egyptian conflicts resulting in the Hyksos finally being ejected initiating the 18th native Egyptian dynasty. The Hyksos might have controlled the Jews. Ancient authors associate the My People – Chosen People – Israelite Jews with the Hyksos and that is significant and the focus of a debate that will be reviewed in detail in future lessons.
The 18th dynasty saw the brief emergence of Aten monotheism. Some contemporary historians turned authors define this as the era of Moses. Others believe Moses was a vizier as well as an adopted prince and legitimate heir to the Egyptian throne. Graham Phillips claims Tuthmosis was Moses (I). Moses (II) lead the Israelites out of Egypt 100 years later. Moses I’s staff inherited by Moses II is indentified by its inscribed hieroglyphs and is currently on display in a U.K. museum for anyone to view and read. We will examine this theory in future lessons.
The 19th dynasty is the era of Ramses II and his son Merneptah. Once Ramses
II was the leading candidate for the Pharaoh of Exodus and thus the subject of the great epic movie the Ten Commandments of 1956. Per the ancient authors that is not the case, but it does close the window of opportunity for an Exodus event because of the Merneptah Stele. The stele aka Israel Stele survives today and is accepted as being an end point time line benchmark in regards to its famous reference of Israel being without seed as defeated in their lands (outside of Egypt). Also Kings 6:1 closes the window if nothing else does. These issues will be examined in future lessons.
Assignments Lesson 1 part I:
The next lesson is part II of this introduction. Simply review this material if it is new to you so you get off to a good start!
What do you think? Write down your opinion of Exodus and Moses and keep it aside. When the course is completed write down your opinion and then compare the two.
Do you believe:
1) The study of Biblical Egyptology has merit for the devout and faithful of Judaism, Christianity and Islam?
2) Or is Old Testament and the Quran all one needs to know of Exodus and Moses?
3) Or is Biblical Egyptology for everyone else?
4) Or does Biblical Egyptology offer something for everyone willing to study it?
Did you know: The most frequently expressed answer I receive to the above question, even from Bible study teachers, is two (2). If you answered four (4), WELCOME!
See you next week!
Book References this lesson:
The Gods of the Egyptians, E. A. Wallis Budge, Dover Inc. 1904, 1969 edition.
A History of Ancient Egypt, Nicolas Grimal; Blackwell Ltd, 1992