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A Lost Worlds classic by Dan Byrnes
THIS article aims to point out that problems can be raised by the task of finding a reliable historical date for the Exodus of Moses and his Hebrew followers from Egypt. This problem seems insoluble, so far, but remains interesting, entertaining, engrossing ...
If you value the information
Also that while-ever the views of Immanuel Velikovsky on "astronomical" events in the heavens before 300BC or so, which affect the history of religions, happen to remain controversial, this is partly due to methodological problems that remain unresolved - because unrecognised.
Worse, these unresolved problems bear on many different disciplines, which is a good reason to ask multi-disciplinarians to suggest a useful multi-discipline. The genius does not yet seem to exist, allowing us to resolve disparate information usefully. Still, much can also be said for using different angles of vision.
By 2000, the views of Velikovsky have become part of popular history, which presumably is why this article has become a classic on Lost Worlds.
For those interested in popular history, interesting questions arise: especially, what sort of methodological approaches could be used to ease controversies? One requirement would seem to be a reliable set of dates for the period 3000BC to about 500BC, and not just for Egypt and the Middle East. No such reliable set of full cross-referenced dates exists, as far as I can find. The problem becomes worse if one imagines that whatever evidence is to hand, is actually crucial.
Some cultural and some psychological points might be helpful. It seems that the Velikovsky debate is very much shrouded in the mythologies which help form the Judaeo-Christian tradition, which tradition is heavily reliant on the Mosaic Chronology. It might be helpful if efforts were made to compile data which makes arguments less reliant on the Mosaic Chronology, that is, to mount argument using data which is cross-cultural. One way to do this, in the sense of cultural history, might be to pay renewed attention to the Seven Great Wonders of the Ancient World, which might helpfully distract attention from its current major focus in the Velikovskian-Exodus debate - Egypt.
I want to begin otherwise by making some psychological points, then to broach some historical situations relevant to the original or post-publication Velikovskian controversy, and later to outline a method I use for research in history, which I call "simultaneity". In brief, the researcher creeps along slowly, collecting cross-comparisons of information on events in narrow timeframes, (simultaneously-seen timeframes) gradually enlarging, till a revised picture emerges, as it finally will.
Firstly, the psychological points... At least to the mid-1970s (I first noticed the Velikovsky controversy in the early 1970s) there was one approach given in the psychology of human creativity, which emphasised convergent versus divergent thinking. Creative people - inventors, artists and so on - were taken to be divergent thinkers, while more conformist or non-creative people were taken to be convergent thinkers. Convergent thinkers, of course, are more interested in consensus than in controversy, in fanciful notions, or in new ways of looking at things; while divergent thinkers have a hard time convincing others their new-found outlook is useful.
To say the least, Velikovsky remained a divergent thinker. As a psychiatrist/ psychologist, Velikovsky diverged greatly from Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung (who also diverged markedly from each other). As a scholar concerned with the history of the Jewish religion, as an Egyptologist, Velikovsky was divergent in attitude and approach. As a afficionado of myths in religion, mythology in general, as a commentator on celestial mechanics, or planetology, cosmology, or whatever we call it, Velikovsky remained divergent.
That may be well and good for an independent thinker, which Velikovsky certainly was. But what to do next? It seems that it remains a problem that both the critics and defenders of "Velikovskian positions" have achieved little by way of consensus in finding ways to disagree usefully. More particularly, the defenders of Velikovskian positions could have - and I believe should have - conducted their research with a view to making their information - their vindications of Velikovskian positions - more convergent.
By that I mean, the defenders of Velikovskian positions could have taken some relatively simple steps to codify various information they believe vindicates the basic theses outlined by Velikovsky. What seems to have happened is that positions, theories, contributing information have all become, and remained, more fruitlessly divergent since the 1950s - doing little good to any position one might adopt.
* * * * *
I'll illustrate some problems resulting from poor methodology with material found in some allegedly unexceptional histories, providing a fairly simple, straightforward set of examples. As the reader will find, what goes here as history - basic Egyptology, Jewish history, Bible history, some Mediterranean history and so on - should perhaps be rendered as "history, possibly". Now, please consider the following ...
One of Velikovsky's original points of departure was the problem of finding a valid historical date for the Exodus of Moses from Egypt. Perhaps, Velikovsky felt exercised by Sigmund Freud's proposition, that the "heretic monotheist" pharaoh of Egypt, Akhenaten, had influenced Moses' views on the deity. (Some scholars take Moses to have been a henotheist, rather than a monotheist). In 1996 was published Gardner's book, with the alarming proposition that Akhenaten WAS Moses! This was followed up by Phillips' book, Act of God. Later, Gardner published a new book in follow-up yet again.
Here, one need not believe Gardner, or Phillips (an ingenious theorist), who make various provocative propositions ... Including, that Jesus Christ had progeny, and that as earlier claimed in a now-notorious book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, the descendants of Jesus, his siblings, and his own children, mingled their blood in what became the royal families of Europe. Gardner claims that such descendants live today, and genealogically, his argument would seem to carry much weight, certainly from around 800AD.
In particular, the histories of the aristocracies of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Austria would be greatly involved in proving such claims. Not only that, but a great deal of legend ranged around the histories of more orthodox Judaism, Christianity, Freemasonry (and the history of the Templars), plus the Arthurian-Camelot legend, has been produced by apologists for this aristocratic bloodline, and a great deal of other cultural material would also need to be discussed. All of which is a great distraction from problems arising in the time of Moses.
The religious aspects of the Velikovskian debate would become entangled in the kinds of arguments that Gardner, for example, would provoke. Velikovsky was, perhaps, an old-style catastrophist, wondering about the Biblical legend of a great flood. As such, he tried to take on the "modern" geological gradualists. That resembles a mostly scientific argument, but as we know, Velikovsky finally invoked a wide range of mythic and quasi-religious material as he searched for "proof". The problem that Gardner causes - if we believe him, as historians - is that he brings into reasonably accessible timeframes, and within the body we presently have of Jewish history, the entire genealogy (to the present day) of the notable figures whose views, or editorial interventions in sacred writings, would be called into question if one were to become involved in discussing such issues. Plus a great deal of cultural commentary.
Gardner's work (if we believe it) does a great deal to collapse Western history from Year One (when BC or BCE changed to AD [Anno Domini, The Year of Our Lord] in Western history) into a kind of underground conspiracy theory. The Velikovsky debate seems helpless before the terms of this conspiracy theory, because Velikovsky's original departure points were created from his curiosity about Jewish reports on a great flood, Moses' Exodus and various strange happenings. And the rest we know about if we have read either the Old Testament, or, Velikovsky, and more so if we have read both.
And so, if we believe the likes of Gardner's speculative books, and/or, if we believe Velikovsky, and even worse, if we also believe that Gardner is correct in saying that Moses was Akhenaten - an Akhenaten escaping harrassment in Egypt - then the present-day scientific arguments about Velikovskian propositions falls into a revised disposition, because the cultural dimension has also changed dramatically, across nearly three thousand years of recorded history. (History that is really patchily recorded, still).
The number of methodological questions which might arise are enormous. (And in fact, matters remain far simpler if we assume that Jesus Christ had no progeny, because then his non-existent progeny and their non-existent descendants cannot have had the kinds of problems and political interests that Gardner claims they had.)
Some of what Velikovsky challenged was beliefs about cosmology, and how one might think about linkages between the cosmos, the role of the deity, the life of human beings and the management of human society. Today, we cannot think about such issues without also thinking of the theory of evolution, Big Bang theory, and a great deal of material the ancients could not have begun to imagine with any efficiency. So having said that the methodological problems are enormous, and that participants in the Velikovskian debate prefer not to recognise this, I now want to return to a consideration of one of Velikovsky's original problems - when on earth did Moses depart Egypt?
The Seven Noahide Laws
While Jews are commanded to observe hundreds of laws, non-Jews are expected to follow seven that are presumed to date from the time of Noah. Judaism regards any non-Jew who keeps these laws as a righteous person who is guaranteed a place in the world to come. -
---- 1. Not to deny God. -
---- 2. Not to blaspheme God. -
---- 3. Not to murder.-
---- 4. Not to engage in incestuous, adulterous, bestial or homosexual relationships. -
---- 5. Not to steal. -
---- 6. Not to eat a limb torn from a living animal. -
---- 7. To set up courts to ensure obedience to the other six laws.
Not why did Moses escape Egypt, not how, with no questions about how the Egyptian pyramids were built, or why - or the dating of the Sphinx - but a simple historical-type question about just one man - Moses - when?
* * * * * *
Imagine that between the years 1250BC and 1230BC (roughly), you have a satellite view of events occurring around the eastern Mediterranean, around the mouth of the Nile, present-day Israel or Palestine, the Fertile Crescent, and down the coast of the Red Sea, with an eye kept on Mecca. This is what many books - including Velikovsky's - might tell us... Personally, I find the resulting scenario, or, scenarios, largely unbelievable!
As Velikovsky himself found, there is little agreement found in dates often given for Egyptian history vis-a-vis Jewish history. It is difficult to find an acceptable date for the Exodus of Moses and the Jews from Egypt, but matters fall basically into timeframes for two basic dates. These are an earlier date - around 1450BC - and a later date - about 1250BC. (The date sought overall, I'll refer to from now on as, The Exodus Date, but of course, the question remains, in which of the two timeframes does the best Exodus Date fall?).
Basically, dates given in books for Exodus cross a timeframe of four centuries or longer. The generally preferred date seems to be circa 1250BC, the later date. Various sets of dates, provided by different methodological approaches, can be laced in various ways over this ladder of two-four centuries, although, very unsatisfyingly, as follows (and I'll assume that all readers feel they already know their basic "Bible history")...
1440BC - Encyclopedia Britannica suggests an early date of Exodus, based on 480 years elapsing from Exodus to Solomon building his temple. This might make Exodus about 1440BC, in the time of Tuthmosis III. Then, the petty kingdoms of Moab and Edom were not yet settled. The destruction of the cities that Bible history might claim were captured by the Jews might have occurred about 1250BC, not 1400BC.
And for example, 1413BC, Prince Tuthmosis is promised he will be king/pharaoh (as Tuthmosis IV) if he frees sand from the Great Sphinx at Giza. By 1394BC-1384BC (Aldred) Tuthmosis IV reigned in Egypt with Queen Mutemwiya. He made efforts to uncover the giant image of the god Re-Herakhte, the god of Lower Egypt, from the sands that engulfed his great Sphinx at Giza.
But for an unsatisfyingly unspecified length of time, Egypt was occupied by a little-known invader people known as The Hyksos. The Hyksos among other affronts offended the Egyptians since they worshipped Set, who in the Egyptian pantheon was a figure of evil. It appears that after the expulsion of the Hyksos, the Egyptians were further affronted by their heretic, monotheist pharaoh, Akhenaten. Amenhotep III is dated about 1402BC. (This date is from Tapsell.) Amenhotep IV or Akhenaten was influential about 1364BC-1347BC.
By about 1355BC, it is possible that Akhenaten puts his wife Nefertiti away in disgrace. However, dates simply will not behave themselves - for in ranging around even in Egyptology, we find that Tutankhamun, reigning somewhat after Akhenaten, died in 1350BC. (And in one of Velikovsky's own redatings of Egyptian history, Tutankhamun died in 835BC!). As we find from material on Velikovsky's own career, he had earlier on become preoccupied in redating Egyptian history - later on he became interested in cosmology (or, Catastrophism). Even in the context of ordinary Bible history, Exodus dates spread themselves around 1450BC or 1250BC, with no adequate explanation for events in the misbehaving 200-year period.
In 1486BC, Thutmose III of Egypt defeated the Hyksos in the famous battle of the Megiddo Pass. (Date from Packer et al). But we note that Packer says that the people known as the Habiru were not the Hebrews, as the Hebrew did not call themselves the Hebrew. Meanwhile, writings by Cyril Aldred and others suggest that perhaps, the Egyptians expelled the Hyksos by about 1530BC? (Here, with the Egyptians under the command of Pharaoh Amosis (Ahmose), who had begun his reign about 1552BC, this Ahmose being a nephew of Kamose). To expel the Hyksos, it was necessary to ruin Avaris, by the Nile delta. (Such ruination ought to produce an archaeologically verifiable date?).
By the time they ousted the Hyksos, the Egyptians had adopted and probably improved the Hyksos' military technology, the earlier superiority of which was one reason the Hyksos had overrun Egypt - better chariots and with use of the more powerful compound bow. With this success, Ahmose (Amosis) then went for Palestine. Ahmose also took areas from the Nubians (Kushites) and shored up his southern borders near the Second Cataract of the Nile. Ahmose' Queen was Ahmose-Nefertiti.
Whether the above information about the mysterious Hyksos is accurate or inaccurate, it gives us some dates, reliable or not. If we move down the ladder of a timeframe, we might, depending on whom we read, find that the Hyksos were pacified by Egypt in Canaan between 1550BC and 1450BC. If any suggestion is made in this part of the timeframe, for The Exodus Date, it may have been that prior to escaping, Moses took advantage of widespread instability? It would then follow that the pharaohs of the Oppression and the Exodus (two different rulers) will be found within this timeframe, which gives us the earlier Exodus date, around 1450BC.
But does it have to do with anything at all, that one date provided for the explosion of the island of Thera (a date given by Friedrich) is 1500BC-1470BC? (Here, see also, Phillips, Act of God.) And that the explosion of Thera (also known as, Kalliste, also, Santorini) devastated civilisation on Crete? So, one might wonder if the events referred to above happened in coincidental timeframes? (The Greeks are thought by some writers to have come to Crete about 1450BC).
The Great Flood. Thera: now called Santorini, 60 miles north of Crete, called Thera after the first Greek commander to set foot on her after the disaster. It had earlier been called Kalliste, "the most beautiful island". Thera was circular, had a 5000 feet high peak, now a lagoon eight miles wide, 200 fathoms deep, so deep, no ship can now anchor there. Thera's people used eye make-up, and had indoor plumbing, 1000 years before the birth of Rome. About 30,000 people lived on the island, which had a town called Akrotire. According to Freidrich, about 1500BC, Thera suffered probably the most violent explosion in all human history, which destroyed 32 square miles of the island, four times the area blown away by Krakatoa. Debris covered 115,000 square miles, and a tidal wave some 200-300 feet high hit Crete "at 100 miles per hour"
1450BC: Thera blows up. Thera's tidal wave (tsunami) hits Crete about 1500BC-1470BC. (?)
But the second collapse of the Minoan palaces was in 1450BC, and only Knossos on Crete survived that catastrophe. Mainland Greeks came to Knossos about 1450BC.
Ian Wilson thinks Tuthmosis III was the Pharaoh resident on the delta at the times Moses departed. His throne had been usurped by Hatshepsut due to the youth of Tuthmosis III. (Ian Wilson, on Exodus.) Wilson says Hatshepsut's reign began well but ended "in mysterious disgrace for her and her first minister Senenmut". About 1494BC-1482, Tuthmosis I reigns in Egypt. Tuthmosis II reigned from 1494BC. Queen Hatshepsut (Ma'kare Hashepsowe), 1490BC-1468BC. 1488BC, Hatshepsut establishes herself as a Pharaoh.
1488BC-1469BC, Hatshepsut decides on internal progress, not foreign adventures; her favourite is Senenmut.
The supposition arises that once Thera had erupted, and after fire from earthquakes or volcanoes, there arose a tsunami or tidal wave which may have had something to do with the drowning of an Egyptian army bogged in the Reed Sea?
But did any explosion of Thera account for destruction on Crete? This is unsure. Did Theran activity help arouse the plagues of Egypt? And all such questions arises about 25 years either side of 1450BC? The Theran explosion was perhaps the biggest natural upheaval in the known history of the day.
Wilson cites an inscription from Hatshepsut's time, about an allowing of some immigrants (abomination of the gods) to depart, whence the earth swallowed their footsteps. Goedicke has translated a reference to a directive of Nun, the primeval water, father of fathers. Was the collapse of Thera the fall of Atlantis? Was the tsunami was reason for the Deucalion or Ogyges floods on Greece? (The Mediterranean is tideless, and the early Church fathers believed that the Greek floods occurred at the time of Moses' Exodus). Wilson continues, Hatshepsut's reign began well but ended "in mysterious disgrace for her and her first minister Senenmut". Wilson continues, that possibly, Senenmut was blamed for chaos on the Nile delta, and halfway through his own reign, Tuthmosis III ordered an obliteration of Hatshepsut's memory.
Friedrich mentions Velikovsky and cataclysms of about 1500BC, with an idea that a destruction of a sinful world became represented as the end of a Golden Age during which man and animal spoke to each other and helped each other in the needs of survival. (Here, perhaps man and animal spoke to each other in ways suggested in Joseph Campbell's book, The Way of the Animal Powers? But one doubts it).
Within this earlier-date timeframe, the figure emerges of the only female Pharaoh (although a co-regent), Hatshepsut (1437BC-1458BC) (Dating for her is found in Ian Wilson on Exodus.) Is it possible that Hatshepsut was the Pharaoh of the Oppression? Or possibly, Thuthmose III, bearing in mind that Hatshepsut had usurped the throne of Tuthmosis III due to his youth. But none of this is entirely satisfactory, either, as considered history, or even as a set of dates.
Packer et al, editors perhaps to be seen as Protestant Christian fundamentalists, date Moses from about 1526BC to 1406BC, with an Exodus date about 1446BC, or, in the time of Tuthmosis III (plus Hatshepsut?). This might make Moses aged about age 80 when confronting Pharaoh in 1446BC? This might make Moses aged five in 1521BC? Packer has Moses born at the time when the Egyptians drove out the Hyksos, 1486BC. A suggested date for Moses fleeing into the wilderness after killing an Egyptian slave driver, then, is about 1446BC.
But according to Packer et al, 1235BC was about the time of writing of the book of Joshua, which scarcely computes well. According to Encyclopedia Judaica, Joshua became a Jewish leader in 1190BC!
* * * * *
Moving along .. to the later date for the Exodus, around 1250BC-1230BC. If the earlier date becomes complicated by mention of Hatshepsut, and after her, mention of the heretic Akhenaten, the later date is vexed by an incoherent history of the Sea Peoples, whom Velikovsky also wrote about as he searched for coherence amid Chaos and Catastrophism.
1280BC: The Encyclopaedia of Judaism, with the same editor as the Encyclopaedia Judaica, gives Merneptah (1224BC-1204BC) as a possible Pharaoh of Exodus. The Israelites had been slaves for 430 years. Here, The Exodus Date might be 1280BC? Encyclopedia Britannica suggests that 1290BC might be a useful Exodus date, but admits that this date conflicts with some archaeological evidence. This would make the oppressive pharaoh, Seti I (1318BC-1304BC) and the Pharaoh of the Exodus, Ramesses II (1304BC-1237BC). By such dates, Moses might have demanded his people to be let go sometime between 1308BC and 1216BC, which is hardly useful as a date. But say, 1290BC-1224BC? Hence, the Oppression of the Jews might have begun about 1350BC (which of course, by virtue of the earlier dates given above, is well after some dates for the Exodus!).
Merneptah (1212BC- 1202BC), son of Ramesses II, made ruthless raids on Palestine, and desolated Israel. He was perhaps the Pharaoh of Exodus, making Ramesses II the Pharaoh of Oppression. Britannica sees the Sea Peoples as active, bothering Egypt, in the reign of Merneptah (1236BC-1223BC); he was a 13th son of Ramesses II. In about 1177BC, Ramesses III defeated the Sea Peoples. Merneptah (reigned 1224BC-1214BC) boasted, "Israel lies desolate, its seed is no more.... All the lands in their entirety are at peace, Everyone who was a nomad has been curbed by King Merneptah".
1289BC: Ramesses II 1289BC and Merneptah in 1224BC]. This information might provide an Exodus date of 1280BC-1250BC? (Date from Tapsell.)
Mercea Eliade (in The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York, Macmillan, 1987) suggests that Moses lived in the C13thBC, dates uncertain, noting that a quest for the historical Moses is futile. This book has no date for Joshua either, but that has apparently not stopped archaeological research on the supposed site of Jericho in Joshua's time.
Meanwhile, as an example, in early 1997, of how bad dating systems can be, we can quote (from 1997 e-mail) a Californian named Sanders, who claims that Merneptah, fourth king of the Nineteenth Dynasty (and the only Egyptian king known to have captured Gezer, according to Sanders) was the father-in-law of Solomon. This is interesting, since the Jewish writings comprising the Old Testament mention only two or three Pharaohs, in neither case mentioning the name of the Pharaoh in question. It is said, that Solomon married "a daughter of Pharaoh". (Though, a "daughter of Pharaoh" might merely have been the daughter of some minor non-Egyptian ruler allied to Egypt, who lived in Egypt under the protection of Pharaoh, thus, one of his "daughters".) So if Sanders believes that Merneptah was Solomon's father-in-law, how can he account for the internal consistency of other dating systems which might make Merneptah the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Sanders does little more than provide a case of a USA-style Christian doing battle with Egyptologists - but less than entertainingly, and less than convincingly. Sanders' means of giving "proof" for assertions relies on little more, finally, than a feeling based on faith, that one was won a game of snakes and ladders based on unreliable timelines created by insecure historians.
And as some historians might have it, the Sea Peoples invaded Egypt in Merneptah's 5th regnal year, about 1231BC. He was first invaded by Libyans and Sea Peoples from Anatolia who had gone to Libya in search of homes. But there is apparently no reliable, specific Egyptian tradition on which king it was, who composed in his fifth year a stele associating Israelite people with the people of Canaan. Such a dating would give little time for 40 years wandering in the desert.
Now, by some available dates, the Hyksos afflicted the Egyptians around 1700BC-1500BC. Some American Protestant Bible scholars prefer a birthdate for Moses around 1526BC. If we are to believe biblical genealogies, one can range forward or backward in time to find approximate dates for Abraham (socio-political upheavals around Ur about 2100BC-1800BC?). Abraham and Terah probably left Ur after an invasion of Mesopotamia from the West by the Amorites (others says the invaders of Ur were the Elamites). Were these possibly Amorites from Canaan, Amorites who invaded about 2000BC? The Hebrews settled in Egypt about 1800BC, possibly.
Some historians feel the Hebrews fled into Egypt before the Hyksos arrived. The Hyksos conquered Egypt about 1650BC, and remained in power there for 200 years. Bacon suggests Ramesses II as a Pharaoh of Oppression or Exodus; and Josephus the Jewish historian who died about 100AD, dated the Egyptian revolt against the Hyksos at 1550BC. (But Bacon's Atlas deems Josephus' view unlikely).
Perhaps, the problem of the dating of Moses begins with Joseph in the biblical tradition? If we assume that Joseph went into Egypt in about 1850BC-1800BC (by Bimson's redating, as noted in Wilson), or, 1650BC and the Jews were enslaved for 430 years after that, then their enslavement ceased about 1420BC, 1395BC or 1220BC?
Dr John Bimson has dated Joseph's time in Egypt about the time of Sesostris III (1878BC-1841BC), near a time when there was an erratic flooding of the Nile. Joseph was possibly an administrator at Avaris/Pi-Ramesses (on the Nile delta), and so then the Israelites would have been on the Nile delta for 430 years. This might give an Exodus date about 1420BC? (According to Wilson).
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There is, of course, a great deal of other historical or archaeological information which provides dates for events in other cultures besides the Egyptian - or in what became, Hebrew or Jewish culture. It is possible to find that things become worse, instead of better, more so with the dates around 1250BC. Here is various information which could easily surround an Exodus date of about 1250BC, not from Egypt, but from Greece, or, Troy.
We find in Wood's book on Troy, that Iphigenia was sacrificed about 1250BC as part of the prelude to the Greek expedition against Troy. By or after 1300BC, the Egyptians had been bothered by the largely unspecified "Sea People", or, the Sea Raiders, on whom Velikovsky wrote as he searched for coherent dates.
Was there, around 1300BC, a rebuilding of Pylos? When was the first destruction of Thebes? When was the greatest period of Mycenaean building - 1300BC-1250BC? Wood says that after 1300BC, Mycenaean society was under stress. Wood tends to date the fall of Troy about 1260BC, which fits with some chronology gained from Hittite letters. And possibly with information on the reign of Hattusilis III, when Hittite relations with the kingdom of Ahhiyawa (Greeks) were becoming hostile. One date for the Trojan War is 1250BC-1240BC.
Archaeologically, the Troy that the Greek poet Homer wrote about was Troy VI, which had its phase of life around 1375BC to 1250BC. The island of Lesbos was close, and Lesbos was sacked around 1250BC (Homer suggests, by Achilles). One god-figure for Lesbos was the Bronze-Age god, Smintheus, a powerful inflictor and averter of plague: the Greeks at Troy had prayed to him for relief.
About a date, 1250BC: Encyclopedia Britannica says an early date of Exodus could be based on 480 years elapsing from Exodus to Solomon's building his temple. Such dating could make Exodus about 1440BC, in the time of Tuthmosis III. But would such a dating give the destruction of the cities the Jews claimed to have captured as occurring about 1250BC, not 1400BC?
About 1250BC: The Greeks sought commercial advantage at the entrance of the Black Sea. Wood suggests that from 3600BC, Troy had been established by Neolithic settlers, from Kum Tepe by the Dardenelles. Troy was destined to be sacked at least nine times. By 2200BC, Troy was a royal citadel. When did the Greeks lay it to siege? Some 164 places settled by Greeks sent troops to wage war on Troy, according to listings given by the Greek poet, Homer. About 1300BC, Hittite tablets clearly refer to the Achaeans and their king, Agamemnon; some writers suggest that the pattern of Greek places that sent ships to Troy corresponds closely to then-settled areas now rediscovered by archaeology.
By 1250BC, large-scale grain cargoes were sent from Ugarit to Hittite country, due to a famine. About 1250BC, Hittites were in danger of being swept away by the Sea People. The Philistines were one of the Sea Peoples invading Palestine and they gave areas of Palestine their name. The Philistines settled on the coast, and then spread inland, using iron weapons, but new pottery, as they adopted Canaanite culture. About 1250BC poste, the Philistines settled at Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, in one small strip (Bacon, Atlas). About 1250BC, there was an actual earthquake at Troy. (Wood on Troy.)
Problems continue. Mosaic Law was revealed in about 1350BC (an early date?) but this conflicts with the history of the Sea Peoples. (Bacon, Atlas.) The Sea People apparently had many different origins and were on the move around 1250BC, due to unclear economic and social pressures. It appears that Dorians, Aeolians and Ionians moved into Greece and the Aegean Islands. They probably destroyed the Mycenaeans and drove them east. Thraco-Phrygians were driven into Anatolia, later to bring down the Hittites. Some homeless peoples swept south to the coasts of Asia Minor and Syria, burning and looting as they went, until they were stopped by Ramesses III, in 1174BC, on the borders of Egypt.
By 1250BC, we find from a rock relief, a god of a Mesopotamian area, Sharruma, holds his steward-king, Tudhaliys in his embrace; this relief also has ideograms. We find in his book on The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, that a psychologist, Jaynes, has the Trojan War in actuality about 1230 BC, and that by then, the disaster of the eruption destroying Atlantis had destroyed the civilisations supported by "bicameralism" (a mode of thinking). One result: neighbour was to invade neighbour. Migrations went, or were forced, into Ionia and further south. Was there a dramatic change in religious sensibility, from benign to something-more-fearsome. If so, what caused it?
Jaynes in 1230BC sees Tukulti-Ninurta I, tyrant of Assyria, with a stone altar dramatically different, for he kneels in supplication before his god - who is represented by an empty throne. The old god has gone; the "bicameral tradition" has broken down. Tukulti is Nimrod in the Old Testament and King Ninos in Greek Myths. Nimrod had contact with some of the descendants of Noah's sons (?); and in the Bible, Nimrod or Nimrod's father was the first "mighty man" after the great flood.
Modern scholars feel that The Iliad had been transmitted in the oral tradition by Greek bards by about 1230BC, when contemporary Hittite tablets allow inferences to be made about cross-correspondences. (But it remains difficult to follow the history of Greek literacy-illiteracy, and I have read one recently-publishing English classics scholar who skips over about seven centuries of Greek illiteracy prior to Homer in just one unsatisfying sentence).
* * * * *
1270BC and later: The date for Exodus and later wandering the desert is dated about 1270 in David Daiches, Moses: Man in the Wilderness. nd?
1275BC is close to one "later date" for Exodus, and this give the conquest of Canaan at about 1235BC. Some evidence exists here concerning some destruction of Canaanite cities. Here, one could dwell on books attempting to give a track for the Jews' progress from Egypt to Jericho. However, patterns of any interest are rather disturbed here, of course, by Salibi's controversial view that Moses and the Jews quite simply forgot their way home, and ended in an area foreign to them, when they had originally come from areas south of Mecca, on the south-west coasts of the Arabian Red Sea.
1400BC: One date for Joshua conquering Canaan is about 1400BC, while Joshua dies in 1380BC. But how did the newly-arriving Israelites continue to avoid the armies of Tuthmosis III and his son, Amenhopis II, who also was warlike? Or, did it happen that the Israelites prevailed while the unwarlike Akhenaten (1353BC-1335BC) was preoccupied with his "heresies", and with Armarna?
* * * * *
What about the timeframe 1250BC-1200BC elsewhere in the world?
1300BC: Choga Zambil, near Susa, in Iran, remnants of Elamite city of Dur-Untash, founded 13thC BC. Planned on a vast scale but never completed. Several palaces and a ziggurat. Use of glass and glazes.
1200BC: Dar Tichitt, earliest evidence for farming on southern fringes of Sahara Desert, Neolithic sites here. Southern Muritania. Fishing, cattle, goats, hunting, wild grasses gathered. Pottery in use, stone axes. From about 1000BC, decrease in rain dried the lakes, so fishing impossible. More climatic deterioration in 700BC.
1200BC to 1100BC, An-Yang, site in China of last capital of the Shang Dynasty. Palaces, mudbricks, workshops, immense tombs. Oracle bones and ritual vessels. Jade objects.
By 1200BC: A general move east into Anatolia by the tribes known as Sea People, who brought the downfall of the Hittites. There was a succeeding Dark Ages. (Does this have anything to do with the so-called illiteracy of the Greeks about the same time?).
By 1200BC: Jaynes has Shang Chinese royal tombs with slaughtered retinues and animals, rather as in Mesopotamia. Tuchman dates the fall of Priam's Troy as near the end of the Bronze Age, around 1200BC. Greece at this time had mercantile and maritime ambitions. By 1200BC were Mycenaean times in Greece, when Agamemnon, son of Atreus, was King of Mycenae in the citadel with the Lion gate, just south of Corinth. Tuchman says, some violent cause at about the time of the fall of Troy, but probably over a longer period, ended the primacy of Mycenae and the literate polities of Knossus at Crete, with which it was linked, and there followed a 200-year shadowy void called "the Greek Dark Ages", when written language seems to have vanished completely, although the oral tradition kept the stories of the heroes alive (there was some recovery of civilisation when the Dorians arrived). The Iliad had 16,000 lines and The Odyssey had 12,000 lines.
By 1200BC, Jaynes has fragments of the later Epic of Gilgamesh on some Hittite and Hurrian fragments, although a more usual date for these fragments is about 1700BC. Jaynes notes the "de-bicameralised" changes as including the injection of subjectivity. There arose questions such as: what arises in the human heart? It would be some time before history was invented as a matter of inquiring, independently of the actions of the Gods: what does the human agency accomplish? (Herodotus, the father of history).
By about 1200BC: Destruction of Troy VIh. The Sea People invasions were occurring between 1210Bc to 1180 BC. According to yet another book, the Sea Peoples were from Crete, and were repulsed by Ramesses III by about 1190BC.
1120BC: Greece was overrun by the Dorians, who settled the Peloponnese and Crete.
1000BC: The Medes, the Indo-Aryans, settled in the west and north of the Iranian plateau, with a capital at Hamadan.
1000BC: Much of Iran emerged into history with the advent of the Mannaeans and the Indo-Aryan Medes and Persians, who then played a dominant role in the Near East.
Jaynes has the voyages of Odysseus (Ulysses) about 1000BC to 800 BC, a journey of deviousness, following the breakdown of the bicameral mind after the loss of Atlantis. Following this, subjective consciousness took root in Greece. Of course, by this time, asking what happened to Atlantis, or where it was, is exhausting.
* * * * * *
But more problems may also lie near the ambit of the Velikovskian controversy? The question of the invention of literacy is one.
1500BC: Packer et al convey a legend that Egyptian political prisoners in Central Sinai invented an alphabet, at Serabit el-Khadem, using proto-Sinaitic inscriptions. An idea of an alphabet spread north to Canaan. Evidence exists at Ugarit.
Also about 1500BC, appeared the dark side of the All-mother in Malta, at Hal Tarxien; a seven-foot goddess, obesely pregnant. The blood of victims was caught in a deep vessel which was symbolic of the divine vagina.
Also 1500BC: First Mycenaean influences on Crete, arrival of second script, Linear B. A form of Greek, imported from the Greek mainland. After the destruction of Knossos about 1500BC, probably from an earthquake at Thera. Here, Velikovsky has a comet, or, Venus as a rogue planet, causing a catastrophe, and Moses crossing the Reed Sea in 1484BC. But, some say, Knossos remained occupied until 1375BC.
* * * * *
Little of the above is satisfactory, whether or not one is concerned with vindicating Velikovskian-type scenarios, of rogue planets roving the sky under which humanity lived, delivering terror, or not. If rogue planets roved the sky, one can see few reasons why it would not be mentioned or alluded to in mythologies around the world. And who knows, if rogue planets had upset Earth, perhaps that is one reason legends of a Great Flood are in fact worldwide- and unexplained as well?
* * * * *
The truncated notes and conflicting dates mentioned above, and many more, were gathered some years ago (around 1990), almost by accident. The later Exodus date of about 1250BC-1230BC intrigued me the most, since accumulating dates and their various sorts of corroborating data made the following scenario - that about the same time as the Exodus, the Greeks subdued Troy - various islands in the Mediterranean may have blown up, humanity may or may not have produced or lost literacy, the little-known Sea People bothered Egypt at times recorded only roughly - and none of any such time correspondences of or between events is especially clear in the world's encyclopedias! There is a problem!
I concluded that whether Velikovskian scenarios are correct or not, information remains in a mess. This is why I find it strange that Velikovskians, or their enemies, have not yet codified their information on corroboratory information arising near or far from Egypt - from as far away as China or South America.
I imagine, as with the views of Protestant Bible historians from the US (Packer et al), that a respectable motive exists to tie Bible history to the findings of modern archaeology. The information arising from any such Bible scholars' experiments in world history, or pre-history, ought to be reliable enough for us to gradually link research information arising from one area in other areas of research. Any variety of hypotheses could then be linked up, but one would hope, information concerning dates would tighten up usefully. But little of this seems to happen usefully, and if anything, opinions become more and more divergent.
Here, I cannot see that it is necessarily relevant that one ought to be up-to-date on the state of the Velikovskian debate or on the state of any other debate. It is plain that information simply will not behave itself. Any scholar or pseudo-scholar can arrange information as they please, then disparage almost anyone else's information. They can do this with information created or used within the confines of almost any discipline - Egyptology or comparative religion or archaeology, theories on matters nuclear that are behind carbon dating, whatever - and get away with it, because information for rebuttal is also unreliable.
Matters seem to have improved little since the 1950s, when Velikovsky was first wishing to publish. And of course, cultural critique is a good deal more complex than simply trying to find sets of historical dates that harmonise.
So presently, all that one can do is recommend that those who are interested produce a basic and relevant chronology, and then insert into that chronology, all relevant corroborative information, notes on all relevant disputes about methodological rigour, so that those interested can at least try to narrow the timeframe(s) we could apply to the Velikovskian debate(s).
All I can say about what I have found, is that allegedly relevant dates drawn from a wide range of books on a wide range of topics, simply do not add up. What I can't understand is why so few people seem to notice how badly the dates behave. It does not seem reasonable, and therefore, I regard the Velikovskian debates as remaining - to put it bluntly - unreasonable.
* * * *
On Simultaneity as a Method in Historical Research
So, how does simultaneity work as a method of research in history? It becomes useful for sifting through competing theories, but can be time-consuming to apply. Firstly, one has to throw a net wide enough to embrace all competing theories, and in practice, this involves treating a timeframe somewhat larger than the data relevant to the competing theories.
Doing this also suggests that apart from gathering a wider spread of debates, one also has a better chance of catching not dates, but themes which might be less then suitable for attachment to mere dates. Then, one establishes a cast of characters, who may be influenced by old themes, or produce their own new themes. Then begins the slow creep through each year of the timeframe, revisiting each character's biography, assessing how their actions or themes interact and influence each other. It's a matter of constant digging, which I developed as a way of linking the early European history of Australia to world maritime history, from 1786-1788 (which has resulted in many surprising findings, some of which are now published, some of which are being refined). When I last re-read books by Velikovsky, I simply applied my method of simultaneity - and ended up entirely unsatisfied.
Velikovsky seems to have used a method resembling simultaneity, at least sometimes. [See Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval. London, Abacus, 1973. First published in 1956, pp. 241ff]. Velikovsky noted, claims of 1948 by Claude Schaeffer about unexplained and probably simultaneously occurring disasters in separately settled areas; that the dating for Exodus remained an unsolved problem, a simultaneity of Egyptian and Jewish history, Mediterranean and Cretan history, perhaps referring to the explosion of Thera. But Velikovsky simply did not cast a net widely enough, neither in time, nor geographically - not if he was wishing to treat matters allegedly afflicting the entire planet and its skies. If anything, he cast his net in the heavens, where proof and evidence are hardest to find.
Finally, I simply do not believe Velikovsky when he says, that 600-700 years have disappeared from historical timetables - because it remains so difficult to prove whether such centuries disappeared before or after a Velikovskian catastrophe!
An earlier generation of concern with dates is found in Merrill C. Tenney, (Ed.), The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1963.) This book was published when the Velikovskian controversy was young, and it anyway reflects a state of knowledge and timelines independent of Velikovsky's own views on dating problems.
This Zondervan dictionary gives us the following sorts of information: Moses was born circa 1520BC. An early date for Exodus is circa 1440BC, although some scholars date the Exodus as late as 1225BC. (A bibliography on various dates here can be found in Samuel C. Schultz, The Old Testament Speaks. New York, Harper, 1960, pp. 47-49).
Abraham's coming to Egypt in this book is dated about 2000-1970BC. The Hyksos were driven out in 1580BC. If the Exodus date of about 1440BC is accepted, Thuthmose III is Pharaoh of the Oppression, and oddly enough, Hatshepsut might become Moses' protectress. Here, Ahmose I would be the "pharaoh who knew not Joseph". The breakdown of Egyptian control in Palestine when Akhenaten reigned might help explain the Hebrew conquest there.
But by yet another set of dates, one Pharaoh of Exodus would be Seti I (1311BC-1292BC), and Ramesses II becomes either Pharaoh of Oppression or of Exodus. Solomon meanwhile died 930BC; he was the second son of David and Bathsheba, and third and last king of United Israel. Solomon reigned in the time of King Hiram of Tyre, as is noted in a chronology within the Old Testament record on Solomon's reign. Do we find an acceptable date for the Queen of Sheba? Solomon's temple was dedicated in Solomon's 11th regnal year, 950BC. And from all this it would appear that scholars - and Christian believers - had chronological problems before Velikovsky began his research.
The more a date for Exodus, or anything else, floats like a leaf in a lake of four centuries of time, prior to new of Velikovskian catastrophes or not , the worse it looks for Velikovsky's theses, in respect of any stupendous and widespread "cosmic upheavals" and registration of upheavals in mythologies. What any people saw from Egypt, or Palestine, ought to have been visible from South America, Australia, Russia and China, from Britain, Scandinavia, southern Africa, Japan - whether the "information" is scientifically verifiable, or whether it is information arising from myths, folktales, any retrospective literary account, anthropological studies, or archaeological artefacts.
So, does the Velikovskian debate perhaps remain culture-bound, tied too tightly to mythological and cultural material, even scientific material (such as mathematics) which arose around the Mediterranean, such that the participants in the debate can't see out? I rather suspect this.
Certainly, in the Western World, the Velikovsky debate provides all too much room for argument between Evolutionists and Creationists, both of whom are influenced by a sense of history dominated by the Mosaic Chronology. So here one might ask: are there any ways out of the cage of the tensions existing in relations between Evolutionists and Creationists? And whether one follows the Mosaic Chronology for orthodox religious reasons or not, it remains odd that forty years after Velikovsky published, neither his friends nor his opponents have succeeded in resolving differences in various sorts of history... differences which mean that if we want to find a date for Exodus, or anything we can associate with Exodus as an event-in-time, we fail, since we have two main timeframes to use, and we have to make a choice - between one date before the theorized Velikovskian catastrophe, and one date during or after the catastrophe.
Now, (February 1997), there is on the Internet an impressive site which would be useful for researches relevant to more mytho-poeic aspects of the Velikovskian debate (my own areas of interest): http://members.aol.com/areaoasis/Reviews/pythagoras.html
But scepticism remains. I doubt if anyone could read all the books noted on this site, or imbibe other information referred to on this site, and develop a chronology that would enable useful hypotheses to be drawn in a way such that inter-disciplinary studies would produce information which became self-reinforcing as to the conclusions one might reasonably draw. The information resulting, I predict, would remain excessively contradictory. At least, one feels duty-bound to declare that if the emperor is wearing no clothes, then, ergo, he must be naked - but it does depend, which emperor does one mean? I mean: the emperor of discussions that become unnecessarily divergent? Not to speak of Jewish writings which do not name particular pharaohs (almost as a way of hiding from reality, or at least, hiding from modernity).
Still, with today's technology, there are few reasons why those interested could not maintain and update chronological material relevant to the Velikovskian debate. I look forward to the day such an Internet site can be seen - the information presented ought to be quite entertaining across a multi-disciplinary front.
But actually, any mention of the humourous sides of all this is also semi-spurious. If the available information is as bad as is suggested above, the situation is more or less, culturally tragic. It remains odd that pro-Velikovskians seem not to perceive the ironies of this. The evolutionists burst notions of ecclesiastical immutability in geology, the catastrophists attempt to burst assumptions of geological gradualism. Cosmology becomes highly mathematical, mankind sets foot on the moon and sends probes to Mars and beyond... but Prehistory remains enigmatic; ignorance seems to win. It remains problematical, that there is a much-discussed world-wide spread of mythology concerning a world-wide flood, A Great Flood, even on Hawaii. Myths about any such Great Flood, although unproven and generally non-dated, remain generally acceptable, however, when seen in more purely literary terms.
Meanwhile, in both scientific and historical terms, claims exist that rogue planets roved the skies and disturbed humanity's pristine equanimity - claims also unproven and poorly dated. The evidence concerning catastrophes due to rogue planets however is not acceptable, since the problems are not perceived to have been world-wide, and the controversy itself is not widely accepted - and cannot be proved to have had world-wide effect - not as far as science, history or mythology can demonstrate.
What seems to be missing, then, in the Velikovskian debates, is a useful perception of just how how problematical the overall situation remains.
(This article written February-April, 1997 Revised October 2000, December 2008)
Finding a Date for Exodus - A Basic Bibliography
Cyril Aldred, Akhenaten: King of Egypt. London, Thames and Hudson, 1988.
Cyril Aldred, Akhenaten, Pharaoh of Egypt: A New Study. London, Abacus, 1972 Edn.
David Attenborough, The First Eden: The Mediterranean World and Man. London, Collins-BBC, 1987.
Josephine Bacon and Martin Gilbert, The Illustrated Atlas of Jewish Civilization. Australia, Houghton Mifflin, 1990.
Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. London, Corgi, 1982-1983.
George F. Bass, A History of Seafaring. London, Thames and Hudson, 1972.
Vincent Brome, Jung: Man and Myth. London, Macmillan, 1978.
J. V. Bruce, The End of Atlantis: New Lights on an Old Legend. London, Thames and Hudson,1969.
R. H. Charles, The Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament. Oxford at the Clarendon Press. First published, 1913.
Joseph Campbell, The Way of the Animal Powers: A Historical Atlas of World Mythology. Vol. 1. London, Times Books, 1984.
Joseph Campbell, The Masks of the Gods. (The series).
J. E. Cirlot, (translated from the Spanish by Jack Sage), A Dictionary of Symbols. New York. Philosophical Library, 1962.
Preston Cloud, Oasis in Space: Earth History from the Beginning. New York, Norton, 1988.
Glyn Daniel, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Archaeology. London, Macmillan, 1978.
Mercea Eliade (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York, Macmillan, 1987.
Encyclopaedia Judaica. Jerusalem, Keter Publishing House, 1971.
James S. Forrester-Brown, The Two Creation Stories in Genesis: A Study of their Symbolism. London, Shambhala, 1974.
J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. London, Macmillan, 1970.
Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote The Bible? New York, Harper and Row, 1989 Edn.
Otto Friedrich, The End of the World: A History. New York, Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1982.
Rupert Furneaux, Ancient Mysteries: Mysteries of Time and Space. London, Futura Publications Ltd., 1976.
Laurence Gardner, The Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed. Shaftesbury, Dorset, Element, 1996 or Brisbane, Jacaranda Wiley, 1996.
Laurence Gardner, Genesis of the Grail Kings: The Pendragon Legacy of Adam and Eve. London, Bantam, 1999. (ISBN 0593 044304)
G. A. Gaskell, Dictionary of All Scriptures and Myths: A Classic Reference Guide to the Sacred Language of the Religions of the World. New York, Avenel Books, 1981.
Christian D. Ginsburg, The Essenes: Their History and Doctrines. New York, Samuel Weiser Inc., 1974. (With a companion essay in the same volume, The Kabbalah: Its Doctrines, Development and Literature.)
Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction. Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1987.
Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Two Vols. Ringwood, Victoria, Penguin Books, 1977.
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. New York, Abingdon Press, 1962.
Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Penguin, 1982 edn.
Carl G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. London, Random House, 1961-1963.
Carl G. Jung, (Editor), (and M. L. von Franz, Joseph L. Henderson, Jolande Jacobi and Aniela Jaffe), Man and his Symbols. New York, Dell Publishing Co., 1973.
Werner Keller, The Bible as History: Archaeologists show the Truth of the Old Testament. Sydney, Lion Book, 1989.
Peter Lemesurier, The Great Pyramid Decoded. Element, Brisbane, Queensland, 1996. First published in Great Britain in 1977. Revised, 1996.
A. Lucas, The Route of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. London, Edward Arnold and Co., 1938.
H. E. L. Mellersh, Chronology of The Ancient World, 10,000BC to AD 799. Barrie and Jenkins, Communica Europa, 1976.
John Michell, City of Revelation. ?
John Michell, The View over Atlantis. London, Abacus, 1984.
John Michell, The Flying Saucer Vision: The Holy Grail Restored. London, Abacus, 1974.
Rosalind Miles, The Women's History of the World. London, Michael Joseph, 1988.
A. R. Millard, James K. Hoffmeir, David W. Baker, (Eds), Faith, Tradition and History: Old Testament Historiography in its Near Eastern Context. Winona Lake, Indiana, Eisenbraus, 1994.
Milton K. Munitz, (Ed), Theories of the Universe: From Babylonian Myth to Modern Science. London, Free Press, Macmillan, 1957. With essays on or by Socrates, Kepler, etc.
James R. Newman, (Ed.), The World Of Mathematics: A Small Library of the Literature of Mathematics from A'h-Mose the Scribe to Albert Einstein. US, Tempus, 1956.
Rene Noorbergen, The Ark File. London, New English Library, 1974.
J. I. Packer, Merrill C. Tenney, William White Jnr, (Eds.), The Bible Almanac. Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1980.
Charles F. Pfeiffer, Egypt and the Exodus. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Bookhouse, 1964.
Graham Phillips, Act of God: Tutankhamun, Moses and the Myth of Atlantis. London, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1998.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Forbidden Mysteries of Enoch: The Untold Story of Men and Angels. Malibu, California, Summit University Press. 1977.
H. H. Rowley, `Moses and Monotheism', in From Moses to Qumran: Studies in the Old Testament. London, Lutterworth Press, 1963.
Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain: The Romance of Science. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1979.
Kamal Salibi, The Bible Came From Arabia: Radical Reinterpretations of Old Testament Geography. London, Pan, 1987. First published in 1985.
Nancy K. Sander, The Sea People: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean, 1250-1150. London, Thames and Hudson, 1978.
Samuel C. Schultz, The Old Testament Speaks. New York, Harper, 1960.
Tim Severin, The Jason Voyage. Century-Hutchinson. early 1980s.
Lewis Spence, The Encyclopedia of the Occult. London, Bracken Books, 1988.
Steven M. Stanley, The New Evolutionary Timetable. Basic Books. Circa 1981.
Roy Stenman, Atlantis and the Lost Lands. London, Aldus, 1976. (Stenman is a British UFO researcher)
Carlo Suares, The Cipher of Genesis: The Original Code of the Qabala as Applied to the Scriptures. New York, Shambala Publications/Bantam Books, 1973. (On letter-number combinations in the Hebrew alphabet.)
R. F. Tapsell, Monarchs, Rulers, Dynasties and Kingdoms of the World. London, Thames and Hudson, 1983.
Merrill C. Tenney, (Ed.), The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1963.
D. Winton Thomas, Archaeology and Old Testament Study: Jubilee Volume of the Society for Old Testament Study, 1917-1967. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1967.
Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision. London, Abacus, 1972.
Immanuel Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval. London, Abacus, 1973. First published, 1956.
Herbert Wendt, I Looked for Adam: The Story of Man's Search for his Ancestors. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1955. Translated from the German by James Cleugh.
Iman Wilkens, Where Troy Once Stood. London, Rider, 1990. (Devoted to an idea that the battle for Troy was conducted France versus England, not Mycaenean Greece versus Troy.)
Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, The Ancient Egyptians: Their Life and Customs. London, Studio Editions, (Reprinted) 1990.
Ian Wilson, The Exodus Enigma. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1985.
Michael Wood, In Search of the Trojan War. London, BBC, 1985.
Now return to the Index
Stop Press: For late entries
Below is a related set of dates, perhaps controversial, on the
Exodus of Moses from:
Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded: One Man's Search for the Fabulous Treasures of Ancient Egypt. London, Thorsons/HarperCollins, 1999.
A website now defunct was: http://www.thorsons.com/
3000BC: Egypt, Belief arises in Osiris. Views on Osiris are more formalized by 2400BC-2200BC in the Pyramid Texts. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
3000BC: The population of Egypt is 870,000 by 3000BC. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
2400BC-2200BC: Egypt, Belief arises about Osiris from 3000BC and are more formalized by 2400BC-2200BC in the Pyramid Texts. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
2150BC: Approx, Groups of incursive Semites, called "the Habiru" by the Sumerians, begin to make their way into Mesopotamia from the west. These are not the Hebrew who followed Moses during the Exodus. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1760BC: Approx, Date for invasion of Egypt by the Hyksos. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1640BC-1538BC: The invader Hyksos rule Egypt having come from the East. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1538BC: The invader-rulers of Egypt the Hyksos (from the north-east) are driven out of Egypt by Pharaoh Ahmose, who is succeeded by Amenhotep I (died 1496BC), who was followed by three Pharaohs with name Tutmoses, and a Queen, Hatshepsut, an aunt of Tutmoses III. (Feather). Tutmoses III was succeeded by Amenhotep II, who was succeeded by Amenhotep III (reigning from 1387BC for 38 years.) Tutmoses III reigned from 1476BC-1422BC.) Ahmose had re-established Egyptian rule by 1520BC. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1520BC-1500BC: Abram/Abraham and his beautiful wife Sarai/Sarah move to Egypt, where the Pharaoh he encounters is Amenhotep I. It is a time of drought. Feather writes that some parts of the Old Testament associate Abraham with the Babylonian period of 190BC, or with the Hurrian period of 1500BC, or with the Armana-Akhenaten period of 1400BC. Feather, pp. 76-77. (The Bible refers to the non-Semitic Hurrians as "Horites".) (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1517BC-1496BC: Abraham and Sarah reside in Egypt. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1375BC: Sigmund Freud was mistaken when he dated Moses at about 1375BC. Robert Feather dates Moses at about 1200BC. Both Feather and Freud agree that Moses however did encounter the monotheistic views of Akhenaten. See Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism. Hogarth Press, 1951. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
(1) 1350BC: Approx: Likely date for Joseph and the descent of Jacob and the Hebrews into Egypt, as the monotheist/Atenist Akhenaten is on the throne. Feather has it that Jacob arrives in Egypt 1380BC-1350BC. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1349BC: Amenhotep IV comes to power in Egypt. He rebuts the growing power of the traditional priests by making a formerly "secret monotheism" more overt. (Amenhotep IV, son of Amenhotep III and a Mitanni princess, Gilukhepa.) Amenhotep IV, a destroyer of idols, viewed his monotheistic god as "un-imaginable", that is, abstract. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1332BC: Death date for Akhenaten, at about age 30, who is
succeeded by Akhenaten's younger brother, Smenkhkara (murdered);
who is succeeded by Tutankhamun (an Atenist), who had a child-bride
a daughter of Akhenaten, Ankhesenpaten. (Robert Feather, The Copper
There is strong evidence that Tutankhamun was murdered by Ay. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1260BC and earlier: The mother of Moses is Jochebed, which Feather says is an Egyptian name. Feather calls Aaron the "biblical brother" of Moses, not a blood or half-blood brother. Moses in Feather's view became heavily influenced by Akhenaten's monotheistic views. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1250BC: The population of Egypt is 2.6 million in 1250BC: (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1215BC: The Exodus took place "shortly after Ramses II's demise in 1215BC. "His rule was too secure to have allowed a mass escape of slaves." (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded) "Exodus 13 recounts that some 600,000 'Children of Israel' left from the region of Ramses in the northern Nile delta, after spending 430 years in Egypt. Both these figures are... suspect." However, they took with them, great (plunder?) wealth/treasure. Feather feels the 430 years in Egypt was more like 140-150 years. (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1206BC-1189BC: Moses and Aaron lead Exodus from Egypt during period of anarchy, unrest and upheaval by foreigners during rule of Setnakhte (the father of Ramses III) who had succeeded Merneptah (1215-1206) who had succeeded Ramses II (1281-1215). (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded, p. 53)
1200BC: Sigmund Freud was mistaken when he dated Moses at about 1375BC. Robert Feather dates Moses at about 1200BC. Both Feather and Freud agree that Moses however did encounter the monotheistic views of Akhenaten. (See Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism. Hogarth Press, 1951. And Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
1200BC: Moses having had a high-caste Egyptian education, the Ten Commandments would have been carved in stone in hieroglyphs circa 1200BC. The Hebrews arrived in Caanan about 1180BC-1170BC-1150BC and had left Egypt around 1220BC. Goodman gives the Exodus date as 1220BC, but Encyclopedia of the Bible and G. W. Anderson date the Exodus about 1250BC. "There is almost no archaeological evidence between 1250BC-950BC to indicate that the Israelites had arrived in Canaan" - or that if they did, it was as a people, not a "state". (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded, p. 77)
Circa 400BC: Decline or obliteration of a little-known "pseudo-Jewish" group, a remnant of the Atenist cult of Akhenaten on the Isle of Elephantine on the Nile (the Island of Yeb), according to Feather. There is archaeological evidence that this group existed before 800BC, and that the island still has remains of monuments to Amenhotep III (father of Akhenaten by Tiyi) and Akhenaten (who married Nefertiti). (Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded)
Notes from Robert Feather, The Copper Scroll Decoded: One
Man's Search for the Fabulous Treasures of Ancient Egypt.
London, Thorsons/HarperCollins, 1999.
Update of 18 December 2008: Given all the above, the reader is recommended here to read two recent books. Being, J. Alberto Soggin, Israel in the Biblical Period: Institutions: Festivals: Ceremonies: Rituals. (Translated by John Bowden) T&T Clark Ltd, Edinburgh and New York, 2000/2001. And, Graham Phillips, The Moses Legacy: The Evidence of History. Pan Books, 2003. Here, Phillips stays closer to the Mosaic Chronology than this webmaster feels comfortable with, but has an entertaining book all the same, full of surprises. Phillips here will differ somewhat from some of Robert Feather's information (as noted above), and many other writers, and has as well his own sets of freshly-developed chronologies. Anyone taking seriously any of the issues noted on this webpage at all seriously should read Phillips' book quite soon. In particular, Phillips draws attention to a suppressed book of the Old Testament era, The Book of Jasher (and a story about the Edomites, a little-known "tribe of Israel", isolated valley-dwellers, supposedly a story later suppressed by the successors of the priests of Solomon's Temple). All on which this webpage wishes to know much more. Meanwhile, via-a-vis Egyptian history, Phillips also relies heavily on dates given for the catastrophic volcanic eruption of Thera, a matter this webpage still has to re-assess in terms of impacts on datings given for later historical and/or quasi-historical events. - Ed
And a new entrant to the debate is the following early 2015 story found via BBC headlines. It seems to me as plausible as any other single story about "the Exodus". This scenario would certainly make for a phenomenally interesting TV series, the collapse of all such stories into a single narrative would be astonishing. -Ed.
Who was the pharaoh of the Exodus?
Opinion in Jeruslam Post, By STEPHEN GABRIEL ROSENBERG 04/01/2015 22:34
There is nothing in the Egyptian records linking Ramesses to the Exodus, and indeed nothing at all in the records about the Israelites and their slavery. The recent film Exodus, Gods and Kings had Ramesses the Great as the step-brother of Moses and the pharaoh of the Exodus. But there is nothing in the Egyptian records linking Ramesses to the Exodus, and indeed nothing at all in the records about the Israelites and their slavery, nothing about their escape into the Sinai after the plagues, nothing about the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea – nothing. So it is embarrassing for archaeologists to be asked who the pharaoh of the Exodus was. But it is a question that comes up every year before Passover, when we Jews celebrate our escape from Egyptian slavery into freedom.
We can ask it again this year and try to find an answer more accurate than that of this year’s film or of the older films The Ten Commandments (1923 and 1956) and The Prince of Egypt (1998).
To find it, we must look at the Egyptian records in another way and take up a vital clue in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 1 verse 14, where it says that the Egyptians made the lives of the Children of Israel “bitter with hard service in mortar and in brick....”
Later we learn that the Israelites had to make mudbricks without even having the necessary straw given to them.
In other words, the Children of Israel were unskilled or semi-skilled makers of, and workers in, mudbrick. They could well have made millions of bricks out of the Nile mud, but then, what is it that they built with them? They did not build the pyramids, or any temples or palaces as these were all built with stone. And the peasants’ houses, which were made of mudbrick, were built by the fellahin themselves. So what project needed millions of bricks and thousands of mudbrick-layers? The Bible tells us that there were six hundred thousand Israelite adult males at the Exodus, but even if there were only 6,000 or 600, what project needed so many mudbrick-layers? There was indeed only one project that we know of that was so large and built in mudbrick, and that was the city of Akhetaten, which was later called el-Amarna.
You may not have heard of Akhetaten but you may well have heard of the man who ordered it: Akhenaten, the heretic Pharaoh who believed in just one god, the Aten, the disc of the sun, and who tried to convert the whole of Egypt to his monotheistic ideas and religion. He set aside and downgraded the other temples and their priests and built his new city to demonstrate the new religion to the people and to promote and reinforce his ideas.
So he had to build it quickly, and indeed it was built, according to Egyptian records, within two years by many slaves and the Egyptian army, and it was constructed in mudbrick for speed. It was this great project that was most likely built by the Israelites, under the direction of taskmasters from the Egyptian army, who were both cruel and pressing because it had to be done so quickly. We have a plan of it; it was built for perhaps 20,000 people and all in two years.
But Akhenaten and his ideas were not popular. He did wonderful things and even gave women rights to worship and own property, but the people disliked his innovations and the priests hated him, and when he died just 16 years after building the city, it fell apart. Everyone wanted to leave Akhetaten (the name meant The Horizon of the Aten) and they left with all its treasures; the mudbrick city fell into disuse and disrepair.
Another pharaoh had to take the throne, and although Akhenaten had had two sons they both died at birth.
But he had six living daughters, and so it was his son-in-law Tutankhaten, later called Tutankhamun, who had the difficult task of restoring everything to the old order. He did this while the city and the country were in turmoil and disarray, while the people were leaving Akhetaten and going back to the old religion and priests, and to their old haunts and cities. His health gave out under the pressure and in about 1325 BCE Tutankhamun was forcibly succeeded by his tough general Horemheb, who could well have found it desirable to pursue the escaping Israelites to the Red Sea. But that is not recorded.
Tutankhamun had had a hard time restoring the old order, but when he died he left behind the wonderful treasures of his life, as uncovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in his tomb back in the Valley of the Kings. But there was one treasure that was not in his tomb: there was no battle-shrine.
It was the rule for each Pharaoh to have a movable battle-shrine, which he could take with him to the field of battle to consult his deity during the action. We know that Ramesses the Great had one at the battle of Kadesh, as it is shown on his inscriptions at his temple at Abu Simbel, and we can presume that Tutankhamun had one, but it was not in his tomb. Why not? Because the Israelites had stolen it when they escaped from the city of Akhetaten. They realized they would need such a movable temple for their trek back to Canaan and they stole it when they left. Like everything else of Tutankhamun’s it was made of the most precious and beautiful materials and the Israelites altered it to become their Mishkan, as reworked by Bezalel and Oholiab to the instructions of Moses. But it was basically the same as the Egyptian prototype, for the standard Egyptian battle- shrine consisted of two rooms in a courtyard, with a smaller inner room for the deity, and a larger outer room where the priests worshipped the god, shaped of two bird-like cherubs on an ark, and so it is depicted at the temple of Ramesses at Abu Simbel.
We now have from Egyptian records all the three elements necessary for the Exodus. A very large mudbrick project built by slaves, a period of turmoil and chaos, like that of the 10 plagues (like the slaying of the firstborn, pharaoh had only a dead son) when the slaves could escape, and thirdly, a basis for the Mishkan, which the Israelites needed in the arid desert, where they had no materials to create such a luxurious building.
The time of the escape would have been about 1330BCE, as King Tut reigned from about 1334 to 1325BCE. That date fits in well with two fixed dates given in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). It says that the Children of Israel were in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40), which would place their entry in about 1760BCE, which corresponds in time to the entry of the Hyksos from Syria, with whom the ancient historian Josephus links the Israelites. And, according to the Book of Kings 6:1, the Temple of Solomon was built 480 years, which means 12 biblical generations, after the Exodus.
But in actual years that is better counted as 360 years, or 30 years per generation, rather than 40, and that would place the Temple at about 970BCE, quite contemporary to when most scholars place it, at around 950BCE.
The date of the Exodus at about 1330BCE also fits in well with the fall of the walls of Jericho, which its British excavator Kathleen Kenyon placed during the fourteenth centuryBCE.
The Egyptian records do not mention the Exodus, but from their literature it can be deduced that the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten was the pharaoh of the Oppression and his young son-in- law Tutankhamun, the pharaoh of the Exodus.
See also at www.egypt-tehuti.org/downloadarticles/akhenaten-moses.pdf, Chapter 26, Ahkenaten and Moses: Excerpt from: Historical deception: The Untold Story of Ancient Egypt by Moustafa Gadalla, which claims that Freud in his Moses and Monotheism came close to suggesting that Ahkenaten and Moses were the same person. For additional ideas that Ahkhenaten himself became Moses and was finally killed by the forces of Pharaoh Seti I see work online by Ahmed Osman, and his print-media books on Bible History and Egypt such as: Stranger in the Valley of the Kings (1987); Moses: Pharaoh of Egypt (1990); The House of the Messiah (1992) and Out of Egypt (1998). There is also online an item by Anon (no author name given but perhaps known as "Joseph") at: proofthatakhenatenwasthepharaohoft.blogspot.com dated 13 April 2011 headlined "Absolute proof that Ahkenaten was the Pharoah of the Oppression". Of course, we know that any article headlined "absolute proof" about anything is liable to be erroneous about something - Ed.
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