Re: ABH Biblical 'historicity'
- Hi Jim,
<<sA means “son” in Egyptian. smsw means “elder” in Egyptian.>>
<<So far, that’s all I have found. Could you give me a citation for your
view that “the name "Sma" is Egyptian for both ‘united, covenant’ and ‘elder
son’”, or the numbered hieroglyphs, or the exact English transliteration?>>
I found most meanings in Wallis Budge's "An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary (two volunes), which is still valid. Volume I, p. cxiii, "Sma: the lungs, or lungs, unite, join together", p. cxxxiii, "Sma: unite, join". Volume 2, pp. 599-601, Smai: to unite, to join oneself to someone or something, to copulate; Sma: cemetery (?); Sma: phallus; Smaiu: male relatives, kinsmen, cousins, connections", smai: spouse, consort, wife, concubine",... smait: a royal title; smai (?): part of the double crown; Smai-taui: uniter of the Two Lands, i.e. Upper and Lower Egypt - a royal title or name; Smaiui: twin mountains (Gebelên? - I would rather think of Har Karkom and Beer Karkom in the Sinai, as the Biblical mountains Horeb and Sinai); Smai, the title of a god; Smai a name of Seth (my intuition: the Biblical El-Shaddai?); Smaiti (the two goddesses Isis and Nephthys (my hunch: Sarah and Hagar? or Sarah or Hagar and Nithotep?); Sma: a mixture of six parts; ... Sma:
herald, reporter, announcer; .... Volume 2, pp. 667 ff., Sma: to unite, to join oneself to someone or something; ... Sma, the god of the vertebrae of Osiris; Sma: a bull or cow slain as a sacrifice (which I assoiciate with the sacrifice of the first Apis Bull by Narmer, which must have been part of some covenant to replace the act of sacrificing a king - the Apis represents the king, the first bull being the representative of Aha, Narmer's inheriting son, similar to Abraham sacrificing a ram instead of his inheriting Isaac. I date these two events in the same year, in fact in 3621 BC, when Aha/Isaac was 18 years old); ... Sma: herald, reporter; ...
The meaning "elder [son]" I got from other dictionaries, but I don't remember which ones and I don't have them at home. The meaning of words may have been slightly different in Early and Pre- Dynastic times, but the concept is still basically the same. So from all these meanings I destiled the main meanings in the given context. Especially the meaning smai as a "male relative" may add weight to Narmer's "elder [son]" Sma as having been precieved to be the son of a concubine (as Isma-el is portrayed in the Bible) The word "covenant" is of course not used by Wallis Budge, who would have rather avoided a typically "biblical" old English word, but because any uniting or joining of two or more peoples, or a union of nations (which Narmer forced upon Egypt) or two or more gods, or a god/gods and these peoples, is by definition also a covenant, which word means the exact same thing, I deliberately added it to the list of meaning to draw your attention
(which clearly worked) and to stress the event as being totally equal to Abraham's 'covenant', since it happens at exactly the same time if the two timelines are made to match. I don't care with what kind of covenant Narmer created the united kingdom of Dynastic Egypt, but it was a unity of the Southern kingdom with the Northern kingdom, that is the Egyptians with the Semites. And the Book of the Dead suggests that Narmer's covenant was made with the god Osiris at Mendes, but this cannot be proven archaeologically. The words the Egyptians used for "united kingdoms of the South and the North" suffices to streth that this unity was made by covenant, and one of the Early Dynastic words used for this unity of the two kingdoms is indeed "Sma" or more complete "Sma-taui", which is usually translated as "United [two] Lands", thus implying a covenant between the two lands, upheld throughout the pharaonic history.
The translations "elder" and "elder son" are both correct, and also depend on context. As a name of a son of Narmer, the translation "elder" is already enough to make Sma mean "elder son". Translated as "united, union, covenant" his name may also imply his active involvement in uniting Egypt as elder son and helper of his father Narmer, perhaps in a priestly function (as Sem-priest?) to sanction the oaths (covenant) to be kept by both parties. Ismael too assisted Abraham. Both the Egyptians since Narmer/Aha and the Semites since Abram/Isaac were cirecumcised. There is no doubt about that. If being circumcised was part of the ritual of "signing" an oath or a covenant between the two parties, then in this case it must have been the same event, and Sma/Ishmael was instrumental to that event, perhaps indeed as a (sem?) priest at age 13/14 in Abraham's year 99, either at Mendes or at Memphis or perhaps at Har Karkom. It would have been an oath/covenant
between the Egyptian overlord (Narmer perceived as God) and the Semitic subordinate leader (Abraham), making them become one, blood-brothers as we call it. One of the oldest utterances in the Book of the Dead , nr. 17, suggests that the united kingdom came about by a covenant at Mendes in which thesoul of the god Re (of the South) and the dead god Osiris (of the North) came together, agreed , embraced each other and became one. As a result the two "chickens" also united. One of them, was the one for who the supremacy was announced under the gods, namely Horus-son-of-Isis (son of Sarah?), installed as leader on the throne of his father Osiris. "This day in which the Two Lands (Taui) were united (Sma), at the funeral of Osiris (it is interesting to note that if Abraham was born in 3740 BC, and the sacrifices of the first Apis bull by Narmer and the first Ram by Abraham are aligned, then Abraham's father Terakh (who might have been the same figure as the
earlier Egyptian king Scorpion - Serkh[-an] -, died at the same time as when Aha/Isaac acceded to the throne). Due to the covenant between the soul of Re and Osiris came into existence "The one with the Two Souls". The two chickens were Harendotes and Horus-Mechenti-en-irti, that is: Horus the Protector [of his father, and the son of Isis] and Horus the eyeless [and probably the son of Seth]. , that is Harend. The one with are also called "the Avenger and Horus the Eyeless) becoming one. Although this legend has no archaeological backing, it does add weight to the similarity with the legend of Abraham's covenant.
Den Haag, Netherlands.
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- Dear Rod,
Thanks for your reply.
I'll skip all irrelevant stuff and go straight to your question:
<<Why are the events from Abram to the Exodus any more authentic than later passages, which after all describe the advent of the nation of Israel. >>
Because they are authenticated by the matching real historical events and timeline, while others are not and need further verification. The advent of the nation of Israel dates from a far later period of history and is virtually devorced from the Torah material.
<<The 'birth of Israel' is what the Bible is about? It is largely theological.>>
I disagree. The Bible does contain a lot of added theological/moralizing stuff, but so does practically every ancient story, whether Hebrew, Egyptian, Sumerian or Greek. We don't need to treat the Bible different than any other ancient document.
<<And I've yet to see you provide any evidence of their "validity".>>
I've provided them, but perhaps you did not look or check?
<<Sorry, when we talk Pentateuch I assume five books>>
Sorry I wasn't clear enough for you. I mean only Genesis and Exodus, and more precisely the events from Abram down to Year 1 of the Exodus. All earlier and later events are still "under observation", so to speak.
<<and the book Chronicles, an even later text, offers something of a rewrite of the lot.>>
It does contain some sort of a summary, yes.
<<And I dont know if you have heard of the Book of Jubilees, but it attempts to rewrite Genesis; and was likley written 2nd BCE.>>
Yes, I know that too. And it does indeed seem to be an attempt to rewrite both Genesis and Exodus, but its chronology is in fact the Samaritan version but it contains the post-flood figure Kainan, retained in both the Septuagint and Alexandrian version but dropped in both the Masoretic and the Samaritan version. So it is not a totally new invention of the 2nd century BC.
<<I'm afraid I cant make things up; and all we have are writings and archaeology, which I believe prove quite strongly Israel came into existence in Canaan, which was under Egyptian influence, in the bronze age, which was under Egyptian influence, in the bronze age.>>
You mean in the LATE bronze age. Absolutely, I agree. The historical people of Israel as we know them, did indeed emerge under Egyptian influence, although we cannot even trace them further back than 700 BC. Perhaps they can be traced slightly further back, but not their names and stories or the Bible, but at least their typical diet and some artifacts. But remember, these are the traces the Jews as we now know them, not the Biblical people. I'm talking about the pre-Dividide Kingdom Biblical events, the stories of which became the inheritance of the Jews. The events described in Genesis and Exodus date thousands of years earlier.
<<Further I believe the Pharoah of the Exodus, [ such as it was ], was Thutmoses iii [1479-1425 BCE].>>
There are problems with this theory too. Firstly Thuthmosis III instead dates most certainly 1504-1450 BC, which is why some opt for his son Amenhotep II (1453-1423 BC). Secondly, during the Late Bronze Age there was no mass of people leaving Egypt and no massive influx at all into the Sinai and southern Negev at all as required by the Biblical story. Thirdly there was no Fall of Jericho which followed, the last fall of Jericho was when it burnt down circa 1557 BC, after which it had never built a new wall. The very last date in which an Exodus as described in the Bible occurred was that of the Hyksos rulers and their followers. Although it has been pointed out that the Hyksos themselves were the Pharaoh's of Egypt, I don't see that as an obstruction. Their people were still their slaves. Anyhow, an Exodus as described in the Bible was impossible after 1900 BC, whn the Sinai did not have any influx anymore down to the time of the Romans, and therefore
the fall of Middle Bronze Jericho in 1557 BC could not be correct, and neither could the Hyksos Exodus. So we have to go further back in time. There is no other way.
So what are our options? The Sinai was being massively abandoned from 2350 BC until 1900 BC. This means that this is the very latest time the Biblical "40 years" of Wilderness could have ended. However, the only Fall of a walled city of Jericho prior to the Middle Bronze Jericho was the Early Bronze III Jericho which fell circa 2350 BC. This means that this is indeed the latest possible date the Biblical 40 years of Wilderness could have ended. Furthermore, Immnuel Anati has convincingly argued that this is also the form of Jericho featuring the same architectural elements as the Biblical Jericho. Also, Ai became a ruin around 2400 BC, corroborating the same notion. So let's for now keep this date 2400-2350 BC as our new starting point for at least the Biblical Conquest of Canaan from the Sinai after the Exodus. This conquest is an archaeological fact and concerns the people we now call Amorites. These Amorites were the real Biblical Israelites,
although not yet called Israelites. To avoid confusion, it may therefore be best not to call them either Amorites or Israelites but most neutrally the Early Bronze IV/Middle Bronze transitional people.
All this only means that the Exodus from Egypt into the Sinai then must have occurred earlier. What such events as an Exodus in Egypt do we know about? Fortunately we do know about such an event. Fortunately, there was indeed such a massive event, the worst of all in fact, namely in the late Second Dynasty, currently conventionally dated to circa 2800-2750 BC, but in the radio-carbon chronology should be dated to circa 3150-3100 BC. So the gap between the Exodus and the Conquest is not 40 but at least 400 to 800 years! Some who strictly follow the 40 years Wilderness believe in an Exodus date of circa 2440-2400 BC, and therefore associate it with king Pepi of the 6th Dynasty, but that is impossibly correct. There was no such event at the time. The conclusion is that the Bible has some major chronological gaps, the very cause why history does not match the literal reading of the Bible. It is time that we acknowledge the existence of the Biblical gaps and
the Bible is not infallable at all.
<<Then you are talking a different issue altogether.>>
Nope, the same issue.
<<You claim accuracy for the biblical accounts of the Exodus, and a massive population loss from the Nile Delta.>>
<<Are you however talking at all about the origins of Judaism and the theological attachment to the notion of a downtrodden race fleeing Egypt?>>
Frankly, no. Not at all.
<<Here I agree, and there is archaeological evidence that Egyptian towns were deserted or relocated, as some Nile Delta channels silted up. and the river diverted to new channels particularly towards the east. >>
Well, let's take it from there. In my view this occurred between 3200 and 3100 BC, but if you like we can also discuss this with convention ales which would be about 2900-2700 BC, depending on witch author is writing.
<<I'd like some references about the abandonment of the Eastern Delta in the late 2nd dynasty if you have them.>>
I can give you the most important references. There are not many experts who wrote about the Early Kingdom, let alone about this specific period of disasters, but Toby Wilkinson in " Early Dynastic Egypt" (2000/2001) gives a lot of attention to it throughout. My interest was first aroused by W.B. Emery in "Archaic Egypt" (1961/1972) writing a good deal about some details which made me think. Accidently I also come accross the number of northerners slaughtered by Khasekhem Besh: no less than 47,209! If this was just the remaining Libyan people in the Western Delta, say 10 percent, and only the men, then you can guess that the number of people that had evacuated most of the Delta and especially the Eastern Delta could easily have been a million or two.
<<We are discussing the contents of the Bible which is the religious history of one God's chosen people.>>
Yes, and ...?
<<... produce some evidence to substantiate any links between the Exodus of the Bible [and its purpose] and a mass Exodus from Egypt in the 2nd dynasty.>>
As I did again, above.
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