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Reply #77: I didn't suggest that our knowledge of Egyptian history is entirely lacking: I said [View All]

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-11 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #63
77. I didn't suggest that our knowledge of Egyptian history is entirely lacking: I said
that the Pharoahs didn't trumpet their defeats and failures

Moreover, the ruling class in Egypt is known to have purged and revised its histories to serve ideological ends:

... Before he became pharaoh, Horemheb was the commander in chief of the army under the reigns of Tutankamun and Ay. After his accession to the throne he reformed the state and it was under his reign that official action against the preceding Amarna rulers began. Horemheb demolished monuments of Akhenaten, reusing their remains in his own building projects, and usurped monuments of Tutankhamun and Ay. Horemheb presumably remained childless and he appointed his vizier Paramesse as his successor, who would assume the throne as Ramesses I ...

This particular example -- the purging of Akhenaten from the official histories -- is of some interest because

Akhenaten ... is especially noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing worship centered on the Aten, which is sometimes described as monotheistic or henotheistic ... After his death, traditional religious practice was gradually restored, and when some dozen years later rulers without clear rights of succession from the Eighteenth Dynasty founded a new dynasty, they discredited Akhenaten and his immediate successors, referring to Akhenaten himself as "the enemy" in archival records. He was all but lost from history until the discovery, in the 19th century, of Amarna, the site of Akhetaten, the city he built for the Aten ...

The name Ramesses actually occurs in Exodus. Ramesses I was not king for more than a year or two:

... Ramesses I enjoyed a very brief reign, as evidenced by the general paucity of contemporary monuments mentioning him: the king had little time to build any major buildings in his reign and was hurriedly buried in a small and hastily finished tomb ...

However, his grandson Ramesses II, during his long reign,

... built extensively throughout Egypt and Nubia, and his cartouches are prominently displayed even in buildings that he did not actually construct ... most notably the Ramesseum in the western Thebes and the rock temples of Abu Simbel ... He also founded a new capital city in the Delta during his reign called Pi-Ramesses ...

One of the children of Ramesses II is of interest here:

... Merneptah (or Merenptah) was the fourth ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt ... He was the thirteenth son of Ramesses II ...

... The Merneptah Stele ... is an inscription by the Ancient Egyptian king Merneptah ... discovered by Flinders Petrie in 1896 at Thebes ... The line referring to Merneptah's Canaanite campaign reads: Canaan is captive with all woe. Ashkelon is conquered, Gezer seized, Yanoam made nonexistent; Israel is wasted, bare of seed ...

So we know of a monotheistic era in Egyptian history somewhere around 1340 BCE, followed by a backlash and purging of the official histories somewhere around 1300 BCE, followed by Ramesses II's great construction projects in the 13th century BCE, and then followed by an explicit reference to the destruction of Israel in Merneptah's Canaanite campaign somewhere around 1200 BCE

If one regards "Joseph" and "Israelite" as markers for "monotheist," then perhaps this is consistent with aspects of the Exodus narrative

.. Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. Look, he said to his people, the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country. So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh ...

The short reference to Israel, on the Merneptah Stele, quite plausibly reflects some political animosity: it essentially says, I squished them like a bug

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