Which Came First, the Chokmah or the Ankh?

untitled

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

American blues singer B.B. King had reckoned that, “If it wasn’t for bad luck … I wouldn’t have no luck at all!”

And it might be similarly said that, if it wasn’t for Hebrew wisdom (chokmah), we may not have had many of the cultural features of Egypt and Mesopotamia. For, whilst invariably the conventional historians regard Israel as having been the recipient, rather than the instigator, the revised chronology tells quite another story. And it supports the statement of Jesus Christ that “Salvation [which is wholly civilising] is from the Jews”.

 

[John 4:22]     

 

 

No. 1 below will consider how deeply ancient Israel affected some of the most stunning cultural features of high Egyptian civilisation (especially the glorious 18th dynasty), hence my placement above of chokmah (חָכְמָה) before the ankh ().

No. 2 below will consider Israel’s influence upon aspects of the Mesopotamian civilisation.

  • Israel Overflows Into Egypt

 

Thanks to Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s revision of 18th dynasty Egyptian history (in his series, Ages in Chaos) – what I would consider undoubtedly to be his major contribution – we were given, for the first time, a proper perspective upon this particular period of ancient history. With the crippling Sothic theory (and the ‘Dark Ages’ to which it gave rise) now swept aside – see e.g. my simplified explanation of this:

The Fall of the Sothic Theory: Egyptian Chronology Revisited

 

http://www.academia.edu/3665220/The_Fall_of_the_Sothic_Theory_Egyptian_Chronology_Revisited

Velikovsky was able to re-align an era of Egyptian history conventionally (Sothically) dated from c. 1550-1300 BC, with the United Monarchy of Israel (kings Saul, David and Solomon), c. 1050-930 BC, and on to the early Divided Monarchy era (Ahab, Jehoshaphat, and so on). In other words, an artificially (Sothic) conceived chronology of Egypt was found to be about 500 years out of alignment with biblical history.

Velikovsky’s most convincing identification of two kings of Amurru who feature in the El-Amarna [EA] correspondence at the time of pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV (= Akhnaton), namely, kings Abdi-ashirta and Aziru, with the biblical Syrian succession of, respectively, Ben-hadad I and Hazael, I took as a solid foundation stone for my postgraduate thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and Its Background

http://hdl.handle.net/2123/5973

Amenhotep III and Akhnaton (c. mid-C14th BC) are conventionally dated, though, some 500 years before Ben-hadad I and Hazael (c. mid-C9th BC).

 

New Kingdom Egypt

 

Pharaoh Akhnaton

Now, it has often been pointed out that pharaoh Akhnaton’s “Sun Hymn” closely resembles, in part, King David’s Psalm 104. And with good reason.

At site http://www.seanet.com/~realistic/psalm104.html, for instance, we are provided with “The eight points of comparison: Psalm 104 and the Hymn to Aten”. Here, and mostly elsewhere, the conclusion is – and understandably from a conventional point of view – that the Bible is in debt to the pagan religion, or literature. Thus: “… as short as sixty years ago, there is little doubt that the archaeologists who discovered the similarities in ancient texts were astounded since they had been raised to believe in the Bible as the “only word of God”.”

The reality, however, is that in the case of Akhnaton versus David, it is the latter who was the source of inspiration. Hebrew chokmah before the Egyptian ankh.

For, well before Akhnaton had written thus of the chicken and the egg:

When the chick in the egg speaks in the shell, You give him breath within to sustain him; When you have made him complete, To break out from the egg, He comes out from the egg, To announce his completion, Walking on his legs he comes from it.

How many are your deeds, Though hidden from sight, O Sole God beside whom there is none! You made the earth as you wished, you alone, All peoples, herds, and flocks; All upon earth that walk on legs, All on high that fly on wings, The lands of Khor and Kush, The land of Egypt. You set every man in his place, You supply their needs; Everyone has his food, His lifetime is counted. Their tongues differ in speech, Their characters likewise Their skins are distinct, For you distinguished the peoples. ….

King David had written of the good providence of Yahweh (Psalm 104:10-15):

He makes springs pour water into the ravines;

it flows between the mountains.

They give water to all the beasts of the field;

the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

The birds of the sky nest by the waters;

they sing among the branches.

He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;

the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

He makes grass grow for the cattle,

and plants for people to cultivate—

bringing forth food from the earth:

wine that gladdens human hearts,

oil to make their faces shine,

and bread that sustains their hearts.

So many other ‘firsts’, too, are attributed to this most unusual of pharaohs, Akhnaton, some of them being quite ridiculous: e.g. he was supposedly the world’s ‘first monotheist’. A lot of this hoopla about Akhnaton stems from Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism (1939), according to which Moses was not a Hebrew at all, but was actually born into Ancient Egyptian nobility and was probably a follower of the presumably monotheistic Akhnaton.

Ahmed Osman takes this even further in what must be one of the silliest books ever written, Out of Egypt. The Roots of Christianity Revealed (Century, 1998), wherein the author actually identifies Moses as Akhnaton (and Jesus Christ as Tutankhamun, no less).

I wrote a review of this absurdity:

Osman’s ‘Osmosis’ of Moses

 

http://www.academia.edu/3690035/Osmans_Osmosis_of_Moses

But notice what is happening here in both cases (Freud and Osman). The Hebrew aspect of things is typically diminished. The traditionally Hebrew Moses now becomes an ethnic Egyptian. And so does Jesus Christ.

The revision of history I have found to be satisfyingly fruitful, whereas the conventional system cannot possibly be so if it really is so far out of gear with reality. The EA era, when properly aligned with biblical history, comes alive in a most amazing and unexpected fashion. It becomes possible now to get a totally different perspective on pharaoh Akhnaton and his famous wife, Queen Nefertiti. She, no longer to be regarded as a C14th BC character, but set in the C9th BC, becomes a perfect alter ego of the biblical queen, Jezebel.

Two bad girls merged into one.

At least that is what I argued in my university thesis, and have since up-dated this in follow-up articles, such as:

The Shattering Fall of Queen Nefertiti

http://www.academia.edu/3689948/The_Shattering_Fall_of_Queen_Nefertiti

and

Queen Nefertiti Sealed as Jezebel

http://www.academia.edu/3704885/Queen_Nefertiti_Sealed_as_Jezebel

These post-thesis articles on the subject correct the former clumsy to-ing and fro-ing of Nefertiti/Jezebel, from Ahab (now to Amenhotep III), now to Akhnaton, by now regarding Akhnaton as king Ahab himself. Hence Akhnaton, far from being a pure monotheistic worshipper of Yahweh, can be reconsidered as having been a worshipper of Baal, urged on by his cruel wife Nefertiti – just as king Ahab was urged on by Jezebel (I Kings 21:25): “There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife”.

Moreover, the enigmatic Atonism can now be identified as the Baalism of the Scriptures; a syncretic Baalism, though, of the Syro-Mitannians (hence Atonism’s Indic elements).

Similarly as with EA, the conventional chronology plays havoc with the interpretation of the abundant documentation from ancient Ugarit (Ras Shamra). Typically, the pagan mythology to be found in the Ugaritic texts is considered to have influenced the patriarchal tales in the Old Testament (http://www.homsonline.com/EN/Citeis/Ugarit.htm):

Many texts discovered at Ugarit, including the “Legend of Keret,” the “Aghat Epic” (or “Legend of Danel”), the “Myth of Baal-Aliyan,” and the “Death of Baal,” reveal an Old Canaanite mythology. A tablet names the Ugaritic pantheon with Babylonian equivalents; El, Asherah of the Sea, and Baal were the main deities. These texts not only constitute a literature of high standing and great originality but also have an important bearing on Old Testament studies. It is now evident that the patriarchal stories in the Old Testament were not merely transmitted orally but were based on written documents of Canaanite origin, the discovery of which at Ugarit has led to a new appraisal of the Old Testament.

[End of quote]

The revision tells a different story, but one that convention could not possibly accommodate.

Though professor Albright had shown some amazing insight – some of the language being used at this time exhibits ‘pure Hebrew idiom’. Mut-Baal, the son of EA’s Lab’ayu, displays in one of his letters (EA 256) some so-called ‘Canaanite’ and mixed origin words. But Albright noted of line 13: “As already recognized by the interpreters, this idiom is pure Hebrew”. Albright, as pointed out by D. Rohl (A Test of Time: The Bible from Myth to History, p. 245) even went very close to admitting of the local speech that it was Hebrew, “… phonetically, morphologically, and syntactically the people then living in the district … spoke a dialect of Hebrew (Canaanite) which was very closely akin to that of Ugarit. The differences which some scholars have listed between Biblical Hebrew and Ugaritic are, in fact, nearly all chronological distinctions”.

But even these “chronological distinctions” cease to be a real issue in the Velikovskian context, according to which both the EA letters and the Ugaritic tablets are to be re-located to the time of the Divided Monarchy of the two tribes of Judah and the ten tribes of Israel.

For my revised perspective on Lab’ayu and his two sons, see:

Is El Amarna’s Lab’ayu Biblically Identifiable?

 

http://www.academia.edu/7781252/Is_El_Amarna_s_Lab_ayu_Biblically_Identifiable

and:

Identifying Pharaoh Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun

http://www.academia.edu/3689978/Identifying_Pharaoh_Smenkhkare_and_Tutankhamun

Instead of commentators being able to perceive the pagan myths as, what they generally are, second-hand (third-hand, etc.) misappropriations of the original Hebrew scriptures, they conclude that – as above – the “origin” was with the pagan story.

John R. Salverda has turned this upside down, thanks to his marvellous ability to discern, in the pagan mythologies, especially the Greek, the pure biblical original. To give just one example (but one would do well to Google him), see Salverda’s account of how the Greeks derived their “Pelops” from biblical king Ahab:

Pelops, Ahab and the Achaeans

http://westerncivilisationamaic.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/pelops-as-king-ahab.html

Semitic writing has even been discerned in the pyramid texts of pharaoh Unas of Egypt’s (Old Kingdom) 5th dynasty.

(http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070129100250.htm):

Semitic passages in Egyptian texts that were discovered more than a century ago, inscribed on the subterranean walls of the pyramid of King Unas at Saqqara in Egypt. The pyramid dates from the 24th century B.C.E., but Egyptologists agree that the texts are older. The dates proposed for them range from the 25th to the 30th centuries B.C.E.

….

Although written in Egyptian characters, the texts turned out to be composed in the Semitic language spoken by the Canaanites in the third millennium B.C.E., a very archaic form of the languages later known as Phoenician and Hebrew. The Canaanite priests of the ancient city of Byblos, in present-day Lebanon, provided these texts to the kings of Egypt.

[End of quote]

Evidence such as the above seems to show the Greeks to be very culturally young indeed.

And later in this 1. we are going to consider the phenomenon of the Greeks being credited with the invention of architectural features that did not arise with them, with mathematics, and, even very significantly, with philosophy itself.

 

Origins of the 18th Dynasty

—————————————————————————————————

Dr. Ed (Ewald) Metzler … next turned on its ear … the conventional tendency to consider Israel as always the recipient of the generous cultural bounty of the great pagan nations. Taking a huge step beyond Velikovsky … Dr. Metzler identified this 18th dynasty as the Israelite monarchy.

—————————————————————————————————

Dr. Velikovsky had, as said above, re-aligned this, one of Egypt’s most spectacular and well-known dynasties, with (at its beginning) the United Monarchy of Israel under kings Saul, David and Solomon.

A lowering of Egyptian dynastic history by 500 years!

That was an excellent start, enabling for a proper alignment of secular and biblical history.

Its fruitfulness is becoming ever more apparent.

Dr. Ed (Ewald) Metzler, himself a Velikovskian, next turned on its ear, upside down and inside out, the conventional tendency to consider Israel as always the recipient of the generous cultural bounty of the great pagan nations. Taking a huge step beyond Velikovsky, but building on Velikovsky’s new alignment of the 18th dynasty with Israel’s United Monarchy, Dr. Metzler identified this 18th dynasty as the Israelite monarchy. One can read all about this in his chapter, “Conflict of Laws in the Israelite Dynasty of Egypt” (http://moziani.tripod.com/dynasty/ammm_2_1.htm).

According to Metzler’s re-worked 18th dynasty schema (I have substantially accepted this):

Ahmose = Ahimaaz

Amenhotep I = Saul (wife Ahinoam = Ahhotep)

Thutmose I = David

Thutmose II = Solomon,

and as according to Velikovsky

Hatshepsut = the biblical Queen of Sheba

Thutmose III = the biblical King Shishak of Egypt

A key connection made by Metzler was the sacking of the city of Gezer, biblically attributed both to “pharaoh” and to “David”. Previously I had commented on this as follows:

Who was the ‘pharaoh’ of I Kings 9:16 who had sacked Gezer as a dowry for his daughter to marry Solomon? Velikovsky had opted for Thutmose I, without his having attempted to make any link between this pharaoh and king David. Metzler likewise has identified this biblical “pharaoh” with Thutmose I, but with the far more interesting aspect to it that Thutmose I was David.

….

[Metzler] “Since King David-Thutmosis I was also the father of Queen Hatshepsut-Sheba, King Solomon refers to her in his Song of Songs (4:10 et passim) as Achoti Kallah ‘my sister, my spouse!’. This explains, too, how it was possible that the city of Gezer, which King David had conquered, was given to King Solomon as dowry of ‘Pharaoh’s daughter’. When the city of Gezer was destroyed by David Achinoam was already his wife, but he was not yet King of Judah and Israel, because King Saul was still alive … (1 Samuel 27, 3-11). Hence it is technically correct that the city was conquered by the pharaoh (1 Kings 9, 16), as she is the pharaoh’s daughter who made him pharaoh by marriage.”

“When David defeated Gezer, he killed all its inhabitants leaving ‘neither man nor woman alive’ (1 Samuel 27, 8 and 9). Likewise, the pharaoh, whose daughter King Solomon married, is reported to have ‘gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city’ (1.Kings 9, 16). Since it was rebuilt and resettled only by King Solomon (1 Kings 9, 15), King David-Thutmosis I must be the pharaoh, who ceded it to him as a wedding present. There is no room for a foreign invasion towards the end of King David’s reign, because ‘the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies’ (2 Samuel 7, 1). Moreover, it does not make sense to conquer a city just to give it away, as pointed out by Abraham Malamat”.

[End of quote]

I became aware of this, Dr. Metzler’s enormous contribution to revisionism (whether or not he be correct in all of his details), only after I had written an article in defence of Velikovsky’s Queen Hatshepsut as the biblical Queen of Sheba. Whilst in the process of writing this article I became aware of the presence of a very powerful, quasi-royal personage – a supposed commoner – operating in the wings behind Hatshepsut. But one about whom historians say he was ‘the real power behind the throne’. This was the mighty Senenmut (Senmut), whom I came to recognise as King Solomon himself.

See my:

Solomon and Sheba

http://www.academia.edu/3660164/Solomon_and_Sheba

More recently, this article has been complemented with,

Does the Name ‘Senenmut’ Reflect the Hebrew ‘Solomon’?

http://www.academia.edu/6498222/Does_the_Name_Senenmut_Reflect_the_Hebrew_Solomon

The Divine plan was for Israel to become, through the agency of King David and his descendants, “this torah for humanity” (2 Samuel 7:19), according to American author and biblical scholar, Dr. Scott Hahn (Kinship by Covenant …, p. 15 https://books.google.com.a): “The Davidic covenant”, Hahn writes, “had implications primarily for Israel but secondarily “for the nations” as well, whose kings were to be vassals of the Davidic king (Pss 2, 72, 89)…”.

But that was not all. The name of King David was to be universally famous (I Chronicles 17:8): “I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies. Now I will make your name famous throughout the earth!”

Conventional history and archaeology, however, being totally misplaced:

Textbook History Out of Kilter With Era of King Solomon By 500 Years

https://www.academia.edu/3704993/Textbook_History_Out_of_Kilter_With_Era_of_King_S

are not able to substantiate the reality of that biblical testimony with regard to the Davidic monarchy. David, we are told, was merely an insignificant petty king – if indeed he had existed at all – and his supposedly glorious son, Solomon, may never have existed.

In the face of such biblical minimalising, I felt compelled to write:

Rescuing King Solomon from the Archaeologists

 

https://www.academia.edu/3579095/Rescuing_King_Solomon_from_the_Archaeologists

and:

Israel Finkelstein has not archaeologically “destroyed Solomon”, as he thinks. He has completely missed Solomon

 

https://www.academia.edu/3689852/Israel_Finkelstein_has_not_archaeologically_destroyed_Solomon_as_he_thinks._He_has_completely_missed_Solomon

More positively, at least according to Metzler, the Davidic kings (Thutmosides) ruled what historians regard as one of the mightiest Egyptian dynasties – “perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighteenth_Dynasty_of).

If David were indeed Thutmose I, then his influence over Egypt could have been only fairly minimal given the short reign of that particular pharaoh (roughly a decade, but disputed). Israel’s real cultural inundation of the Land of the Nile (Egypt) would have occurred during the golden era of Solomon and Sheba. And the Torah, for one, did indeed begin to flow into ancient Egypt at the time of the wonderful Hatshepsut, the biblical Queen of Sheba. I have argued her case in:

Why Hatshepsut can be the ‘Queen of Sheba’

http://www.academia.edu/3689991/Why_Hatshepsut_can_be_the_Queen_of_Sheba

Supplemented by:

The Queen of (Beer) Sheba

http://www.academia.edu/9493588/The_Queen_of_Beer_Sheba

Not only the Torah, though, but so much else as well: Davidic Psalms, Solomonic wisdom, literature, love poetry, and Proverbs. This I have shown abundantly in “Solomon and Sheba”.

And so far we are talking about only the religious and literary side of things.

There was much more. For we read about King Solomon’s southern visitor (I Kings 10:4-5): “When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the Temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed”.

She must have the same for Karnak, which was to be her ‘Jerusalem’. And have it all she did.

Hence I wrote previously:

…. An Image from the Psalms

When Hatshepsut’s commemorative obelisks were completed, she had the usual formal words inscribed on them. However, [J.] Baikie states that [A History of Egypt, A and C. Black Ltd., London, 1929, Vol. 11, p. 89]:

The base inscriptions … are of more importance, chiefly because they again strike that personal note which is so seldom heard from these ancient records, and give us an actual glimpse into the mind and the heart of a great woman. I do not think that it is fanciful to see in these utterances the expression of something very like a genuine piety struggling to find expression underneath all the customary verbiage of the Egyptian monumental formulae.

In language that “might have come straight out of the Book Psalms”, the queen continues,

I did it under [Amon-Ra’s] command; it was he who led me. I conceived no works without his doing …. I slept not because of his temple; I erred not from that which he commanded. … I entered into the affairs of his heart. I turned not my back on the City of the All-Lord; but turned to it the face. I know that Karnak is God’s dwelling upon earth; …the Place of his Heart; Which wears his beauty ….

Baikie continues, unaware that it really was the Psalms and the sapiential words of David and Solomon, that had influenced Hatshepsut’s prayer:

The sleepless eagerness of the queen for the glory of the temple of her god, and her assurance of the unspeakable sanctity of Karnak as the divine dwelling-place, find expression in almost the very words which the Psalmist used to express his … duty towards the habitation of the God of Israel, and his certainty of Zion’s sanctity as the abiding-place of Jehovah.

“Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids. Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. – For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it”.

[End of quote]

Even the tri-partite coronation ceremony used by pharaoh Thutmose I, when crowning his daughter, Hatshepsut, appears to have had its origins in Hebrew ceremony, as I showed in my “Solomon and Sheba” article; the former having its same pattern in King David’s tri-partite coronation rite of his favoured son, Solomon.

What else had the biblical Queen seen in Jerusalem and had probably desired to emulate?

(I Kings 10:4-5) “… the palace [Solomon] had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the Temple of the Lord”.

And so accordingly (http://dlib.etc.ucla.edu/projects/Karnak/feature/PalaceOfMaat):

Hatshepsut erected her palace of Ma’at as part of a series of major renovations to the Amun temple during her reign. The queen tore down a number of structures of Amenhotep I on this location, moving his calcite bark shrine as well. The queen may have dismantled a portico of Osiris statues from the Middle Kingdom temple of Senusret I (possibly located just east of the palace of Ma’at) to connect her new sanctuary to the ancient cult center.

At some point, Hatshepsut added a beautiful red quartzite bark shrine, her “red chapel,” to the center of the palace of Ma’at. The addition of this large shrine necessitated the removal of a number of interior walls of the palace.

The palace of Ma’at functioned for storage of cult equipment as well as providing an offering place for the divine cult.

[End of quote]

Note in regard to this description that: “The Egyptian concept of ma’at could be considered an embodiment of wisdom” (http://jreuter.hubpages.com/hub/Wisdom-Literature-in-the-Ancient-Near-East-and-Israel). And wisdom (chokmah) was what the Queen of Sheba knew King Solomon to have been all about (I Kings 10:4). {Chokmah itself is probably akin to, not only the Egyptian ma’at, but also to the dharma of the Hindus and the Logos of the Greeks}.

Next Hatshepsut needed a magnificent Temple. And did she not have for this the very assistance of Solomon himself, as Senenmut? About this I wrote in “Solomon and Sheba”:

Chief Architect

Now that Hatshepsut was Pharaoh, nothing could stop her grandiose plans. As queen, she had seen fantastic thing in Israel – the King enthroned in splendour, the palace, the Temple with its magnificent liturgy and gardens, and the Red Sea fleet, which may have arrived at Solomon’s port while she was visiting him (cf. 1 Kings 10:1 and 10:11). Solomon could provide the same for her in Egypt. Significantly he, as Senenmut, was also Hatshepsut’s chief architect …. Egypt could be efficiently reorganised on the same stern system that Solomon had imposed upon his own country. The work gangs would be employed everywhere, with Senenmut both their “foreman [and] overseer”.

We recall how cruel were the Egyptian “foremen” in Moses’ time, and that Moses had killed one of them for beating an Israelite (Exodus l:11 and 2:11-12).Yahweh had ultimately delivered his people from this “iron furnace” of slavery in Egypt. How ironical, then, that a king of Israel, a believer in Yahweh, would now force the Egyptian people into servitude – but now with the Pharaoh’s blessing! In return, Solomon could play the rôle of trading middleman, e.g. between Egypt and Syria.

Hatshepsut’s Temple

Hatshepsut naturally enlisted Senenmut to plan her temple, “The Most Splendid of Splendours”, at Deir el-Bahri. He no doubt, in turn, as Solomon, sought expert assistance from the Phoenicians, just as he had done more than two decades earlier in the case of the Temple of Yahweh, in Jerusalem. Accordingly, Velikovsky had referred to Mariette’s view that Hatshepsut’s fine building betrayed “a foreign influence”, possibly from “the land of [Punt]” [As referred to in G. Maspero’s The Struggle of the Nations, p. 241, n. 2]. If the Puntites were the Phoenicians [as I believe] – and (according to the Bible) Phoenician craftsmen had assisted Solomon in his building of Yahweh’s Temple – then it is most interesting that Mariette had observed that Hatshepsut’s temple “probably represents … a Phoenician influence” [quoted in Naville’s The Temple of Deir el Bahari, Introductory Memoir, p. 1]. From this, Velikovsky had concluded that the design of the latter was based on the Jerusalem model. [Dr. J.] Bimson, however, would then reject this view, saying that Hatshepsut’s temple was clearly based on the layout of smaller 11th Dynasty temple nearby. [“Hatshepsut and the Queen of Sheba”, C and C Review, Vo1. VIII, 1986, pp. 12-26]. Baikie [op. cit., pp. 67-68], for his part, admitted that the 11th Dynasty temple would have offered Senenmut “the suggestion of how it would best to treat such a site …”, but he was adamant that Hatshepsut’s temple was no slavish imitation of the older building. Senenmut, he said: … appreciated a good suggestion when he saw it – all the more credit to him for his commonsense; but to say that he must therefore be denied any credit for originality is to set up a canon of criticism which would deprive Shakespeare of the credit for the creation of Hamlet, and Donatello of that for the creation of the Gattamelata statue. Having got his suggestion, he proceeded to glorify it, until he had produced a building which is infinitely superior … to that of the earlier architect. Baikie regarded the 11th Dynasty effort as “stumpy and sawn-off looking compared with the grace of the successive terraces, the long ramps and the graceful colonnades of the XVIIIth Dynasty artist”.

[End of quote]

“Much has been attributed to the Greeks that did not belong to them”, I wrote in “Solomon and Sheba”, giving this testimony from Sir H. Breasted in relation to Hatshepsut’s temple. “Breasted [A History of Egypt, p. 274] made the point that Hatshepsut’s marvellous temple structure was a witness to the fact that the Egyptians had developed architectural styles for which the later Greeks would be credited as originators”.

And had not the Queen also seen King Solomon’s brand new fleet?

So maybe Hatshepsut’s own magnificent fleet – that went to the land of Punt unaccompanied by her (see my Hatshepsut articles), to collect exotic myrrh for her temple – provides us with a contemporary illustration of what King Solomon’s own fleet must have looked like.

The Phoenician contribution to all of this (palace and temple building, fleet and navigation) should not be underestimated. And I shall later, in 2., identify the mighty Phoenician king, Hiram, of the Bible, with Iarim Lim, the mighty contemporary of Hammurabi of Babylon (both revised now to the time of Solomon).

Would any historians and archaeologists of today dare to say, about the Athenian lawgiver Solon the wiseman, what Israel Finkelstein has waxed so bold to say about King Solomon (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2010/12/david-and-solomon/draper-text): “Now, Solomon,” [Finkelstein] continues with a sigh. “I think I destroyed Solomon, so to speak. Sorry for that! …”.

Yet, according to my “Solomon and Sheba” article, Solon is yet another Greek appropriation of a Hebrew original, this time of the biblical King Solomon. And, according to E. Yamauchi [“Two Reformers Compared: Solon of Athens and Nehemiah of Jerusalem”, The Bible World: Essays in Honor of Cyrus H. Gordon, NY, KTAV, 1980], Solon’s laws and reforms were strikingly Jewish, reminding Yamauchi of those of the biblical governor Nehemiah at Jerusalem. And finally, according to P. James [Centuries of Darkness, Jonathan Cape, 1991, p. 97], archaeology shows no sophisticated Athenian culture for the time of Solon (c. 600 BC). “The first incontrovertible ‘fixed point’ in Greek [archaeological] chronology is the Parthenon, begun in 447 [BC, conventional dating]”.

Old Kingdom Egypt

 

Earlier (Pre-Monarchical) History

 

Given my identification (not original) of the biblical Joseph of Egypt with the genius vizier, Imhotep, of Egypt’s 3rd dynasty, builder of the first pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Saqqara:

Joseph as Thales:

Not an “Hellenic Gotterdamerung” but Israelite Wisdom

https://www.academia.edu/3690014/Joseph_as_Thales_Not_an_Hellenic_Gotterdamerung_but_Israelite_Wisdom

it may no longer be surprising to find that Semitic writing was found in the pyramid texts of pharaoh Unas.

Not only were stone-built pyramids apparently a Hebrew contribution, but so, too, was philosophy according to my:

Hebrew Foundations of Pythagoras

https://www.academia.edu/6583003/Hebrew_Foundations_of_Pythagoras

Nor was I by any means the first to have perceived this order of contribution:

Church Fathers Were Right About Jewish Origins of Greek Philosophy

https://www.academia.edu/8999321/Church_Fathers_Were_Right_About_Jewish_Origins_of_Greek_Philosophy

But all of this was later attributed to the pagan Greeks.

I have attempted to rectify this false (as I consider it) situation by re-setting the point of reference for ancient philosophy:

Re-Orienting to Zion the History of Ancient Philosophy

https://www.academia.edu/4105845/Re-Orienting_to_Zion_the_History_of_Ancient_Philosophy

 

Finally, there are those ancient traditions, such as from Josephus (Antiquities, 1, 154–168), of the patriarch Abraham as being famous amongst the Babylonians as a skilled astronomer and mathematician, and as a teacher who exerted a formative influence on the intellectual traditions of the Egyptians and the Greeks. According to Josephus, Abraham analysed the “phenomena that were visible both at land and sea, as well as those that happen to the sun and moon, and all the heavenly bodies” as proof there is one Creator God (ibid., chap. vii, sec. 1). http://www.coghomeschool.org/site/cog_archives/booklets/Abraham%20a%20Scientist.txt

Conclusion to 1.

Hebrew wisdom and culture are found to have been often at the historical forefront of humankind’s greatest achievements. From the astronomical, mathematical and architectural knowledge of the ancient patriarchs, to stone-built pyramid construction; palace and temple building and sacred liturgy; court etiquette and coronation rites; fleets and navigation; knowledge of the alphabet; all manner of literature and poetry; art; and philosophy.

Not to mention the fact that – as according to this article – the Hebrews have left us a detailed historical record which enables for the establishment, today, of a satisfactory alignment of chronology with stratigraphy (archaeology).

  1. Israel Influences Mesopotamia

Account of Creation

 

The artificial and pre-archaeological JEDP theory of biblical structure and authorship – with major parts of the Book of Genesis said to have been written in Babylonia (known as Pan Babylonianism: “… the idea that the content of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is basically plagiarized from Babylonian (more widely, Sumero-Mesopotamian) material”), during the Captivity era – has wrought a havoc for biblical studies similar to that of the Sothic theory as discussed in 1.

For a thorough critique of the JEDP theory, its errors, but also its occasional insights, see my series (hopefully to be continued):

 

Tracing the Hand of Moses in Genesis

https://www.academia.edu/8175774/Tracing_the_Hand_of_Moses_in_Genesis

 

Tracing the Hand of Moses in Genesis. Part Two.

 

https://www.academia.edu/8212564/Tracing_the_Hand_of_Moses_in_Genesis._Part_Two

 

Once again it is presumed that the biblical accounts were dependent upon the pagan myths. Previously I wrote on this, drawing heavily here on the works of P. J. Wiseman (http://www.specialtyinterests.net/Toledoth.html):

FIRST CHAPTER OF GENESIS

Really, the whole documentary approach to Biblical interpretation is due to mythologizing tendencies that – employing all possible and impossible kinds of combinations – seek to work into the Genesis stories – and even into the narratives of the Patriarchs – features and elements drawn from the Babylonian or Egyptian myths that are absolutely remote from, and completely alien to, the Hebrew spirit.

One has only to compare the Genesis account of Creation with the Babylonian one, for instance, to realize how intrinsically different they are. The two accounts are as follows:

Bible Babylonian Creation Tablets

 

1. Light 1. Birth of the gods, their rebellion and threatened destruction.

 

2. Atmosphere, water 2. Tiamat prepares for battle.

 

3. Land, vegetation 3. The gods are summoned and wail bitterly at their threatened destruction.

 

4. Sun and Moon (regulating the lights) 4. Marduk promoted to rank of ‘god’: he receives his weapons for fight. These are described at length; he defeats Tiamat, splits her in half like a fish and thus makes heaven and earth.

 

5. Fish and birds 5. Astronomical poem.

 

6. Land animals 6. Kingu who made Tiamat to rebel is bound and, as a punishment, his arteries are severed and man created from his blood. The 600 gods are grouped; Marduk builds Babylon where all the gods assemble.  
A comparison of the two accounts makes it immediately apparent that the Bible owes nothing whatever to the Babylonian tablets, despite the efforts of commentators to try to convince us that whoever wrote this portion of Genesis had actually borrowed his concepts from these corrupted Mesopotamian myths. If we rely solely on the text of Genesis, without being biased by the Babylonian mythology, we find no trace of any contest with a living monster in the sense of the Babylonian myth of the fight of the gods.

[End of quote]

Authorship of Genesis

 

Still following Wiseman, I argued for – once again against the naïve conclusions of the JEDP – the great antiquity of the Book of Genesis as a document comprising pre-Mosaïc patriarchal histories, which Moses himself later edited.

See my:

The “Toledoths” [Toledôt] of Genesis

https://www.academia.edu/3501243/The_Toledoths_of_Genesis

My combined use here of Wiseman and Professor A. S. Yahuda, who insisted that Genesis is actually replete with Egyptian language and idiom, even for those episodes (e.g. Babel) that are thought to have taken place in Mesopotamia, strikes a blow against standard theory:

… the linguistic contribution of Professor A. Yahuda [The Language of the Pentateuch in its Relation to Egyptian, Oxford U.P. 1933] comes in to deal a shock blow to both the documentary theory and to the related Pan-Babylonianism. Yahuda, unlike Wiseman, was an expert in his field. His profound knowledge of Egyptian and Hebrew combined (not to mention Akkadian) gave him a distinct advantage over fellow Egyptologists unacquainted with Hebrew, who thus could not discern any appreciable Egyptian influence on the Pentateuch. Yahuda however realized that the Pentateuch was absolutely saturated with Egyptian – not only for the periods associated with Egypt, most notably the Joseph narrative including Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, but even for the periods associated with Babylonia (presumably the Flood account that we have already discussed, and certainly the Babel incident). For instance, instead of the Akkadian word for ‘Ark’ used in the Mesopotamian Flood accounts, or even the Canaanite ones current elsewhere in the Bible …, the Noachic account Yahuda noted …uses the Egyptian-based tebah (Egyptian db.t, `box, coffer, chest’) ….

Most important was the linguistic observation by Yahuda [ibid., p. xxix]:

Whereas those books of Sacred Scripture which were admittedly written during and after the Babylonian Exile reveal in language and style such an unmistakable Babylonian influence that these newly-entered foreign elements leap to the eye, by contrast in the first part of the Book of Genesis, which describes the earlier Babylonian period, the Babylonian influence in the language is so minute as to be almost non-existent. 

[Dead Sea Scrolls expert, Fr. Jean Carmignac, had been able to apply the same sort of bilingual expertise – in his case, Greek and Hebrew – to gainsay the received scholarly opinion and show that the New Testament writings in Greek had Hebrew originals: his argument for a much earlier dating than is usual for the New Testament books].

While Yahuda’s argument is totally Egypto-centric, at least for the Book of Genesis, one does also need to consider the likelihood of ‘cultural traffic’ from Palestine to Egypt, especially given the prominence of Joseph in Egypt from age 80-110. One might expect that the toledôt documents borne by Israel into Egypt would have become of great interest to the Egyptians under the régime of the Vizier, Joseph (historically Imhotep of Egypt’s 3rd dynasty), who had after all saved the nation of Egypt from a 7-year famine, thereby influencing Egyptian thought and concepts.

The combination of Wiseman and Yahuda, in both cases clear-minded studies based on profound analysis of ancient documents, is an absolute bomb waiting to explode all over any artificially constructed literary theory of Genesis. Whilst Kikawada and Quinn have managed to find some merit in the JEDP theory, and I have also suggested how its analytical tools may be useful at least when applied to the apparent multiple sourcing in the Flood narrative (and perhaps in the Esau and Jacob narrative), the system appears as inherently artificial in the light of archaeological discoveries. Cassuto may not have been diplomatic, but nevertheless he was basically correct in his estimation of documentism: “This imposing and beautiful edifice has, in reality, nothing to support it and is founded on air”.

It is no coincidence that documentary theory was developed during the era of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who proposed an a priori approach to extramental reality, quite different from the common sense approach of the Aristotelian philosophy of being [Those interested should read Gavin Ardley’s masterful Aquinas and Kant, 1950]. The philosophy of science is saturated with this new approach. Kantianism I think is well and truly evident too in the Karl Heinrich Graf and Julius Wellhausen … attitude to the biblical texts. And Eduard Meyer carried this over into his study of Egyptian chronology, by devising in his mind a quantifying a priori theory – an entirely artificial one that had no substantial bearing on reality – that he imposed upon his subject with disastrous results. Again an “imposing and beautiful edifice … founded on air”.

[End of quote]

Very much along Yahudan lines I recently queried:

If Genesis Borrowed from Babylonian Epic,

why an Egyptian ‘loan word’ for Noah’s Ark?

 

https://www.academia.edu/9230563/If_Genesis_Borrowed_from_Babylonian_Epic_why_an_Egyptian_loan_word_for_Noah_s_Ark

 

Moses the Lawgiver

 

Moses and the Law of Hammurabi

 

Far from Moses having received the Law (Torah) from Yahweh upon Sinai, the Hebrews – we are told – had derived their laws and statutes from, once again, a pagan-inspired Law Code, that of King Hammurabi of Babylon, conventionally dated centuries before Moses. The famous Hammurabi has been slid up and down the time scale by chronologists. He is thought by some to equate with the biblical Amraphel. I cannot agree with this:

“Amraphel King of Shinar” Was Not King Hammurabi

https://www.academia.edu/9626715/_Amraphel_King_of_Shinar_Was_Not_King_Hammurabi

But it is generally considered now by conventionalists that Hammurabi reigned during the C18th BC. Revisionists, of course, disagree with this, some having tried a c. C15th BC dating for him, whilst others have dragged Hammurabi all the way down to the time of Solomon. Now, if Hammurabi were a contemporary of Solomon, then there could be no question of his Law Code having any influencing power over the Law of Moses at Sinai. (For my suggested location of the Holy Mountain (following Professor Immanuel Anati), see:

True Mount Sinai in the Paran Desert

 

https://www.academia.edu/9340260/True_Mount_Sinai_in_the_Paran_Desert)

Now, I fully accept the chronological model according to which King Hammurabi belonged to the era of Solomon – who was, of course, a follower of Moses. Moreover, I have suggested further that Solomon’s ally, Hiram, was the powerful Amorite king, Iarim Lim, and that Zimri-Lim was Solomon’s foe, Rezon (Rezin):

Hammurabi the Great King of Babylon was King Solomon

https://www.academia.edu/3579091/Hammurabi_the_Great_King_of_Babylon_was_King_Solomon

Zimri Lim to be Re-Located to Era of King Solomon

 

https://www.academia.edu/3689776/Zimri_Lim_to_be_Re-Located_to_Era_of_King_Solomon

The Law Code of Hammurabi would now be regarded as being inspired by Hebrew Law, the Torah flowing through the Davidic dynasty into the ancient “nations” (as discussed in 1.).

Moses and Sargon of Akkad

 

The Exodus story of the baby Moses placed in the reed basket by his mother and consigned to the river, is inevitably compared with a very similar account about baby Sargon. Sargon conventionally, like Hammurabi, is dated to well before Moses. So, inevitably again, the non-Hebrew tale is said to have influenced the Hebrew one.

In the case of Sargon of Akkad (unlike that of Hammurabi, Hatshepsut, or Akhnaton), I have come to accept that he did actually pre-date the biblical person who is said to have borrowed from him – namely, Moses (Exodus story).

For Sargon biblically identified (well pre-dating Moses), see:

Sargon of Akkad (Nimrod) as ‘Divine’ Shulgi of Ur III

 

https://www.academia.edu/9818538/Sargon_of_Akkad_Nimrod_as_Divine_Shulgi_of_Ur_II

But some new perspectives may now be needed.

Firstly, the Sargonic legends are probably late Assyro-Babylonian, and so composed much later than the era of Moses.

And, secondly, a ground-breaking article (2011) by Anne Habermehl:

Where in the World Is the Tower of Babel?

 

https://answersingenesis.org/tower-of-babel/where-in-the-world-is-the-tower-of-babel/

sees the re-location of the biblical ‘land of Shinar’ to NE Syria (the Sinjar region), with the possibility that the hitherto unidentified city of Akkad is to be found at the modern site of Tell Brak. This could spell a further blow to the supposed Babylonian influences in the Bible.

Conclusion to 2.

The inspired Hebrew Torah was by no means a product of the pagan nations. But instead it served to bring justice and enlightenment to them.

 

Christmas 2014

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