peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Sep 19 12:01:29 EDT 2005
On 19/09/2005 16:20, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
>You wrote (in an earlier post):
>>And then Shoshenk I of Egypt was dated from the synchronism with
>>Solomon, on the dubious assumption that he is the "Shishak" of 1
>Could you explain why the assumption is "dubious"?
Well, to avoid going into details, I will just say that it has been
questioned by serious scholars. One reason for this is that Shoshenk's
recorded campaign was almost entirely in northern Israel.
>You also wrote:
>>But in fact your argument is back to front. It was the dating of
>>Solomon which came first, e.g. from Ussher and as more recently
>>refined e.g. by Thiele.
>Whether or not in the past Egyptologists relied in the past on Biblical
>evidence for the dating of Shoshenq I, I doubt that today most
>Egyptologists would consider the Biblical evidence so reliable or useful
>for dating given the uncertainties in the record of Kings. What I said, to
>which you responded is: "Usually Solomon is dated to the mid 10th
>century based on synchronism with Shoshenq's attack 5 years after his
>reign." And yes, today Solomon's dating is based on the synchronism
>with Egyptian evidence. But the Egyptian evidence is absolute and is
>not dependent on the Biblical evidence, not for the Biblical scholars
>who date Solomon, nor for the Egyptologists who date Shoshenq. I was
>talking about today.
You are wrong. See below. I accept that the biblical evidence is
somewhat uncertain, but it is far better and more reliable than anything
which has been found in Egypt. Egyptologists recognise that the biblical
dates are better than theirs - even while some biblical scholars try to
rubbish their own data.
>>Indeed to the last point. . There is little good evidence from Egypt
>>for the date of Shoshenk I, and what there is is hard to reconcile with
>>the mid 10th century.
>Could you provide me with a reference to a discussion of "the little good
>evidence from Egypt for the date of Shoshenq" and why it is hard to
>reconcile with the mid (or late) 10th century? Preferably, I would like to
>read a discussion by a professional and respected Egyptologist on the
>And now to the last post:
>>>I was afraid of this... ...
>>Well, you opened this can of worms, and you can't shut it again
>I don't see how my statement above about the state of scholarship
>today, whereby Solomon is dated via Shoshenq, and not vice versa,
>opens this can of worms. That statement is true. ...
It is not.
>... It is also a valid
>objection to someone dating Solomon according to his own
>interpretation of Ezekiel's prophecy. I really doubt Egyptologists
>would consider an interpretation of Ezekiel's prophecy as grounds
>for dating Shoshenq differently. And they shouldn't.
I didn't say that they should. The best data they have, indeed the only
remotely reliable data, for dating Solomon is that in the books of Kings
>>>... I cannot but point you to Kitchen's article at -
>>>[Kitchen, Kenneth A., "Ancient Egyptian Chronology for Aegeanists",
>>>Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 2.2 (2002)]
>>I am aware of this paper.
>Good. Are you aware of studies arguing a different position over the last
>5 years? (A response by Manning? Some other Egyptologist?)
Yes, I am aware of other positions.
>>>2) independently works out in p. 8 that Shoshenq I lived between
>>>945-939 BCE through 924-918 BCE, in order to prove, independent
>>>of the Bible, that Shoshenq I and Shishak of the Bible were
>>>contemporaries, as far as the Bible is concerned. That it works out
>>>with the Bible is nice, but it's not necessary for any Egyptologist.
>>Nevertheless, Shoshenk I was dated to approximately these dates
>>long before Kitchen worked out his chronology, long before the data
>>Kitchen relies on had been discovered. That was my main point, that
>>this biblical dating is primary, and afterwards Kitchen came along and
>>found support for it from Egypt.
>Yes, there is indeed a problem in that the historical process by which
>this date for Shoshenq was achieved is tainted due to previous views
>of the Bible that are no longer current. That is, Solomon was dated to
>time X. Then Shoshenq was dated to time X. Then a new analysis of
>Solomon's date is also constructed that is made to match Shoshenq's
>time X because it is so important. And since Kitchen might also be
>influenced by Solomon's "new dating" (which is actually circularly based
>on the original Solomon dating) Kitchen also tries to make out Shoshenq
>to time X. A big circular loop. ...
This is what I mean when I say above that you are wrong. The Egyptian
dates given by Kitchen are based, in fact quite explicitly, on the date
for Shishak derived by Thiele and Galil. The dates which are supposed to
be based on Egyptian evidence are actually based on Thiele and Galil,
with the doubtful Egyptian evidence being fitted in to harmonise with it.
>... I would be interested to know if there are
>similarly prominent Egyptologists that offer independent analyses from
>that of Kitchen's. ...
Unlikely. Kitchen is recognised as the top world expert on this period.
>... Nevertheless, Kitchen's analysis is, on paper,
>independent of the Bible, ...
No, explicitly it is not, in the very paper you cited. There is no way
to date Shoshenk at all accurately independent of the Bible. The Bible
is the best historical data we have for this period and so should be
used as the primary source.
>Kitchen does take the possibilities of co-regencies into account. See,
>for example, his comments on page 6 where he deals with Shebitku
>ruling as viceroy in Nubia under Shabako. I'm surprised to hear that
>Kitchen made so basic mistakes. Didn't any prominent Egyptologist
>point this out to him? ...
Kitchen's method of summing the dates of 22nd dynasty monarchs to "a
total of an irreducible 211 years", on p.8 of his paper, involves an
assumption that there are no co-regencies during this period. Several
people pointed this out to him, and were laughed out of court for daring
to question the world's top expert. Very like the discussions we have
been having on this list recently.
>... Also, Kitchen's article was published in 2002.
>Which of the Pharaoh's reigns had to be revised afterwards due to new
I don't say that this applies to any of the specific Pharaohs mentioned
here. But there are certainly Egyptian rulers whose generally accepted
reign lengths have been revised upwards because of the discovery of new
inscriptions etc giving higher regnal dates.
>... So, in sum, it appears to me that you are raising
>non-specific objections to allow you to doubt Kitchen's method.
>However, without specifics (which new inscriptions) and without a
>reference to a similarly prominent Egyptologist who concurs that these
>objections are valid, I don't know how valid these objections are. I
>note that Kitchen is here very terse, but apparently elsewhere (see
>bibliography) explains the reasoning for using these specific numbers
>as the reign lengths. Here he just uses these figures to establish the
I don't think this is the place to enter a debate about this. There are
other lists where they may be debated, e.g.
>Then let's take it to ANE. I'm subscribed there, and so are some
>Egyptologists who can point out clear falacies or direct us immediately
>to a more current treatment of the subject. Do you have any objection
>of me asking about your claims on ANE?
I am not a member of ANE. But you are welcome to ask. From a quick look
at the archives, there was quite a lot of discussion of such issues
there in February 2003, see
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
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