Rohl (was: yrw$lym)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sat Sep 25 13:03:22 EDT 1999

Dave wrote:

>> Pardon me if I seem slightly underwhelmed by the puerile Velikovskian
>> regurgitations that Rohl has emitted, but it seems mindbogglingly clear
>> that the reason that no-one in the field of Egyptology listens to his
>> convolutions is that there is a tide of evidence for the status quo.
>This kind of name-calling advances nothing.  

There is no name calling here. It is an introduction showing my reaction to
an unbelievable position that is being taken seriously. This is about a
position not a person.

>This "tide of evidence 
>for the status quo" reminds me of the "tide of evidence" for the 
>Essene hypothesis in the DSS field.  

Try reading Mario Liverani's "Ancient Orient" (The Italian version is
subtitled "History, socciety and economy" and it is a breezy tome of 1000
pages of thick fact-based information on Mesopotamia-centred ANE but with
historical connections with Egypt mentioned. All of the chronological
information of which must be discarded for Rohl's stuff.)

Try Donald B. Redford, "Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times".

Try Gosta Ahlstrom, "The History of Ancient Palestine". Ahlstrom does have
some brief but useful information on Egyptian connections.

>> First Rohl would like us to ignore the fact that Sheshonq I, who according
>> to the status quo reigned for about 25 years from around 950 BCE, claims to
>> have had a campaign that took him through the Negev and Palestine, the
>> account of which can be found on the southern end of the pylon of Ramses I
>> at the temple of Karnak. This is in order for him to make his claim that
>> Shishak is not in fact Sheshonq I, but Ramses II. 
>You're wrong here.  He looks Sheshonq's palestinian campaign 
>straight in the eye.  
>> (It might be worth
>> pointing out here that the cartouche for Sheshonq I reads $$nq, Sheshonq II
>> $$ and Sheshonq IV reads $$q. If linguistic serendipity has anything to do
>> with this, the lovers of such detail would have to go against Rohl's
>> conjectures in favour of Sheshonq I.) 
>How about a reference?  Simply saying something like this doesn't 
>give me anything to go on, Ian.

Try ANY solid university textbook on Egyptian history that has a list of
royal cartouches. First one reads the Egyptian literature before one reads
the secondary spin-off stuff. (You might try, if you need a specific
example, Nicholas Grimal's "History of Ancient Egypt" [written in French,
got it in Italian, heard it's in English]. The names we normally use are
the second cartouche for each pharaoh. Compare the cartouches: $ as in
Shabaka, n as in Amenhotep, q as in Cleopatra.) But linguistic arguments
have so little weight in the matter -- remember the Goranson Essene
argument -- such things are a dime a dozen.

>> However, why should anyone want to revise Egyptian chronology (other than
>> because such sensation sells)? It would seem because it makes things seem a
>> little more acceptable to fundamentalist Christians who have been bearing
>> the brunt of a more systematic approach to the pursuit of history, which
>> had shaken the pillars of received wisdom about the historicity of the
>Here we go again with the name-calling.  Rohl hardly falls in to 
>such a category, Ian, and your constant appeal to this idea seems 
>like nothing more than a smokescreen.  

He doesn't exist in the field of Egyptology. His other positions place him
so centrally in the field of fundamentalism, though maybe more learned than
Josh McDowell. What you call a smokescreen would seem to have been produced
by Rohl.

>Why would anyone want 
>to revise it?  Why would anyone want to question the Essene 
>hypothesis?  Why would anyone want to question the status quo 
>about meanings of certain terms or phrases?  It's called science, 

Science involves looking at all the data. Please look at the Egyptological
sources before reading secondary works. What would you do if you only had
Cross, Eisenman or Thiering as your main DSS information?

>Ian, and if the status quo is so utterly right, why do people continue 
>to write dissertations in the field of biblical and ANE studies?  This 
>is a cop-out, an easy pot-shot at a convenient target.

You need to know what the status quo is before questioning it. Egyptology
is a lot more "hard science" than anything to do with the OT. You find Rohl
convincing regarding the restructuring of history (as implied by his
redating of Ramses II), but what do you know about how the status quo
dating has come about, through Rohl? It would seem so -- defeat at the start.

>> Such a redating as implied by Rohl's bringing of Ramses II to the beginning
>> of the first millennium BCE would have profound effects on world history,
>> not just with internal Egyptian history, which is being asked to absorb
>> about three hundred years at the late end!
>Once again you're demonstrating that you haven't read the book.  

First demonstrate that there is some reason to read it.

>Your comments make it clear that you're operating from secondary 

The majority of my comments are based on Egyptian sources. When you date
Ramses II three hundred years later, what happens to all those internal
Egyptian events on record from the time of Ramses II down to Osorkon II?
Your comments make it clear that you aren't dealing with Egyptian history
-- just what Rohl says about it.

>> Let me just mention some of the historical links between Egypt and the ANE.
>> I have listed a number of clearly datable historical links between Egypt
>> and the ANE. 
>"Clearly datable" how?  That's the crux of the whole matter!

>>If we are to believe Rohl, all these events are misdated,
>Correct.  And it's precisely because Egypt is the plumbline for 
>dating all these events.  As he says, if dating of events and people 
>(and pottery styles etc.) in Egypt is off, it throws the whole thing 
>off.  That's the part that seems to escape you.  What's the 
>foundation for dating all those "clearly datable" events you 
>mentioned?  Egyptian chronology, Ian.  

Why did I bother to give that information in the previous post, Dave? You
remember, regarding the Hittites, the Kassites, the Philistines and the
Assyrians. The Hittite destruction is relatable to Greece, as are the
Philistines. The Kassites are relatable to a period prior to the rise of
the Assyrians for whom we have a long chronological order of kings prior to
Shalmaneser III. Osorkon II is relatable to Shalmaneser. No circle, Dave.
That's just your wannabe analysis, following Rohl.

>So you're arguing in a 
>circle.  Conventional Egyptian chronology must be correct because 
>it correlates with these "clearly datable" events, and these "clearly 
>datable" events are "clearly datable" on the basis of conventional 
>Egyptian chronology.  This kind of reasoning gets us nowhere and 
>does nothing to advance our understanding.

You're right. Irrelevant, but right.

>which would imply that the historical information that we have for Hatti,
>> Babylon, Assyria, Mitanni, Syria and even Greece is also misdated. 
>This is hilarious.  Go read the book, Ian.  He places the earliest 
>datable ANE event in the Assyrian period, and acknowledges that 
>from then on we have good, solid chronology.  

You missed the point of Osorkon II the great grandson of Sheshonq I sending
troops to Qarqar (see later).

Let's use the Assyrian period as a peg to hang things on. We know for
example that Qarqar was in 853 BCE. How many generations of Assyrian kings
were there before Shamaneser III came to the throne? The first
Neo-Assyrians were co-eval with the last Kassites, so how many after
Burnaburiash II? Give'em at least twenty years a pop and how long have you
got? That's approximately when Burnaburiash corresponded with Akhnaten.

It is unthinkable to deal with the problem Rohl creates in a vacuum. We
must look at the full range of implications. His conjecture if it had any
substance would mean a total restructuring of history, economy, archaeology
and sociology of the entire ANE.

>I repeat: go read the 
>book and can the uninformed name-calling.

I repeat, go read some history. And don't just give apology for the
unsubstantiated Rohl conjecturing. I would like to see some reasoned
argument by a person championing a position, instead of the old "go read
the book" fudge.

>> This is
>> mindless Velikovskian revisionism running rampant. Rohl sells his works
>> because he is writing to an audience that zealously wants to believe him
>> and trenchantly ignores the sea of data to the contrary.
>Your constant appeal to Velikovsky is tiresome, Ian.  

Without "Ages in Chaos" the Rohlian conjecture would not have been
possible. Rohl's stuff is tiresome. We are not dealing with a bunch of
people who don't want to deal with hard facts such as archeology, as in the
case of the DSS, we are dealing with an enormous body of literature (mainly
epigraphy) and archaeology that implies a grand conspiracy if we are to
believe the (unbelievable) stuff that Rohl is based on, ie that ALL ANE
historical sequences are wrong, that though they have nice pottery
sequences and kinglists, etc, they are simply wrong because Rohl wants
Ramses II to be Shishak.

>Guilt by 
>association is also not science, and continues to demonstrate just 
>how much you don't really know about Rohl's approach.  

I would like to see a little science rather than a flit across the face of

>You continue to rail at you know not what.  

Why did you ignore four out of five examples I gave? Nice hardcore
archaeological evidence for the Sea Peoples' wake of destruction from the
Aegean down to Egypt datable to the twelfth century. That is science, but
you ignore it.

>It's obvious you have your 
>mind made up and won't let it be clouded by something as 
>revolutionary as an honest reading of the book.  
I'm not railing, though it might salve your sensibilities that I were. The
boring "go read the book" approach I've had to suffer for so many years
when people want to push their hobby-horses.

Stop shooting from the hip and think: if Osorkon II, the great grandson of
Sheshonq I, sent troops to fight against Shalmaneser III at Qarqar in 853
BCE, that would place his great grandfather about 80 years before that.
Qarqar does not depend on Egypt for its dating.

Think about what it takes for pottery sequences, such as those established
for the Aegean and Mesopotamia, to be out by hundreds of years. Where did
all the extra pottery come from at the late end? If you want to redate
Ramses III away from the twelfth century you also have to redate the
Philistine arrival to the new time and with it all the pottery that shows
their presence in Palestine, and that entails all the Aegean pottery to
which it is related.

Do the late bronze destruction levels of Palestinian cities such as Jericho
now thought to be from the time when the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt
get redated or do we start looking for some other cause in some other time
period? What about the Thutmosid destruction of Megiddo? Redated or a new
culprit sought?

According to accounts from Ramses II Egypt attempted for half a century to
regain control of northern Syrian in his struggles with Hatti, yet if we
redate these struggles three centuries later, this is right when the
Aramaean states of Syria were building there power bases, in what was
thought to have been a power vacuum at the demise of Hatti and the eclipse
of Egypt.

Think about all the phantom kinglists that we have around the ANE that must
be collapsed by three hundred years. This means for all those countries
from Mesopotamia to Egypt. The Egyptian records are quite valuable because,
due to the relative tranquility in Egypt thanks to its isolation, quite a
lot of information has come down to us, including good indications as to
the lengths of the reigns of many kings, royal jubilees, events from
specific years. You can add them up yourself and count backwards. As I said
in the previous post, mindboggling.

All this because one wants to say that Ramses II is Shishak and not the
more obvious and previously thought chronologically correct Sheshonq.
Ockham says forget it. 

>Therefore, I will not 
>debate this with you any further.  

Dave, you didn't even start. You just apologised for the work. It would be
nice if could try to show some evidence of why one should forget the sea of

You have shown no knowledge of Egyptian historiography. You have provided
no reason at all for even contemplating such a trip into neverneverland
along with Rohl, so it's a good thing that you bow out of your

And think about why no Egyptologist -- in a field where archaeological
information is neither lacking nor depreciated -- shows any interesting in
this blather. Why don't you try proposing the Rohl dating on EEF
(Egyptologists' Electronic Forum) where there are a number of well-known
Egyptologists and see just how far you get? Predictably, nowhere at all.

The parallel you made of the situation with the DSS fails because there is
a wealth of archaeological evidence if you first looked at it and not the
secondary spin-offs.

>Rail on, but it will get you nowhere.

Semmelweis all over again.



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