Rohl (was: yrw$lym)

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Sat Sep 25 16:46:58 EDT 1999

Dear Ian,

I have no brief to defend Rohl. But he does examine many of the links 
you mention here. There does seem to be a problem with the Sea Peoples 
in his thesis as far as I have read it, he seems to identify the 
Philistines in the Biblical accounts with Hittites.

I do want to defend Rohl against the charge that he has ignored the 
account of Sheshonq I's campaign in Palestine. He looks in detail at a 
list of cities attacked which is on "the Bubastite Portal" on "the 
southern outer wall of the hypostyle hall at Karnak". Is this the same 
as your "the southern end of the pylon of Ramses I at the temple of 
Karnak"? It is odd that the account of Rameses II's invasion of 
Palestine is at the other end of the same wall! Rohl gives eight pages 
to Sheshonq's campaign ("A Test of Time" pp.120-127) and especially to 
the list of cities attacked (admittedly partly illegible). Rohl shows 
that Sheshonq mostly kept north and west of Judah, attacking only one 
(Aijalon) of Rehoboam's 15 fortified cities of Judah listed in 2 
Chronicles 11. Rohl speculatively reinterprets this campaign to fit the 
reign of Joash of Judah and Jehoahaz of Israel, with Sheshonq as the 
mysterious "saviour" of 2 Kings 13:5 c. 800 BCE (pp.307,377).

I am looking forward to getting on to Rohl's sections on the Conquest 
and the early monarchy, to examine his data on how the Biblical data 
ties up with such things as the Amarna letters and the archaeology of 
Jericho. Of course another approach to such correspondences could be to 
redate the Biblical narrative e.g. to push the time of Saul and David 
back to the Amarna period.

There are of course many problems with Rohl's theory. He has also 
identified a number of problems with the traditional theory, enough to 
suggest the need for closer study of the problem. I would have 
expected you, who are so keen to reject accepted interpretations of 
Israelite history and go back to the raw data, would welcome those who 
try to do the same with the history of Egypt, and would at least study 
their proposals carefully.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Rohl (was: yrw$lym)
Author:  <mc2499 at> at Internet 
Date:    24/09/1999 18:31

Dear Dave,

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.

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. (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.)

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 bible.

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!

Let me just mention some of the historical links between Egypt and the ANE.

<snip, to save bandwidth - read and noted>

I have listed a number of clearly datable historical links between Egypt 
and the ANE. If we are to believe Rohl, all these events are misdated, 
which would imply that the historical information that we have for Hatti, 
Babylon, Assyria, Mitanni, Syria and even Greece is also misdated. 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.


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