Rohl: An Evaluation

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Wed Sep 29 17:41:29 EDT 1999

Dear Peter,

Thanks for your efforts here. You have made the situation clearer, though
this clarity doesn't help the case for the paradigm proposed.

>1) He has found (or borrowed from others e.g. Bimson) a number of 
>plausible correspondences between people and events named in the 
>Hebrew Bible (from the time of Jacob to the middle of the Divided 
>Monarchy) and archaeological finds in Egypt and Palestine, which are 
>not generally accepted because the Bible apparently dates these 
>considerably later than the conventional chronologies for Egypt and 
>for Palestinian archaeology.

This is exactly what Velikovsky did!

>2) He has found some internal inconsistencies in the conventional 
>chronology of Egypt and other Near Eastern nations, and has developed 
>his own new chronology in the light of these inconsistencies. Perhaps 
>inevitably, in eliminating some inconsistencies he has, according to 
>his critics, introduced new ones. But with this new chronology (which 
>is fairly flexible) the date discrepancies disappear for the 
>correspondences which he has noted between Egypt and Palestine. 

If you put a piece of elastic on a piece of wood and mark a line across
both, then stretch the elastic to reach some other point, the lines will no
longer match. I'll go for Kenyon, Albright and your everyday Assyriologist
who can show the equivalents in pottery sequence across all cultures in the
ANE for a few thousand years. Making his changes to the chronology of Egypt
to suit his understanding of biblical literature makes him err with regard
to everything else.

>noteworthy point here is that, while Rohl is very sceptical about 
>traditional chronologies of Egypt, he generally sticks rigidly to a 
>chronology for the Israelites derived straight from the Biblical text, 
>as interpreted by Thiele.

This is plain unjustifiable conjecture. Take a book from some unknown time
that deals with some period that cannot be ascertained other than from
within the work and use it as a yardstick is guaranteed mayhem. It's like
using the Arabian Nights to talk about the history of Bagdhad.

>Rohl's chronology differs from the conventional chronology by as much 
>as 377 years, in the dating of the start of the 18th dynasty (p.241) 
>and of the start of the Iron Age (pp.173, 175). He does this by 
>compressing the time from the Palestinian campaign in the 8th year of 
>Rameses II (conventionally 1272 BCE, according to Rohl 925 BCE i.e. 
>the 5th year of Rehoboam by Thiele's dating) to the sacking of Thebes 
>(undisputed date 664 BCE) from 608 years down to 261 years. To do this 
>he also has to compress the lengths of the Third Intermediate Period 
>and of the early Iron Age subdivisions very severely (Iron Age IB is 
>compressed from 150 years to 10!), whereas he has stretched the Hyksos 
>period (so that the discrepancy between the chronologies is less again 
>at the earlier end). There does seem to be a problem here.
>A partial solution to the problem may be to realise that the Israelite 
>chronology may also need to be reexamined. 

ie he has no standards whatsoever. This is chaos in itself. It sells.

>For example, it is far from 
>impossible that some reigns have been omitted from the Israelite 
>record so that Rohl's correspondence between the time of Saul and 
>David and the Amarna period can be maintained, but with a conventional 
>dating or at least one not so severely adjusted. Perhaps a later 
>editor confused the invasions of Palestine by Rameses II and Shoshenk 
>I and simply omitted a long period of Israelite weakness between them. 

But then all the stupidity about Ramses = Shisha is a waste of time.

>This is of course not compatible with a literal understanding of 
>Biblical chronological data, but most scholars accept that omissions 
>may be made in genealogies and that such periods as the 480 years of 1 
>Kings 6:1 are conventional rather than literal.
>On the other hand, Rohl has provided some clear evidence for the absolute 
>dating of his own scheme, independent of any Israelite chronology. The 
>most impressive is his evidence of a total solar eclipse at Ugarit in 
>1012 BCE, indirectly reported in an Amarna letter. 

As long as you 1) trust his interpretation of the Amarna letter and 2)
trust his recalculation of solar eclipses. This is more an amazing tales
sort of fact (Ripley's Believe it or Not), and doesn't make the
archaeological records disappear.

>If Rohl's 
>interpretation of this evidence is right, the Amarna period indeed 
>corresponds to that of David and Saul by the Thiele's chronology, but 
>Rohl's compressed Iron Age is required.

It is wrong according to his interpretation of equivalents between Assyrian
and Egyptian reigns. His equivalents are shown to be falsified.

I can see nothing in the following table for Israel that can be considered
a fixed datable event. This is all conjecture. All of it. Try and sell any
one of these to an Egyptologist. Would you like a few email addresses?

>Event for Israel         Approx historical setting   Conventional date
>Jacob moves to Egypt     Year 21 of Amenemhat III        1797
>Death of Joseph          Early 13th dynasty              1725 (??)
>Start of Oppression      Reign of Neferhotep I (??)      1696-1685
>Birth of Moses           Year 3 of Sobekhotep IV         1683
>Exodus                   End of reign of Dudimose        1621
>Conquest                 MB IIB destruction of Jericho   1750-1550
>Sheshai, ex-Hebron       Sheshi, 15th dynasty (??) king  1633-1525
>Abimelech at Shechem     LB I destruction of Shechem     1550-1400
>Battle of Ebenezer       LB I destruction of Shiloh      1550-1400
>Death of Saul            Amarna letter EA 245            1380-1330
>David captures Jerusalem Amarna letter EA 288            1380-1330
>Solomon's Egyptian wife  Daughter of Haremheb (late)     c.1300
>Solomon rebuilds Megiddo Megiddo VIII, LB IIA            1400-1300
>Solomon builds Millo     Millo discovered by Kenyon      1370-1310

(I didn't think Kenyon was so old!)

>Year 5 of Rehoboam       Year 8 of Rameses II            1272
>Jehoahaz of Israel (??)  Year 20 of Shoshenk I           925
>Jeroboam II (??)         Megiddo VA/IVB                  1000-900
>Manasseh of Judah        Sack of Thebes                  664
>Appendix 2: Some details of Rohl's redating 
>(all data from "A Test of Time")
>                Conventional    Rohl            Discrepancy (at start)
>Amenemhat III   1817-1772       1682-1636               135 
>Sobekhotep IV   1685-1678       1529-1508               156 
>End of 13th dyn 1621            1447                    174
>Ahmose          1539-1514       1194-1170               345 
>Akhenaten       1352-1336       1022-1006               330 
>Rameses II      1279-1213       932-                    347 
>Rameses III     1184-1153       c.880-853 (Omri/Ahab)   c.300 
>Shoshenk I      945-924         823-                    122 
>Osorkon II      874-850         789-762                 85 
>Shoshenk III    825-773         762-723                 63 
>Osorkon III     730-715         723-                    7 
>Shabataka       702-690         698-                    4 
>sack of Thebes  664             664                     0
>Assyrian rulers mentioned in Amarna and Hittite letters: 
>Ashuruballit    (I) 1362-1327   c.1007                  c.355 
>Adad-nirari     (I) 1304-1273   (II) 911-891            393 
>Shalmaneser     (I) 1272-1243   (III) 858-828           414 
>Tukulti-Ninurta (I) 1242-1206   (II) 890-884            352
And I showed just how wrong this was in my previous post. Tukulti-Ninurta
cannot both be the grandfather of a Shalmaneser contemporary with
Tudkhaliya IV and the son of that Shalmaneser as he was in the Tudkhaliya
correspondence. Only the early dating permits this correspondence to be
correct. (And see the other material last post.)

>Ammisaduga      1702/1646/1582- 1419-1398               283/227/163 
>(of Babylon, 3 alternative conventional chronologies)  
>Mid Bronze I    2150-2000
>Mid Bronze IIA  2000-1750       c.1700- ??              c.300 ?? 
>Mid Bronze IIB  1750-1550       c.1400- ??              c.350 ?? 
>Late Bronze I   1550-1400       c.1200- ??              c.350 ?? 
>Late Bronze IIA 1400-1300
>Late Bronze IIB 1300-1200       930-820                 370 
>Iron Age IA     1200-1150       820-800                 380 
>Iron Age IB     1150-1100       800-790                 350 
>Iron Age IIA    1000-900        790-                    210 
>Iron Age IIB    900-800
>Iron Age IIC    800-600

This would give most archaeologists nightmares!



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