[b-hebrew] pharaoh as god

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Jul 9 23:45:28 EDT 2003

Dear Liz:

That depends on when the stories of Genesis were written. I have heard some who claim that Moses basically edited earlier materials that were written by the persons whose authorship was listed at the end of each section, making the sections contemporanious with the authors listed. I find that argument quite persuasive. But even if it was late, as others claim, the pharaoh who elevated Joseph was still portrayed as a high status man, not a god. It is this high status man who became angry with his underlings. After all, it is a Hebrew word, not an Egyptian word, that we are talking about, so it depends on the Hebrew context in which it was written.

The fight between the Egyptian gods and YHWH was later, a different story, and even then it was written in a way that only an ancient Egyptian or modern scholar would recognize it as a contest between dieties. How many Jews (and Christians) through the ages recognized it as such? I suspect very few.

So I guess my question has relevance only if we assume an early date for the writing of Genesis.

Yours, Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Liz Fried" <lizfried at umich.edu>
> Dear Karl,
> I don't understand your reasoning below.
> Whenever Pharaoh came to be regarded as a god,
> it was certainly long before the stories of Genesis were written.
> The question is what is the author of the Genesis stories trying to say?
> If it's not "our god is better'n your god," then what??
> > > I don't know from what era "the earliest written [Egyptian]
> > > sources" hail
> >
> > That’s the rub. If they are contemporanious to the
> > pharaohs in question (e.g. the pharaoh who elevated
> > Joseph to prime minister)
> Was there such a pharaoh? Was there a Joseph?
> then the earlier
> > qestion concerning the meaning of QCP pertaining
> > to a god is strengthened, but if the [Egyptan] sources stem
> > from a much later time (e.g. attributing divinity
> > to strengthen later claims) then the claim that QCP
> > is for a superior but not necessarily a god to an
> > inferior is strengthened.
> >
> > Genesis, as it presently stands, favors the latter
> > reading, as it does not attribute divinity to the
> > pharaoh of Joseph’s time.
> >
> Liz
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