[b-hebrew] pharaoh as god

Peter Kirk peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Thu Jul 10 05:09:30 EDT 2003

On 09/07/2003 20:45, Karl Randolph wrote:

>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.
The "earliest written sources" in question, in which Pharaoh was 
considered a god, certainly date back to the Old Kingdom, and include 
for example the Pyramid Texts,  from around  2500 BCE on the generally 
accepted chronology. Those who consider Joseph to be a historical figure 
generally date him to the late Middle Kingdom or the succeeding Hyksos 
period, so between 1900 and 1500 BCE on the same chronology. And the 
dates given for Moses range from 1500 to 1200 BCE. I hope that helps to 
put the matter in proper perspective.

Peter Kirk
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com

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