[b-hebrew] Shishak

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Aug 27 01:18:11 EDT 2004

On Thursday 26 August 2004 13:10, MarianneLuban at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 8/26/2004 9:16:52 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> peterkirk at qaya.org writes:
> > >     When it comes to (ancient) Egyptian matters you refer again and
> > >     again to Rohl. Do you know any established Egyptologist who takes
> > >     his work seriously?
> Likely darned few.  Personally, I can't think of any.
> > >     Uri
> >
> > That is not the point. I am quoting Rohl's book as a convenient source
> > of data which needs explanation. If Rohl or his associates have found
> > data which seems to contradict "established" Egyptology, this
> > establishment needs to provide explanations for this data, and not write
> > it off by ad hominem arguments against its source.
> But it is the point.  Egyptologists are learned in the field.  The is a
> good reason why Rohl is popular with those who are not.  Think of Rohl as a
> kind of lawyer.  He is articulate and knows how to make a good case. 
> Someone who does not know the law could be swayed by his arguments quite
> easily.  But a judge or another attorney can spot the weaknesses in the
> case.  They know the precedents and can tell when another lawyer is making
> a point that "will not wash" within that framework.  You may think this is
> "apples and oranges"--but it isn't.  Precedents are set only in
> unestablished law but the arguments for them becoming precedents still have
> to be based on established law and deemed to be sound and, of course, the
> buck stops at the highest court--or with congress, so metimes.  By the same
> token, an Egyptologist has to operate within a framework, too--that is rely
> on previous scholarship--points of which have been extensively argued in
> the journals and books until a consensus has been reached. This can be a
> very lengthy process, indeed, and is receives the contributions of various
> specialists in aspects of the field.  

This is only half of the story.  As someone else mentioned, theories - 
especially related to biblical studies - don't change because the old guard 
changes its collective mind, but because it dies off.  I can tell you from 
personal experience the kinds of attacks one is likely to expect when 
presenting a new idea in the field (ask some folks here about my theories 
regarding Hebrew grammar).  The fact is, a theory can have plenty of merit 
and still be rejected out of hand.  Why?  Because so many of the "old guard" 
have staked their professional lives on the old theory, and can't let it go 
for any reason.  So when someone like me, or David Rohl, or Joe Blow down the 
street, comes along and rocks the boat, the automatic reaction is "crackpot" 
and the die is cast, usually until a new generation arises to take up the 
question without any particular ax to grind.

And yes, David Rohl is a trained Egyptologist with plenty of fancy letters 
after his name.  And frankly, most of the criticism of him that I've seen in 
the past few years takes the form that I describe above.  I don't have any 
stake at all in whether he's right or wrong, but the way that he has been 
treated by some is anything but scholarly.

Dave Washburn
"No good.  Hit on head."   -Gronk

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