[b-hebrew] Akhenaten and the Hebrew Religion

Brian Roberts formoria at carolina.rr.com
Thu Jul 22 14:26:18 EDT 2004

Dear Walter,

Your points are addressed below.

On Thursday, July 22, 2004, at 02:10  AM, Walter R. Mattfeld wrote:

> Dear Brian,
> The Bible does tell us that Israel dwelt in Goshen and that when she 
> left
> Egypt it was from a place called Rameses. The book of Exodus does NOT
> identify the capital of Egypt as being Rameses. It is only stated that
> Israel "built" Rameses as a "store-city" and departed from it.

The recurring mention of "Rameses" in the Hebrew Bible must be viewed 
with some trepidation because of the anachronistic occurrence in Gen. 
47:11. Joseph certainly predated Rameses I by anyone's calculation, yet 
this verse states that he, his father and brothers settled in "the 
region of Rameses", centuries before the city existed. So, if the 
occurrence of "Rameses" in Gen. 47:11 is considered by scholars to be an 
anachronism inserted later by a redactor to make it more readily 
identifiable to his audience, then why can we not conclude the same sort 
of anachronism exists for the mention of "Rameses" in Ex. 1:11? Rohl 
makes this case well in his Pharaohs and Kings. Marianne Luban also 
shares this view in this thread. It is the only biblical connective 
tissue to Rameses II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus, but it is an easily 
assailable one.

> The ONLY
> verse in the Bible that I am aware of that suggests a "possible" 
> location of
> a Pharaonic residence is Psalm 78:12, 43 where it is stated that Moses
> withstood Pharaoh "in the fields of Zoan." _For me_, the Bible suggests 
> that
> Pharaoh's residence is "near the fields of Zoan," a location far away 
> enough
> from Rameses and Goshen that the plagues befalling the Egyptians would 
> affect the Israelites who dwelt in a _different_  but "nearby" location.
> If one looks at a map of the eastern Delta, Zoan, identified today with 
> San
> el-Hagar, lies approximately 22 kilometers  or 12 miles WNW of Rameses
> (Qantir), which in turn is about 8 kilometers or 5 miles ENE of Faqus.
> Plagues befalling the Egyptians at San el Hagar, which lies on a 
> "different
> branch of the Nile," would make sense while Qantir on the Pelusiac 
> branch of
> the Nile "might be" envisioned by the narrator as free of any harm.
> The distance between Zoan and Qantir is "not that great" that Moses 
> would
> have had a problem going to the location to confront Pharaoh and then 
> return
> to Rameses and Goshen on a _daily_ basis.
> The problem ? The archaeological data does NOT support the above 
> scenario.

Of course that is your straw man. Feel free to knock it down. It still 
doesn't affect my suggestions. I never said that Akhenaten was the 
Pharoah of the Exodus. I suggested that Amenhotep III was the Pharaoh of 
the Exodus. Amenhotep III lost his first-born son. His other son 
Akhenaten adopted a sort of henotheism with the Aten as his central 
deity. If the Hebrews were gone from Egypt by the last year of Amenhotep 
III, they would have likely missed Akhenaten's composition of the Hym to 
the Aten. I'm suggesting that the flow of influence went from the 
Hebrews, whose henotheism helped fashion that of Akhenaten.

> San el-Hagar first became a Pharaonic residence -based on surviving 
> ancient
> Egyptian records- ONLY under the 21st Dynasty established by Pharaoh 
> Smendes
> I and was the capital ca. 1081 to 711 BCE, NOT 1446 BCE when most
> Conservative scholars understand that the Exodus to have occurred on the
> basis of 1st Kings 6:1.  In 1446 BCE the capital was at Memphis, which 
> would
> have been several days journey, disqualifying it in the Exodus 
> narratives in
> my humble opinion.

Simply because the Exodus narratives involving the plaques and meetings 
between Moses and Pharaoh only focus on the events the writer deemed 
salient, it still doesn't give us a timeframe for the meetings. They 
could have taken place over months or years, as the text simply 
establishes a pattern of presentation (Moses) and refusal (Pharaoh). 
That being an equal possibility, repeated journeys from Memphis to 
Goshen would not have been a handicap.

> Under Akhenaten, Memphis was abandoned as a capital and a new site was
> chosen called Akhet-Aten "Horizon of the Aten," modern day Tell 
> el-Amarna,
> _further south_ of Memphis, again, as noted by Karl, too faraway to be 
> the
> Pharaonic residence Moses would confront the Pharaonic court at from 
> Rameses
> (Qantir) in Goshen (Faqus ?).

Again, archaeological hindrances to the above do not concern my 
suggestion that Amenhotep III wa sthe Pharaoh of the Exodus.

> The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus argued that the Hyksos expulsion 
> (ca
> 1530 BCE) under Ahmose I was the biblical Exodus. The problem ? Ahmose's
> capital was Thebes, again too far south of Qantir/Rameses and Goshen, 
> for
> daily confrontations with Pharaoh and his court and no where near "the
> fields of Zoan" (Psalm 78:12,43).


> The "bottom-line" ? No matter "what date" one wants to posit for the 
> Exodus,
> be it Josephus' Hyksos, Brians' Akhetaten or Manetho's Ramesside 
> expulsion,
> the archaeological data REFUSES to support "in toto" the scenario being
> proposed (various other sites mentioned in the Exodus narratives NOT 
> being
> in existence in the same time frame or abandoned).
> For a map of Zoan (San el Hagar) and Rameses (Qantir) cf. the following 
> url
> :
> http://www.bibleorigins.net/RamesesMapAvaris.html
> For Goshen cf:
> http://www.bibleorigins.net/GoshenMapFaqus.html
> For problems (Archaeological) with Josephus' Exodus being the Hyksos
> expulsion from Manetho's Avaris (Tell el-Daba adjacent to 
> Qantir/Rameses)
> cf. the following url:
> http://www.bibleorigins.net/Exodus1540BCHyksos.html
> Regards, Walter
> Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
> mattfeld12 at charter.net
> www.bibleorigins.net
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Brian Roberts" <formoria at carolina.rr.com>
> To: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> Cc: "Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2004 9:33 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Akhenaten and Hebrew religion
>> Karl,
>> Ex. 1:11 says the new Pharaoh set up treasure cities at Pithom and
>> Raamses.
>> The land of Goshen is mentioned in Ex. 8:22 as being the place where 
>> the
>> Hebrews were quartered. This is in way connected to the palace of
>> Pharaoh. Again in Ex. 9:26 the Hebrews are located in Goshen, which was
>> said to be immune to the plagues. Were the Pharaoh's palace and main
>> army there, they would have fallen under that immunity, according to 
>> the
>> rules of the story.
>> Besides, the first-born son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye - Tuthmosis
>> did die before he could reach the throne. I can see how this story 
>> could
>> have been the impetus for the death of the first-born plague in Exodus.
>> On Wednesday, July 21, 2004, at 05:01  PM, Karl Randolph wrote:
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: Brian Roberts <formoria at carolina.rr.com>
>>>> What if an exodus event took place at the end of Akhenaten's father's
>>>> life?
>>>> Akhenaten had broken away by then. at least religiously, his
>>>> henotheistic views being well-documented before his father's death.
>>>> What
>>>> if Psalm 104 carries echoes of the Hymn to the Aten because the
>>>> departing Hebrews took it with them?
>>>> R. Brian Roberts
>>> Unlikely, as the picture given in Exodus is that the pharaoh had his
>>> capital and main army near the land of Goshen (eastern Nile delta), 
>>> not
>>> way up in Memphis or Thebes. This situation existed (as far as I know)
>>> only during the Hyksos period and Ramses II and his dynasty. Other
>>> factors make me doubt Ramses II, leaving me, by default, with the
>>> Hyksos.
>>> Why not consider the Hymn to the Aten an echo of Psalm 104?
>>> Karl W. Randolph.
>>> --
>>> ___________________________________________________________
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