[b-hebrew] Rohl's Chronology Deconstructed

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Mon Jul 26 20:18:36 EDT 2004

In a message dated 7/26/2004 2:49:36 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
dwashbur at nyx.net writes:

> If you read
> > > his
> > >
> > > material, he has no stake at all in whether the Bible aligns with
> > > anything else in history; he simply doesn't care, and the fact that he
> > > can fine alignments between the Bible and his revised chronology is a
> > > curiosity to him, nothing more.
> > >
> > > The "mainstream" may be a stagnant pool at times--but that still doesn't
> > > mean that just anyone who comes along to make ripples in it is going to
> > > do so well enough to "clear the waters" of stagnation so that everything
> > > becomes so clear you can see right through to the bottom!  I think you
> > > are absolutely mischaracterizing Rohl.  His "Pharaohs and Kings", for
> > > example, contains attempts to reconcile the Bible and Egyptian history
> > > much of the time.  In fact, that seems to be the entire goal of the 
> book!
> > >  If he mere wanted to make points for a new Egyptian chronology, he 
> could
> > > have utilized Egyptian evidence alone--but instead he drags in the
> > > Biblical narratives--big time!
> First, the way your mailer appears to indicate quotations got a bit 
> confusing 
> here; it took me a few moments to discern what was actually your comment.  I 
> don't know why, but I've noticed it happening a couple of times over the 
> past 
> few days.  Just an observation, I have no idea what to do about it ;-)

Nor do I.

> I don't know where the phrase "just anyone" came from, it certainly didn't 
> come from anything I said.  Yes, the book does spend a lot of time 
> connecting 
> to the Bible.  But in the introduction, he not only says explicitly that he 
> really doesn't care about the accuracy of the Bible, he also explained why 
> he 
> used it so much.  I'm not the one mischaracterizing him here, because my 
> characterization is based on his own words right there in the book.

The logic of this eludes me.  One doesn't care about the accuracy of the 
Bible--but attempts constantly to align it to Egyptian chronology.  Well, okay...

> >  So it's not as if he has a biblical ax to grind here, his
> >
> > > purpose is purely Egyptological, and his goal is to correct what he sees
> > > as an erroneous chronology on the part of "mainstream scholars."
> >
> > And yet his arguments against those "mainstream scholars" (who are not
> > exactly in agreement on chronological matters, themselves) have persuaded
> > few knowledgeable persons.  If you are saying that these "mainstream
> > scholars" never pay any attention to new and persuasive arguments from
> > their peers--you would be very wrong, indeed.
> I didn't say that, and I would appreciate it if you don't put words in my 
> mouth.  And while we're at it, "knowledgeable persons" is a matter of 
> definition, as we all know.

Well, it did seem to me that you were a bit hard on this rather ephemeral 
"mainstream" and its lack of acceptance of Rohl.  If you really meant just Ken 
Kitchen, why didn't you say so in the first place? I didn't intend to put words 
in your mouth.  However, you are now alleging that we all agree that 
"knowledgeable persons" is a matter of definination.  Not I.  Either someone is 
knowlegeable on a topic--or isn't.  Expertise does vary on certain "aspects" of a 
field like Egyptology--but lack of knowledge is simply that.  Lack of knowledge.


> > But these "scholars"--and I don't know why you cast doubt on them by
> > putting this word in quotes--don't simply say "Oh that Rohl, he is a
> > boat-rocking trouble-maker" but give reasoned arguments contra him.  I
> I put the word in quotes because I was quoting someone else.  And with the 
> exception of Kitchen, the "boat-rocking trouble-maker" is the most common 
> characterization I have seen out of his critics, and Kitchen is the only one 
> I have seen who truly gives "reasoned arguments."  At this point, I'm still 
> undecided between the two, but IMNSHO they both make good points.
> > would say that that re ally bad treatment in the academic world is to
> > ignore someone altogether.  One of the reasons I believe Rohl has received
> > so much attention from other scholars is that they have seen the potential
> > impact his theories have on the uninformed.  Rohl wrote the above 
> mentioned
> > book and it was so  well-produced and so expertly laid out(graphics and
> > whatnot) that few laymen would suspect that claptrap could be so
> > beautifully presented. 
> Thank you for making my point with the "claptrap" comment.  Is that what is 
> considered a "reasoned argument"? 

No, it's just my final assessment.  Anybody who points to an anonymous statue 
and says "This is a statue of Joseph" (just to give one example of Rohl's 
many baseless assumptions) pretty much invites brickbats.  A man named Velikovsky 
once wandered fearlessly into that same swamp--and got swamped.  Rohl should 
have learned from the example of Velikovsky.  

 The implications of his restructuring of 
> the TIP have far-reaching consequences for both egyptology and biblical 
> studies, and all the rest is based on that, as Peter pointed out.  ISTM that 
> too many of his critics only see the later stuff in the book where he's 
> relating his new chronology to the Bible, and don't see the real issue: the 
> TIP is the question.

You are assuming that Rohl is correct about the TIP.  What if he isn't?   
But, again, I make the point that you can't take years from a certain era and 
them retroactively.  Only prospectively.  If, when trying to align two 
separate cultures, you have to take into account the dates provided by both 
cultures--if any are given.  The dates we have for the Bible narratives are contained 
in them.  And we also have attested regnal lengths for certain pharaohs.  The 
fact remains is that for Rohl to give credence to his TIP theories, he had to 
put the exodus way back in the 13th Dynasty--for which there is absolutely no 
good evidence whatsoever--just to get Saul to to co-exist with Akhenaten--and 
so on and so forth.  He saw some evidence at Tanis that is interesting (but 
not exactly conclusive) and the rest is just all supposition.  Then comes the 
evidence from the third culture.  If you get Assyrian texts saying Ahab of 
Israel warred against King X--and an actual stela showing King Jehu bowing before 
the Assyrian might--then that is a whole lot better than any mysterious things 
at Tanis and surely better than suppositions--so the third culture has to be 
taken into consideration, as well.  

  The biblical stuff is nothing more than ripple effects > 
> that spread from that focus.  Hence, it is that question about the TIP that 
> should be the actual focus of inquiry when dealing with him.  I don't see 
> many of his critics doing that.  I can't help but wonder why.

See above.

> > (Most scholarly works tend to look the opposite of 
> > "fancy" but those for "popular consumption" do--no accident there).  Plus,
> > Rohl was very visible on television, going about like Indiana Jones,
> > complete with a "sidekick", Bob Bianchi.  I think it is scarcely any 
> wonder
> > that other scholars decided to deal with all this before it got to be
> > "dogma" in the eyes of too many people.  But, even so, it is, to a
> > considerable degree.  
> So putting together a presentation that looks good and that "gets the hay 
> down 
> out of the loft onto the barn floor where the cows can get at it," as Walter 
> Martin used to quote, is a bad thing?  Again, thank you for making my point.

You are getting very defensive for a person who just stated that he can't 
make up his mind whether Rohl or Kitchen is right.
> > There is an entire mailing list devoted to Rohl and 
> > his theories.  I once joined it and got tremendous flack for making too
> > many "points" against him. The opposition I received was virulent and
> > hardly reasoned.  It was like "This is a list of Rohl fans and we don't
> > want your arguments."  When my points were too sensible, the moderator, 
> who
> > apparently worshipped Rohl (a woman) simply did not allow them through. So
> > I quit.  And I am not the only person who had this experience.  And that,
> > sir,  is the other side of the coin of intolerance.
> Intolerance?  Hardly.  When someone sets up a mailing list devoted to a 
> topic 
> and with clearly-defined guidelines, is it intolerant to expect people to 
> abide by those guidelines?  I've been to the list, used to be part of it and 
> only left it because I was getting too much mail and some things had to go.  
> Your little "when my points were too sensible" undoubtedly reflects the chip 
> that you carried on your shoulder into the list, and considering that the 
> list IS for "Rohl fans," as you yourself admitted, can we really blame them 
> for wanting you to abide by the list guidelines?

I don't have a chip on my shoulder.  Here is what the "ad" for the list says 
"now" (below)--but that is not necessarily what it said a few years back.  It 
is just plain absurd to believe that any group of people (even nearly a 
thousand, as the list membership is now) can discuss the theories of one man in a 
vacuum.  If the man proproses a novel theory that flies in the face of all 
previous beliefs, then a banning of the reasons for the established scenario any 
why these also have merit amounts to no more than unadulterated "hero worship".  

  I've seen folks on that > list question some of Rohl's stuff, but they do 
> it respectfully and with deference to each other.  I was quite pleased with 
> the balance and with the respect they showed each other.  I did see a few 
> people jump on for a few 
> days, self-appointed experts who were going to set these people straight and 
> threw a lot of attitude around, and yes, they didn't last long.

Are you implying that I was one of those?  And I did not treat the others 
with respect?  It seems to me that the shoe was on the other foot.  There were a 
lot of "experts" on that list who were sure Rohl was right--based on what they 
had read from Rohl.  In a vacuum.  They didn't know or care what any other 
scholar had said previously.  They got extrememly defensive.  Just as you seem 
to be now.  To what purpose?  

  For one > thing, that is in fact outside the guidelines of the list.  For 
> another, it's 
> lousy Nettiquette, IOW, it's rude.  And someone who takes the trouble to set 
> up a list, maintain it AND moderate it, doesn't have to put up with that.  
> Such a thing hardly constitutes intolerance, it's simply a case of trying to 
> maintain respectful attitudes on the list.  The owner of a list has the 
> right 
> to do that.
In that case, the list owner had better be more clear about the aims of the 
list than the following "double talk" that advertises the list now:

"David Rohl's books and video series Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest, (A 
Test of Time in the U.K.), Legend ~ Genesis Of Civilisation, and The Lost 
Testament are studied and discussed. If you want to see egyptology, archaeology, 
and archaeoastronomy line up with the Old Testament narratives, then this is 
the list for you. David's television special, In Search of Eden is now 
available on DVD. DVDs of David Rohl's study day in Florida will be available soon - 
details to follow...Our purpose ~ to study the New Chronology proposed by David 
Rohl. Through exploring his framework of chronology discussing the various 
disciplines of science, we hope to understand and possibly help to refine his 
proposals. We consider some of the other alternate chronologies in circulation, 
but our prime goal remains the discussion of David Rohl's chronological 
outline. Other suggestions are explored by way of comparison. This is not an 
Orthodox Chronology group, nor is it a free-for-all on New Chronologies. The Bible is 
used and accepted as a historical document, along with other textual and 
related evidence. Beginner or scholar - if you are excited about David Rohl's 
work, and you enjoy ancient history, archaeology, and timelines, I hope you will 
come with us for the dig of a lifetime!"
And that's it.  In order to avoid any disruption on "this" list, I have 
nothing further to say on the subject of Rohl or any fansite dedicated to him.    

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