I’m presenting a paper at the 7th Birmingham Egyptology Annual Symposium on May 21st, 2021 and you can virtually attend

I’ll be presenting my paper Towards a Theory of Egypt’s God-King Chronology on May 21st at 9 A.M. EST (2 P.M UK time.). The conference is being presented by the 7th Birmingham Egyptology Annual Symposium in conjunction with the Egypt Exploration Society. It is a virtual conference over Zoom and attendance is free. You can use this link to register and get details.

I have placed my abstract below along with a copy of the program schedule. The schedule lists event times in UK and Egypt.

After I present this paper, I plan to get back to more active blogging. I have had a busy month or so.

ABSTRACT OF MY PRESENTATION

Ancient Egypt’s only known multi-dynasty chronologies, the Turin Canon of Kings (c. 12th century B.C.E.) and Manetho’s Aegyptiaca (c. 3rd century B.C.E.), indicate that the First Dynasty was preceded by a long list of god-kings with assigned lengths of reign. Unfortunately, the Turin Canon papyrus is very badly damaged in this section and many of the god names and much of the associated chronology are either damaged or missing. As to Manetho’s history, his original text is lost and what we know about this time frame was preserved in wildly inconsistent versions preserved by several Christian scribes several centuries later who took great liberties with Manetho’s chronology and who explained why they made many changes to what Manetho wrote. 

This paper introduces the theory that behind these two chronological texts stands a systematic unfolding of the Theban Creation theology with lengths of reign based on solar, lunar and stellar cycles,  and that this data can be recovered by tracing error patterns in the Manetho sources. As an introduction to the thesis, this paper will focus on the Manetho texts and (1) outline several arithmetic errors made by the scribes who passed on the manuscripts, (2) demonstrate several interpretive errors by the redactors that led to erroneous data being used in the various Manetho sources, and (3) offer one major new insight as to what the redactors misunderstood, which, when placed in context, will provide the key to unlocking the chronological and sequential arrays and explain the various inconsistencies in the Manetho sources. 

CONFERENCE PROGRAM

7th Annual Birmingham Egyptology Symposium Schedule
‘Biography in Ancient Egypt’

10:15– 10:30 (UK)                 Welcome

11:15 – 11.30 (Egypt)

10:30– 11:00 (UK)                 Keynote Talk

11:30– 12:00 (Egypt)            Dr Leire Olabarria, University of Birmingham

 Session One

11:00 – 11:30 (UK)                Small Image, Big Picture. Theoretical Approaches to Scenes of Daily Life

12:00 -12:30 (Egypt)            Genevieve Holt (Macquarie University, Sydney)

11:30 – 12:00 (UK)                The Chronicle of Prince Osorkon (B): some illuminations on the

12:30 – 13:00 (Egypt)           professional career system

Karim Mohsen El Ridy (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and Cairo University)

12:00 – 12:30 (UK)                Deciphering Ptolemy I: a study of archaeological evidence to establish

13:00 – 13:30 (Egypt)           his provenance and later role as Pharaoh                     
Ana Rumi (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

12:30 – 13:30 (UK)                Lunch break

13:30 – 14:30 (Egypt)

 Session Two:

13:30 – 14:00 (UK)                Investigating the language of Amarna Period                                    

14:30 – 15:00 (Egypt)          Sherouk Shehada (Helwan University)

14:00 – 14:30 (UK)                Towards a Theory of Egypt’s God-Kings

15:00 – 15:30 (Egypt)           Gary Greenberg (Independent Researcher)

14:30 – 15:00 (UK)                Break

15.30 – 16.00 (Egypt)

 Session Three

15:00 – 15:30 (UK)                Expressions of Female Agency & Morality in ancient Egyptian               

16:00 – 16:30 (Egypt)           Biographical Texts
Mariam Ayad (The American University in Cairo)

15:30 – 16:00 (UK)                Biography of Representations of Ancient Egyptian Culture in Video Game

16:30 – 17:00 (Egypt)           Matthew Stapleton (University of Central Florida)

16:00 – 16:30 (UK)                Biography of Ancient Egyptian Bead nets 

17:00 – 17.30 (Egypt)           Debora Spizzichino (Independent Researcher)                                               

Towards a Theory of Egypt’s God-Kings Chronology

I will be presenting a paper at the Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt (the major North American Egyptological scholars organization) during the week of April 22nd, 2021. The schedule isn’t formalized yet. The title is Towards a Theory of Egypt’s God-Kings Chronology, which is based on my research for the second volume of Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-Lists. The paper will only be dealing with portions of the Egyptian side of the data. Below is a copy of the Abstract. For information about the conference, go here. After the conference, I’ll post a link to the paper.

Ancient Egypt’s only known multi-dynasty chronologies, the Turin Canon of Kings (c. 12th century B.C.E.) and Manetho’s Aegyptiaca (c. 3rd century B.C.E.), indicate that the First Dynasty was preceded by a long list of god-kings with assigned lengths of reign. Unfortunately, the Turin Canon papyrus is very badly damaged in this section and many of the god names and much of the associated chronology are either damaged or missing. As to Manetho’s history, his original text is lost and what we know about this time frame was preserved in wildly inconsistent versions preserved by several Christian scribes several centuries later who took great liberties with Manetho’s chronology and who explained why they made many changes to what Manetho wrote.

This paper introduces the theory that behind these two chronological texts stands a systematic unfolding of the Theban Creation theology with lengths of reign based on solar, lunar and stellar cycles,  and that this data can be recovered by tracing error patterns in the Manetho sources. As an introduction to the thesis, this paper will focus on the Manetho texts and (1) outline several arithmetic errors made by the scribes who passed on the manuscripts, (2) demonstrate several interpretive errors by the redactors that led to erroneous data being used in the various Manetho sources, and (3) offer one major new insight as to what the redactors misunderstood, which, when placed in context, will provide the key to unlocking the chronological and sequential arrays and explain the various inconsistencies in the Manetho sources.

The Judicial System of Palestine [under the British Mandate c. 1938]

My father, Emanuel Greenberg, a seventh generation native born Israeli, was born in Jerusalem while it was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. He grew up in the United States but on his thirteenth birthday he spent a year back at his birth place. He studied law at NYU and after getting the basic law school LLB degree (which degree has been mostly replaced nowadays by the JD degree, Juris Doctor,) he continued in the post-graduate doctoral program in law and also received an LLD degree. It was his intent at the time to go back to Jerusalem and practice law there but when he married my mother, the plan changed.

After he passed away several years ago, I rooted about his effects and found an essay he wrote on the Palestine judicial system under the British Mandate. It appears to be a preliminary draft prepared for submission while in law school. While not directly biblical in content, it does fit into the historical portion of this site’s tile. I thought its discussion of how the British government managed to handle conflicting legal problems among Jews, Arabs, Brits and foreigners was quite interesting and I thought it might be something visitors to this site might also find of value. So I scanned it and am posting it here for those who would like to read it. The original title was Judicial System of Palestine, and I added “under the British Mandate c. 1938” for context, which would have been obvious at the time.

Why you should subscribe to Bible, Myth, and History

On this site, my goal is to publish serious biblical scholarship within the mainstream framework but which offers a different perspective on what the evidence shows. I also write articles for publication, present papers at conferences, and, most importantly to me, I write books. This means that I don’t have time to publish articles in clockwork fashion, like one article a day or every week. There will often be unintended delays of weeks before a new post is published. So, if you would like to stay current with my work without constantly checking to see if I have posted something new, you can subscribe to the site and receive an email when something is posted, along with information on the post. I use a standard plug-in to manage the subscriptions and as far as I know, the only person who can use the names on the list is me. And anything I have to say to you will be posted here. So, you shouldn’t receive any notifications other than those for new posts. In order to subscribe just look for the subscription box and enter your email. It will appear in different places depending on the viewing device you use.

John 11:45-54: The Key to John’s Chronological and Narrative Structure

That John’s chronology and narrative structure differs from that in the synoptic gospels is well-recognized by New Testament scholars but not satisfactorily explained. A few years ago, I presented a paper at the annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society of Biblical Literature offering a new theory for why John’s gospel is so different from the others. I have now placed a copy of the paper on this site, accessible from either the Abstracts or Writings pages. You can read it from this link.

The topic is far more complex than could be fully presented in a brief time slot and when I finish the current book I am working on, the second volume of Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-Lists, my next book will fully examine the issues raised in this paper. There is also a more expansive discussion of these issues in my The Case for a Proto-Gospel.

The Internal Chronology of Noah’s Flood, Part 3: The J Source Chronology

For Part 1: An Overview, Click here.

For Part 2: The P Source Chronology, Click here.

Let’s now look at the J source chronology. As with the P source analysis, I will list only the verses relevant to the J chronology. Again, I will omit the two verses that Friedman assigns to P and take them up in the discussion of harmonization. Numbers in parentheses are the Genesis verse numbers.

Tweaking the site a bit

I’ve made a couple of design changes to the site. The Menu page previously titled Selected Writings has been changed to Abstracts. The content remains the same and I have found a few more articles that I will add down the road. Not to be too confusing but I have added a new page called Writings. This page is a simple listing of all of my writings in (mostly) one place. It includes sections for Books, Papers Presented in Academic Forums, and Articles Published in Academic Forums, with links for each of the items mentioned. There are a couple of items listed that haven’t been linked yet and still need to be uploaded.

The Internal Chronology of Noah’s Flood, Part 2: The P Source Chronology

For Part 1: An Overview, click here.

In Part 1, I noted that the story of Noah’s Flood combines two sources, which the scholars nicknamed J and P. I indicated that I would follow Richard Elliot Friedman’s Who Wrote the Bible? to separate the sources but that I would challenge his assignment of two verses to the P source. It is my view that these two verses were inserted by the Redactor in order to harmonize the J and P sources into a single narrative. I’ll explore that issue in a subsequent post in this series.

Here, I am going to look at just the P chronology and ignore the two verses in question. For completeness, though, I’ll show where they appear in the sequence of P chronological verses so that you will know what I am leaving out. The first of the two verses is Genesis 7:24. “And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred fifty days. “ The second is Genesis 8:3. “and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred fifty days the waters had abated;”

As I noted in the overview, all the other verses assigned to P follow a fixed date format, giving us the day, month and year in which the event happened. As to the J verses, the time frames are relative, telling us how many days passed from one event to the next. As you can see, the format of the two verses cited above more closely aligns with the J format than the P format. In what follows, I set out the P chronological sequence of events. Numbers in parentheses are the Genesis verse numbers. Verses not directly related to the P chronology are omitted.

The Internal Chronology of Noah’s Flood, Part 1: An Overview

Ask someone who is biblically literate how long Noah’s Flood lasted and the usual answer will be forty days and forty nights. But that is not quite right. The problem is that the Flood story consists of the intermingling of two different sources with different chronologies, tightly integrated by a subsequent redactor who may have made some additional changes. Scholars refer to these two sources as J (for Jahwist) and P (for Priestly). Unless otherwise indicated, I will rely on Richard Elliot Friedman’s Who Wrote the Bible for the identification of J and P texts within the Genesis Flood account.

One problem is that the Flood story consists of three phases, rising water, receding water, and drying of the earth, and there appear to be inconsistencies between J and P as to how these three events unfold. Let’s look at an example of some of the problems that have to be solved.

Genesis 7:4 says, “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights.” Note here only rain is the source of the flooding. This verse belongs to the J source.

Genesis 7:6 says the Flood occurred during Noah’s six hundredth year but remains vague as to when in the six hundredth year the rain started. Genesis 7:11 says that on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah’s six hundredth year “the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened [emphasis added].” This verse belongs to P. Note here that the same day as the rain starts, there is both a downpour and the oceans burst open, a secondary source of the flooding.

Immediately after this last verse, Genesis 12–13 says, “The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons entered the ark [emphasis added].” This is a J passage. On what day did Noah and the family enter the ark? It could be argued that, given the narrative sequence, the family didn’t enter the ark until after the forty days of rain. But let’s put that issue aside. There are other problems.

The narrator is trying to give the impression that on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah’s six hundredth year the rains started and Noah’s family entered the ark. Most scholars would probably agree that the J source flood story and the P source flood story commence at the same point in time. But is this the case?

The problem is when did Noah get the seven-day warning. If we add the seven-day warning to the forty days of rain in the J source and count from the first day of Noah’s six hundredth year, the elapsed time of 47 days falls on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah’s six hundredth year, the same day that the P source sets as the start of its version of the flood story. (This would be true with solar or lunar calendars.)

So do we have one story where rain falls for forty days (J) and a separate story where rain falls and the oceans erupt on the same day (P) and did the redactor attempt to align them so that they started on the same day, or did he mean for the rains to fall for forty days, after which the oceans erupted and the rains continued beyond forty days?

There is no simple answer to this question and we have to do a deep dive into all of the chronological data in the Flood story to make sense out of the ways J and P interact. An important detail that helps us resolve the problem is that J and P use different time descriptions to move the story along.

J uses relative chronology and P uses fixed chronology. That is, in the J source, things happen after “D” number of days; in P, events happen precisely on specific dates, i.e., on day “D’ in month “M” in year “Y” thus and thus happened. In P you have to calculate to determine how many days elapsed between events and J tells you how many days elapsed between events. J, on the other hand, is not anchored to specific dates and P is anchored to specific dates. (Here, I would add that, in a couple of instances, Friedman assigns a couple of chronological references to the P source even though they have a J format. I will argue later that these references were added by the redactor in order to further the integration of the  two sources.)

Over the next few posts on this topic, I will be looking at the J chronology in isolation from P; the P chronology in isolation from J; and the integration of the two. The chronological data will lead to interesting indications that the authors of J and P relied on differing aspects of the Egyptian calendar system for framing their narratives.

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