David Rohl’s Revised Egyptian Chronology: A View From Palestine -- By: Bryant G. Wood

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 14:3 (Summer 2001)
Article: David Rohl’s Revised Egyptian Chronology: A View From Palestine
Author: Bryant G. Wood

David Rohl’s Revised Egyptian Chronology: A View From

Bryant G. Wood

Reprinted with permission from Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 45 (2000:) 41–47.

In his book Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest (1995a; it was first published in England as A Test of Time: The Bible—From Myth to History [1995b]. David Rohl purports to have produced a better correlation between the findings of archaeology and the Bible by revising Egyptian chronology, Rohl describes the current state of affairs in Biblical archaeology as fallows:

...archaeological excavations in Egypt and the Levant, ongoing for the best part of the last two centuries, have produced no tangible evidence to demonstrate the historical veracity of the early biblical narratives. Direct material support for the traditional history of the Israelite nation, as handed down in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Joshua. Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, is virtually non-existent (7).

This statement is, of course, grossly exaggerated and inaccurate, as even a cursory review of the many books on archaeology and the Bible will reveal. By making such a statement. Rohl has set up a straw man which he can now proceed to knock down by means of his new chronology. In actual fact, however, the cure is worse than the sickness, as the new chronology produces no correlations whatsoever!

Rohl attempts to lower Egyptian chronology by several hundred years for the period before 664 BC. The sacking of Thebes by Ashurbanipal in 664 BC is accepted as a fixed date by Rohl and becomes the starting point for his revised chronology (119). He accomplished this by shortening the 20th Dynasty and overlapping the 21st and 22nd Dynasties (144, 384). Several scholars have critiqued the Egyptological aspects of his ideas (Bennett 1996; Brissaud 1996; Kitchen 1996: xlii-xlvi; van Haarlem 1997), but no one has evaluated the impact of his theory on Palestinian archaeology and the resulting correlations, or tack thereof, with Biblical history.

Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria. David Rohl’s chronology uses Assyrian king Ashurbanipal’s sacking of Thebes in 664 BC, as a fixed date and is the starting point of his chronology. While several scholars have examined his chronology on the basis of evidence from Egypt, little evaluation of his theory on Palestinnian archaeology has been published (see Wood 2000).

The Merneptah Stela (sometimes called the Israel Stela) is a 7 ft 6 in (228 cm) inscribed stone sl...

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