Egyptology, Oriental Travel And Discovery -- By: Joseph P. Thompson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 021:83 (Jul 1864)
Article: Egyptology, Oriental Travel And Discovery
Author: Joseph P. Thompson


Egyptology, Oriental Travel And Discovery

Joseph P. Thompson

The identification of the hieroglyphic group Aperi-u or Apuruju, as the Egyptian name for the Hebrews, already mentioned in this Journal,1 is endorsed by the high authority of Dr. Heinrich Brugsch. M. Chabas of Chalon-sur-Saone was the first to call attention to this name as found in two reports of a commissary of Ramses II. This officer makes a return of the rations furnished by him to these Aperi-u = Hiberi-m, who were employed upon the public works. In noticing the monograph of M. Chabas, Dr. Brugsch calls attention to this reading as giving a special historical significance to the papyri in which the name occurs; adding, “the Hebrews are therein described as foreigners, who under Ramses H. were compelled to haul stone for building the city Ramses.”2

If this curious identification shall be generally admitted by Egyptologers, it will go far to determine the date of the exodus. Ramses II. is assigned by Lepsius, Bunsen, and Brugsch to the third term of the 19th dynasty,— the two former dating his reign from 1388 B.C.; the latter, from 1407 B.C. Poole places him 1340 B.C., Palmer at 1486 B.C., while Uhlemann and Seyffarth assign him to the 18th dynasty, and at about 1690 B.C. All Egyptologers agree in ascribing to Ramses H. immense public works, and a reign of more than sixty years.

Manetho styles him Ramses Miammoun, and assigns to him a reign of sixty-six years; and Boeckh, in his chronological tabulation of Manetho’s dynasties, dates the commencement of this reign at 1411 b. c.3 Here, then, is an extreme range of three hundred years between the different schools of Egyptian chronology, within which the period of Ramses II. falls; and within which also falls the date of the exodus according to the received chronology of the Bible. The term “Aperi-u” is clearly an ethnic name, and is applied to some foreign race held in subjection in Egypt, and compelled to labor upon the public works of Ramses II. If these can fairly be identified with the Hebrews, then it will only remain to fix the date of one of the most prominent monarchs of the 18th or the 19th dynasty.

The new Journal of Egyptian Philology and Archaeology, edited by Dr. Brugsch, promises to be of great value to students in this department. It is published monthly by J. C. Hinrichs of Leipsic, in numbers of ten or twelve pages quarto. Each number contains one or more plates of hiero-

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