Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 25:2 (June 1982) p. 235
Egypt and Bible History from Earliest Times to 1000 B.C. By Charles F. Aling. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981, 145 pp.
This is a pocket-size thin paperback inside a glossy finished cover adorned with photographed scenes of ancient Egyptian life. The text is supplemented with photo reproductions of monuments, carvings, paintings and sculptures from Egyptian history, but the quality of the photographs could be greatly improved.
The matter of content versus title raises objection in this reviewer’s mind. An attempt is made to justify an early date for the exodus with approximately 36% of all the pages devoted to the matter of Israel’s sojourn, bondage and deliverance from Egypt, while the rest of Egypt’s history is very sketchy. Omitted is any consideration of Gen 10:6, 13–14, treatment of which could have set before the reader earlier elements of Egyptian population. Likewise there is lacking any discussion of early influences from Mesopotamia on the formation of Egypt’s civilization.
The author adopts a precise chronology for the exodus, opting for 1446 B.C. based on the 480 years of 1 Kgs 6:1. However, Acts 13:18–22 produces some 610 years from the exodus to Solomon’s temple, the comparison indicating that some other dating system was employed to obtain the 480 years. This suggests that the rulers designated by Aling for the indicated chronology are incorrect. Furthermore, data concerning Raamses and Pithorn (Exod 1:11) weigh considerably against the early date of the exodus. Not enough remains have been found elsewhere or on the site of Raamses-Qantfr to justify the existence of an earlier city or a pharaoh named Raamses. Additionally the Amarna letters (1401-1347 B.C.) work against an early date of the exodus in that the names of the petty kings of Canaan included therein would have appeared in the captives listed in Joshua, and these do not appear in Joshua’s history of the conquest.
Finally, the archaeological data do not support an early date for the exodus. Evaluations now current and demonstrable support a 14th- or 13th-century B.C. date on the basis of a clear, pervasive change in population in the area of Israel’s occupation. Likewise the pounding that Canaanite cities took under sustained Egyptian invasions after the early date would have had some reflection in later Israelite records, but these are not mentioned.
For these reasons the early date selected for the exodus is suspect. This book, then, amounts to an approval of the early date while disr...
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