Ages in Alignment

Ages in Alignment

Ages in Alignment

Ages in Alignment

Excerpt

One of the perennial ambitions of Christian Europeans, throughout the centuries, has been the verification of the Bible. Beginning with Eusebius, in the fourth century, Christian writers sought to enlist the histories of Mesopotamia and Egypt to answer the attacks of those who viewed the Old Testament as fable or, even worse, as propaganda. In this spirit Eusebius, employing the Egyptian history of the Ptolemaic scholar Manetho, constructed a chronology for Egypt based on biblical time scales. Thus for example he followed earlier Jewish commentators in tying the start of Egyptian history to the start of Hebrew history. Such endeavors made Ramses II contemporary with the Exodus, supposedly in the fourteenth or fifteenth century BC (for the simple reason that the Book of Exodus claimed the enslaved Israelites had built a city named Ramesses) and identified Menes, the first pharaoh, with Adam (because Menes or Min sounded like “man”, a common enough word in ancient languages), thereby making Egyptian civilization commence around 3750 BC, the date of Creation favored by Jewish chroniclers.

Over the centuries, the early Christian and Jewish writers’ Egyptian system became the “traditional” chronology for the Kingdom of the Nile, and, incredibly enough (though few contemporary Egyptologists are aware of it), it still forms the basis of our understanding of that history.

With the translation of the hieroglyphs in the years following 1821, it was confidently expected that biblical history was about to receive dramatic con-

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