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Dr. Zahi Hawass: "Whispers of a Hebrew Presence in Egypt"

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posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 10:51 AM
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I was wondering whether people are aware of the following significant statement by Dr. Zahi Hawass concerning a Hebrew tomb in Egypt:


In my opinion, the Israelite Exodus from Egypt will remain a point of controversy amongst scientists and researchers until the Day of Judgment or until new archaeological evidence is unearthed that is able to settle this issue. However in light of the information currently available to historians and archaeologists, we can do no more than practice moderation and caution.

There have been whispers in the archaeological community following the discovery of the Aper-al tomb in the Saqqara region in the area known as Abwab al-Qotat [Doors of the Cats] by French archaeologist Alain Zivie...

The discovery of this tomb which took place almost 20 years ago remains an important archaeological event. The reason for this is that the person buried in the tomb was known as "Aper-al" and this is an Egyptianized form of a Hebrew name. Aper-al was the vizier for King Amenhotep III, and later for his son King Akhenaten. Pharaoh Akhenaten was the first ruler to institute monotheism represented by the worship of the sun which he called Aten.

... In addition to this, there has been prolonged controversy between Torah scholars and archaeologists over the credibility of Aper-al in fact being a Hebrew name. This creates the impression that Hebrews were present in Egypt during the eighteenth dynasty, and that some Egyptianized Hebrews held senior state positions.

Source

The controversy surrounding extra-biblical evidence of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt has long raged. I'm not happy with use of the word 'proof' in the title, but the following is a convenient little summary of some of the well-known evidence often cited (-just as a convenient starting point for anyone new to the subject): Hebrews in Egypt - extra-biblical proof

Doubtless some will already know of Dr. Zahi Hawass' tantalizing comments, and will be able to fill us in as to how the debate has developed. I'm intrigued...




posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 11:11 AM
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all thats coming to my head is amen at the end of prayer... geeze, i have very poor input, athiesm is the new christianity,,

[edit on 2-1-2010 by tripulation666]



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 11:25 AM
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The Hebrews Exodus remains controversial, in part, because Hawass (among others) have long denied it citing a lack of archeological finds. He's been criticized for making a habit of announcing his denials just before a major Jewish or Christian holiday (google it). Such as this one from the NY Times just before Easter a couple years back:


The parting of the Red Sea was probably a myth, Egypt's chief archaeologist tells the New York Times today. The archaeologist, Dr. Zahi Hawass, said that he can find no archaeological evidence for the kind of cataclysmic event represented by the Exodus account of God's deliverance of the Israelite slaves from Egyptian slavery.

Speaking of Jewish and Christian believers in the historicity of the event, Hawass said: “If they get upset, I don’t care. This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem.”


The Muslims didn't enter Egypt until about the 7th C. A.D., it's not like they'll lose face by admitting Hebrews were in Egypt before that, or led an exodus out of the city. I suppose for Hawass just admitting Hebrews were in Egypt is a start.



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 04:41 PM
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Don't want to enter into a debate on the subject, but with our considerably advanced knowledge of the period, there is little question that the Moses and Exodus stories as told in the bible are mythology. A historical basis of some nature is probable, but nothing knwn supports the story as told.

I recommend the works by Thomas L. Thompson who many consider the greatest living biblical scholar of our time. His books
"The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives"
"The Bronze Age Settlement of the Sinai and the Negev"
"The Origin Tradition of Ancient Israel"
"The Early History of the Israelite People"
"The Bible in History: How Writers Create a Past"

are grounded in archeology and comparative history - and go a long way towards separating ancient history from the attempts to rationalize Biblica narratives that are really fiction.



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 04:44 PM
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How difficullt is it for Hawass to admit that Hebrews, being direct neighbours of Egypt, must have been around?



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 05:33 PM
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There is so much more to the story.
King Abraham
by Ralph Ellis

“If I indicated that biblical Abraham was a pharaoh of Egypt, would it appear to be an utterly absurd figment of a deranged mind? Initially that may seem so, but this is only because we have grown so used to the orthodox ecclesiastical creed that we have forgotten that the Biblical Abraham was in fact a very powerful man. Josephus, the first century Jewish historian says of Abraham:

Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt at the time, descended on this land with an immense army and seized Sarah the Princess, mother of our nation. And what did our forefather Abraham do? Did he avenge the insult by force of arms? Yet he had three hundred and eighteen officers under him, with unlimited manpower at his disposal!

Three hundred and eighteen officers, not men, under his command, it was obviously quite a sizable army that Abraham had at his disposal - possibly running into the tens of thousands. In this case, the image I have portrayed above is not quite so absurd, at the most it is just an embellishment on what the texts say, for they do not explain from what lands and over what peoples Abraham was such a leader. Yet how many options do we really have, how many nations in this era would have such a powerful army? This simple observation, holds within it the key to the fundamentals of modern theology and these are far removed from the Christmas card images that we are so familiar with. It is somehow explained to us by the clergy that the whole of the Western world were suddenly transfixed by the philosophy of a family of nomadic sheep-herders wandering around the Negev desert, a family who had held their traditions through thousands of years - and all this at a time when most such individuals were illiterate. This is the fantasy!
The truth is rather different and rather more believable - Abraham, pharaoh of Egypt, master of all he surveyed, the most powerful man in the world. “

The article is continued here:
freespace.virgin.net...

And the Exodus:
The Biblical exodus inscribed on an ancient Egyptian stele
by Ralph Ellis

Exodus
A summary of the events leading up to the exodus is perhaps required at this point. We know, from both the historical and biblical records, that the people of Egypt thought that the gods were angry during this period; clearly, both the Tempest Stele and the Bible talk of great storms deluging the otherwise arid lands of Egypt. We also know that there were tensions between the Theban pharaohs and the Hyksos pharaohs, and likewise between the Egyptian pharaoh and the Israelites; both records again speak of political / religious tensions between the two parties involved.

Furthermore, we know that both the Hyksos and the Israelites were thrown out of Egypt and that both these events involved a battle with the Egyptian army. Finally, both the entire Hyksos and the entire Israelite population embarked on an exodus towards Palestine; the Egyptian historian Manetho even indicating that the destination of the Hyksos refugees was Jerusalem.

The rest of the article here:www.world-mysteries.com...



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 06:01 PM
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Interesting there was just a program on History International about "forgotten" Jewish culture in ancient Rome.

The Naked Archaeologist
Jewish Rome


The Catacombs, the Vatican, the Churches--so much of the Rome world IS Christianity. But with the oldest European Jewish community in the world, is there another story under Rome? Starting in the historic streets of the Jewish Ghetto and ending in the rarely seen Jewish Catacombs, host Simcha Jacobovici digs down to an older, deeper layer of Rome--one that predates Christianity by centuries.


[edit on 2-1-2010 by Deny Arrogance]

[edit on 2-1-2010 by Deny Arrogance]



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 06:09 PM
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Also there is the Ahmose stele that nobody, outside of Zawass and his inner circle, has been allowed to examine for decades. It is locked away in storage, apparently.

The Ahmose stele, also called the Tempest Stele pieces of this stone tablet were unearthed in Karnak by Henri Chevalier in 1947.[5] In it an unknown god incurs one of the same plagues described in the Biblical account (darkness, also described as "a great storm"). The Exodus Decoded official website quotes the stele, "How much greater is this the impressive manifestation of the great God, than the plans of the gods!" An alternative reading is "Then His Majesty said 'How these (events) surpass the power of the great god and the wills of the divinities!'"



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 06:35 PM
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Sorry, but I forgot to mention that Simcha Jacobovici did both the Naked Archeologist program and The Exodus Decoded which is directed by James Cameron. That is why I brought up the Jewish Rome program to begin with.


theexodusdecoded.com...

[edit on 2-1-2010 by Deny Arrogance]



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 07:24 PM
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reply to post by mmiichael
 



Don't want to enter into a debate on the subject, but with our considerably advanced knowledge of the period, there is little question that the Moses and Exodus stories as told in the bible are mythology. A historical basis of some nature is probable, but nothing knwn supports the story as told.


Well I'm pretty sure that NUT doesn't give birth to the sun everyday, or for that matter the rest of the Egyptian myths are based on some factual event, should we then assume the Pharaohs are also myth?

Hebrews were in Egypt, and may have held more power there than acknowledged. Mythmaking was only one way of empowering a real figure, and surely the Pharaohs themselves were adept at it.

Babylonian seal found in Egypt confirms contact between the Babylonians and the Hyksos

Nubian Pharaohs ruled Egypt for a time, and so did the Hyksos. I don't know why but this seems to upset some people. AE was no different than other civilizations of it's time, and subject to conquest and foreign rulers. It was much more intertwined with its neighbors than perhaps a certain Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities would like to admit.



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 02:21 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 



How difficullt is it for Hawass to admit that Hebrews, being direct neighbours of Egypt, must have been around?

He has certainly maintained a very sceptical stance! Which makes the following aspect of his statement all the more remarkable:


The discovery of this tomb which took place almost 20 years ago remains an important archaeological event. The reason for this is that the person buried in the tomb was known as "Aper-al" and this is an Egyptianized form of a Hebrew name. Aper-al was the vizier for King Amenhotep III, and later for his son King Akhenaten.

This surely marks a very significant redefinition of Dr Hawass' position.


reply to post by mmiichael
 



Don't want to enter into a debate on the subject, but with our considerably advanced knowledge of the period, there is little question that the Moses and Exodus stories as told in the bible are mythology. A historical basis of some nature is probable, but nothing knwn supports the story as told.

It has to be said that your opening statement smacks of a condescending, even closed-minded viewpoint. It is not uncommon that secular researchers assume a priori that the biblical record is of little worth, which not infrequently reaches levels that can only be described as bias - prejudice even. I have no problem with sceptical positions or conclusions - they invigorate academic debate. But equally it is disappointing that some academics allow their non-religious outlook to blinker them to the evidence of records of such great antiquity.

I would like to cite the reflections of a Jewish author in this connection (-and I beg the indulgence of the mods for this longer, but very pertinent, quotation):


HISTORY, THEN AND NOW

...Admittedly, however, there is a shortage of Egyptian documentation of the Exodus period. Why?

We need to understand how the ancient world viewed the whole idea of recording history. The vast majority of inscriptions found in the ancient world have a specific agenda -- to glorify the deeds of the king and to show his full military power.
The earliest known objective "historian," in our modern definition of the term, was the Greek writer Herodotus. He is generally considered the "father of historians" for his attempt to compile a dispassionate historical record of the war between the Greeks and Persians. Abraham is dated to the 18th century BCE, while the Exodus story is generally dated to the 13th century BCE -- 800 years before Herodotus.

This does not mean that early civilizations did not record events. It’s just that their purpose was more propaganda than creating any kind of objective historical record.
The British Museum in London displays inscriptions from the walls of the palace of the Assyrian Emperor, Sancheriv. These show scenes from Sancheriv's military campaigns from the 8th century BCE, including graphic depictions of destroyed enemies (decapitations, impalings, etc.). Sancheriv himself is depicted as larger than life.
But one element is missing from these inscriptions: There are no dead Assyrians! That is consistent with the ancient "historical" style -- negative events, failures and flaws are not depicted at all. When a nation suffers an embarrassing defeat, they usually whitewash the mistakes and destroy the evidence.

This idea has significant ramifications for archeology and the Exodus. The last thing the ancient Egyptians wanted to record is the embarrassment of being completely destroyed by the God of a puny slave nation. Would the Egyptians ever want to preserve details of the destruction of fields, flocks, and first borns -- plus the death of Pharaoh and the entire Egyptian army at the Red Sea? In other words, we wouldn’t expect to find prominent attention to Moses’ humiliation of Pharaoh -- even if it occurred.

In one major event, the battle of Kadesh on the Orantes River between the Hitites and the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, both sides record it as a major victory, and is depicted as such.

Interestingly, the Torah is unique among all ancient national literature in that it portrays its people in both victory and defeat. The Jews -- and sometimes their leaders -- are shown as rebels, complainers, idol-builders, and yes, descended from slaves.
This objective portrayal lends the Torah great credibility. As the writer Israel Zangwill said: "The Bible is an anti-Semitic book. Israel is the villain, not the hero, of his own story. Alone among the epics, it is out for truth, not heroics."


INCOMPLETE ARCHEOLOGICAL RECORD

The archeological process is tedious and expensive. To date, only a tiny fraction of archeological sites related to the Bible have been excavated. This thin archeological record means that any conclusions are based on speculation and projection. Archeology can only prove the existence of artifacts unearthed, not disprove that which hasn't been found. Lack of evidence... is no evidence of lack.

Yet that has not stopped some archeologists from making bold assertions. In the 1950s, world-renowned archeologist Kathleen Kenyon dug in one small section of Jericho, looking for remnants of inhabitation at the time of Joshua’s conquest of the land in 1272 BCE. She found no evidence, and concluded on that basis that the Bible was false.
The problem is that Kenyon dug only one small section of Jericho, and based her conclusion on that limited information. Today, though the controversy lingers, many archeologists claim there is indeed clear evidence of inhabitation in Jericho from the time of Joshua.

Archeology is a new science, and the record is far from complete. We have only begun to scratch the surface.

Source: Archaeology and the Exodus

This begs the question: is not a little more humility in order?

(Much more could be said along these lines, but suffice it to say that part 2 of the full article linked to above lays out further reasons why the biblical record ought not to be dismissed lightly, here.)

I might add that your confident assertion that "nothing known supports the story as told" is factually unsustainable (c.f. the second brief article in the OP, though myriad other, fuller, sources are readily available).



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 11:10 PM
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reply to post by OhZone
 


I would require where it says that in the Old Testament or The Torah, or an other book besides Josephus. As I know it, Abraham was in Egypt at that time.



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 06:32 AM
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I find it interesting that, again, there's a link suggested here with Atenism.

I don't regard the Bible as a reliable source for detail in any sense, but I do think the oldest Jewish scripts gives a somewhat accurate over-arching memory and a part-fictional and biased account, of a passed-down oral history.

Looking for a tomb of Moses or something linking Hebrew characters directly is a complete waste of time in my opinion, because so much of these texts (Biblical and Egyptian) is propaganda and folklore. But looking at the overall themes such as a switch to Monotheism or a group of Semetic invaders living and ruling in Egypt for a while and being driven out back to the Levant area is enough of a link to begin to sketch out an actual kernel of truth that are the real basis for familar Biblical myths.

So much has been lost, or has yet to be rediscovered, that we may never have much more proof than we have already to join the dots. I think it's important to get some sense of closure on these matters since these backwards religions are still making such a detrimental impact on worldwide politics to this day, we need to leave behind the Jewish invisible sky god in all his forms, he should be as obsolete and viewed as an historical curiosity as the Egyptian/Roman/Greek etc polytheistic Gods are.



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 12:42 PM
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reply to post by VelvetSplash
 



I don't regard the Bible as a reliable source for detail in any sense, but I do think the oldest Jewish scripts gives a somewhat accurate over-arching memory and a part-fictional and biased account, of a passed-down oral history.

This represents well how some maintain a sceptical position, yet still avoid the trap of dismissing the biblical record out of hand.


I think it's important to get some sense of closure on these matters since these backwards religions are still making such a detrimental impact on worldwide politics to this day, we need to leave behind the Jewish invisible sky god in all his forms, he should be as obsolete and viewed as an historical curiosity as the Egyptian/Roman/Greek etc polytheistic Gods are.

This, however, represents precisely the type of prejudice that tends to preclude serious consideration of the biblical record commensurate with its antiquity, thus blinding some investigators to the appearance of striking synchronicities between said documents and events recorded elsewhere as revealed by ongoing archaeological research (—admirably illustrated by the article cited by OhZone, The Biblical exodus inscribed on an ancient Egyptian stele).

Your mention of a link with Atenism serves to illustrate how there are endless avenues for enthralling research and debate in this sphere, which would be better served by increased cooperation between biblical scholars and secular researchers marked by mutual respect, even if they may not necessarily agree on the validity of aspects of the texts that relate to faith and ethics.



reply to post by OhZone
 


Many thanks for your thought-provoking contribution. Apologies that in replying to others I had insufficient time to consider it carefully. I'd just like to say the second part of your post has certainly added a great deal to this thread. (Doubtless the first part too, but I need more time to consider more carefully exactly what is being argued here.)




reply to all who are interested in what Dr. Hawass had to say!
 


Fuller article incl. photos and video




Portrait of Aper-el and his Daughter





A brief video showing some of the findings is added to Dr. Hawass' statement here.

NB - The hyperlink marked "dazzling report" (a superscript to part II of the article) could easily be overlooked, but is not to be missed, providing an excellent overview of discoveries in the Saqqara area.



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 12:53 PM
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Well it's not like there isn't evidence that the Egyptians knew about the Israelite's.


Source

The so-called 'Israel stela' is a monument listing victories of king Merenptah. The inscription is engraved on the back of a stela ofAmenhotep III. The stela is of special interest because it mentions for the first and only time the word 'Israel' in Egyptian hieroglyphic sources:

'the people of Israel is laid waste, their crops are not'



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 01:40 PM
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Originally posted by SLAYER69
Well it's not like there isn't evidence that the Egyptians knew about the Israelite's.


Though there is an attempt by Biblical scholars to claim this is actually a reference to a Kingdom of Israel, it really isn't. Disputes as to what it is meant to be, some say "Jazreel" or that it refers to a people "of the hair locks" or a part of "Libya"

Advanced scholars agree now there really wasn't an organized Israel at this time. King Solomon, Moses and the Exodus, are all mythology - taken mostly from Egyptian history.

Religiously bent ancient historians try to force feed the existence of a Biblical Israel into archeology. But it wasn't there till hundred of years later.



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 01:52 PM
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reply to post by mmiichael
 


Then what would you say about the Torah and the Talmund or what about the Quran mentioning the same message given to the Israelites through Moses??? If two or more sources agree, I bet they are true...



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 01:52 PM
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reply to post by mmiichael
 


There was country called Libya back then?

I thought it was formed last century.

And who/what/where is/was "jazreel"?



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 02:15 PM
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Originally posted by Deny Arrogance
reply to post by mmiichael
 


There was country called Libya back then?

I thought it was formed last century.

And who/what/where is/was "jazreel"?



The tribesmen of the region where know in the Greek spelling as "Libues"

Successive dominations by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, etc.

I don't want to get into a long lecture here, and there are many sites that go into it deeply - but most of the 20th Century ancient history of the Middle east was financed and examined by religiously inclined scholars.

Modern historians and archeologists have had to throw out much of what has been passing for history. The school most advanced in this area, out of Copenhagen, are referred to as the minimalists.

Briefly, all the stories of an ancient Israel with mighty armies, the 12 Tribes, Moses, David, Solomon - are mythology. Most of the Old Testament is a blending of Egyptian, Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian mythology.

The Sinai peninsula was a desert with a neolithic simple agrarian culture at the time. Not much more than crude stone tools. No cities or palaces.

That the Bible is a highly unreliable source of history has become pretty clear. There is much resistance to this reality on the part of religious and romanticizing scholars.


M

[edit on 4-1-2010 by mmiichael]



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 02:20 PM
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reply to post by CuteAngel
 




Then what would you say about the Torah and the Talmund or what about the Quran mentioning the same message given to the Israelites through Moses???

The Torah and Talmud are book of the Jewish people, and the Qur'an is the book of Islam, which like Christianity is descended from Judaism.
So ultimately you're dealing with the same source, not three different sources.
What's more, the Talmud is Jewish law book, I'm not sure if it mentions Exodus, and the Qur'an was made much later, around the 7th century.



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