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Author Topic:   The Failure of Rohl's New Chronology
Posts: 17788
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.2

Message 1 of 7 (705667)
08-30-2013 10:30 AM

David Rohl has been discussed here before. But since it is being brought up again I think it best to have a new topic to address it.
I wish to start with this: How to Fail a Test of Time
The author, using the 'nym Steelclaws identifies himself as an:
Assyriologist with minor in Theology (OT Exegetics)
His major point in the essay is that the Amarna Letters - a cache of diplomatic letters found in the remains of the short-lived Egyptian capital city - provide a wealth of links to other peoples. THese links allow the Amarna period to be dated through the Assyrian chronologies, and provide an independent check on the Egyptian chronology.
The dates that come from the Assyrian chronology put the Amarna Period in the 14th Century BC, in agreement with the standard chronology.
This is a major blow to Rohl's chronology which chops 350 years out of Egyptian history, moving the Amarna Period to the 11th-10th Century BC.
It also makes Rohl's idiosyncratic interpretation of the Amarna Letters dealing with Canaan untenable, since the letters were written centuries before Saul and David lived.
Indeed it is hard to see what Rohl could do, without also chopping the same 350 years out of the Assyrian Chronology. Which would require a great deal more work.

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by PaulK, posted 09-10-2013 2:28 AM PaulK has not replied

Posts: 17788
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.2

Message 4 of 7 (706361)
09-10-2013 2:28 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
08-30-2013 10:30 AM

Another area of failure is the state of the land of Canaan.
Rohl would have it that the events that appear in the Amarna letters correspond to the reign of Saul, making rather questionable identifications of people named in the Amarna letters with Biblical characters.
As Steelclaws points out, at the time of the Letters, Canaan was still at least nominally subject to Egypt. Labayu - who Rohl identifies with Saul - acknowledges this overlordship and claims that his father and grandfather before him were loyal subjects of Egypt (suggesting to me a hereditary monarch). There is an Egyptian commissioner, Addaya, with a guard of soldiers in the region and the local rulers pay taxes and tribute to Egypt.
You would think that the Israelites would have been rather sensitive to Egyptian rule, given the Exodus story, but the Bible has no mention of this at all.
The main conflicts at the time are between the Canaanite rulers - Labayu is pegged as a particular troublemaker - and the 'Apiru. The 'Apiru are a socio-economic group, probably best considered as bandits and mercenaries in this context. There's no mention of the Philistines, although the Bible reports conflicts with the Philistines even in the Judges period, and Saul was killed in battle with them (Labayu is killed by the people of Gina, thought to be modern Jenin). Egyptian records don't mention the Philistines until the reign of Ramesses 1
Going with a more conventional chronology certainly solves the problem of the Philistines. The Merneptah stele - the first mention of Israel - identifies Israel as a nomadic people and is thought to correspond to the Judges period - this is flat out impossible in Rohl's chronology. The conventional chronology fits better with both the stele and the Biblical references to the Philistines.

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 Message 1 by PaulK, posted 08-30-2013 10:30 AM PaulK has not replied

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