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EGYPT - The Chronology


Last week, we tried to show that the archaeological dating in all Bible Lands was totally dependent upon the system of dating in Egyptian chronology. One is, therefore, entitled to assume that this system, to have such a powerful influence, must have been shown to be extremely reliable.

In fact, we shall, in the next few weeks, show that all their dates rely upon two massive pillars, both of which are grounded in quicksand. These are the use of the Sothic Cycle (of which more later) for absolute dating and the identification or rather the misidentification of the Egyptian King Shoshenq I with the Biblical King Shishak, the Egyptian ruler who came against Rehoboam and took "all" the treasures of Solomon's Temple and Solomon's house.

To understand a little more about how that could happen, we will have to spend a little time discussing Egyptian history. We hope that those experts who join us will be a little patient while we cover some of the basics.

The facts are that, "The chronology of Ancient Egypt relies on indigenous historical traditions organized in the third century BC by the priest Manetho into a framework of thirty-one dynasties stretching from the beginning of historical times through the Persian Period (Helck 1956)." This quote is from the revised 1992 edition of "Chronologies in Old World Archaeology", which is, together with "The Cambridge Ancient History", the authoritative word on Egyptian dating.

It is understood that Manetho only included 30 dynasties, the 31st being added later for the sake of completeness. There are however no original copies of "The Egyptian History". All we know of his work is that cited by Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century AD and by two important Christian chronographers, Sextus Julius Africanus (3rd century AD), and Eusebius (4th century AD). Later, the history of the world written in 800 AD, by George the Monk, Syncellus, used both Africanus and Eusebius extensively as his sources.

Today, these 31 dynasties are generally broken down as follows (all dates used here are the latest commonly agreed upon conventional chronological dates):


Archaic period Dynasties 1 and 2 2920-2650 BC
Old Kingdom 3rd - 8th Dynasties 2650-2135 BC
Ist Intermediate 9th-11th Dynasties 2135-2040 BC
Middle Kingdom 11th-12th Dynasties 2040-1785 BC
2nd Intermediate 13th-17th Dynasties 1785-1550 BC
New Kingdom 18th-20th Dynasties 1550-1070 BC
3rd Intermediate 21st-25th Dynasties 1070-665 BC
Late Period 26th-31st Dynasties 665-343 BC

But where did these dates come from?

The short answer is total speculation, woven on a frame of discarded theories. That ancient historians, archaeologists and Egyptologist are somewhat confused by their own chronology, one has only to look at the opening paragraph of Chapter VI (Chronology 1. Egypt to the End of the Twentieth Century) of "The Cambridge Ancient History" Volume 1 part 1, published in 1970. I will quote it in full so there can be no misunderstandings.

"The most significant advance made in the study of ancient Egyptian chronology in recent years is the repudiation by Neugebauer and others of an astronomical origin for the Egyptian civil calendar and , as a corollary, the elimination of the so-called {Sothic Cycle} as a factor in dating the earliest periods of Egyptian History."

That statement allowed the Egyptologists to bring the date for the start of the dynastic period down about 1,000 years from the dates proposed by Sir William Flinders Petrie, about whom we write more later. If you can read that paragraph as well as I, you would be given to understand that the Sothic Cycle theory, whatever it was, has now been proven wrong. But, hold on. In the same chapter, the author, an esteemed Egyptologist, goes on to prove that the dates of the Middle Kingdom are based precisely on that theory. In case you are wondering how that could be written and accepted, here is the exact quote.

"For the fixing in time of the {Egyptian Middle Kingdom} and the periods preceding it, the key date is the seventh year of the reign of King Sesostris III of the Twelfth Dynasty. In this year, a helical rising of the star Sothis (our Sirius) was recorded on 16. VIII of the 365-day civil calendar, a fact which, thanks to the regular displacement of this calendar, in relation to the true astronomical year, allows the year in question to be placed between 1876 and 1864 BC, with every probability favoring 1872 BC."

Did you understand all that? One moment, he states that the Sothic Cycle theory is discredited, the next he uses it to date the Middle Kingdom.

{There are many reasons why the Sothic Theory has been discredited.} Suffice it to say that there is no evidence that the Egyptians ever used such a cycle, and more importantly, it assumes that the calendar of the Egyptians was NEVER adjusted from the time of the Middle Kingdom until the time of the Ptolemies, a preposterous contention. The whole concept of the Intermediate Periods, is that they were periods of great instability and uncertainty. We are asked to believe that the only thing that never changed during these times was the calendar, and we have proof that it did.

It gets worse. The quotes continue:

"Following the end of the Twelfth Dynasty is 1786 BC, the next astronomically determinable 'anchor-point' in Egyptian history is the ninth year of the reign of King Amenophis I, the second ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty. This year, in which according to the calendrical table of the medical {Papyrus Ebers}, a helical rising of Sothis occurred on 9.XI of the civil calendar can be fixed with a high degree of probability at 1537 BC" .

The Sothic cycle, which was, if you remember, discredited, is now used again for the dating of the {New Kingdom}. So the two "fixed points" in Egyptian history are based upon a theory which has been discredited. There is only one more fixed and certain point before the time of the 26th dynasty (664-525 BC), and that is the identification of Shishak of the Bible with Shoshenq I of the {22nd dynasty}. The dates after the 26th dynasty are well corroborated with other events in world history.

We shall blow up the Shishak/Shoshenq I identification once and for all next week, and see the edifice of Egyptian dating come tumbling down, and with it, the dates accepted by the conventional archaeologists in all the sites of the lands of the Bible.

Any questions?



  1. Chronologies in Old World Archaeology (ISBN: 0226194477)
  2. The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 1 part 1 (ISBN: 0521070511)
  3. A History of Egypt 3 volumes by Sir William Flinders Petrie (ISBN: 1854170597)
    (Histories and Mysteries of Man Bookshop on site)
  4. Egypt of the Pharaohs: An Introduction by Sir Alan Gardiner (ISBN: 0195002679)
  5. History of Egypt and Other Works by Manetho (ISBN: 0674993853)
  6. Centuries of Darkness by Peter James (ISBN: 0813519519)
  7. Manetho: History of Egypt and Other Works, Translated by W. G. Waddell (ISBN: 0674993853)
  8. Atlas of Ancient Egypt by John Baines and Jaromar Malek (ISBN: 0871963345)
  9. Ages in Chaos. Immanuel Velikovsky, (ISBN: 0899667279)
  10. The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications. Donovon A. Coureville (ISBN: )
    Out of print
  11. Redating the Exodus and Conquest. John J. Bimson (ISBN: )
    out of print
  12. Pharaohs and Kings A Biblical Quest by David M. Rohl (ISBN: 0609801309)
  13. Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt With 350 Illustrations 130 in Color by Peter A. Clayton (ISBN: 0500050740)
  14. A History of Ancient Egypt by Nicolas Grimal (ISBN: 0631193960)


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