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atalante

correlating Pentateuch to Egyptian history

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atalante

 

William Austin has developed a simple way to reconcile biblical storylines with the famous Merneptah stele, which reported (roughly speaking) that Israel was deceased (or dispersed) ca. 1208/1207 BC.. 
 
Austin proposes that timekeeping for this part of the biblical storyline is counting 2 "textual-years" for each solar year.  Thus for instance, where the bible text says Abraham's son Isaac was born when Abraham was "100" years old - readers should adjust the bible text's number by a factor of 2 when desiring to count in  solar years. 
 
 
 
After making this simple 2:1 timekeeping adjustment, Austin finds that:  
* The biblical Abraham would be contemporary with Egyptian pharaoh Horemheb;
 
* The bible's storyline about a brief Israelite sortie northward from Egypt, to bury the deceased Jacob/Israel, was contemporary with the Merneptah stele about a deceased (or at least dispersed) Israel.
 
* The legendary biblical Exodus from Egypt belongs in the era that modern archaeology calls the "iron age", with (Austin's) Exodus receiving a date somewhat after pharaoh Ramesses III. 
 
William Dever's book, Who Were the Early Israelites, favors local archaeology more than "time keeping" - but arrives at a parallel method for "salvaging the biblical tradition".  
 
 
Dever's book contains a map of Merneptah's 1208 BC campaign (Dever, p.205).  Dever's map shows that Egypt arranged a two pronged military campaign at that time.  Prince Sety-Merneptah led a military force inland, moving northward roughly along the route that the bible calls the Way of the Patriarchs.  But pharaoh Merneptah led a separate military force.  Pharaoh Mernepthah's force went north along the coastal Horus military road, then turned east through the Jezreel valley to Egypt's administrative city Beth Shan - and then the pharaoh's forces turned south to meet up with prince Sety's forces that were making their way north.   
 
Dever's map of the Mernepthah campaign shows that Egypt's two military groups converged their attacks, from the north and from the south, in the central hill country (probably near Shechem) - i.e. where modern archaeology has found the earliest phase of the subsequent Iron 1 culture.   Dever proposed that Merneptah's era of Egypt (somehow) had some understanding of a group that Egypt was calling "Israel". 
 
Dever's book pointed out that the bible's two "Joseph tribes" (Ephraim and Manasseh) received their traditional tribal territories in the region where modern archaeologists have excavated the earliest Iron 1 cultures.  Thus Dever suggested that, somehow, later generations of Israelites shared a mindset that proto-Israelite culture had evolved from the two (Iron 1) "Joseph tribes".   
 
 
 
I am curious to know if recent Egyptology writings disagree (or agree) with Dever's presentation of the ca. 1208 BC Merneptah military campaign in the region that later became the bible's Divided Monarchy. 
 

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bison

Modern scholarship appears to consider Israel's presence in, and exodus from, Egypt to fall in the area of mythology, rather than history. The reference to Israel in the Merneptah record seems to refer to a distinguishable ethnic group, located in the area identified traditionally as Israeli territory.

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jaylemurph

I'm curious how this theory allows him to correlate the Merneptah stele with other popular fictions, maybe Batman, Harry Potter, or Gone with the Wind?

--Jaylemurph

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Kenemet
Posted (edited)

Biblical stories of Egypt are more along the lines of legend and urban myth, mixed with some fact. 

The Israelites hated the Egyptians.  When you have a national enemy for your nation, you don't really detail their history well.  For instance, history textbooks here in the US don't have very much (at all) in them about Russian history.  We have nothing of Australian history or any other histories.

The same with religious thought.  Religions aren't interested in promoting things of other cultures.

Archaeologists and scholars use the Bible as a reference book for some Middle Eastern archaeology but it's considered a biased and incomplete source for things not directly related to the Hebrew cities or homeland. 

Also, the name "Israel" is rather disputed in the Meremptah Stele.  Some Biblical archaeologists say that it's a valid rendering, but there is not a universal agreement on this.

Edited by Kenemet
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Sir Wearer of Hats

It seems to me that he gist was to explain how a hundred year old could have a kid by making him 50 instead. Except Noah was 900 when he went to God, halving his age only makes him 450. 

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jaylemurph
37 minutes ago, Kenemet said:

Biblical stories of Egypt are more along the lines of legend and urban myth, mixed with some fact. 

The Israelites hated the Egyptians.  When you have a national enemy for your nation, you don't really detail their history well.  For instance, history textbooks here in the US don't have very much (at all) in them about Russian history.  We have nothing of Australian history or any other histories.

The same with religious thought.  Religions aren't interested in promoting things of other cultures.

Archaeologists and scholars use the Bible as a reference book for some Middle Eastern archaeology but it's considered a biased and incomplete source for things not directly related to the Hebrew cities or homeland. 

Also, the name "Israel" is rather disputed in the Meremptah Stele.  Some Biblical archaeologists say that it's a valid rendering, but there is not a universal agreement on this.

It's funny you should mention that. I was talking with a mixed group of undergrads and graduate students this week, and asked them to think back to the founding of Russia, and who was there. Not a flicker from any of them. I made the grads go back and read the Saga of Yngvar the Far-Travelled and Eymar's Saga.

--Jaylemurph

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atalante
17 hours ago, bison said:

Modern scholarship appears to consider Israel's presence in, and exodus from, Egypt to fall in the area of mythology, rather than history. The reference to Israel in the Merneptah record seems to refer to a distinguishable ethnic group, located in the area identified traditionally as Israeli territory.

I agree with a connection to mythology.  These particular biblical stories may be similar to Greek mythology, but dealing with the vicinity of the core biblical territories, instead of Greece.   IIRC, the word myth originates from the concept of "mouth", and thus refers to oral retelling of stories.  

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Orphalesion
15 hours ago, Kenemet said:

Also, the name "Israel" is rather disputed in the Meremptah Stele.  Some Biblical archaeologists say that it's a valid rendering, but there is not a universal agreement on this.

When does any reliable historical record of a monotheist civilization in present-day Israel start? I find it very difficult to find reliable sources on that.

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bivy

Why on Earth would someone write one year as two years?

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Piney
3 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

When does any reliable historical record of a monotheist civilization in present-day Israel start? I find it very difficult to find reliable sources on that.

There is no reliable sources on that. Because it never existed.

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atalante
On 4/29/2018 at 5:52 AM, Orphalesion said:

When does any reliable historical record of a monotheist civilization in present-day Israel start? I find it very difficult to find reliable sources on that.

Orphalesion,

I vote for the 9th century BC "Yahweh Sebaoth" as the name of a montheistic outlook in the bible.  It was the era of prophets Elijah, Elisha, etc.
 
It was also the era when king Jehosophat (whose name meant, Yahweh judges) reportedly circulated a Torah of Yahweh throughout his kingdom and used his Torah to regulate citizen affairs in his kingdom. 
 

B) What is the meaning of this name?

This name expresses something of the grandeur of God. Of course, God has no need of an army as a human king stands in need of one. His kingdom is based on His omnipotence; His voice has a creative power to which the Psalmist refers, saying: "when He raises His voice the earth crumbles away" (v. 6). No creature, neither the highest nor the least, nor even the greatest multitude can add anything to Him. Rather, they represent in some way His immense richness and His proper dignity. As the power of a human king is manifested by the extension of His property, by the people under his government, and by the number and quality of his army, so also God’s kingship and His very dignity can be manifested and glorified by His army. Parente observes correctly, "the terms Hosts, Army, do not necessarily give the idea of a warlike preparation for military strife; they rather imply a well-ordered and well-organized multitude of heavenly spirits, most powerful and ever ready to obey God, the king of heaven, the Lord of Hosts" (P. Parente, Beyond Space, Tan 1973, 69). The "acies ordinata" (Cant 6:4) is rather a sign of quality; of His holiness, order and perfection; of the holy angels "as it were grouped together in society...divided into orders and grades" (John Paul II, General Audience, Aug., 6th, 1986, n°3).

 

 

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atalante
Posted (edited)
On 4/28/2018 at 2:33 PM, Kenemet said:

....Archaeologists and scholars use the Bible as a reference book for some Middle Eastern archaeology but it's considered a biased and incomplete source for things not directly related to the Hebrew cities or homeland. 

 

Kenemet,
 I recommend using Greg Mumford's 1998 PhD thesis to explain why Egyptology has so little information about the early iron age in the core biblical region (i.e. biblical period of local Judges, and the period of biblical United Monarchy). 
 
The reason is a nearly total absence of Egyptian artifacts relating to military, commercial, and diplomatic activities in the Levant during Dynasties 21-24 (c.1070-716 B.C.).
 
Consequently Egyptologists tend to be biased, due to lack of purely Egyptian evidence, if they pontificate about "early iron age" activities anywhere in the Levant (e.g. pontificate about biblical stories for the early-iron-age era of Judges, which are included in some of the biblical texts).  
 
quote from pages 3 of Mumford's thesis :  http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk1/tape10/PQDD_0020/NQ45825.pdf
The extant textual and pictorial sources dating to this 1000-year period suggest that Egypt maintained intense military, commercial, and diplomatic activity in the Levant during Dynasties 18-20 (c. l550-l070 B.C.) and Dynasty 25 to early Dynasty 26 (c.716-586 KC.), whereas few contemporary sources record Egypo-Levantine relations during Dynasties 21-24 (c.1070-716 B.C.).
 
endquote
 
 
A while ago you posted that ancient Egypt had its war college at Heliopolis.  Where can I find additional details about that Heliopolis war college?
Edited by atalante
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atalante
On 4/28/2018 at 2:55 PM, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

It seems to me that he gist was to explain how a hundred year old could have a kid by making him 50 instead. Except Noah was 900 when he went to God, halving his age only makes him 450. 

Its a bit more complicated than that.  The bible was written by a committee - but the committee never had a group meeting.  Austin indicates the part about Noah was counting time in months (moons) instead of solar years.  

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Kenemet
On 4/30/2018 at 9:25 AM, atalante said:
Kenemet,
 I recommend using Greg Mumford's 1998 PhD thesis to explain why Egyptology has so little information about the early iron age in the core biblical region (i.e. biblical period of local Judges, and the period of biblical United Monarchy). 
 
The reason is a nearly total absence of Egyptian artifacts relating to military, commercial, and diplomatic activities in the Levant during Dynasties 21-24 (c.1070-716 B.C.). 

Dynasties 21-24 were the "Third Intermediate Period" when the government of Egypt had collapsed.  There wasn't a single pharaoh; during most of the period there were anywhere from 2-4 people claiming to be pharaoh, the army was not under control of anyone, mercenary troops were imported, diplomats returned to their home.

There's little commercial activity there because the empire had collapsed.

Quote
Consequently Egyptologists tend to be biased, due to lack of purely Egyptian evidence, if they pontificate about "early iron age" activities anywhere in the Levant (e.g. pontificate about biblical stories for the early-iron-age era of Judges, which are included in some of the biblical texts).  
 
quote from pages 3 of Mumford's thesis :  http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk1/tape10/PQDD_0020/NQ45825.pdf
The extant textual and pictorial sources dating to this 1000-year period suggest that Egypt maintained intense military, commercial, and diplomatic activity in the Levant during Dynasties 18-20 (c. l550-l070 B.C.) and Dynasty 25 to early Dynasty 26 (c.716-586 KC.), whereas few contemporary sources record Egypo-Levantine relations during Dynasties 21-24 (c.1070-716 B.C.).
  

Mumford actually notes this and notes that the patterns follow our understanding of the ebb and flow of power in the region.  In the sentence that follows the one you cited, Mumford says:

  • "Since most biblical materials, in their written form, date from the 8th to 6th centuries (and later) B.C, all retrospective historical accounts concering Egypt's relations with Philistia, Judah. and Israel during lron 2A-B (c. 1000-716 B.C.) should be considered with caution.

Furthermore, his thesis statement: "The test hypothesis, then, is that incongruity between the overall material-culture matrix and the pattern of textual-pictorial sources through time should highlight those periods in which the archaeological record, by default, should form the primary basis for the reconstruction of relations (especially socioeconomic relations) between cultures. In other periods that display some congruence between the archaemlogical record and textual-pictorial sources, the archaeological record should provide a confmatory, or supplementary, role concerning historical rezonstructions of Egypt-Levantine relations." 

... does not support Austin's idea but rather supports the conventional picture that's developed of Egypt during this time period.

 

Quote
A while ago you posted that ancient Egypt had its war college at Heliopolis.  Where can I find additional details about that Heliopolis war college?

I don't know.  I read it in a biographical sketch of Hatshepsut written by a known Egyptologist and scholar within the past few years but don't recall which particular book or publication (it could have been a chapter of a book, and the mention was fairly brief.  I remembered that detail because I used it to make a point in one of my Egyptology classes.)

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Orphalesion
On 4/29/2018 at 6:21 PM, Piney said:

There is no reliable sources on that. Because it never existed.

Well it did exist by the First Century CE, by that time it seems that ancient Judaism had developed monotheistic ideas, like it's modern counterpart that were widely accepted, I read that the idea possibly started through contact with Zoroastrianism.

I probably should have worded it better to ask "When does a reliable record of wide-spread, Yahweh-centered  henotheism in modern-day Israel start."  Lkie I have read that until the 6 century BCE polytheism might have been common among the ancient Hebrews. But even history books I've looked into, either gloss the whole thing over or accept a lot of input from the Old Testament.  

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kmt_sesh
13 minutes ago, Orphalesion said:

Well it did exist by the First Century CE, by that time it seems that ancient Judaism had developed monotheistic ideas, like it's modern counterpart that were widely accepted, I read that the idea possibly started through contact with Zoroastrianism.

I probably should have worded it better to ask "When does a reliable record of wide-spread, Yahweh-centered  henotheism in modern-day Israel start."  Lkie I have read that until the 6 century BCE polytheism might have been common among the ancient Hebrews. But even history books I've looked into, either gloss the whole thing over or accept a lot of input from the Old Testament.  

Defining "wide-spread" might be more difficult to pin down, but interesting to me was the discovery of some amulets at Ketef Hinnom in the late 1970s. The amulets date as far back as the eighth century BCE and contain writings on them that are similar to passages that would appear in Numbers later on.

Source

To me, discoveries such as these amulets show a tradition that dates far back in time,at least to the Early Iron Age, to a time of henotjeism in the emergence of the Yahweh tradition.

 

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Grignr
4 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

But even history books I've looked into, either gloss the whole thing over or accept a lot of input from the Old Testament.  

The entire old testament is basically Yahweh telling his chosen people again and again to stop worshiping idols and other gods, and then punishing them for ignoring those instructions. 4 of the ten commandments are about worshiping him and keeping things related to him holy and they'd already picked a new idol to worship before Moses had even come back down from the mountain with the instructions. I'm not convinced that they were ever truly monotheistic, even Christianity took the Jewish god and turned it into a trinity. 

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William Austin
On 4/28/2018 at 4:55 PM, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

It seems to me that he gist was to explain how a hundred year old could have a kid by making him 50 instead. Except Noah was 900 when he went to God, halving his age only makes him 450. 

950, according to Genesis 9:28. Noah's ancestors back to Adam were of similar age.  When reading texts from unfamiliar cultures, one must think outside the box imposed by our own cultural norm. I replace the word "year" with a more general term, "cycle", since something is clearly amiss. 950 "cycles" is a perfectly normal lifetime of 76.7 years, if the cycle in question is that of the moon rather than the sun. Furthermore, generations pass and times change. Even the same word (year / cycle of time), can have a shifting meaning as new cultural traditions are assimilated. That is the approach I've taken in aligning Hebrew and Ancient Near East History. The extent to which these narratives refer to historical events is the ultimate goal, but that must be judged after the time and place is at least reasonably estimated. This cannot be done by taking the modern English translation of the Bible literally.

In the biblical story of Isaac's birth, Sarah is listed as age 90 and Abraham as age 100. Sarah's age is crucial. If she was age 90 equinoxes, because that is how Hebrews of that era reported their age, then she was a 45-year old woman, still biologically capable of bearing a child. Both parents were amazed, but many couples have been similarly amazed, and may have used the word "miracle", though no supernatural intervention is required.  It is reported in Genesis 20:12 that Sarah was also Abraham's half-sister, which could explain the couple's infertility to that point. Abraham, Sarah, and all their reported descendants through Moses lived 110-180 "cycles", which is 55-90 years, if the cycle in question was equinox to equinox. 

As a scientist, I seek the most logical explanation for unexplained mysteries, and there is no more logical explanation. 

 

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Orphalesion
Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, William Austin said:

950, according to Genesis 9:28. Noah's ancestors back to Adam were of similar age.  When reading texts from unfamiliar cultures, one must think outside the box imposed by our own cultural norm. I replace the word "year" with a more general term, "cycle", since something is clearly amiss. 950 "cycles" is a perfectly normal lifetime of 76.7 years, if the cycle in question is that of the moon rather than the sun. Furthermore, generations pass and times change. Even the same word (year / cycle of time), can have a shifting meaning as new cultural traditions are assimilated. That is the approach I've taken in aligning Hebrew and Ancient Near East History. The extent to which these narratives refer to historical events is the ultimate goal, but that must be judged after the time and place is at least reasonably estimated.

 

Or they could have been given such ages due to mythology and to emphasize their importance in the national and foundation myths of the ancient Hebrews. Just like Romulus, if he existed, wasn't the son of Mars either and wasn't suckled by a wolf. 

Also @kmt_sesh Thank you for that link! Those talismans, and the website in general are very interesting! Have spent the last hour reading articles on there.

Edited by Orphalesion
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Sir Wearer of Hats
20 minutes ago, William Austin said:

950, according to Genesis 9:28. Noah's ancestors back to Adam were of similar age.  When reading texts from unfamiliar cultures, one must think outside the box imposed by our own cultural norm. I replace the word "year" with a more general term, "cycle", since something is clearly amiss. 950 "cycles" is a perfectly normal lifetime of 76.7 years, if the cycle in question is that of the moon rather than the sun. Furthermore, generations pass and times change. Even the same word (year / cycle of time), can have a shifting meaning as new cultural traditions are assimilated. That is the approach I've taken in aligning Hebrew and Ancient Near East History. The extent to which these narratives refer to historical events is the ultimate goal, but that must be judged after the time and place is at least reasonably estimated. This cannot be done by taking the modern English translation of the Bible literally.

In the biblical story of Isaac's birth, Sarah is listed as age 90 and Abraham as age 100. Sarah's age is crucial. If she was age 90 equinoxes, because that is how Hebrews of that era reported their age, then she was a 45-year old woman, still biologically capable of bearing a child. Both parents were amazed, but many couples have been similarly amazed, and may have used the word "miracle", though no supernatural intervention is required.  It is reported in Genesis 20:12 that Sarah was also Abraham's half-sister, which could explain the couple's infertility to that point. Abraham, Sarah, and all their reported descendants through Moses lived 110-180 "cycles", which is 55-90 years, if the cycle in question was equinox to equinox. 

As a scientist, I seek the most logical explanation for unexplained mysteries, and there is no more logical explanation. 

 

What was the original word in the oldest version of the Torah we have available? I do believe it translates directly as “year”. 

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bison

I checked a concordance of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word used in Genesis 9:28 is 'shanah', which appears to unequivocally mean 'years', in the same sense as we understand the term.  

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Swede
1 hour ago, William Austin said:

950, according to Genesis 9:28. Noah's ancestors back to Adam were of similar age.  When reading texts from unfamiliar cultures, one must think outside the box imposed by our own cultural norm. I replace the word "year" with a more general term, "cycle", since something is clearly amiss. 950 "cycles" is a perfectly normal lifetime of 76.7 years, if the cycle in question is that of the moon rather than the sun. Furthermore, generations pass and times change. Even the same word (year / cycle of time), can have a shifting meaning as new cultural traditions are assimilated. That is the approach I've taken in aligning Hebrew and Ancient Near East History. The extent to which these narratives refer to historical events is the ultimate goal, but that must be judged after the time and place is at least reasonably estimated. This cannot be done by taking the modern English translation of the Bible literally.

In the biblical story of Isaac's birth, Sarah is listed as age 90 and Abraham as age 100. Sarah's age is crucial. If she was age 90 equinoxes, because that is how Hebrews of that era reported their age, then she was a 45-year old woman, still biologically capable of bearing a child. Both parents were amazed, but many couples have been similarly amazed, and may have used the word "miracle", though no supernatural intervention is required.  It is reported in Genesis 20:12 that Sarah was also Abraham's half-sister, which could explain the couple's infertility to that point. Abraham, Sarah, and all their reported descendants through Moses lived 110-180 "cycles", which is 55-90 years, if the cycle in question was equinox to equinox. 

As a scientist, I seek the most logical explanation for unexplained mysteries, and there is no more logical explanation. 

 

A quite problematic presumption, and the basis of your proposition. You may wish to study the relevant forensics related to the time period and region under consideration.

.

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Kenemet
2 hours ago, William Austin said:

950, according to Genesis 9:28. Noah's ancestors back to Adam were of similar age.  When reading texts from unfamiliar cultures, one must think outside the box imposed by our own cultural norm. I replace the word "year" with a more general term, "cycle", since something is clearly amiss. 950 "cycles" is a perfectly normal lifetime of 76.7 years, if the cycle in question is that of the moon rather than the sun. Furthermore, generations pass and times change. Even the same word (year / cycle of time), can have a shifting meaning as new cultural traditions are assimilated. That is the approach I've taken in aligning Hebrew and Ancient Near East History. The extent to which these narratives refer to historical events is the ultimate goal, but that must be judged after the time and place is at least reasonably estimated. This cannot be done by taking the modern English translation of the Bible literally.

In the biblical story of Isaac's birth, Sarah is listed as age 90 and Abraham as age 100. Sarah's age is crucial. If she was age 90 equinoxes, because that is how Hebrews of that era reported their age, then she was a 45-year old woman, still biologically capable of bearing a child. Both parents were amazed, but many couples have been similarly amazed, and may have used the word "miracle", though no supernatural intervention is required.  It is reported in Genesis 20:12 that Sarah was also Abraham's half-sister, which could explain the couple's infertility to that point. Abraham, Sarah, and all their reported descendants through Moses lived 110-180 "cycles", which is 55-90 years, if the cycle in question was equinox to equinox. 

As a scientist, I seek the most logical explanation for unexplained mysteries, and there is no more logical explanation. 

 

(ahem)

As a scientist, the first thing you should do is look up how the cultures at the times stated their ages.  (remember the very first step in the "Scientific Method" -- read the reliable references on the subject.  All of them.)  So the first thing you find out is that people in that era were counting age by years... and there's documentation of leaders and nobles and references to their birth dates and ages.

And the second thing you should do is find the answer to "when was the reporting text for this written and who wrote it?"  (possibly around 600 BC, but the oldest copy of the text that we have dates from much later and there are known scribal changes, corrections, and variations.)

And the third thing you should look up is "what were other countries of the time writing about their heroes and legendary leaders?"  (because there was an "arms race" in "who has the ORIGINAL deity/leader/kingdom and at one point cultures in that area started saying that legendary rulers had longer and longer life spans.)

...and I say this, respectfully, as a scientist (anthropologist with a degree in Egyptology.)

 

If I sound snarky, we've had a wave of news reporting where scientists in one area decide to speculate about other fields and call big news conferences to announce their speculation... leaving the real scientists in that field snarling in outrage at the stupid remarks and the damage done.

 

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Orphalesion

Is there any evidence of any culture that counted their ages "by equinoxes" ever having existed at all, in the Levant or elsewhere?

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Sir Wearer of Hats
1 hour ago, Orphalesion said:

Is there any evidence of any culture that counted their ages "by equinoxes" ever having existed at all, in the Levant or elsewhere?

“Ohh last year was thr cold year, so this year is the warm one. So glad food grows this year, its terrible that a whole year can go by with little food”.

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