May I ask for help about Egyptian chronology and Neolithic settlements?

by paradiseseeker 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • paradiseseeker

    One of the first things that shook my faith as a teenager was learning about Egypt and how its history goes back as far as 3500 BC, much earlier than the Flood. Also learning about the first settlements like Çatalhöyük, which flourished around 7500 BC, much earlier than the creation of Adam. The only answer I got from my mother was that this world is dominated by Satan and thus we cannot trust in worldly chronologies.

    A more serious research about the topic made me come across some Babylon the Great's arguments (which are exacty the same that Watchtower uses): Egyptian chronology is based on Manethon's writings, which are incomplete, not trustworthy... and so on. They talk as well about the problems with carbon-14... in other words, everyone is wrong but them.

    Of course I don't buy Watchtower's arguments, but can you give some help about this topic to prepare my counterarguments? Websites, blogs, documents... anything is welcome.

    Thank you in advance.

  • truth_b_known

    You're going down the same road I did that eventually lead to me leaving Jehovah's Witnesses.

    It sounds like evidence or facts don't matter if they conflict with the teachings of the Bible, especially with Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Your mother is using circular thinking to negate your argument.

    My favorite argument has always been that Superman is real because Action Comics tells us so. That is no different than stating that anything from the Bible is true if it is only found to be in the Bible.

  • Simon

    How about layers of ice that are many more than the number of years they claim have passed since the flood or creation? Or rings on very old trees? Or cave formations that take thousands of years?

    There are many completely different indicators of time and seasons that correlate with each other but don't match the crazy bible interpretations that have absolutely no basis other than "we decided it means ..."

  • Crazyguy

    There’s the Turin kings list as well as lists of kings found on Egyptian temple walls that help to destroy the JW argument. It’s true some of the places and things in Egypt may not be accurately dated such as The Sphinx and maybe even the great pyramids at Egypt as well as the osirian temple. There however many temples and pyramids that have been dated to dates and kings that show the mistakes of the JWs. Just look at the dates of the flood according to the JWs at about 2370 and then look at what egyptologists show as who the king was and what pyramid he was building.

    The other thing to take into consideration is Egyptologists show who was ruling at the time and what cities were built and temples etc all the way down in to the Roman era. So with this being said the JWs only real argument is that these older kings and thier building projects must have happened somewhere in time during the rule of another king. So an example would have to be while Ramses was off fighting the Hittites another Pharaoh rose to power had the people quickly biuld a temple and a pyramid and then disappeared into the mist before Ramses returned. This must of happened quite a lot .

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Paradise seeker, this is not a one minute post but it does demonstrate that so much groundwork so to speak has to be understood before arriving at a scientific answer.

    I think a word is necessary on the subject of archaeological labels. The Iron Age was followed the Bronze Age which followed the Neolithic which followed the Mesolithic which in turn followed the Palaeolithic, the old Stone Age. These are broad terms referring to a type of culture based roughly on the developmental stages of tool materials. I.e. Neolithic (meaning from Greek; the “new stone” age) is the last part or most recent part of the Stone Age and is characterised by use of polished stone tools unlike the preceding lower, and therefore older levels containing flaked stone tools exclusively. The thing to understand is that these period names cannot be consistent with all locations since developments took place in different spots on the map at different times. For example the Neolithic could have been, and was in progress in North Africa while parts of Europe were still the preceding epoch, the Mesolithic etc. So a specific name and date for a site is given for one location and importantly at the specific physical occupation level for that site. One site may have artefacts from a dozen cultural levels, this is very common in caves where occupation episodes might cover one hundred thousand years or more. This is one reason why archaeologists are painstaking in getting the stratigraphy well defined and any prehistoric dig will have a vertical cross section of the layers showing the horizons representing each superimposed layer laid over an older layer and maked with pins and pegs, all carefully measured and photographed. The term Prehistory broadly is before writing began.

    So how do we know the dates of Egyptian kings? Well unlike the simplistic minds of creationists instead of looking only at one source, historians and archaeologists look at every possible reading of the evidence. In historic sources we have, most especially in Egypt, a head start because of the written annals of the kings and although not without error, the variables for gaps in dates are at least known and we have a sound chronology going back in time from Alexander in the fourth century CE to the earliest dynastic period 3,100 BCE. The great pyramid at Gizeh pyramids was built around 2500 BCE under the direction of the architect Hemiunu and never is there a mention of any flood in the region before or after.

    So Egyptian chronology is easy peasy being historic compared to earlier stuff in the Neolithic. The later Neolithic covers the discovery of copper tools and is called the Chalcolithic (copper/stone age) and you may remember that Oetzie (or Otzi) the Ice Man found in 1991 frozen the Italian Alps, carried a copper axe and this was dated to late Neolithic/Chalcolithic and from 14C (carbon dating) it was confirmed he lived about 3350-3100 BCE, just before the historical Egyptian dynastic sequence.

    I don’t know which country you are in but most national archaeological museums carry Egyptian material and it is possible to see in the Ashmolean in Oxford and the British Museum for example, the continuity of artefacts going back from the prehistoric Neolithic Egypt with pottery and stone tools continuing into the dynastic and historic period. Surprisingly, (well it surprised me) that there was a continuity of obviously Egyptian style which can be witnessed, demonstrating a cultural continuity from prehistoric into dynastic Egypt.

    When items are found out of context, often it is the cultural motifs which determine its provenance but dating can be done as well even for things such as stone tools. (thermoluminesence and electron spin resonance are used) Archaeological dating methods are used age appropriate to an artefact or bone. So carbon dating is not used for early man because it only dates living objects, ideally younger than 30,000 years but doable up to 50,000. If your object is a very old skull, radio carbon will not work and other radiometric methods are used.

    To summarise; in archaeology the first thing is to know the age of the soil horizon containing the artefact or bone. If a bone is found in the same soil horizon as a stone tool and a vole’s tooth for example, we have a lot of immediate information including the type of animals and cultural period from the style of the stone tool, all of which have known and limited time frames.

    Geologists will determine the stratification by virtue of rock and soil horizons, small animals evolve quite rapidly and palaeontologists are part of the dating team in prehistoric digs which will give the parameter dates for extinct animal species. Other scientists such as entomologists will sift the soils to know what insects and other microfossils are present and others will look at pollen data with similar boundaries for determining the soil matrix date. It is these details along with the fauna and flora assemblages which pin-points specific climate conditions AND DATES for the region in prehistory supported by a myriad of earth scientist’s measurements to know the full sequence of climate data which is the backdrop to all dating in prehistory.

    Therefore it is never a guess, it is a coordinated research based on multi-disciplinary scientific analysis which yields the date for the prehistoric periods. The historic periods as I said are by comparison easy and the distinction between the two is useful to appreciate.

    Incidentally what I have touched on--and at the risk of boring the socks off you-- is hardly scratching the surface of the subject but needless to say, scientific evidence is not accessible to the closed minds of JWs and their ilk. However never let them get away with “carbon dating is faulty” because dendrochronology is absolute dating ( the year) and corroborates the accuracy of those 14C radiometric dates.

  • Finkelstein

    Strangely enough there is no chronological break in Egyptian history about the great flood of Noah which supposedly occurred by using the Bible in 2348 BC. ...... ummmm ????

  • Crazyguy

    According to the WT the flood took place during the reign of the Pharaoh Unas. Unas built a pyramid and somehow it like most of the other pyramids survived the flood. What’s also weird is Unas daughter married the next Pharaoh, so some how she and her husband must of stowed away on the Ark.

  • Fred Franztone
    Fred Franztone

    I remember trying to work out the date of the flood using the bible stories book when I was about 7 or 8; we were studying ancient Egypt at school at the time. I was very confused because my date for the flood was around 2250BCE* but at school we'd learnt that the Egyptian civilisation began more than 5000 years ago, which contradicts the JW belief that the Egyptian civilisation descended from Ham, after the flood. Even the pyramids & sphinx at Giza pre-date the flood by a couple of centuries.

    I could never reconcile this in my head, and I never received a satisfactory answer about it from my parents, who from what I can tell simply ignore inconvenient facts like that, with surprising ease.

    *I know that the actual date that JWs use is around 2370BCE, but I had limited information available to me in the bible stories book, and this was before we had the internet. It's academic however since the Egyptian civilisation still pre-dates the flood by several centuries.

  • Driveby
    The only answer I got from my mother was that this world is dominated by Satan and thus we cannot trust in worldly chronologies.

    You'll not shake the faith of a true believer. Doesn't matter whether they are JWs, exJWs or any other believer. Yes, there are even exJWs who still believe in that nonsense about God creating Adam and causing a flood. It didn't happen, but don't bother getting bogged down trying to convince someone who will not listen. All the facts and evidence in the world will not convince them otherwise.

    For your own benefit, though, try Googling your questions but stay away from the creationists websites. They are complete nonsense as you'll find out by seeking true answers to your questions.

    Here is an example of what you can find:

  • nancy drew
    nancy drew

    If your interested in Egypt check out the serepeum at saquara Jw's are always playing the satan card. Imagine how busy that guy must be carving up granite and painting animals and making handprints in caves. Planting neanderthal bones all over the earth just to confuse us. Most people just get tired and stop searching for real answers . The proverbial devil made me do it.

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