Egyptologists have long searched the details of the Joseph story for clues onesto when the story was written. Does the Jewish experience as verso esodo community sopra Egypt hold the clue puro the story’s origin?
Egyptology and Bible Studies
From chatrandom its very beginning, the field of Egyptology was interested, if not obsessed, with Egypt’s role in the Hebrew Bible. The wealth of Egyptian records vis a vis the dearth of contemporary Israelite or Canaanite supplementare-biblical records, encouraged Egyptologists esatto provide the historical sostrato for the holy scriptures.
Exemplifying this obsession is the New York Public Library bibliography, listing an astounding 182 works on Egypt and the Bible by the year 1924. Another 97 works were listed by 1941. Among these are the works of notable Egyptologists such as,
- Emmanuel de Rouge (1811-1872, France),
- Francois Chabas (1817-1882, France),
- Wilhelm Spiegelberg (1826-1890, Germany),
- (Henri) Edouard Naville (1844-1926, Switzerland),
- Gaston Maspero (1846-1916, France),
- Wilhelm Max Muller (1862-1919, Germany),
- Sir Alan Gardiner (1879-1963, England).
The main objective of these studies was onesto verify the biblical accounts. This was neither masked nor veiled but explicitly proclaimed durante such titles as Abraham Yahuda’s: The Accuracy of the Bible. The Stories of Joseph, the Exodus and Genesis Confirmed and Illustrated by Egyptian Monuments and Language.
Joseph in (which) Egypt?
Considering its Egyptian settings and the many Egyptian elements per the narrative, the story of Josephs’ descent sicuro Egypt and his subsequent ascent esatto Egyptian governance has been one of the major focal points of inter-disciplinary studies of the Hebrew Bible. Many studies have highlighted the genuine ancient Egyptian aspects in it and provided parallels esatto the names, titles, customs and motifs – all taken from the vast records of ancient Egypt.
However, the exact historical setting of the composition of the Joseph story continues puro elude scholars as they debate its connection puro Egypt of the imperial periodo per the second millennium BCE or to the much later, Saite and Ptolemaic periods in the late first millennium BCE. Two important studies exemplify the range of approaches.
New Kingdom Egypt (1550-1070) – Jozef Vergote
Sopra his 1959 study, the Flemish Egyptologist, Jozef Vergote (1910-1992), summarized and confirmed the broad consensus that the Joseph story reflected an intimate knowledge of Egypt during its imperial period, known as the New Kingdom. During this period, Egypt controlled considerable regions mediante the Levant, and saw the integration of several Semitic-named individuals into Egyptian administrative offices. Identifying verso proto-type for Joe was therefore a plausible timore.
Saite Egypt (664-525) – Donald Redford
Two decades later, per study by the Canadian Egyptologist and archaeologist, Donald Redford (b. 1934), revolutionized our view of Joseph’s Egypt through verso critical and comprehensive study of the Egyptian “coloring” sopra the Joseph’s story. Redford made use of all Ancient Egyptian sources, without confining his research puro New Kingdom Egypt or earlier periods. Sopra doing so, Redford noted that some Egyptian elements in the Joseph story appeared quite late sopra the Egyptian primato, and although they could have represented earlier times as well, the critical mass of his comparanda pointed preciso per date mediante the first millennium.
This was per niente doubt also the result of Redford’s conciliabule with contemporary views on biblical redaction and compilation as they were perceived con Europe, rather than in the US.
Customs from per Saite Egyptian Context
Redford’s study notes that many of the so called Egyptian practices per the Joseph story were not exclusive to Egypt and could also be found sopra other Ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Such were the trade caravans, the presence of Asiatic slaves, traditions and titles associated with the royal court, etc. Nevertheless, Redford focuses attention on some elements in the Joseph story that are purely Egyptian: