Biblical Archaeology David M. Rohl's "Pharaohs and Kings"

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)

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Pharaohs and Kings

     A Biblical Quest

Originally published in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world as:
     A Test of Time
     The Bible From Myth to History

David M. Rohl
Crown Publishers, Inc.
New York

Copyright 1995
ISBN 0 609 80130 9
First American Edition
paperback


About David Rohl

Page numbers are from "Pharaohs and Kings" by David Rohl

David Rohl is not a Christian. He describes himself as an agnostic. He does not believe the Bible to be the Word of God. He does not believe in a universal flood. He came to the Bible from his studies in Egyptian history, and accepts the Bible to be a reliable, though not perfect, history book on the basis of his historical and archaeological studies.

I've summarized some passages from his book to give you an idea about his philosophical biases.

David doesn't consider the Bible as infallible. He says "All [emphasis is his] ancient documents are written by humans, and therefore embody the beliefs, aspirations and traditions of a particular culture. They are also, of course, susceptible to errors of fact, political bias, economy of truth and miscopying." (pg 38)

David does not believe in miracles. Two references that demonstrate this:

(1) Referring to Immanuel Velikovsky and his questioning of the causes which lay behind the event of the Tenth Plague, David Rohl comments, "I too have difficulty with the causes which lay behind the event of the Tenth Plague and its supernatural ability to select only the 'first-born' victims amongst the native Egyptian population. If we are looking for a cause for the Exodus catastrophe then it should be readily explainable within the context of an event such as plague or earthquake or some other such natural calamity." (pg 283)

(2) The Old Testament is a compilation of ancient documents. The only way to determine if it contains 'historical facts' is by employing the same criteria used for any other ancient document. If interpretations of independent texts and archaeological evidence are consistent with the non-miraculous and non-allegorical elements in the narratives then an historian us justified in employing them in his history." (pg 38)

I agree that we should not rely on the miraculous in providing archaeological confirmation of the Bible. But the archaeological evidence should support the biblical account, miracles and all.

Three passages in which David talks about round numbers in the Bible:

(1) The exaggerated ages given in the early books of the Old Testament should, of course, always be treated with caution when employed in chronological calculations. (pg 251)

(2) The interval of forty years between the Exodus from Egypt and the crossing of the River Jordan into Palestine is another of those biblical round numbers and should be treated with caution — a figure of exactly forty years seems too neat. (pg 299)

(3) Joseph had predicted first a period of plenty for Egypt lasting seven years. The number seven, of course, is again one of those biblical numbers (like the number 40) which has a traditional significance. (pg 342)

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