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KRONOS Vol II, No. 4

ASTRONOMY AND CHRONOLOGY:
AN ASSESSMENT
Lewis M. Greenberg

The Supplement to Peoples of the Sea - "Astronomy and Chronology" may very well be Velikovsky's most brilliant contribution to an understanding of the basic historiographical problems confronting the student of Egyptian antiquity. Initially written more than twenty-five years ago, "Astronomy and Chronology" was first published (with only minor differences from the present, book version) in the Summer 19 73 issue of the journal Pensee (IV, pp. 38-49).

"Astronomy and Chronology" is a profound expose' of the fundamental weaknesses that underlie the chronological scheme for ancient Egypt as it is presently understood and accepted. Astronomical retrocalculation - allied to an erroneous astronomical premise - stellar confusion, ambiguous and fragmented source material, conflicting data, a priori assumptions, and highly conjectural interpretations are shown to be the sum and substance of what constitutes the foundational criteria for reconstructing ancient Egypt's historical past; it is a pyramid built on quicksand.

The major thrust of "Astronomy and Chronology" is directed at the astronomical underpinning of Egyptian chronology - the so-called Sothic period. Velikovsky explicitly demonstrates the unreliability and incertitude of Sothic reckoning (Peoples of the Sea , pp. 215-233), which is based upon supposed heliacal risings of the star, Sirius, and shows that "the Sothic scheme of ancient chronology is rooted in a fallacy. "

The crowning revelatory achievement of "Astronomy and Chronology" (Peoples , pp. 235ff ) is the hitherto unrecognized role that the planet Venus played in the calendric system of the Egyptians. "The confusion of Venus with Sirius renders obsolete the astronomical computations made for Egyptian chronology ",-- and the astronomical procrustean bed which so rigidly fixed the scientific framework for Egyptian history has finally been dismantled.

The validity of Sothic reckoning, as the following article clearly indicates, has even been scrutinized and revaluated by orthodox thinking. Yet, the examiner in question did not dare abandon entirely the concept of the Sothic period, though he correctly recognized that the Sothic idol has feet of clay. More than this, however, Velikovsky's "Astronomy and Chronology" proves that the idol itself is a phantom.

L. M. G.

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