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Open letter to science editors

 

KRONOS Vol VI, No. 1

SOME NOTES ON PARKER'S "SOTHIC DATING"

SHANE H. MAGE

1. The main problem posed by the Illahun papyrus is its implication of a Middle Kingdom 365-day Civil Year and a lunar cycle with a month exactly equal to its present value. However, in order to establish this equality, Parker had to "correct" one of the dates given ( The Calendars of Ancient Egypt , p. 28 sec. 136 and p. 67 333). Although the proposed emendation is of only one day, nevertheless, the necessity of any emendation at all raises the possibility of error in the dates, and thus at least allows the possibility of a year and month of different than modern durations at that epoch.

2. The crucial dating problem for the Revised Chronology is that of the Papyrus Ebers for Amenhotep I. However, in Calendars (pp. 42-43, secs. 220-224), Parker recognises that the 18th Dynasty astronomical ceiling in the Tomb of Senmut shows 12 months only, whereas the "19th" Dynasty Ramesseum ceiling, otherwise very similar to that of Senmut, shows a thirteenfold division that Parker states "represent[s], I am convinced, the intercalary thirteenth month" of a lunar calendar. This change from a twelve to a more-than-twelve month lunar year is of course exactly what Velikovsky's account of Calendrical history requires.*

3. Of perhaps crucial significance to the dating of the Ebers Papyrus, and thus of the time of Amenhotep I, is a passage in the body of the text itself. In the edition of the treatise by Bryan (London, G. Bles, 1930), the following is to be found (p. 104): "Another eye salve is prescribed for 'Driving out Tumours-in-the-Head,' while the Scribe also finds room to quote two salves for general use: one 'AS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRIESTLY PHARMACIST XUI,' the other 'AS TOLD US BY A JEW FROM BYBLOS'." According to the conventional dating, placing Amenhotep I long before the time of the Exodus, even before the time of Jacob(=Israel ), the phrase "A Jew from Byblos" would be wildly anachronistic. It fits perfectly, however, with the Revised Chronology according to which Amenhotep I was contemporary with David in the Tenth Century BCE.

4. At no point in his work does Parker give any plausible explanation for the very existence of a 365-day Civil Year corresponding to no seasonal or astronomical reality, and ignored by the priests in favour of a lunar year supposedly based on the heliacal rising of Sirius, yet insisted upon by them to the extent that Pharaohs were required to swear not to introduce the obviously necessary sixth epagomenal day. Once again, however, Velikovsky has shown that this 365-day "year" makes perfect sense in terms of the synodic period of Venus post-687 BCE.

*The reader is also referred to the following published material in the SIS Review: M. Lowery, "Some Notes on Senmut's Ceiling," SISR II:1 (Autumn 1977), pp. 7-10; M. G. Reade, "Senmut and Phaeton," Ibid., pp. 10-18; M. G. Reade, "The Ramesside Star Tables," SISR IV: 2/3 (Winter 1979/80), pp. 41-53. - LMG 70

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