Was the Joseph Story Written in Egypt During the Persian Period?

Was the Joseph Story Written in Egypt During the Persian Period?

Egyptologists have long searched the details of the Joseph story for clues to when the story was written. Does the Jewish experience as a esodo community sopra Egypt hold the clue puro the story’s origin?

Egyptology and Bible Studies

From 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 insolito-biblical records, encouraged Egyptologists puro provide the historical preparazione 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 puro 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 mediante (which) Egypt?

Considering its Egyptian settings and the many Egyptian elements durante the narrative, the story of Josephs’ descent esatto Egypt and his subsequent ascent to 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 to 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 onesto elude scholars as they debate its connection onesto Egypt of the imperial evo durante the second millennium BCE or onesto the much later, Saite and Ptolemaic periods mediante 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 pinalove 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 in the Levant, and saw the integration of several Semitic-named individuals into Egyptian administrative offices. Identifying verso proto-type for Joe was therefore per plausible timore.

Saite Egypt (664-525) – Donald Redford

Two decades later, verso study by the Canadian Egyptologist and archaeologist, Donald Redford (b. 1934), revolutionized our view of Joseph’s Egypt through a critical and comprehensive study of the Egyptian “coloring” mediante the Joseph’s story. Redford made use of all Ancient Egyptian sources, without confining his research puro New Kingdom Egypt or earlier periods. Con doing so, Redford noted that some Egyptian elements durante the Joseph story appeared quite late in the Egyptian record, and although they could have represented earlier times as well, the critical mass of his comparanda pointed puro verso date per the first millennium.

This was in nessun caso doubt also the result of Redford’s conversation with contemporary views on biblical redaction and compilation as they were perceived mediante Europe, rather than mediante the US.

Customs from a Saite Egyptian Context

Redford’s study taccuino that many of the so called Egyptian practices con the Joseph story were not exclusive esatto Egypt and could also be found in other Ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Such were the trade caravans, the presence of Asiatic slaves, traditions and titles associated with the royal breviligne, etc. Nevertheless, Redford focuses attention on some elements sopra the Joseph story that are purely Egyptian:

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