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

Egyptologists have long searched the details of the Joseph story for clues sicuro when the story was written. Does the Jewish experience as per esodo community durante Egypt hold the clue onesto 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 mediante the Hebrew Bible. The wealth of Egyptian records vis a vis the dearth of contemporary Israelite or Canaanite accessorio-biblical records, encouraged Egyptologists sicuro 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 to verify the biblical accounts. This was neither masked nor veiled but explicitly proclaimed in 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 per (which) Egypt?

Considering its Egyptian settings and the many Egyptian elements per the narrative, the story of Josephs’ descent to Egypt and his subsequent ascent onesto 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 con it and provided parallels preciso 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 esatto elude scholars as they debate its connection to Egypt of the imperial eta con the second millennium BCE or to 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

Con 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 in the Levant, and saw the integration of several Semitic-named individuals into Egyptian administrative offices. Identifying per proto-type for Joe was therefore verso 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” con the Joseph’s story. Redford made use of all Ancient Egyptian sources, without confining his research sicuro New Kingdom Egypt or earlier periods. Per doing so, Redford noted that some Egyptian elements con the Joseph story appeared quite late con the Egyptian superiorita, and although they could have represented earlier times as well, the critical mass of his comparanda pointed puro a date mediante the first millennium.

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

Customs from per Saite Egyptian Context

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