"Enter Amunhotep III, who upon his ascension embarked on a radical campaign to destroy the Amun priesthood's power. He become a monotheist. Worship of the old gods was proscribed, their names banned, their priesthoods disbanded. Instead, Amunhotep elevated a minor artifact of the Heliopolitan cult of Ra--the sun-disk, or Aten--to the status of 'one true god.'
...This suggests an interesting origin of Judaism in Egyptian religion. It is worth noting that Psalm 104 is nearly identical to Akhenaten's 'Great Hymn to the Aten.' 'Moses' is a popular element in Egyptian names, meaning 'son of,' and is often associated with a god's name, as in 'Ra-moses,' or 'Thoth-moses.' This suggests that Moses may have been involved in Akhenaten's monotheistic revolution, and stricken the 'pagan' element from his name, leaving only 'Moses.' When the Amun priesthood returned to power and began its violent crack-down on the Atenists, Moses would have been wise to flee to the barely-controlled Egyptian frontiers. It is also wise for those under attack by society to band together with others under attack by the same society. There may have been a number of Atenists who looked to Moses for leadership for any number of reasons; Semitic slaves may have been their natural allies. It is curious that Exodus places nearly all of Moses' life in the Sinai peninsula, suggesting that Israel may not have been their originally-intended destination. Sinai, too, would have been on the fringes of the empire. They may have suffered pursuit, there, and then fled north.
There, they would have met David's 'Apiru. David may well have dreamed of making the jump from successful bandit lord, to regional chieftain. That would have meant transforming the 'Apiru into a real society, giving them a sense of unity and purpose. Moses and the exiled Atenists could have provided that. In return for protection and sanctuary, Moses' Egyptian exiles could have provided the 'Apiru with a religion to unite them as 'G-d's chosen people.'
Over time, two foundation myth cycles would have developed: one focused on Moses and their religious foundation, another focused on David and their political foundation. By the time these stories were set down during the Babylonian Exile, both would be sufficiently complete and complex that the authors would have reasonable concluded that they were sequential, rather than contemporaneous."
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Possible Egyptian origins of Judaism
The Shaman’s Vision » The Anthropik Network:
Posted by Rob Pugh at Wednesday, November 23, 2005