Joseph a Millennium too early to be Amenhotep Son of Hapu
Damien F. Mackey
Professor Joseph Davidovits, French polymer scientist, has made some extraordinary claims about pharaoh Amenhotep III’s famed scribe-architect, Amenhotep son of Hapu, arguing that the latter was in fact the biblical patriarch Joseph in Egypt.
We may read at the professor’s site the following intriguing suggestions (http://www.davidovits.info/the-lost-fresco-and-the-bible-my-new-book-in-french/):
On 18 Sep 2009
I am presenting my 5th book on the Egyptian civilization, here in connection with the Bible, published by Éditions Jean-Cyrille Godefroy, Paris, ISBN 978-2-86553-216-2
Released on: 29 september 2009
In 1935 in Karnak, in Egypt, two French Egyptologists discover a fresco in the ruins of the memorial temple of Amenophis (Amenhotep) Son of Hapu, the most eminent scribe and scientist of ancient Egypt, Great chancellor of the Pharaon Amenhotep III, father of the monotheist Pharaon Akhenaton. Recently, 75 years later, I noted that the text of this fresco was reproduced word for word in the Bible, Genesis 41, when Pharaon installs the biblical Patriarch Joseph to rule over all Egypt. Royal scribe Amenophis Son of Hapu and the Patriarch Joseph are thus the same person.
I have found the following table at : http://kovtr.com/wordpress/?paged=5 apparently reproducing the professor’s comparisons between Joseph and Amenhotep (Amenophis) from sites of his: http://www.davidovits.info/wp-content/uploads/joseph-amenophis-english.pdf and: http://www.davidovits.info/filmtv-documentary-proposal-on-egypt/
Biblical Patriarch Joseph = Scribe and Genius Amenophis Son of Hapu
Joseph, Genesis 41, 40-46
Amenophis, Son of Hapu
And Pharaoh took off his ring from his
hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand
He was bestowed with ornaments in gold
and all kind of precious minerals
and he arrayed him in vestures of fine linen
He was arrayed with clothes made of linen
of the finest quality
and put a gold chain about his neck
A necklace in pure gold and all kind of
minerals was placed around his neck
And Joseph was thirty years old when he
stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt
Year XXX… The great royal scribe,
Amenophis, bowed down before his Majesty
These are the sorts of eye-catching parallels that can delight those who seek verification of the historicity of the Bible.
But, since the patriarch Joseph belonged to an archaïc period of Egyptian history :
far removed in time and style from the age of pharaoh Amenhotep III and his genius official, Amenhotep son of Hapu - in the el-Amarna period revised - see e.g. my:
then perhaps the most that we can say about comparisons such as the above is that this may have been a conscious return to the formulary of the older Egyptian period.
Later pharaohs often hearkened back to much earlier periods of Egyptian history for their names (titulary) and architectural styles, etc.
There is by now so much from Egyptian history to verify the biblical record that we do not need to insist upon such unrealistic identifications as professor Davidovits’s «Royal scribe Amenophis Son of Hapu and the Patriarch Joseph are thus the same person ».
In the light of the definite similarities here, though, it is most interesting to wonder who was this Amenhotep son of Hapu.
Professor Davidovits continues :
Moreover, the fresco contains a surprising detail which underlines its authenticity. Indeed, in Genesis 41, Pharaon names Joseph: çaphenat-paneah (sapnath-panéakh), a name which does not mean anything in Hebrew. Indeed, I discovered that çaphenat-paneah is the Egyptian name Amenophis Fils of Hapou, written reversely, from left to right, the hebrew language being written from right to left. The surprising detail in the fresco is that, precisely, the Egyptian name Amenophis is also written in hieroglyph reversely, from left to right, instead of from right to left like the rest of the text. There is thus absolute agreement between the fresco text and the Bible.
Even though I have not read the professor’s book, this bold claim strikes me as being highly unlikely to say the least. His « … absolute agreement between the fresco text and the Bible » is a very strong statement indeed.
The professor apparently follows the conventional dating system, which would locate the el-Amarna era and Amenhotep son of Hapu more realistically closer (about half a millennium), [c. « 1350 B.C »] to the time of the patriarch Joseph. But even that date falls centuries short of the patriarch’s era according to the biblical reckoning.
Davidovits continues and concludes with further striking claims:
With this text going back to 1350 B.C., I prove that “the text in the Bible originated from this fresco ” and I describe the historical character of the Patriarch Joseph. I show how the Hebrew craftsmen were indeed Egyptians, yet, their leaders, the priests of Amenophis Son of Hapu’s Memorial Temple were of Semitic origin.
Why was this fresco then occulted by Egyptology? That remains a mystery. One does not find it mentioned in any works and books published by Egyptologists. This explains why biblical researchers and archeologists do not know of its existence and ignore its content. The historicity of the Bible goes back now to 3400 years and I claim that this fresco is the oldest text written word by word in the Bible. I have found many old and modern archaeological documents that fit in this new context. While following the written history of Amenophis Son of Hapu’s Memorial Temple from 1356 to 1060 B.C., one discovers the personality of Moses and the causes for Exodus around 1050 B.C., after heavy religious tensions, agitations and exemplified by the first strikes ever recorded in History, those of the craftmens working in the Valley of the Kings, Karnak, Egypt, called hepkher/hebbrer, the Hebrews.
I also explain in this book who were the Hebrews and their brothers (or cousins) from Madian who hosted Moses during 40 years, those who will be called later, the Arabs.
Ahmed Osman Prefers Yuya for Joseph
Ahmed Osman’s attempt to identify the biblical patriarch Joseph with el Amarna’s Yuya is to be rejected for the same chronological reasons as given in Part One, regarding professor Davidovits’s proposed identification of Joseph with Amenhotep son of Hapu.
In my rather un-sympathetic review of Ahmed Osman’s historical “mish-mash” as I called it, Out of Egypt. The Roots of Christianity Revealed (Century, 1998), which I entitled:
Osman's 'Osmosis' of Moses
I began as follows:
Perusing Osman’s book as a revisionist historian, I find it fascinating that he has located David and Solomon precisely where Immanuel Velikovsky did, to the early 18th dynasty of Egypt. No doubt Velikovsky’s 18th dynasty revision (Ages in Chaos I and II) was his main achievement, that will stand in pyramid-like strength after much else of his historical revision has collapsed under the weight of scientific criticism.
The 18th dynasty is also Osman’s entire showcase, encompassing all of his major characters. However, nowhere in his book do I find reference to Velikovsky or any other of the well-known revisionist historians. Osman either has not been influenced by Velikovsky at all, or perhaps does not bother to mention him because Osman retains the conventional dating of the early-mid 18th dynasty, instead of lowering it by the 500-600 years that Velikovsky had maintained was necessary.
More radical still – and even the most intrepid revisionists would baulk at this one – is Osman’s lumping together of Abraham, Joseph and Moses, into the same 18th dynasty scenario with, not only David and Solomon (his Part I: the Chosen People), but even with Jesus (his Part II: Christ the King); thereby totally ignoring customary chronological spacings. According to Osman, the 18th dynasty characters: Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Yuya, Akhnaton and Tutankhamun, are to be identified as, respectively: David, Solomon, Joseph, Moses and Jesus Christ. Thus, once traditional heroes of Israel – even a great father-figure like King David – are now transmogrified into Egyptian (or, in Yuya’s case, a Syrian). Osman’s excuse for so radical a bouleversement seems to be that he is the one best suited to rediscover “the true Egyptian roots of Christianity and of Western civilization”.
Well, I believe that he has gone about it all in a most biased fashion. I cannot see how Osman – himself a followed of both Sothic dating and Higher Critical view – can possibly escape the label of anti-semitism (here meaning anti-Israel) as described in my earlier TGN article (“Velikovsky and Academic Anti-Semitism”). Osman is guilty of historical piracy, ‘hijacking’ famous Israelites into an Egyptian environment and ‘forcing’ Egyptianhood upon them. But that is an old trick – the Greeks had done it (in favour of Greece) long before him. Whilst admittedly the revision that has grown out of Velikovsky’s efforts can be at times radical, its protagonists are generally careful not to up-end established sequences. Much of the revision revolves around the more plausibly allowable, like deleting ‘Dark Ages’, or shortening artificially over-stretched eras (such as Egypt’s Third Intermediate Period). Velikovsky in fact lost many supporters when he, flying in the face of hard archaeological evidence, had indulged in such a radical up-ending by separating the 18th from the 19th dynasty (sequentially) and inserting in between foreign dynasties of 150 years duration (In Ramses II and His Time, and Peoples of the Sea).
Though Osman certainly becomes most interesting when he departs from the conventional norm, this is only the case when he does so with some sort of coherence. He correctly maintains that his country, Egypt, exerted an influence upon biblical and Christian thinking. However, as I intend to show, he does not appear to have properly understood what he has rightly sensed. He tries to force his examples; thereby missing Egyptian influences that really are there, whilst creating ones that are not. The Sothic chronology lets him down badly, exacerbating his mishmash. Osman proposes David as an Egyptian pharaoh of the C15th BC, who impregnates Sarai. And, taking his cue from the Babylonian Talmud (Osman, op. cit., p. 12), he recklessly makes David the father of Isaac. Despite his avowed aims, Osman lets himself down by his failure to appreciate the relevance of Egypt’s Old Kingdom; his lack of perspective regarding the 18th dynasty; but, most of all, by his anti-Israel bias. He locates the era of the Exodus to the 19th dynasty (New Kingdom), Late Bronze Age.
[End of quote]
It comes as no surprise, then, that Osman completely mis-dates and mis-identifies the patriarch Joseph and his most distinctive era of Egyptian history. Whereas professor Davidovits had, as we found, tried to identify Joseph with Amenhotep son of Hapu, Osman has chosen instead the latter’s contemporary, Yuya – both prevailed during the long reign of Amenhotep III.
I wrote of this in the following section of my review of Osman:
- Joseph = Yuya
Osman maintains that Joseph was the highly credentialled Yuya, Syrian relative of Akhnaton. …. Yuya, like Joseph, he states, was the only official in Egypt ever to be called “Father of Pharaoh”. And he optimistically claims that the details of Joseph’s life after his interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams “are matched by only one person in Egyptian history – Yuya, the minister of Amenhotep III (ibid., 39). But again Osman’s apparent ignorance of pre-18th dynasty Egyptian history lets him down. Professor A. Yahuda (op. cit., 23-24) had already found the equivalent title, “Father of Pharaoh” in Old Kingdom Egypt; the Genesis expression, ab, ‘father’, a title borne (centuries before Yuya) by the Vizier, Ptah-hotep, who was itf ntr mryy-ntr, ‘father of god, the beloved of god’; god here indicating Pharaoh. Now, since Ptah-hotep was also a wise sage, whose writings resemble the Hebrew Proverbs, and since he – like Joseph – lived for 110 years, then it is worthwhile considering that Ptah-hotep was Joseph in his guise as scribe and sage.
Osman’s identification of Joseph is a classic example, I think, of where revisionists would think that they could easily trump him. T. Chetwynd, for instance (in “A Seven Year Famine in the Reign of King Djoser with Other Parallels between Imhotep and Joseph”…” C and AH, 1987, 49-56), has found numerous parallels between Joseph and the celebrated Vizier, Imhotep, of the 3rd dynasty (Old Kingdom), who supposedly saved Egypt from a 7-year Famine. ….
Imhotep, who according to J. Hurry (Imhotep, 90) was “one of the few men of genius in the history of ancient Egypt … one of the fixed stars of the Egyptian firmament”, is portrayed as a kind of ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ of Egypt: mathematician, scientist, engineer, architect. He was more besides. Carved on the base of a statue of Zoser in the Cairo Museum is a short inscription describing Imhotep as: “The seal-bearer of the King of Lower Egypt … the high priest of Heliopolis … the chief of the sculptors, of the masons …”. Imhotep has also come down through history as a thaumaturgist, healer and Egyptian patron saint of medicine.
Joseph also, according to Yahuda (op. cit., 24), would have been of the high priestly caste” of Heliopolis – like Imhotep. ….