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Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament [Paperback]

By John D. Currid (Author) & Kenneth Kitchen (Foreword by)
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Item description for Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament by John D. Currid & Kenneth Kitchen...

This valuable study offers the most up-to-date information on archaeological discoveries and includes Currid's original translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Photographs, indexes, and a bibliography enhance the study.

Publishers Description
An enlightening guide to Egyptian influences on Israelite history. Includes illustrations.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   269
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.97" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.71"
Weight:   0.96 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 5, 2012
Publisher   Baker Academic
Edition  New  
ISBN  0801021375  
ISBN13  9780801021374  

Availability  0 units.

More About John D. Currid & Kenneth Kitchen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John D. Currid (PhD, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) is Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served on several archaeological excavations and is author of Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament.

John D. Currid currently resides in Clinton, in the state of Mississippi. John D. Currid was born in 1951.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Africa > Egypt > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Egypt
3Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > Egypt
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > Old Testament
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Old Testament > Old Testament

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Biblical History & Culture

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Reviews - What do customers think about Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament?

A good place to start...  Jun 5, 2008
As other reviews of this book show, this is an area where people's minds are made up and a book like Currid's will either elicit support from those who agree with him or derision from those who don't.

Because ancient Egypt's relationship to Israel can be a confusing thing, I appreciated Currid's introduction to the material in an engaging, readable style. I especially found the chapters on Egyptian cosmogonies, the Egyptian setting of the serpent confrontation, the exegetical and historical consideration of the ten plagues of Egypt, and the Egyptian complexion of the bronze serpent to be the most helpful.

Archeology being what it is, fragmentary and scattered, there are rarely clear answers to the questions raised. Thus, I found it somewhat humorous that many of the chapters could be summed up by saying, "We simply don't have enough information to verify one theory or the other."

Though technical in parts, I enjoyed sitting down and thinking through the relationship between Egypt and Israel. This is a good place to start, whether you agree with Currid or not.
The Hebrew Bible is very deeply rooted in Ancient Egypt  Jun 12, 2004
"The whole subject of the interrelation of ancient Egypt and the Old Testament is very much larger than most people realize, be they lay or scholars!" K. Kitchen

Curried valued credentials:
If you are new to the subject, how would you support your expectations? The author, John Currid got his Ph.D. degree from the Oriental Institute, at the University of Chicago, one of the finest, a Pioneer to the Past, established by the eminent Egyptologist James H. Breasted. Prof. Edwin Yamauchi, a towering expert, and author of 'Persia and the Bible', described the book as; "An excellent study of the Egyptian background of certain parts of the Old Testament. The author has read widely and commented judiciously on a number of very interesting topics." While K. Kitchen, attests that; "Currid's well documented book is a breath of fresh air and represents a valuable contribution." I may add that John Currid has shown scholarly prudence, in referring to the Septuagint, the Alexandrian Koine translation of the Hebrew Bible.

Book's Thesis:
Kitchen's Forward, and Currid own Preface should be examined carefully before reading and after finishing its discourse. In five parts, Currid writes a plan, elaborates on his defense of the Old debated case for the Egyptian Origins of OT, as follows
1. Egypt and the Bible / ancient Near east Cosmologies.
2. Pentateuch Egyptian Element.
3. Egypt / Israel in the Historical Books
4. Parallels of Egyptian Wisdom
5. Prophecy in Egypt and Israel.
This book represents the depth of American scholarship in comparison to the broad and versatile style treatment of such subjects as represented by: Moses, The Egyptian, which Jan Assmann, of Heidelberg University wrote in California, same year. Assmann puts it forward; "The aim of a mnemohistorical study is not to ascertain the possible truth of traditions such as the traditions about Moses but to study these traditions as phenomena of collective memory. Memories may be false, distorted, invented, or implanted." Moses the Egyptian, Jan Assmann

Conscience and Revelation:
Currid does not intend to support the historicity of the Hebrew Bible but just to explain why it is logical. The most important issue here is what shocked his own pioneer James Breasted; "When that experience began, it was a dark day for my inherited respect for the theological dogma of 'revelation.' I had more disquieting experience before me, when as a young Orientalist I found that the Egyptians had possessed a standard of morals far superior to that of the Decalogue over a thousand years before the Decalogue was written." Revelation should be directly proportional to the tuned perception of the receiving side to interpret the All Knowing Lord's thought line.

Egyptian Wisdom Parallels:
Job, written some fifteen hundred years before a similar book among the Hebrew wisdom, reminds OT scholars of the Hieratic papyrus in the Berlin Museum: 'A dispute over Suicide', that dates from the middle kingdom (Ca 1900 BC).
The use of dialogue to treat a philosophical and religious problem is followed by the author of the book of Job in his presentation of the problem of suffering more than fifteen hundred years later." (Documents from Old Testament Times, W. Thomas, Editor)
Here I find Currid's treatment of the Egyptian parallels in Psalms and Proverbs is much short of Breasted's original and thorough treatment, apart from 'Proverbs 22 and Amenemope.' My NRSV Harper Collins study Bible, W. Meeks Editor, indicate in the foot comments: "Proverbs 22.17-24.22 this section departs from the proverb collections of 10.1-22.16, as it makes a free adaptation from the popular Egyptian wisdom text; The instruction of Amenemope."

Interrelation Reconstructed:
The greatest early Bible commentators and exegesis were from the two great Churches in the East, Alexandria and Antioch, both of Jewish ancestry, who did not find anything illogical in the Biblical derivations. The Hebrews lived in Egypt for four centuries, acquiring their culture, folklore and traditions. They were led out from their alleged slavery by an Egyptian or assumed Egyptian, in education, wisdom, and 'Akhenaton' monotheistic belief system. What is more logical than Moses asking the Israelites, bitten by the fiery serpents to the Egyptian Symbol of pharmaceutical healing, that many pharmacies depict as their logo today?
It is not but logical to have these narration, given Egypt dominated the thought theater for the two thousand years. Mostly all native rulers were educated in memphis and Heliopolis. The Kingdom of Israel and Judah, among all others in the fertile Crescent, were planets in the ancient Egyptian 'Solar' system.

Larger Than Most People Visualize  Apr 6, 2004
In the Foreword to John Currid's book, the eminent Kenneth Kitchen writes that the "whole subject of the interrelations of ancient Egypt and the Old Testament is very much larger than most people realize" and in this book Currid has selected a series of themes. I would agree that this is a most apt description.

Currid divides his 13 chapters between an introduction and various portions of the Old Testament. There are six chapters on the relationships between the Pentateuch and Egypt, two on the historical books, one on wisdom literature, and two on prophecy. Currid is widely read on Egyptology and this comes across in his writing. In his chapter called "The Egyptian Setting of the Serpent Confrontation," Currid shows the breadth and depth of his studies in Egyptology. Numerous Egyptian sources are cited showing the meaning of the serpent in ancient Egypt. Then Currid adds the battle of the biblical writers. Aaron's throwing the rod-snake before Pharaoh was an assault on the latter's authority since the serpent was a symbol of Pharaoh's. The reader might want to have a look at the story in Exodus again for the full impact of this.

Currid treats the biblical figures as historical figures. Moses or Aaron did this or that, etc. Currid does the same with Potiphar where he concludes that what can be known about Potiphar is "not much." Potiphar's name does not tell us much about the station and function of a person by that name though probably he was not a eunuch. Moreover the name itself "seems to be an anomaly" if the Joseph story occurred in the second millennium; "the name itself is primarily confined to the 1st millennium."

One would do well to read Currid's book for what Kitchen said: because the interrelations between Egypt and the Old Testament is much larger than most people think. On that basis Currid's book is thought-provoking reading from cover to cover.

Outstanding and informative  Mar 28, 2004
This book is extremely informative. With all the reading I have done over the years on the Ancient Near East nearly 100% treat Mesopotamian connections. Currid does a great job of comparing and contrasting the Hebrew paralels with Ancient Egypt.

I am by no means a scholar but I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is interested in more fully understanding the Old Testament world, especially the one in which the sons of Abraham grew from a small clan into a nation ready to tkae their first steps toward the Promised land.

Some Interesting Reading, Problematic Opening, Biased View  Nov 21, 2001
John Currid's "Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament" is his stab at shifting the dabate on the historicity of the Hebrew Bible toward the affirmative and away from the revisionists. While he did not succeed in changing my mind, he did offer some informative literary and liguistic analysis on possible points of Egyptian influence in specific sections of the Bible.

His opening chapters, where he compares Mesopotamian, Canaanite and Egyptian myths, are the most problematic. His method seems fundamentally flawed, especially in what appears to be his assumption that ancient religious views were monolithic, standardized and national, rather than diverse, varied and local. One myth and its deities succeeded another as kingdoms and empires formed and dissolved. In his comparison of Biblical creation theory with the water-based Mesopotamian versions, he very strangely ignores what the Bible actually says in Gen. 1:2 about God hovering over the waters which already existed in order to push a creation ex nihilo view, which all 3 Jewish Torah commentaries I have consulted repudiate. And then when discussing cosmology, he ignores Genesis, which is quite in line with other ancient middle eastern views , and cites Job and Isaiah. Lastly, when he says that the relatively minimalist view presented in Genesis could not have derived from elaborate Mesopotamian schemes, he seems to be forgetting the reformist impulse which the Bible clearly represents. In our own history, the eleborate Catholicism of the middle ages eventually gave way to puritanisms of various types. According to his theory, Protestants should be even more baroque than Catholics!

In any case, given that any state in the ancient Near East conducting relations with it neighbors would of necessity have had scribes versed in both Egyptian and Mesopotamian writing systems in order to communicate with them, it seems like a no-brainer that ancient Israel would have had access to the ideas of both cultures. Additionally, Egypt dominated and meddled in Palestine for cenuries. How could influence have been avoided?

As to the body of the book, Currid zeroes in on particular
stories and forms, such as Potiphar, plagues, incidents involving serpents, war itineraries, widsom literature and prophecy. Here the book becomes more interesting to the reader who is curious about ancient words and their meaning, and ancient customs and views. It's not by any means comprehensive, but I'm not sure that would even be possible.


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