Exposing the Inadequacies of the 3rd Examiner’s Points in the Context of my Proposed
‘More Acceptable Alternative’ Model
The 3rd examiner, unlike the Assessor, does make some points that are specifically relevant to the thesis, though he/she, just like the Assessor, never exhibits having come to terms at all with the overall complexity of the thesis, as had the 1st and 2nd examiners. Many of the 3rd examiner’s key points of criticism ignore some of the most fundamental aspects of my PhD thesis.
Nor is there the least admittance by either the 3rd or the 4th examiner that the conventional system has its serious flaws. The chronologico-historical and art-historical anomalies that have been addressed in this thesis - and that are acknowledged by many competent scholars from different fields (see e.g. p. 18 of my thesis) - are genuine problems. This will become further evident from the following pages.
The 3rd examiner’s 15 paragraphs can be broken down basically into alleged “weaknesses” relating to:
(i) methodology, four paragraphs (1-4);
(ii) primary and secondary sources, three paragraphs (5-6, 12);
(iii) ‘alter egos’, vague similarities or similar equations for place names, five paragraphs (7-11, also 5 again);
(iv) ‘dark age’, one paragraph (13); and
(v) footnotes/aesthetics, two paragraphs (14-15).
Then there follows that ‘favourable’ final paragraph (1) pointing to “one minor strength”: “The suggestion that the reigns of some of the Ramessides may have been concurrent was plausible …”.
My comment: As if any work that may throw light on the important Ramesside era could be regarded as “minor”! [Moreover, a revision of the history of the Ramessides in relation to king Hezekiah constituted a major part of my thesis, namely Volume One, Part III (pp. 188-372)]. The 1st examiner seems to have appreciated this, when commenting: “pp. 339-340 – admirable attempt to recast the latter part of the 20th Dynasty [Ramesside] which has always appeared as a somewhat gray area”
Let us consider the 3rd examiner’s five areas of criticism in turn.
(i) Methodology (paragraphs 1-4)
Regarding methodology, a major criticism offered by the 3rd examiner was that “tentative” points “were used as significant foundations for further conclusions”. The 2nd examiner had also used the word “tentative”, but with some proper understanding. Thus: “Whilst [Mackey’s] conclusions are somewhat tentative – and could not be otherwise – he has fulfilled the scholar’s brief …”.
This 2nd examiner had, like the 1st examiner, fully appreciated that a completely new model of history must be of a tentative nature.
The 3rd examiner though gives the impression that the whole thesis was basically a castle built in the air. “The vast majority of the argument was premised on a series of unproved ‘if’ statements”. “… numerous tentative points were effectively treated as … pivotal …”.
My comment: My entire thesis was in fact built upon the most solid of foundations, even if the superstructure atop this may be subject to some future alteration. As I have been at pains to demonstrate, my PhD thesis was built upon:
1. A successful MA thesis that showed the inadequacies of the conventional chronological scheme, and with an examiner pointing to the opportunity now for an ‘alternative’ model to be undertaken.
[My Abstract justifies my blazing of this new trail based on comments made by an examiner of my 1993 MA. Then, on p. 8, I argue my new thesis as being a logical development of my MA. This is repeated on p. 10 of Chapter 1. To reinforce all of this, I give a summary of my MA, beginning on p. 11. Pp. 16-21 make clear how much chronology and archaeology currently hang on Sothic dating. I summarise my efforts on this in my Conclusion, pp. 103-106].
2. My thesis was built upon a credible archaeological/stratigraphical foundation, as the 2nd examiner also happily noted: “I particularly appreciated [Mackey’s] usage of archaeological data to support his argument”.
The 3rd examiner seems to have completely overlooked the solid foundations of this extensive work.
3. As the thesis progressed into (as it must) the “alternative” model realm, my higher level foundation (for the background to king Hezekiah’s era) - still anchored though securely on 1. and 2. - became the now quite vast body of revisionist publications, based initially on the research of Drs. I. Velikovsky and D. Courville. As the 2nd examiner could clearly see: “[Mackey] has based his arguments on the chronological revisions of the Sothic calender [sic] thus following the footsteps of Velikovsky and Courville”. But not in a slavish fashion: “However, he has not been reticent to apply his critical ability, assessing and (where necessary) re-adjusting their datum”.
Continuing on now right into the era of king Hezekiah of Judah, my foundations (still dependent on 1-3) were:
4. Five interlocking biblical (cf. 2 Kings 18:10)/neo-Assyrian correspondences,
coinciding with the Fall of Samaria (c. 722/21 BC), namely:
(a) Fall of Samaria; (b) beginning of Sargon II of Assyria’s rule; (c) sixth year of Hezekiah of Judah; (d) ninth year of Hoshea of Israel; (e) year one of Merodach-baladan II as king of Babylon, according to Sargon’s testimony: “In my twelfth year of reign, (Merodach-baladan) .... For 12 years, against the will (heart) of the gods, he held sway over Babylon ...”.
[I discussed points (a)-(e) in detail in Chapter 1, pp. 21-28, returning to this in similar detail in Chapter 5, pp. 125-129, and then fully supplementing it in Chapter 12, pp. 349-350, and finally summarising it all on p. 372, Summary of Volume One].
Thus, I set out a clear foundational progression (1-4), whilst the ‘alter ego’ methodology was firmly established at the outset of my PhD thesis as being a key method to be used therein.
[See also Chapter 3, pp. 52-53, for the beginning of my explanation of my ‘multi-identifications’ methodology, based on a very solid Velikovskian connection; this then being taken further in Chapter 4, pp. 111-115. (See also pp. 7-8 below of this Appendix)].
Yet, typically, the 3rd examiner will write: “… the whole notion of ‘alter egos’ was simply not justified …”.
Other criticisms of a methodological nature made by the 3rd examiner were: “The argument itself did not flow. It often changed subject suddenly …”. But no examples/references are given. By contrast, the 2nd examiner – once again appreciating the difficulty of the task, and the context – wrote that “the accompanying argument highlighted the complexity of the problems that [Mackey] was attempting to unravel. These were generally worked convincingly within the framework of the thesis”.
3rd examiner again:
“The thesis did not engage adequately with more conventional scholars which was necessary in order to achieve the stated goal of providing ‘a more acceptable alternative’ to their widely accepted theories.” But, according to the 2nd examiner, I have indeed in my wide-ranging thesis “evaluated the arguments of so-called conventional scholars soundly”. Moreover: “[Mackey] has fulfilled the scholar’s brief by showing his capacity to sift evidence carefully, as well as consulting mainstream opinion”.
[On p. 5 of my Introduction I told of my indebtedness to conventional scholars/archaeologists of the past. In Chapter 11, p. 276, I praised “Bierbrier’s painstaking and laudable attempts to establish a clear chronological framework for Egyptian officials and workmen for the most difficult phase” of the Third Intermediate Period [TIP]. Moreover, I make it quite clear, in my treatment of the Ramessides and the difficult TIP that I did not intend to be “dogmatic”, but “tentative”, and that “I would be highly presumptuous” were I to presume that I could fully master the situation, Chapter 11, p. 258. See also Volume Two, p. 106].
3rd examiner again: “Problems with conventional dating were exaggerated and often not considered in full, especially in terms of the solutions proposed by scholars advocating more conventional dating (e.g., Thiele). This also revealed a failure to deal with the purpose and literary-theological devices inherent in biblical chronologies”.
For one of my key historical re-identifications, concerning Esarhaddon in relation to the neo-Assyrian succession, in Chapter 6, I actually gave detailed points, headed, “Conventional Theory’s Strengths” (pp. 135-142) as to why - although I was going to propose reasons for considering a departure from the conventional view - I nevertheless appreciated why the conventional view had a firm claim to being right. I revisited this in summary fashion also on pp. 150-151. And I returned to this point again in my final thesis Conclusion at the end of Volume Two (pp. 104-105).
Moreover, I actually discussed Edwin Thiele at great length, first introducing him into the discussion on pp. 14-15 of Chapter 1, then considering him in more detail on pp. 22-27; an analysis that I continued in Chapter 5, pp. 125-129, and also in Chapter 12, p. 349. Though critical of the fact that Thiele had, following a faulty neo-Assyrian chronology, completely eradicated those five interlocking biblical/neo-Assyrian and Babylonian correspondences [(a)-(e) in point 4. on pp. 2-3 above], I did however (on pp. 126-129) consider the merits of Thiele’s overall system, acknowledging the problems that he faced. Indeed I recognised the validity of Thiele’s points in regard to the difficulties of a chronological correspondence between kings Hoshea and Hezekiah. And I coupled this with Assyriologist H. Tadmor’s related arguments, as noted by Thiele (Chapter 1, p. 22; Chapter 5, pp. 127-128; and Chapter 12, p. 354). At the same time I pointed to the inadequacies of Velikovsky’s revision, p. 25, his “sometimes … embarrassing gaffes”, indicating also that I would significantly modify his reconstruction of the el-Amarna period in Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 9 and Chapter 10.
Thiele’s chronological problems with king Hezekiah though turn out to be artificial. Thiele is the one with the faulty methodology. Thanks to Thiele, Hezekiah has now become one of most vexed problems in biblical history, pp. 126, 129. Thiele, despite his “good intentions” (p. 129), ended up doing exactly what he intended not to do, when he had endeavoured to establish “a sound chronology for Old Testament times”, fitting it “into the events of the Near Eastern world” (p. 126). Consider what Thiele has now lost for us, pp. 23-24; also pp. 125-129. The 3rd examiner does not once allude to the fact that Thiele has completely eradicated an ancient multi-syncretism (a)-(e); one that the facts of modern archaeology have actually begun to support and further augment. I say (p. 128) that I shall attempt to enlarge this (a)-(e) correspondence even further by including, in Chapter 12, the Egyptian (f) and Ethiopian (g) contemporaries of the Fall of Samaria (a).
Re biblical genre and purpose, I had definitely considered these throughout my thesis: e.g. Chapter 2, p. 33, where I had argued that the Bible was “didactic, not political science”; and p. 54 my explanation of el-Amarna’s geopolitical situation in relation to the Old Testament; and p. 55, on biblical perspective; and also pp. 72-73 on the Bible’s non-sophisticated attitude to geography. Then in Volume Two (pp. 89-91), I engaged in an in-depth textual analysis of the Isaian Denkschrift. (See also p. 6 of this Appendix).
In conclusion, the 3rd examiner has completely failed to appreciate and understand the firm foundations upon which this thesis was built. This is in contrast to the 1st and 2nd examiners, who did not consider that my methodology was shallow. On the contrary, according to the 1st examiner:
Mr. Mackey is very good at weighing alternatives … I … do not feel that he is “forcing a square peg into a roundhole”. His overall analyses and discussions are in depth and quite plausible. …. He has taken on a vast amount of material … and has dealt with it in considerable depth. If specialists and scholars with an open mind will approach his work dispassionately, [Mackey] has left a great deal to be studied and reconsidered. This is a seminal work – as it should be – and a door opened wide for further exploration.
Whilst the 2nd examiner, impressed by my use of the archaeological data, also believes:
… [Mackey] has evaluated the arguments of so-called conventional scholars soundly. … the thesis … makes an original contribution to knowledge, shows copious evidence of independent critical ability on the part of Mackey, as well as having discovered new facts.
(ii) Primary and secondary sources (paragraphs 5-6, 12)
3rd examiner: “There was a failure to incorporate some key primary sources into the evidence, most notably the Babylonian Chronicles, the Assyrian King List, and Esarhaddon’s Vassal Treaty with Baal of Tyre”. By contrast, the 2nd examiner thought, regarding my “Bibliography. This was satisfactory – a testament to [Mackey’s] copious reading – and no changes are required”.
And (3rd examiner): “The primary sources which featured in the thesis were never appraised or weighed in terms of genre, accuracy, reliability, purpose, and bias …. This was acutely apparent in the use of Assyrian annals, the canonical biblical literature, and the deutero-canonical books of Judith and Tobit”.
My comment: I frequently in fact made use of the Babylonian Chronicles (e.g. Chapter 3, p. 78, Chapter 6, pp. 136-137, 147, 169), though being careful to note that this document is in fact a late source. I did indeed use the Assyrian King List (e.g. p. 131), but most notably in my discussion of “The Assuruballit Problem” [TAP], an Excursus dedicated to this very issue (pp. 230-253). I also used, extensively, the Taylor Prism, e.g. Chapter 6 (pp. 151-165); the Eponym Chronicle (pp. 144-145); the Assyrian Chronicle (e.g. p. 148); the Limmu Lists (p. 132); the ND4301 and ND4305 Nimrud fragments published by Wiseman (pp. 347-349). Moreover, the 3rd examiner here actually refers to my “use of Assyrian annals”. I also made extensive use of H. Tadmor and D. Luckenbill (Sargon II’s Khorsabad texts), with reference to the primary sources, especially throughout Chapter 6.
In fact I went even deeper than merely using primary sources and had, following Tadmor, serious cause to criticize (in relation to the document that Tadmor called “Eponym Cb6”) the fact that Assyriologists, Winckler and Delitzsch, had presumed to add the name “Sargon” where it may not originally have been, pp. 137-138.
Further to what I have already said above re my attention to genre, and to biblical perspective, much of my Chapter 1, in Volume Two (e.g., pp. 17-37), involved a discussion of the debate regarding the genre of the apocryphal Book of Judith, which I headed “A History and Critical Evaluation of [the Book of Judith]. A. Versions, Genre …”. See also my Chapter 3 (pp. 74-75) regarding how history has viewed this, and how history’s view of it has changed according to the different fashions or moral values of different epochs. In this I was notably successful, according to the 2nd examiner who wrote:
The study of the Book of Judith, in particular, showed promise. I appreciated the discussion of the book’s placement (or non-placement) in the Jewish versus the Catholic canon. The accompanying commentary also was a good piece of work. I would recommend that, with judicious editing and some reworking, this part of the thesis be suitable for publication. Re the argument of history v. ‘pious fiction’, it might be worthwhile to consider the questions of ‘intent’ and ‘audience’.
A significant amount of my Volume Two thus constituted a discussion of the textual nature of the Book of Judith, in which I concluded - following some millennia and a half of Judaeo-Christian tradition, I might add - that the book was in fact an ancient account of an actual history, and not just some sort of ‘pious parable/fiction’ (genre). My primary contribution was to show that this history was situated entirely within the era of Hezekiah.
(iii) “‘alter egos’,” “equations of a similar nature for geographic place names”, and “vague similarities” or (paragraphs 7-11, also 5);
Firstly ‘alter egos’
According to the 3rd examiner (a part of this we have already read): “The thesis suffered from the same flaws as Velikovsky’s approach, which exerted considerable influence over the argument, including lending it a starting point. In particular, the whole notion of ‘alter egos’ was simply not justified, and, in fact, beggars the imagination”.
And: “… there was a distinct failure to look thoroughly at the linguistic problems associated with the various equations of names being proposed by the ‘alter-ego’ model. This led to some rather fanciful and improbable equations which are simply not credible linguistically, let alone historically …”.
And: “… the thesis criticizes other scholars for failing to explain name correspondences (e.g., So = Saïs, p. 189) when it fails to do this many times over. This unfortunately reveals a scholarly double standard”.
My comments: If one has, as I have, embarked upon a revision of ancient history based upon the view that Egyptian history has been grossly over-extended, thereby affecting the chronologies of the nations tied to it, then one has to determine upon a methodology that is appropriate towards rectifying this situation. This must of necessity involve a shortening of chronology. But it must not go against the evidence. As the 2nd examiner has noted, my approach was archaeologically-based, hence a sound foundation underpinned it all. This is in contrast, I believe, to the latter part of Velikovsky’s revision, where - in order to merge the entire neo-Hittite empire with the Babylonian (Nebuchednezzar II’s), and make the 19th Egyptian dynasty (that is concurrent with the Hittites) the same as the 26th Egyptian dynasty, concurrent with the Babylonian empire - Velikovsky had ruptured the true and well-established archaeological sequence which indicates that the 19th dynasty must follow on directly from the 18th. This bold plan of Velikovsky’s, to accommodate his chronological shrinkage, would have been wonderful had it been workable. But it was in fact doomed to failure right from the start because it went ruthlessly against the established archaeological evidence.
Now the method of ‘alter egos’, and the merging of certain dynasties, is the one that revisionist scholars have tended to adopt to support the necessary chronological shrinkage. It makes good sense (where it does not violate the established evidence). And some very striking correspondences have already been made. I have built upon what I consider to have been the best of these, and have also significantly added to them, according to the 2nd examiner’s recognising that I have “discovered new facts”. In other words, the model that I have proposed seems to be fruitful and productive, not barren. But does not the 3rd examiner completely miss the point again by asserting, without qualification, that my equations are “simply not credible … historically …”, given that what I have produced is in fact quite a new model of history; one that according to both the 1st and 2nd examiners was convincing according to its context (e.g., 2nd examiner: “… problems [were] generally worked convincingly within the framework of the thesis”)?
Some of my linguistic equations might indeed be controversial, with even the 2nd examiner saying, “occasionally I felt he rather stretched linguistic arguments”. I could have though, for instance, in my proposed equation of Jonah with Nahum (partly based on Tobit 14:4, versions of which variously give ‘Jonah’ and ‘Nahum’) ‘stretched’ the NAH element in both names (Jo-NAH-um) as part of my evidence for identifying Jonah with Nahum. However, I resisted this temptation, due to the fact that, as I would write (Volume Two p. 94), there is “only a superficial similarity between the names”, with ‘Jonah’ containing the letter h (Hebrew he), whilst ‘Nahum’ contains the letter ch (Hebrew het). Now, regarding name linguistics, the 1st examiner thought at least:
On pp. 60ff., I found this to be a valiant effort to identify the EA correspondents and I especially like the linguistic equation of Abdi-ashirta with Dushratta [i.e., through Ab-DU-aSHRATTA, p. 67].
It is quite wrong for the 3rd examiner to claim that “there was a distinct failure to look thoroughly at the linguistic problems associated with the various equations of names being proposed by the ‘alter-ego’ model”. I especially justified my ‘alter ego’ connection for kings with the ADP (see Acronyms) or ‘Addu-principle’ (Chapter 3, pp. 68-71), according to which a king might use a different theophoric (‘god’ name) in a different region (e.g. Baal in Phoenicia; Hadad in Syria; Ashur in Assyria). This e.g. accounted for why the one king might have had dissimilar names. Another factor I suggested was the well-attested religious syncretism at the time (p. 91), with the likelihood of a Yahweh and a Baal name being used together. With ADP, el-Amarna names (presumably C14th BC) now appear abundantly in C9th texts (p. 71). Also:
[On pp. 68 I gave an explanation of possible Semitic use of Indo European names. Also on p. 174 I made it clear that, whilst certain equations may connect the same name, my identification was not based on name similarity alone; though it is nice when that happens. On pp. 208-209 I applied the ADP to Tushratta].
There were many further arguments in favour of my ‘alter ego’ comparisons, e.g:
[P. 65 Boutflower has shown the name Tabeel to have been comparable with Tab rimmon. P. 146, Tiglath-pileser III was also ‘Pul[u]’, both in history and the Bible. We know that Assyrians took different names as rulers of Babylon, p. 184. P. 179-180 my folding of the Middle Bronze I & II Ages also involved name folding. P. 138, explanation of Sargon II’s name as a throne name; Sennacherib, as a personal name. P. 139, Tobit clearly says who Sennacherib’s father was, “Shalmaneser”, not Sargon (p. 184, the name Sargon, meaning “true King”, is suspicious – he may well have been a usurper). P. 147 Tiglath-pileser is a throne name, not a personal name. P. 169 Esarhaddon was known to have had two different names. The biblical Hadoram is also Joram, p. 69, and the name Adda-danu = Balu shipti, p. 70].
In light of all this, one has to wonder if the 3rd examiner has properly read the thesis!
And to make me question this even further there is the 3rd examiner’s mistaken comment re “So = Saïs, p. 189”; this being, incidentally, the only occasion in all of sixteen paragraphs where the 3rd examiner cites a specific page (let alone Chapter, or Volume) of my thesis. By the time we have come to this p. 189 (re “So = Saïs …”), I had already given pages (see above) of linguistic arguments and principles in support of my thesis, and these would continue on, including into Volume Two, Part II (pp. 37-46) and in the Excursus, pp. 87-102. So I cannot justifiably be flatly accused of ‘failing to explain name correspondences’. My particular criticism of the So = Saïs equation was that “So” was a biblical king of Egypt, whereas Saïs is well known to have been a city in the W. Egyptian Delta. However unconvincing scholars may find some of my own equations, be they of people or places, at least I cannot be accused of ever having attempted to force an identification of one designated as a person with a known place (city), as some conventional historians have proposed in the case of So = Saïs.
That strange ‘osmosis’ (a person becoming a place) is the point of my argument here.
As I claim, my ‘alternative’ historical model is not a barren one. At least the 2nd examiner, as we read, did not think so (“new facts”). Nor did the 1st examiner, who liked e.g. the following comparisons:
p. 82 - good attempt to identify the enigmatic Kassites (who remain a real problem).
pp. 88ff. – excellent point regarding use of Hebrew in [el-Amarna] correspondence.
pp. 90ff. – a provocative and detailed discussion of the [el-Amarna] correspondence in order to identify the correspondents.
pp. 133ff. –The Sargon II-Sennacherib equation is provocative, comprehensive and near compelling. It stands as a major challenge to traditional specialists in Mesopotamian history and archaeology.
p. 180 – a tantalizing comparison between 12th and 8th century BC individuals.
pp. 180ff. – good discussion of Kassite/Assyro-Babylonian similarities.
pp. 300ff. – very good discussion of the meaning of the Israel Stele.
pp. 316ff. – good attempt to unravel the relationship between the 21st and 22nd [Egyptian] dynasties;
pp. 322-327 – drives home the point about objects identified as “heirlooms” owing to a misplaced chronology.
This same 1st examiner, too, had fully appreciated the degree of difficulty involved with certain aspects of my thesis, particularly in relation to Egypt’s most troublesome Third Intermediate Period, or TIP [i.e., Dynasties 21-26]:
pp. 358ff. – an interesting attempt to sort out “who was who” in the 21st & 22nd Dynasties. This seems to be one of the most confusing periods in Ancient Egyptian history (pace Kitchen) and may never be straightened out. Mackey is to be commended for his effort.
[Indeed, the great Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner had despaired of this historical period’s ever being properly resolved. See quote on p. 338 of thesis].
My thesis in fact, as I made clear (Chapter 3, p. 51), would tackle head on the three most vexed problems for the Velikovskian based revision (none of which is problem free in the conventional system), namely:
‘The Assuruballit Problem’ [henceforth TAP];
where to locate Ramses II (in the new scheme); and
the resolution of the complex TIP.
And, whilst I thought ultimately (thesis Conclusion, pp. 103-106) that I had managed to propose a positive solution to (i) and (ii), I did not claim to have done more than to provide “at least the outline of a solution - rather than a comprehensive revision - for (iii)”.
Generally, as I have said, my ‘alternative’ historical model can be fruitful, having the potential to solve some glaring, unresolved problems that have persisted in - even bedevilled - the conventional system. Some of these, which are a bit technical in full detail, I shall now illustrate in brief:
One of the most glaring problems is the lack of archaeology for a supposed 400 years of Kassite history (see section ‘dark age’ for more detail on this), completely resolved in my chronological shrinkage and identification of the Kassites with Assyro-Babylonian kings. See also the 1st examiner’s favourable comments above on my treatment of the Kassites.
The conventional system cannot explain why, whereas Assuruballit of Assyria’s father - as given in the el-Amarna letters - was called Assur-nadin-ahe, his father is named in the Assyrian King List as Eriba-Adad, not Assur-nadin-ahe. Yet so much is based on this supposed connection, as we read in Centuries of Darkness: “Thus the much vaunted synchronism between Akhenaten and Assuruballit I, the main linch-pin between Egyptian and Assyrian Late Bronze Age chronologies, is flawed and must be treated with caution” (cited on p. 231 of thesis).
My multi-identification of Tushratta enabled for me to explain how this Mitannian king had been in a position to send the statue of Ishtar of Nineveh (Assyria) to pharaoh Amenhotep III in Egypt, in the hope of curing the latter’s illness. For Tushratta was also, according to my reconstruction, Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria, pp. 73, 76-81. [See also p. 80, art evidence for Ashurnasirpal II as a contemporary of Egypt’s Late Kingdom].
My equation, Tushratta = Abdi-ashirta (the 2nd examiner, as we saw, liked the linguistic connection here), serves to answer my persistent question (e.g. pp. 65-67, 73) as to why two contemporary kings, Tushratta and Abdi-ashirta, ruling the same regions, and with the same ambitions and aspirations (e.g. to consolidate rule over Mitanni), never clashed, nor do their names ever appear together in the el-Amarna correspondence.
The mention in 2 Chronicles 21:16-17 of “the Arabians, who were near the Cushites [Ethiopians]”, who sacked king Jehoram’s palace in Jerusalem has bewildered biblical scholars (see my discussion in Chapter 4, pp. 112-114). E.g: “This curious verse can hardly signify that the Arabians took and plundered Jerusalem” (quote on p. 114). But it is perfectly explainable in a revised context.
In fact we often meet with cases in which the conventional scenario leads to such statements of bewilderment or astonishment, e.g:
p. 73, where Campbell had sought for “... a way to explain a Mitannian raid into upper Syria sometime during the final years of Amenophis [Amenhotep] III, carried out by Tušratta [Tushratta] while he was maintaining loyal friendship with Egypt”. But Campbell finally had to admit to having “no satisfactory explanation”. [See also Roux, p. 14 below, on Kassite archaeology].
The fairly recently published Tang-i Var inscription (see Chapter 6, p. 144, Chapter 12, pp. 350-351, 364) has thrown into complete and unexpected confusion the conventional syncretisms between Sargon II of Assyria and the 25th Ethiopian dynasty; a problem that does not exist in my renovation of neo-Assyrian history and the TIP.
And, with Sargon II to be merged with Sennacherib, as I have argued, then Thiele’s problems with harmonizing the reign of king Hezekiah of Judah against the neo-Assyrian rule are no longer relevant. As the 1st examiner notes, this (Sargon II = Sennacherib) was “provocative, comprehensive and near compelling”. [For more on this, see p. 13 below of this Appendix)].
Art-historical problems of similarities between C12th BC (‘Middle’ Assyro-Babylonian) and C8th BC (‘Neo’ Assyro-Babylonian) art (pp. 80-81, also pp. 250-251) do not exist in my model, which provides a chronological folding of the ‘Middle’ and ‘Neo’ eras.
[See also p. 250, for art of Horemheb, Egypt’s Late Kingdom, like that found in neo-Assyria; p. 251, for art depicting the ‘Sea Peoples’, again Late Kingdom, like that of Shalmaneser III of a supposedly later period].
Secondly, “equations of a similar nature for geographic place names”
There were actually rather few such geographical “equations” proposed in the thesis, and the 3rd examiner mentions only two of these, namely: “… Lachish = Ashdod; Rages = Damascus”. Regarding the first, Lachish = Ashdod, I noted Chapter 6 (p. 154) that Sargon II had, in his Annals, actually referred simultaneously to two Ashdods: “Ashdod, Gimtu [Gath?], Ashdudimmu [Ashdod-by-the-Sea], I besieged and captured”. The conventional historians do not explain why. My thesis does. They are two separate locations, with ‘Ashdod-by-the-Sea’ being the conventional Ashdod; whereas ‘Ashdod’, unqualified, is Lachish. This identification solves a host of problems, including why Sargon II, who actually took the fort of Azekah in Judah (pp. 158-159) would have studiously ignored Azekah’s neighbour fort (p. 140), the mighty Lachish. Sargon II claims to have subdued Judah (as noted on p. 154). For other resolutions, and arguments in favour of this equation, Ashdod = Lachish, see pp. 151, 160-162.
As regards the equation Rages = Damascus, the 3rd examiner has made the comment: “… simply contradictory … Rages, situated in a mountainous terrain, was equated with Damascus which was correctly noted as being located in a plain …”. Now this, the only occasion when the 3rd examiner has credited me with being ‘correct’, in fact mis-states what I had actually written. I discussed all this in Volume Two, Chapter 2, pp. 38-40, where I had specifically claimed that “Rages”, a city in the mountains, must be the city of Damascus that dominated the province of Batanaea” (p. 39). Damascus, almost 700 m above sea level, is actually situated on a plateau. Secondly, I gave there very specific geographical details in order to identify this “Rages” in relation to “Ecbatana” (Tobit 5:6), which I had in turn identified (following the Heb. Londinii, or HL, fragment version of Tobit) with “Bathania”, or Bashan (possibly Herodotus’ Syrian Ecbatana as opposed to the better known Median Ecbatana). According to Tobit, “Rages is situated in the mountains, two days’ walk from Ecbatana which is in the plain”. Now Damascus is precisely two days’ walk from Bashan in the Hauran plain, as according to Jâkût el-Hamawi who says of Batanaea’s most central town of Nawâ …: “Between Nawa and Damascus is two days’ journey” (as quoted on p. 39).
What further consolidates the fact that Tobit’s ‘Ecbatana’ was in a westerly direction, rather than an easterly one, is that his son Tobias, leaving Nineveh, arrived at the Tigris river in the evening; an impossibility were he heading for Median Ecbatana in the east. And, according to the Vulgate version of Tobit, Charan, that is, Haran, is situated “in the halfway” between Nineveh and Ecbatana. The traveller is clearly journeying towards the west. Whilst Bible scholars today tend to dismiss the whole geography of the Book of Tobit as nonsensical, a simple adjustment based on a genuine version (Heb. Londinii), makes perfect - even very precise (“two days walk”) - sense of it.
Thirdly, “vague similarities”
3rd examiner: “Vague similarities were used as a means of drawing identical equations. Thus, for example, the use of kohl was found to be a similarity between Jezebel (conventionally dated to 9th century BC) and Nefertiti (conventionally dated to 14th century BC), which was subsequently used to suggest that they were probably the same person. This appeared to make the evidence fit the desired outcome”.
My comment: I hardly hung my reconstruction on this small point of the kohl.
As part of my primary foundations, 1-3, I had re-located the el-Amarna period (Nefertiti’s age) from the C14th BC to the C9th BC. The 1st examiner, according to whom: “pp. 210-222 – While the equation of Nefertiti with Jezebel is intriguing, I don’t buy it”, had conceded that: “It is a better argument for their contemporaneity rather than identity”. Note here that the 1st examiner was fully aware that my reconstruction of Nefertiti far exceeds (“pp. 210-222”) the mere mention of “kohl” (p. 221). “Kohl” is an element that the seemingly “eye witness” (P. Ellis quote, p. 221) account of Jezebel’s death has included, and it is certainly a notable feature of Nefertiti’s cosmetic make-up. But I intended it merely as just one small piece in a large jigsaw puzzle, or possible Identikit.
Now this is a typical ploy of the 3rd examiner, to minimize the evidence I used for a particular reconstruction. Indeed the very same procedure can be found in the following two instances of criticism:
(3rd examiner): “Thus, for example, to propose that two Assyrian monarchs, Sargon II and Sennacherib … were not only one and the same person, but also identical with the Babylonian monarch Nebuchadnezzar I, is a simply stunning claim. One needs far more than chronological concurrence (which itself was not convincingly argued for) to make this claim, yet no further convincing grounds were given”.
My comments: Apart from the fact that I had previously addressed the ‘dark age’ problem in ‘Middle Assyrian’ history Chapter 6, pp. 130-131, then applying this to Babylonia, Chapter 7, pp. 174-176, I had then begun to bridge the gap between ‘Middle’ and ‘Neo’ Assyrian history. I did this particularly by synchronizing the circumstances of Tukulti-Ninurta I and III, and then making a detailed comparison between Tiglath-pileser I and III, Chapter 7, pp. 181-184, accompanied also by comparisons between the Babylonian Merodach-baladan I and II (whose building works even archaeologists cannot clearly distinguish, p. 179). I also showed that a succession of supposedly C12th BC Elamite kings (known as the ‘Shutrukids’), encountered by Nebuchednezzar I, had virtually the same names as a succession of Elamite kings encountered by Sennacherib. Thus (my Table 1, p. 180):
Table 1: Comparison of the C12th BC (conventional) and C8th BC
· Some time before Nebuchednezzar I, there reigned in Babylon a Merodach-baladan [I].
· The Elamite kings of this era carried names such as Shutruk-Nahhunte and his son, Kudur-Nahhunte.
· Nebuchednezzar I fought a hard battle with a ‘Hulteludish’ (Hultelutush-Inshushinak).
· The Babylonian ruler for king Sargon II’s first twelve years was a Merodach-baladan [II].
· SargonII/Sennacherib fought against the Elamites, Shutur-Nakhkhunte & Kutir-Nakhkhunte.
· Sennacherib had trouble also with a ‘Hallushu’ (Halutush-Inshushinak).
“Too spectacular I think to be mere coincidence!”, I had remarked.
The 1st examiner, as we read, appreciated this.
[I also gave art-historical support for this ‘folding’ of eras (p. 181). And I identified, as the same person, a legendary Vizier common to both eras (p. 185-187). On pp. 184-186, I entered into a discussion of Sennacherib as Nebuchednezzar I].
Moreover, my explanation (Sennacherib = Nebuchednezzar I, pp. 184-186) solved the conundrum for the conventional history as to why the proud Sargon II, or Sennacherib, did not - like previous Assyrian conquerors of Babylon - adopt the title: “King of Babylon”, “preferring to use the older shakkanaku (‘viceroy’)” (p. 185). “That modesty however was not an Assyrian characteristic we have already seen abundantly”, I wrote. “And so lacking in this virtue was Sargon in fact, I believe, that historians have had to create a complete Babylonian king, namely, Nebuchednezzar I, to accommodate the Assyrian’s rôle as ‘King of Babylon’.”
My point here is again that this construction was built on far more than, according to the 3rd examiner, “chronological concurrence”. Moreover, I was not averse to pointing to certain defects in my own reconstruction (e.g. p. 185, a major problem).
And for the actual equation, Sargon II = Sennacherib, a matter of extreme controversy, no doubt, and one therefore requiring detailed attention, I had painstakingly throughout Chapter 6 (1st examiner used the word, “comprehensive”) gone through the successive regnal year events of Sargon II, comparing these with the successive campaign records of Sennacherib, showing that they compared remarkably well: too well, indeed, I thought, to have been mere coincidence. Here is my summary and comment on this (from p. 166):
A Question By Way of Summary
What are the chances of two successive kings having, in such perfect chronological sequence - over a span of some two decades - the same campaigns against the same enemies?
Merodach-baladan (Sargon). Merodach-baladan (Sennacherib).
2. Ellipi, Medes and Tumunu (Sargon). Ellipi, Medes and Tumunu (Sennacherib).
3. Egypt-backed Judah/Philistia (Sargon). Egypt-backed Judah/Philistia (Sennacherib)
4. Merodach-baladan and Elam (Sargon). Merodach-baladan and Elam (Sennacherib).
5. (Not fully preserved) (Sargon). (Not fully preserved) (Sennacherib).
6. Babylon, Elam and Bit-Iakin (Sargon). Babylon, Elam and Bit-Iakin (Sennacherib).
7. Elam (Sargon). Elam (Sennacherib).
[End of quote].
(iv) ‘Dark Age’ (paragraph 13);
At the beginning of Chapter 6, I resorted to the testimony of Assyriologists re some crucial phases of Dark Age in Assyrian history. I drew some of this information from the book, Centuries of Darkness, by Peter James and other scholars from different fields. Though James is a revisionist, this book (which has a Foreword by Professor/Lord Colin Renshaw, archaeologist) is now being quoted favourably in text books, e.g. by N. Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt (Blackwell, 1992), p. 440.
I continued this discussion of Dark Age into Chapter 7, as noted above, and also returned to it in detail when analyzing the TIP in Chapter 11 and Chapter 12.
Here I would like just to take a section out of my Chapter 7, p. 175, re the Kassite archaeology, or lack thereof, to show clearly that there is something seriously wrong with the present structure:
It is not I think too much to say that the Kassites are an enigma for the over-extended conventional scheme. Roux has given the standard estimate for the duration of Kassite rule of Babylonia: “… a long line of Kassite monarchs was to govern Mesopotamia or, as they called it, Kar-Duniash for no less than four hundred and thirty-eight years (1595-1157 B.C.)”. This is a substantial period of time; yet archaeology has surprisingly little to show for it. Roux again:
Unfortunately, we are not much better off as regards the period of Kassite domination in Iraq … all we have at present is about two hundred royal inscriptions – most of them short and of little historical value – sixty kudurru … and approximately 12,000 tablets (letters and economic texts), less than 10 per cent of which has been published. This is very little indeed for four hundred years – the length of time separating us from Elizabeth 1.
[Seton] Lloyd, in his book dedicated to the study of Mesopotamian archaeology [The Archaeology of Mesopotamia] can give only a mere 4 pages [i.e., pp. 172-175] (including pictures) to the Kassites, without even bothering to list them in the book’s Index at the back.
[End of quote].
(v) footnotes/aesthetics (paragraphs 14-15)
3rd examiner: “… consistently incorrect use of such terms as ibid. and op. cit.” [para 14], and “consistently redundant use of ellipsis (…) in quotations” [para 15].
My comment: These are matters that can easily be tidied up before the thesis is bound. All three examiners had some comment to make regarding footnotes.
Though I can see no other alternative than to using ellipsis - as I have continued to do in this Appendix – when employing only selected parts of a quote.