Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Enslaved Jews Didn't Build Pyramids--And Jews Aren't Pirates, Either

"Proof" that no captive Jews--indeed that no slaves at all--built the Egyptian pyramids has headlined newspapers around the world by now.  An Associated Press story by Katarina Kratovac that's been reprinted everywhere verbatim says the discovery of 9-foot shafts, each holding the preserved remains of a dozen skeletons near the Great Pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo bury the "myth" that slaves constructed the last remaining Wonder of the World.

The article says Hollywood movies perpetrated "an erroneous claim by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, on a visit to Egypt in 1977, that Jews built the pyramids."  Support for the no-slaves stance comes from Egypt's chief archeologist Zahi Hawass, and Hebrew University archeologist Amihai Mazar, who says "Jews didn't exist" when the pyramids were constructed. Despite Greek historian Herodotus' description, current experts insist paid workers created them.

In checking this out, I came across a Jerusalem Post story in which Farouk Hosny, Egypt Minister of Culture, was quoted as telling the Associated Foreign Press, "Israeli allegations that they built the Pyramids abound, and we must face up to this even if it triggers a crisis with Israel! This is piracy! Our history and our civilization must be respected but the Israelis want to take over everything! We must counterattack with full strength because this is how they took Palestine. They think Palestine belongs to them and now they are doing on saying the same with the Pyramids."  My, my. Doesn't sound purely academic to me.

While it's true that many people do think Jews built the pyramids, the Torah (in our portion of this last week, Shmot, aka Exodus) and the Passover Hagada say only that Jews were enslaved and forced to build the storage-cities of Pitom and Ramses, which archeologists agree likely coincides with their residence there.

  It's certainly cinematic to show Jews working on the pyramids, but Jews haven't been "pirating" credit for them from Egyptians.

Still, the articles I've seen in news media (nearly all of which are the same AP story) don't explain how the newly uncovered skeletons show that workers were paid and not slaves (even though they weren't Jews). Proximity of the burial shafts, and the presence of beer and food there, say Egyptologists, are the key. But studies on the skeletons apparently reveal signs of back-breaking work and early demise. I'd really like to learn more, and explore why Egyptian archeologists come across so emotionally about what should be an objective, careful and strictly scientific analysis.

1 comment:

  1. I was about to start a little research on Cialis Online, but your post got my attention, I think that the pyramids were built before humans existed, they were built by a race that arrive on earth many many many years ago.