Travel through Egypt
From pyramids to pudding
TRAVEL THROUGH EGYPT
Land of Moses, monuments and mummies
By Clive and Amanda Anderson
Day One. 128 pages. £10.00
From Alexander the Great to Clive and Amanda Anderson tourists have flocked to wonder at the splendours of ancient Egypt.
Now the Andersons want to share their enthusiasm with Bible-believing visitors. Their readable and informative account is a commentary on Egyptian places, people and culture, ending with a recipe for Egyptian bread and butter pudding!
Five maps mark the places described or mentioned, from Alexandria to Aswan, with more detailed plans of Giza, Luxor and the West Bank, the Valley of the Kings and the Luxor and Karnak temples. Each of the major pharaohs has a brief notice and ghoulish photographs show the mummified heads of ten of them. More attractive are photographs of the usual sights — the pyramids, Abu Simbel, Tutankhamun's gold coffin and mask — and some less well-known, such as Pompey's pillar at Alexandria, the Oasis of Siwa, a ticket for the train that once ran from Haifa to Suez. Text boxes helpfully explain topics which visitors may, or may not, meet, among them the Book of the Dead, Mummification, Athanasius and Arius. There is sensible practical advice, too, about clothing, food and drink, hotels, etc.
References to biblical texts are frequent, especially relating to Moses and the Exodus. As the Bible does not name the Pharaohs who favoured Joseph or Moses, the date of the Exodus cannot be fixed. Using biblical numbers many Bible students suggest 1446 BC, 480 years before Solomon began the Temple (1 Kings 6.1), but external evidence persuades many scholars of a date nearer 1250 BC.
The authors pay lip-service to both possibilities, yet often treat the earlier date as fact, their conviction leading them to a mistake on page 50.
The famous 'Israel Stele' of pharaoh Merneptah tells of his troops encountering a people called Israel in Canaan about 1210 BC. Merneptah had taken a stone stele of Amenophis III (c. 1390-1352 BC) to carve his inscription on the back. He did not re-carve part of the stele and replace Amenophis's name with his own, so it is impossible to suppose he usurped the mention of Israel from the earlier pharaoh, thus there is no support here for dating the Exodus at 1446 BC, as the authors imagine.
Regrettably, a number of other errors and misunderstandings mar this neat and colourful guide.
Emeritus Rankin Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages, The University of Liverpool, and member of Myton Church, Warwick