Ain Sukhna, not Suez, was Egypt’s Pharonic N. Port

I only recently realized that the seaport Egypt launched its turquoise expeditions from was neither Mersa Gawasis nor Suez, but Ain Sukhna. The sea route from Sukhna to the Markha plain (site 346) and on to its mafkat (turquoise/chrysocolla) mines is quite understudied.

How Curious!

The Wyatts cite (3 min mark) an early article of the now eminent James K. Hoffmeier (please buy his green book! [his yellow book is not recommended]) as evidence the wheel-shaped objects Ron found date to the 18th Dynasty. Yet, Hoffmeier has published a rebuttal to the Lawz claims (he knows of the Wyatt claims, and finds them exasperating, but he chooses to address Cornuke and Williams).

The Story of the Caldwells

The story goes as thus: in 1987, Jim Caldwell brought his family to Saudi Arabia to work at the world’s largest oil refinery. In early December of 1991, he had an epiphany telling him that the Ark of the Covenant will be returned to where it was built. He, not having even known then the Ark was assembled at Sinai, began poring over Exodus. He and his family then took a trip to Egypt. On his way, it snowed at Haql, the snowflakes being similar to the Star of David due to slightly warmer temperatures of the lower atmosphere making their distinctions less noticeable. He then came to the traditional site, and, like most explorers (Robinson, Cornuke&Williams and numerous others), not reading the earliest Byzantine traditions in Egeria’s travelogue (read Section 7 of AJaL), concluded the traditional site did not match the biblical record (it does, if one considers the earliest traditions). In Sharm el-Sheikh (the Caldwells’ car was left behind at Customs), Penny Caldwell came upon Richard Burton’s “Gold Mines of Midian“, which she did not read, and Anati’s book on Har Karkom, exposing the Caldwells both to the fact Midian was east of the Gulf of Aqaba and that there is no definitive evidence Mount Sinai was in the South Sinai. Since they thought Exodus placed Mount Sinai in Midian (it doesn’t, see AJaL, Section 2), they went back to Saudi Arabia and began their seven-year long exploration of the area. The Caldwells discovered the Split Rock and made the most detailed records of the Maqla area, even though they were latecomers to the region (Cornuke, Williams and Wyatt all came before them). In their first year exploring the site, they gave Ron Wyatt the documentation he needed (for it was he who discovered the site) with no stipulations. Their novel conclusions are that Maqla (Black Peak, see AJaL, Section 4) and the highest peak of Lawz are, correspondingly, Sinai and Horeb. As for the others-see Section 5 of AJaL and here. Jim also came up with a column length-tribe size hypothesis to explain the columns at the foot of Maqla. Penny has about as far, far less biblical knowledge as the Pilgrim of Bordeaux (Bethel at Rephidim? Three Days in the desert before Rephidim?). The Caldwells also think Saudi Arabia is part of the Promised Land due to the footprint petroglyphs they found and Muslim traditions. Apparently, according to them, no pre-Islamic Arabian civilizations ever existed in the Arabian Peninsula (and the 1948 conquest was that of an empty land??). The Caldwells have no understanding of the Biblical geography whatsoever. They think guessing games with the Bible (no journey to Kadesh before wandering!!!) are superior to actually consulting archaeologists or the Biblical narrative (they quote verses quite a bit, but never even bother to understand their context). Truly, their ignorance (Paul wrote Galatians in Elijah’s cave!!! Jesus was transfigured at Sinai!!!)* is astounding. Truly, I now firmly believe Penny Caldwell is the stupidest woman in the world (Jack Chick is certainly the stupidest man).

*As anyone should know, Paul wrote Galatians in 56 AD at Corinth.

Egeria’s Pre-Travelogue Journey-Peter The Deacon

Here is the source for reconstructing Egeria’s journey before she goes into the Nagb Hawa. It is recorded by Peter the Deacon, who also interpolates his account with a long clearly Late Byzantine description of Clysma as a mighty seaport (Ras Banas was always the preferred seaport before Late Byzantine times). This account also provides the curious indication that even during the days of Egeria, Wady Gharandal, then called Arandara, was identified as Elim. It would be later identified as as Elim by later Suez crossing proponents, and described in exactly the same manner, even though it does not remotely match the Biblical account. Curious, however, is Egeria’s identification of ‘Ayun Musa (the real Elim) as Marah, for it only had two springs in her day.

Teman, Dedan, and Edom

An analysis of Biblical Teman and Dedan is in order:

Teman means “south“. Mentioned in the 8th century BC Kuntillet ‘Ajrud texts is “YHWH of Teman“. Since a YHWH of Samaria is also mentioned. According to Amos 1:12, the fire God will send on Teman will destroy the palaces of Bozrah. Now Bozrah is the capital of Edom, and is located at 30°44’41″N, 35°36’14″E. This at least suggests that Bozrah is located in Teman, but is not in any way conclusive. Habakkuk 3 mentions YHWH as coming from Teman and Mount Paran. Since the following passages are strongly linked with the Numbers-Joshua Conquest narratives (eg. YHWH passing through Edom/Cushan and Midian), it seems YHWH is here heading eastward. This march eastward toward Midian only seems to have happened when YHWH marched along with the Tabernacle up through the way of Punon in Numbers 21:4 (also, see AJaL, Section 2). Jeremiah 49:7 mentions Temanites as being wise men filled with prudence. Obadiah v. 9 mentions Teman as having warriors. Jeremiah 49:20 outlines Teman’s importance as an Edomite settlement/district. A close relationship is also mentioned between Edom and Dedan in Jerem 49:8 and Ezekiel 25:13. This is easily explainable by the archaeological evidence as a strong cultural and trade relationship between the Kingdom of Dedan, which probably included Midian, and Edom. Ezekiel 25:13 is, perhaps, the most important verse here, for it uses a merism to describe the destruction of Edom as being from Teman to Dedan. This verse clearly shows Teman was considered to have been in northern, not, as seemingly implied by the name, southern Edom.

The above information, then, clearly shows that Teman was the district (surrounding area) of the 20-acre (as large as Solomonic Jerusalem) city of Bozrah, the intellectual and military center and capital of Edom.

Gaps in Tradition

Throughout the history of the Sinai and Jerusalem, there are very notable gaps in tradition.

1. Mount Sinai. Due to the fact the Jews considered the current place of YHWH’s dwelling to be in the Temple, pilgrimage to Mount Sinai was scoffed at. Josephus did not know anything of Sinai’s location except speculation.

2. Kadesh and Mount Hor-The locations of these were completely forgotten and both were transferred to the Nabataean city of Petra, as attested by Josephus and Eusebius, and as Steve Rudd will constantly remind you. The tradition continues to this day, the spring of Petra at 30°19’35″N, 35°29’44.04″E being called Ayun Musa and the southeasternmost mountain of the Petraean block being called “Jebel Nebi Harouon”. In the Byzantine period, the tradition was sometimes applies to Pharan.

3. The Oak of Mamre-this oak is always getting moved about, Josephus’s being near 31°31’49.25″N, 35° 5’48.25″E, Constantine’s being 31°33’24″N, 35° 6’18″E, and the current being at 31°32’9.79″N, 35° 5’9.01″E.

4. The Gate of St. Stephen-This moved from the Damascus to the Lion’s gate in the 15th century 200 years after the oldchurch was destroyed.

5. Fortress Antonia-Bargil Pixner says this was moved from a Hasmonean palace in the Tyropoeon near the SW corner of the Herodian Temple Mount ala Pilgrim of Bordeaux to Fortress Antonia after the Crusader Era.

6. Zion-From the City of David to the Temple Mount to the Western Hill.

Made Up Skeptics/Denialists in Apologetics

I have noticed a curious tactic by Christians to make up denialists or skeptics, sometimes denialists or skeptics who never existed, whenever any discovery related to the Bible is made which is interpreted by them as supporting the inerrancy of the Bible. This is an attempt by them to indulge in both the “we were right before” and the “they were wrong before” fallacies at the same time, curiously forgetting the lack of evidence for the kings of Genesis 14, the lack of evidence for the existence of Girgashites and the Perizzites and the Hivites ((: ), three down, three to go), the archaeological impossibilities of Exodus-Joshua (see, and the shrinking evidence for the glory of Solomon. Let’s take a look at some cases in which the made-up skeptics/denialists happened to have a curious lack of existence.

Hittite denialism:

Christian Backstory: “Skeptics denied the existence of the Hittites due to lack of historical evidence until Sayce in 1882 (or the 1906 translations) changed everything”.

Fact: Since the beginning of Egyptology, there has been a debate whether to identify the Hatti (Khita) of the Egyptian inscriptions with the Hittites of the Bible. Contra the Christian legend, Sayce’s discovery of the ruins of Boğazkale changed quite literally nothing, and the 1906 identification of the inhabitants of Boğazkale with the Hittites (Hatti) of the Egyptian inscriptions by the decipherment of the Treaty of 1258 BC changed barely anything. If it did change anything, it showed that the Hittites of the inscriptions were unlikely to be the Hittites of Genesis. It is admitted there were instances of Neo-Hittite denialism in the 19th century by the unlearned who did not know of Assyriology. However, further study shows that the denialists of the Biblical Hittites did exist, but only after the discovery of the Hatti of Egyptology, when M. G. Kyle wrote about an unnamed denialist of the Biblical Hittites in The Fundamentals.

Conclusion: The conclusion is only partially true (the implied conclusion, that Abraham and Joshua’s Hittites are proven to exist in the supposed time of Joshua and Abraham, is completely untrue) and the backstory is totally false, although some details in it have resemblance to reality.

Pontius Pilate:

Christian Backstory: Skeptics claimed Pontius Pilate never existed until a 1961 excavation at Caesarea Palestina showed he did.

Fact: No skeptic is stupid enough to forget or deny Josephus or Pilate’s coins.

Conclusion: Bullshit.

Come on, folks, remind me of more!