Reading “The Winged Disk of Judah”- Part 1

Recently, I have debated former economist and current Velikovskyan Donald George Stewart. The debate ended after he was robbed of his work desk computer on the 26th of August and was forced to devote his time to other tasks. I have found, after closely viewing his blog, that he has written a book entitled “Memphis, Merneptah and Ramesses -And the Winged Disk of Judah-A New Framework for Ancient Middle Eastern History”. Since it marshals new Velikovskyan arguments others might use, it is my right and duty to read and review it.

Here, are some of Mr. Donald Stewart’s arguments for Velikovskyan chronological revision in the first pages of “Winged Disk”:

1. Misrepresenting Beth-Shean (pgs. 2-3).

Stewart claims that the 19th-20th Dynasty fortress at Beth Shean was built above that of the Iron I town. Contrary to Stewart’s claims, the Iron I stratum in Area S was built above the destruction layer (not easy to miss!) of the 20th Dynasty, contained recycled monuments from the 19th-20th dynasties, followed the same street plan as the 20th dynasty city, and was a Canaanite city, not, as Stewart assumes, a watchtower built by Saul. The fact the 19th-20th Dynasty Egyptian forts in area Q are found above the Iron I remains in Area S is merely a result of the fact Beth-Shean is a hill, not a flat plain. Mr. Stewart declares Beth Shean was not occupied during the days of Israelite control over the Beth-Shean valley, since the Israelites had no need to occupy it. Both these statements are patently false, since Beth Shean was, in fact, reoccupied as an unwalled city during the 8th-9th centuries BC, and had a “mighty building” upon it during the 9th century, largely due to its commending position over the Beth-Shean valley. It was then destroyed by the Assyrians, re-inhabited to a slight degree during the Iron IIC, then abandoned until the Hellenistic period. The results at Beth-Shean, contra Stewart, utterly contradict Velikovskyan chronology.

2. The lack of Israelite remains at Joppa (pgs. 3-4)

The lack of remains really is not as drastic as Stewart states; the city was inhabited during the 9th-8th Cs BC (Iron IIA-B, not C). The stratum in which these remains are found (Stratum III) is the stratum between Ramesside IVA and Persian II. Even at a poorly excavated site like Joppa, the conventional chronology is still supported. Curiously, all mentions of the site in the OT are of Persian date, with the exception of Joshua 19:46. Joppa is also implied to exist in Judges 5:17; this is probably a reference to the poor Iron I occupation.

3. Misusing Memphis (pgs. 4-7)

Memphis is a very poorly stratified site. The last kings to revamp it were the Ramessides (confirmed not to be the 26th Dynasty by the simple fact the Ramesside strata come far below those of the Assyrian era and the simple fact that, on the Way of Horus, 26th Dynasty and 19th Dynasty forts and pottery are totally different, and the placement of 19th Dynasty forts make it impossible for Pelusium to exist). The 26th Dynasty, some six hundred years after the Ramessides, resettled some parts of the Ramesside buildings and built new ones. However, even in the case of Memphis the Velikovskyan chronology has been clearly shown to be wrong. The Temenos of Proteus could not have been Merenptah’s palace, since it was, in fact, covered over by, firstly, a bed of ash after a fire, and, secondly, five distinct occupational strata, including that of a foreign (Greek/Phoenician?) camp, the stratum of Ahmose II being the middle one, just below the Hellenistic and Roman strata.

4. Misunderstanding Hathor and Aphrodite (pg. 10)

Hathor was identified as Aphrodite by the Greeks, but the temple referred to is that of the “foreign Aphrodite”, that is, Ashtaroth. The foreign Aphrodite temple was probably established by the Phoenicians within an earlier temple (of Merenptah)? within the enclosure of Kom el Qam’a and has not been found.

It is quite dishonest to use old or misrepresented excavation reports on sites without destruction layers in order to do the factually impossible: make the 26th and 19th Dynasties the same. If Stewart had fully studied sites like Beth-Shean, Rehov or Megiddo -even Lachish would do- he would realize that Velikovskyan chronological revision is, despite all literary parallels, totally inconsistent with the physical evidence found in well-excavated sites in Palestine.

In any case, Stewart uses many irrelevant theological and doubtful etymological arguments along the way, whose validity I am not fit to question, however, I am sure that due to his general incompetence with details, and alternative explanations by real scholars, the majority of them have no basis in fact.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

8 thoughts on “Reading “The Winged Disk of Judah”- Part 1”

  1. Just a quickie on Beth-Shean.

    Two things I notice are, firstly, that after Tuthmoses III, all the Egyptian datable objects were found in later levels than those to which they were then assigned, and secondly, that the ACTUAL find strata correspond very well to the Velikovskyan scheme. So if I was trying to persuade a Velikovskyan that he was wrong I would start by demonstrating, without reference to the Standard Chronology, that the re-assignment of artefacts to later levels was justified, rather than starting my argument by taking it as read that everybody accepted them.

    1. all the Egyptian datable objects were found in later levels than those to which they were then assigned

      -Can you give some examples? I know the New Kingdom stelae were found in later levels than to those which they were assigned, but you have to own all the relevant Beth-Shean excavation reports to demonstrate your “all” in that sentence”.

      the ACTUAL find strata correspond very well to the Velikovskyan scheme

      -Hm? Can you elaborate? You could make your own Chronology page, like the one that exists on this very blog.

      So if I was trying to persuade a Velikovskyan that he was wrong I would start by demonstrating, without reference to the Standard Chronology, that the re-assignment of artefacts to later levels was justified, rather than starting my argument by taking it as read that everybody accepted them.

      -Are you arguing the Ramesside era dates to the mid-to-late Iron I?

  2. Yes, you’re right. “All” is a bit precipitate, as there’s a fair scatter of small objects. Nevertheless, I’m aware of two clusters of objects – the stelae you mentioned, and also a grouping of Amenhotep III objects in level VII (including a fairly well-known commemorative plaque). To a Velikovskyan the sequence appears to be Level IX is Tuthmosis III, and levels VIII and VII the rest of the 18th dynasty. These would then be followed by the Libyan period and the Assyrian ascendancy (Level VI with the mid-level destruction by the Assyrians), followed by the 19th/26th dynasty Level V with the stelae of Seti and Rameses.

    Being as objective as possible, I can see problems with both constructions. For Velikovskyans the timing of the Iron I and II periods is going to be an issue, even allowing for these to be later than the accepted SC versions. For Standard chronologists the problem is the justification for reassigning the Level V Ramesside and Level VII Amenhotep materials to earlier strata. Has the Amenhotep material been re-assigned to make space for re-assigning the Ramesside material, and what’s the basis for re-assigning the Ramesside material? It does seem to me more natural that Seti and Rameses would have erected their stelae in front of a temple than that Israelites would have done so some 2 or 3 hundred years later. But if the justification is that “everybody knows” that the Ramessides are before the Iron Age, then the argument is circular. It could still be true, of course, but wouldn’t have been demonstrated, which is what was originally claimed.

  3. So let me just get this clear. At Beth-Shean a temple with similarities to (among others) an iron age temple at Tell Quasile was discovered below the Tuthmoside temple complex, and at Joppa a temple originally identified as Iron I was redesignated as Late Bronze I because it was below the Amenhotep III level?

    1. At Joppa a temple originally identified as Late Bronze III was redesignated as Late Bronze IIA (Amenhotep III’s time) because it was below a Ramesses II level and had a scarab of Tiy, wife of Amenhotep III. I will respond to your other comments on the weekends.

    2. At Beth-Shean a temple with similarities to (among others) an iron age temple at Tell Quasile was discovered below the Tuthmoside temple complex

      -True.

  4. I was referring to this. The first line seems quite clear.

    “The “Lion Temple,” was attributed by Kaplan to the Iron Age I (pre-Philistine period). However, when the remains were re-exposed in 1999 it became apparent that the building was partly overlaid by a massive brick wall, made of grey bricks that are identical to the repaired part of the Stratum IVA (Late Bronze IIB) gate. Thus the temple, which was partly destroyed by the brick structure, must date to the Late Bronze Age IIA (Stratum V). Corroboration for this date is provided by the fragment of a scarab of Queen Tiy, wife of Amenhotep III, found in the temple. Near the scarab a skull identified as that of a lion was found, that gave the buildings its title.”

    1. The key phrase is “pre-Philistine period”. Once upon a time, everything after the supposed time of Joshua’s conquest (thought to be c. 1220 BC by the conventional chronology) was counted as Iron I. Now, the last decades of Egyptian rule over Canaan are counted as Late Bronze III:

      Click to access Mazar-1200-850BC.pdf


      http://sites.google.com/site/megiddoexpedition/tel-aviv-university-excavations/2012-results
      http://www.academia.edu/4062744/The_Late_Bronze_III_and_Iron_I_Pottery_of_Megiddo_Levels_K-6_M-6_M-5_M-4_and_H-9

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