David Rohl Does Read My Blog After All!

…but for some reason, my post on his being a reader of this blog has been bizarrely misinterpreted by some of his fans.

While I was spending some time at around 5 AM today reading the recently-released U.N. report on Syrian chemical weapons use on August 21, I noticed a huge spike in my views by way of notification from WordPress. Looking at my list of referrers, I saw a huge wave of visitors to my previous post from Facebook. It was only a matter of a few seconds before I found this post by David Rohl himself.

I would be interested to see from your comments if I am really retired and a complete failure … or whether Mr Pithom is talking through his backside.

-Rohl said

No more books (apparently nobody reads history anymore). No more documentaries on the horizon (see above). Just retirement. My god, sent out to pasture at the age of sixty – what a bummer! Then again …???????

-I think those words are pretty clear and adequately explain why I thought (incorrectly?) that Rohl was retired.
Rohl has also become so infamous in the scholarly world that at least one student was prohibited from using him as a source. Even George Grena, author of what is certainly the worst book I own, has not been that heavily dismissed by most of the scholarly world. I did not say Rohl was a “complete failure”, I said he was a failed chronological revisionist. I did not mean any hostility towards Rohl. I simply tried to write as objective a description as I could of him and a few of his ideas from less than an hour of research. The Facebook commentator who almost hit the nail on the head was Charles Scott Kimball:

Obviously that blogger does not know you very well if he just found out you’re in Spain, and does not know that Peter Van Der Veen is on our side. I’m guessing he thinks you’re retired because he is not familiar with your Mandalaband work, so maybe your new book on the Exodus will correct that.

-Though I was aware that Van Der Veen dated the Izbet Sartah inscription over half a century too late, I was not aware that he is, in fact, a proponent of the idea that the Amarna Era is contemporary with the United Monarchy. However, I never said that Van Der Veen was an opponent of Rohl’s Chronology, so my post stands.

For those wondering what the purpose of my previous post was, please understand that this is a small and little-visited blog. Any publicly prominent reader of this blog is an extraordinary outlier, and, consequently, the rest of my audience should be informed of the existence of that publicly prominent reader.

Most of the commenters on Rohl’s post have an astonishing lack of self-awareness. They, rather bizarrely, took my post as some kind of personal attack on David Rohl or an attempt to belittle him, which, as any reader can see by reading my post, is definitely not the case. I have no personal axe to grind against David Rohl, as I simply have not read much of what he writes. The idea that I am “a jealous ‘David Rohl wannabe'”, proposed by one commentator, is ridiculous- I want any chronological revisionism I may make (such as the downdating of the destruction of Ekron from 604 BC to the early 580s BC) to be accepted by the scholarly community, not, as most of David Rohl’s chronological revisionism, be rejected by the scholarly community! At least one commentator attacked peer review (the worst system of accepting or rejecting papers, except all the others), for not allowing change, completely ignoring the examples of successful chronological revisionists I gave! The crank Robert Bauval called me a jerk not deserving attention. Some commentators used my lack of relevant credentials in archaeology, Near East studies, and Biblical studies to dismiss all my blogposts- a classic example of an ad hominem attack.

As for my dismissal of the Egypt-Sumer boat contact hypothesis- firstly, there is no evidence from the Sumerian records of Sumerian ships sailing to any country further than Lothal. Secondly, there is no evidence, either archaeological or textual, of Sumerian ships sailing to any land further South than northeast Oman. The sea journey from Sumer to Egypt is at least twice as long as the journey from Sumer to Lothal. Thirdly, there is no evidence that either Eritreans or South Arabians adopted Sumerian inventions before Egyptians, which would be the case if this hypothesis was correct. Fourthly, Egyptian texts simply do not describe visitors to Egypt journeying by way of the Red Sea from any land further than Punt.

A word must be said on the association of Meluhha with Kush in the Amarna letters- as there is no evidence of Sumerian-Kushite contact by sea, and the Meluhha-Indus Valley link is very well established on both archaeological and textual grounds (Kush is not exactly famous for its forests), it seems that the location of Meluhha was lost in about the 16th century BC and the toponym was used by Babylonians to describe another faraway land (Kush) by the 14th century BC.

Secondly, the land route from Egypt to Sumer was used far more frequently (and was far shorter than) the sea route. In fact, there is no evidence the sea route was used at all until the Hellenistic period. The land route, however, was used to spread a cuneiform standard stretching from Egypt to West Anatolia to Babylonia during the Amarna era and was used by the Assyrian government to expand its empire during the 8th century BC. For a good overview of the evidence of contact between Egypt and Sumer during the 4th-3rd millennia BC, including evidence for the use of the land route for this contact (at least by the 3rd millennium BC), see here.

Occam's Razor, anyone?
Occam’s Razor, anyone?