The world is a wonderful, if very wacky, place to be.

Posts tagged ‘Seder Olam Raba’

Pyramid Scheme

Can I just clear something up?

We didn’t build these.

When we were slaves in Egypt, the pyramids were already pretty old. According to National Geographic, the golden age of pyramid building in Egypt was between 2575-2150 B.C.E. Israelite slavery, however, according to Jewish sources was from 1428 B.C.E. to 1312 B.C.E. That’s one thousand years later. Non-Jewish sources puts the slavery period earlier, but not earlier enough– they suggest that the slavery period began around 1800 B.C.E, still too late.

What this means is that when Abraham went down to Egypt during the famine, he probably complimented Pharoah, “nice pyramids, I love what you’ve done with the place.” Now I know that dating the ancient world is as difficult as it is controversial. Traditional Jews usually follow the dating in the Seder Olam Raba (which puts Abraham and Hamurabi in the same neighborhood at the same time. Interesting, no?) and at least when I was in school, archeologists would take the scribbling of a toddler as more authoritative than the Bible. I’m not the person to reconcile the quagmire that is ancient historical dating, but there is just no way to reconcile the dates of the pyramids with the dates of slavery. Those pretty pyramids were already looming large over the Egyptian landscape while Israelite slaves were building cities full of storehouses in Pitom and Ramses. Just like the Torah says we did in Exodus 1:11.


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