"As well as being scholarly, Redford's work meets my criteria for impartiality and honesty: he provides evidence against his own position and references to dissenting scholars; he uses the same standards for evaluating his own theories and alternatives;... " Danny Yee
Canaan & the Levant:
The land known as Canaan was situated in the territory of the southern Levant which today encompasses Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan and the southern portions of Syria and Lebanon. Many names have been given to this area, throughout ancient times, called by the Egyptians Rhetenu or Kharu, and Canaan by the Syrians of the second millenium BC.
The Levant is an imprecise geographical term, historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east.
Ancient Egypt, Canaan & Israel:
In a study of Ancient Egypt, and Near Eastern history and archaeology, Donald Redford, an eminent Egyptologist, and a leading Canadian scholar of Near Eastern studies, highlights Egypt's dominant influence on the cultural, political, and religious traditions of the peoples of Assyria, Canaan, and the Israelite during three millennia, to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
This study is a lucid sociopolitical history of the relationship between Egypt and its Northern neighbors taking into account the related biblical studies. Rather than stressing Egyptian origins of clusters of Israelite culture, frequently advanced by most Egyptologists, he points out the long-lasting distinctions and differences between the cultures which prevailed to the SW and the NE of Sinai.
Exploring three thousand years of social anthropology, from prehistoric times to the Hyksos, and the continuing influential contacts across Sinai, between Egypt and its northern neighbors, with resulting resentment of the ancient superpower cultural influence and military superiority by the peoples of Canaan& the Levant. Starting with the prehistory of Egypt and drawing on archaeological evidence from the Levant, compared to Biblical history, the study then explores the Egyptian New Kingdom and its Empire in Asia.
Redford begins by considering some of the differing theories about the origins of the Hebrews, and the relationship between Egypt and the monarchy in Israel. At the end of the study, the biblical 'four great origin traditions' : the Creation accounts, the Table of Nations, the Sojourn and Exodus narratives, and the story of Joseph are discussed, within the historical context in which they were written.
Papyrus Ipuwer & Exodus:
The theme of this work has previously been taken either as a lament inspired by the supposed chaos, or as historical fiction depicting the fall of the Old Kingdom (pp. 63/67) several centuries earlier, or possibly a combination of both. This ancient Egyptian poem is preserved in Leiden Papyrus I 344. Ipuwer describes Egypt as afflicted by natural disasters and in a state of social collapse. The poor have become rich, and the rich poor, and warfare, famine and death are everywhere. One symptom of this collapse is the lament that servants are leaving their servitude and acting rebelliously. Because of this, and such statements as "the River is blood", some have interpreted the document as an Egyptian account of the Plagues of Egypt and the Exodus in the Hebrew Bible, and it is often cited as proof for the Biblical account by various biblical authorities.
End of Last Repository:
"The political defeats of 586 and 525 B.C. were destined ultimately to exert a deleterious influence on the intellectual life of both Egypt and the Levant. The reputation of Egypt for metaphysical inquiry into imponderables, which brought many a Greek of the seventh and sixth centuries to the feet of an Egyptian priest, vanished in the fifth and fourth,... The dominance of foreigners in the affairs of Egypt and Judah set the intelligentsia in both communities in a defensive posture." Epilogue, page 470
"What distinguishes this study is the perspective of an Egyptologist who approaches the subject of ancient Egypt and Israel without the usual preconceptions and emphases found in the studies emanating from biblical studies scholars." Paula Nielson, Loyola Marymount University.
In a book review, Danny Yee comments that, "Christians or Jews raised on 'orthodox' accounts of Israelite history may find some of it disturbing, but should persist unless they are literalists -- Redford is not out to discredit the Bible, he is just determined to treat it as one historical source amongst others."