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Chronological issues to take onboard (2)

17 January 2014

Probably picked up this link on Eric's email thread on ancient chronology too – go to http://pursiful.com/2007/03/ancient-chronology-the-goldberg-variations/ … there is a post at this site on ancient chronology where the blog author, Dr Platypus, reveals he is a great fan of David Rohl's 'New Chronology' (which first saw light of day in SIS journals). However, he has reservations about some of the archaeology – especially during the period of Saul, David, and Solomon – in other words he is not convinced Shishak should be identified with Ramses II. It seems he came across a couple of papers by Jeremy Goldberg. He was especially active in the 1980s and 1990s but largely ignored by SIS editors of the period. There was in fact a bit of a closed shop in operation at the time, focussed on the gestation of the New Chronology and excluding others efforts. SIS was, in effect, behaving somewhat like other journals – rejecting stuff they didn't want to know about especially when it contradicted the favoured scheme. In this instance, the changing face of chronology as it developed out of Velikovsky's 'Ages in Chaos' series and as it was subsequently watered down. It has since gone full circle now as recent chronological reconstructions have tended to go back to Velikovsky. Roundabouts. Marvellous invention to get the traffic moving.

Goldberg was active in the backwaters of SIS, and struck up a long correspondence with other chronologists of the period, such as Lester Mitcham. He became disenfranchised after submitting lots of problems relevant to New Chronology that he hoped would be addressed to his satisfaction – but were not. Goldberg however was much more radical – too radical for the New Chronology it would seem. He visualised the Kassite kings as living near Babylonia but somewhere on the periphery – from which they exercised control over the region. This could have been to the NE of Babylonia or somewhere on the middle Euphrates. I don't know what happened to this idea but it allowed considerable chronological overlap. Dr Platypus informs his readers that Goldberg now favoured Ramses III as Shishak. Previously he was keen on a later Ramesside – and even considered Psusennes. He appears to have switched ideas and embraced those of his enemies – or the behind the scenes blocking fraternity. Funny how these things develop.

One of the lynchpins of Goldberg's analysis was that he especially favoured identifying Pinehas of late dynasty 20 records with Zerah the Ethiopian (in the time of Asa). Quite how he manages to get both Ramses III as Shishak and Pinehas as Zerah must involve some tricky arithmetic and a juggling of the reign lengths of the late Ramessides. It is nice to know he is sticking to his guns when it comes to Pinehas.

Another pair of radical chronologists that were excluded from SIS journals by former editors include Gunnar Heinsohn and Emmet Sweeney. On an orbital flight path of revisionist schemes they are way out at maximum obliquity – but they have always been an interesting part of the debate. Of course, their ideas were eventually given daylight and taken onboard by SIS and Sweeney went on to publish a number of articles and can be seen in action on video at the recent SIS meeting in Redhill (Harlequin Theatre). A mix of views on chronology is now the accepted pathway – and it is to be hoped this continues.

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