About This Project
How It All Started
Having stumbled into physical evidence from the exact period of the exodus that matches perfectly with the historical context of the 10th plague on Egypt as described in Exodus 11-12 and with the proper location of biblical Rameses, the author embarked on a research project to determine whether evidence exists to positively identify the presence of Israelites in Egypt during the 430-year Israelite occupation (Exodus 12:40-41) described in Genesis and Exodus.
Pots of Gold at the End of Rainbows
Although no substantial results were expected, the research stunningly led to the identification of Israelites documented at biblical Rameses as early as 1874 BC, two years before the biblical date for the Israelite entry into Egypt under Jacob. In addition, Middle Egyptian inscriptions have led to the positive identification of Joseph, Ephraim, Manasseh, Manasseh's son Shechem, and (probably) Jacob (as well) in the epigraphical record.
Some of the relevant inscriptions were written by Joseph's son Manasseh, who was one of the leading figures in a lucrative business in turquoise mining that involved yearly expeditions to Sinai. In one of the latest of these inscriptions, dating to 1842 BC, he inscribed a mostly-Middle-Egyptian inscription that (oddly!) contained one Canaanite syllabic and one proto-consonantal letter. These two pictographs are not hieroglyphs.
This inscription includes the word, "Hebrew[s]", making it the oldest extra-biblical reference to the Hebrews/Israelites in history, by a number of centuries. This discovery is nothing short of game-changing. Beyond that, the presence of a proto-consonantal letter in this inscription led the author into an entirely new research question.
Hebrew as the World's Oldest Alphabet
Having understood that the oldest attested proto-consonantal letter was written by a Hebrew figure known to the biblical text, the author launched into the work of determining whether indeed Hebrew is the language of the proto-consonantal script that was used in the world's oldest alphabet.
For over 150 years, scholars have known of the script of the world's oldest alphabet, essentially agreeing that it is a Semitic language, but no one has isolated the correct language or translated the inscriptions to date. The closest anyone has come is a German scholar in the 1920s, who correctly identified it as Hebrew. However, his uncertainty about the identification of numerous letters led him to propose wild translations, which caused him and his work to be ostracized by the scholarly world.
Today is a different day, though, as many of the uncertain letters of his day have been identified properly over the decades, and the present author has worked feverishly to identify the disputed letters of this alphabet and to translate the proto-consonantal inscriptions, three of which date to the 19th century BC. The author has succeeded at translating every inscription that he attempted to translate, for a total of 17, all of which were studied methodically, with great care and diligence.
Three of the inscriptions that date to a time near 1446 BC identify three different biblical figures: (1) Asenath (Genesis 41), the wife of Joseph, who was named posthumously in the inscription; Ahisamach (Exodus 31), the father of one of the two men who were appointed to build the tabernacle, and Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt. All of these inscriptions will be translated and illustrated in the book, which is titled, The World's Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script.
Publication of the Book
When the writing of a large sample of the book was completed, an Israeli publisher asked the author to send the completed part of the manuscript to two of the world's top five epigraphers of ancient Hebrew texts. After the epigraphers completed their peer review, the publisher extended an invitation for the author to publish with them (the Israeli publisher).
While the author accepted this invitation, the publisher informed him that since the book is a monograph, and thus represents a financial risk, the author must raise the funds necessary for the publication of the book. The author encourages the backers who see value in this project to help fund it and see this valuable resource come to fruition.
The financial goal includes the cost of the first printing of the book, along with the hope for several handmade drawings by a professional archaeological illustrator (with a fantastic portfolio) to be included within it. Any funds raised in excess of the goal will go toward more copies of the printing than called for by the publisher's minimum standard for a print-run.
Risks and challenges
Given that many scholars in the fields of biblical studies and ancient Near Eastern historical studies obstinately oppose the notion of an Israelite presence in Egypt during the first half of the second millennium BC, the publisher may be pressured to pull the book from scholarly publication.
Welcome to the world of "objective scholarship." Fortunately, the publisher has assured the author that they are committed to printing the book, recently writing, "I for one can hardly wait to watch the sparks of debate flying, or better still, the pollination of fruitful thought when your book sees the light of day."
The only other anticipated challenge is the diligence required by the author to see the book come to completion. A book of this nature will be scrutinized as few others in history have been, and thus the care and accuracy with which the project must be completed is incalculable.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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