The Tell Amarna tablets - PDF by C. R. Conder

The Tell Amarna tablets 

The Tell Amarna tablets
The Tell Amarna tablets - PDF book by   C. R. Conder



The Tell Amarna Tablets were discovered in 1887 by a peasant woman of Egypt, amid the ruins of the palace of Amenophis IV., midway between Thebes and Memphis, at the site of the ancient Antinoe, about 180 miles by river south of Cairo. 

Those tablets under present consideration date from about 1480 B.C., and are written to the King of Egypt and to certain of his officials by Amorites, Phoenicians, Philistines and others. The names of Japhia, King of Gezer; of Jabin, King of Hazor; and, probably, of Adonizedek, King of Jerusalem — contemporaries of Joshua — occur among those of the writers. The events recorded include the conquest of Damascus by the Hittites of Phoenicia by the Amorites and Judea by the Hebrews.

 The present translations, from the cuneiform characters, are based on the copies published by Dr H. Winckler at Berlin, and Dr C, Bezold of the British Museum, which includes the whole of the letters now in Cairo, Berlin^and London. In dealing with inscriptions the interpretation of which is acknowledged by scholars to present many difficulties, I do not presume to suppose that my translations are beyond criticism, or always final; but I believe that such criticism, which will no doubt lead to improvements, must be confined to details,  and will not affect the general result, or the historical value of these most important texts. 

I may at least claim that the language in which they are written in the mother tongue of that Syrian dialect which became known to me by speaking it daily for seven years. In dialectic pronunciation, an idiom, and the peculiar meaning of many expressions the common speech of the Palestine peasantry is perhaps one of the best possible guides to an understanding of the writings of their Canaanite ancestors.

 The study of monumental inscriptions is often called a * by-path ' of Biblical knowledge. But in an age of destructive criticism, it seems to me to present the most important weapon that can be placed in the hands of those who desire, without seeking to support any particular theory, to arrive at truth concerning the ancient history of Palestine and of the Hebrew people. In the present case, we have become possessed of a mass of political correspondence dating about the time when, according to the Bible, the Hebrew invasion under Joshua took place, and which in bulk represents literature equal to about half the length of the entire Pentateuch. 

That the Hebrews should be mentioned in such letters as conquering the south of Palestine and driving out the Amorite kings, will appear natural to those who believe the narrative of the Book of Joshua to represent the history of the Hebrew con- quest; and that the date so determined does not agree with the now fashionable theory, which would place the conquest much later, in the time of Seti II., need not in any way disturb our minds. 

The date which is conjectured by some Egyptologists does not rest on any monumental evidence at all, for the simple reason that the Hebrews are not mentioned in any Egyptian record as yet discovered, and appear for the first time in monumental history in the Tell Amarna letters.

 The speculation which would make their conquest so much later, while it ignores the Biblical data, is founded only on the libels of Manetho, who wrote at least twelve hundred years later, and who makes Amenophis succeed Rameses.

 I have never been able to understand on what grounds the date given in the Bible is so set aside, or to agree with the dictum of Dr Brugsch, for which no evidence is brought forward from monuments, that " beyond all doubt ' Minephtah was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. We should rather, I think, agree with Josephus, the critic who exposed the ignorance of Manetho, in dismissing such opinions as 'in- credible fables.'

the book details :
  • Author: Claude Reignier Conder was an English soldier, explorer and antiquarian. He was a great-great-grandson of Louis-Fran├žois Roubiliac and grandson of the editor and author Josiah Conder. Conder was educated at University College London and the Royal Military Academy,
  • Publication date:1894
  • Company:
  • Includes maps and illustrations

  • Download The Tell Amarna tablets  - PDF - 10 MB



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