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We did ancient Egypt last year (using the SCM curriculum) and started a book of centuries / history timeline where we recorded events from that period (based on the info in ‘Ancient Egypt and her neighbours). Our timeline for Egyptian history started in 3000BC with the unification of the 2 kingdoms.
This year we started Ancient Greece and the first event that is suggested to put into the book of centuries / timeline is the dispersion of the Tower of Babel. The materials suggest that this happened around 2250BC, however it also states that the Tower dispersion preceeded the establishment of the Egyptian civilisation. So now there is a discrepancy in the timeline which I don’t know how to handle.
Does anyone have any advice?
Because Sonya wrote the lesson plans for our history/geography/Bible curriculum I asked her for her thoughts on this. Sonya looked in the lesson plan guides to see what we had for dates and also looked in the spine book, Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors.
She found that the Book of Centuries date given in Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt and in Joshua through Malachi & Ancient Greece for the Tower of Babel is c. 2242 BC and the date given in Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt for the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt is c. 2242-2189 BC. Those dates put the Tower of Babel before the establishment of Egyptian civilization. Dating ancient events and civilizations always involves some guesswork and can only be given in approximations, so there can be some variance in dates given in different publications.
In chapter 1 of Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors, the author writes that “For the next 3,000 years, Egypt would remain one, but they never forgot their divided past.” That sentence doesn’t indicate when the 3,000 years began, just that Egypt remained unified for that many years. Could that be where you have some confusion with the dates?
If you look on page 32 of Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors, it states that the Old Kingdom lasted from 2700BC to 2200BC. So the start of the Old Kindom pre-dates the date given for the Tower of Babel by 458 years.
I understand that there is some guesswork in dating ancient history, but most historical sources put the start of Egyptian civilization at around 3000BC and most Biblical sources agree that the Tower of Babel was built around 2200BC, so I am having trouble with the idea that the events surrounding the Tower of Babel can be claimed to have given rise to the Egyptian civilization as stated in The Story of the Greeks. The timeline just doesn’t support this.
Thank you for bringing this discrepancy to our attention. We will revise the dates in Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors in future printings and adjust the dates to be 2242 BC for the Tower of Babel and 2188 BC for the Old Kingdom of Egypt.
Hmmm… I guess that is one way to overcome the inconsistency, but it is not going to stand up to much scrutiny.
I think the crux of the matter is whether or not to take the Bible (especially the Old Testament) literally; as 100% historically accurate.
I find the theological (and literary!) interpretation of the Old Testament to be of much greater importance than its historical accuracy. I understand that when the author of Genesis said that the “whole world” spoke the same language, he was speaking from his perspective. Everything is contextual and that is ok. The underlying theme of the futility of man’s plans against God’s purposes is much more important. And the juxtaposition of the Hebrew words used when talking of these two conflicting forces adds another dimension.
The point is I don’t think we should shy away from confronting these types of issues with our children. By massaging the facts to suit the story you might just alienate those who critically evaluate information – which should be everyone living in the digital age!
I feel the inconsistency should be acknowledged and discussed in the materials and not swept under the carpet. God did not call us to be ostriches after all.
Anyway, I won’t belabor the point any further. We love the curriculum otherwise. Keep up the good work.
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