Page:The Religion of Ancient Egypt.djvu/63

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48
LECTURE II.

subject, has pointed out a series of deliberate falsifications of Manetho's lists made by the early Christian and perhaps by Jewish chronologers for the purpose of bringing these lists into harmony with the Old Testament, or rather with fanciful interpretations of the Old Testament. He does not attribute these falsifications to dishonest motives, but to "mistakes or injudicious attempts to correct mistakes."


Absolute Dates.

It was once generally supposed (and I have myself written in favour of the supposition[1]) that absolute dates might be detected on the monuments. The heliacal risings of certain stars we calculated by M. Biot as fixing the reign of one king in 1300 B.C., and of another king in the year 1444. But I no longer believe that the Egyptian texts really bear out the interpretation which furnishes the data for these cal-

  1. On "The Earliest Epochs of Authentic Chronology," in Home and Foreign Review, 1862, p. 420. M. Biot, in his "Mémoire sur quelques dates absolues," and after him M. Romieu and Dr. Gensler, have dealt with the Egyptian calendars as if they recorded the risings of certain stars. But the text of the calendars distinctly speaks of the transits of the stars, and never of their risings. I have discussed this question in the Chronicle, 25 Jan. 1868, and in the Transactions of the Society for Biblical Archaeology, Vol. III. M. E. de Rougé has a very important "note sur quelques conditions préliminaires des calculs qu'on pent tenter sur le calendrier et les dates égyptiennes," in the Revue Archéologique, 1864, Vol. II. p. 81.