A Chronology of Crazy

The article by William Ward on Egyptian chronology basically took my brain and twisted it into a trillion knots. The concept of actually figuring out Egyptian chronology is comparable to attempting to nail jello to a tree. Why? Because it’s not just a matter of a few minor details that bring scholars to hotly debate this issue, it’s a whole mess of things. Ward’s article poses that scholars are looking to find an absolute chronology. And in that is where I find the biggest problem. How absolute are these scholars looking to get?

Ancient Egyptian chronology started just there, in ancient Egypt. So, there too is where the problem started. The Egyptians had different calendars for different reason e.g. one for agriculture and one for religious purposes. The civil calendar was based off the inundation of the Nile and used for the purposes of the state like recording the years of a king’s reign. However, this type of calendar is severely different than the modern ones used today.  Even so, scholars have been able to come up with various templates for what they believe the correct chronology is. None of them are able to be 100% on the money but some have spots where the window for an event can be only three to four years difference while others are decades apart. Ward suggests that some scholars just leave it up to personal judgement. To me that would be like driving on the opposite side of the road; it gets you no where and cause trouble.

I’m not saying that it’s pointless to continually search for an answer because frankly I think it’s very positive road to travel. This kind of debate and search for answers will keep those studying Egyptian chronology on their toes. It could even bring about new ideas that no one has ever even thought of before.

Ok so here is what I would propose. There should be a giant convention in which scholars of this field come together. Not necessarily to try and negotiate a single “absolute” chronology, but rather, to establish  two or three or five or however many  chronology sets they deem as contenders. These would then be the only ones to be considered when a scholar is doing research. They either have to choose only one to deal with or explore all options.