Array ( ) Eden in Egypt – Part 1 | Ancient Origins
Eden

Eden in Egypt – Part 1

(Read the article on one page)

The location of the Garden of Eden and the whereabouts of the Tower of Babel have perplexed theologians and historians alike for hundreds if not thousands of years. And so sparse is the information and so intractable is this conundrum, that many have chosen to consign the Book of Genesis to the realms of mythology and legend. In other words, none of it actually happened.

However, as we have seen from my previous articles on astrology within the Bible, it is entirely possible to find real science and real history where others have failed to see anything bar fantasy and fiction. The methodology for achieving this is not to get sidetracked by Western socio-religious constraints. Simply discard what we think we know, and start afresh with a blank sheet and an open mind. Pretend that the Torah has just been unearthed in Egypt, and we know nothing about it. So, reading afresh in this manner, what can we discover about the Garden of Eden and the Tower of Babel? Surprisingly, the answer to this, is 'a surprising amount'.

Eden in Egypt

Many authors have attempted to identify and locate the legendary Tower of Babel in Sumer, in modern Iraq. However, with all due respect to their tireless research efforts, a location in Mesopotamia for this legendary pyramid is not the only conclusion that we can draw from the meagre information that is available to us. And the obvious alternative location can be gleaned from some of the opening verses in the Book of Genesis, which say:

And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four branches.  Gen 2:10

Now there is only one river in this region that passes through a garden and then divides into four branches, and that is the Nile - which runs through the valley oasis of Egypt before branching out at the Delta. And while the Nile may only have two branches nowadays, it did have four in antiquity. However, readers might exclaim that the Torah specifically names the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and so this cannot be so. But of course the Torah does not actually mention these famous rivers at all, it mentions the Chiddeqel and the Parath. But is the Chiddaqel the Tigris and the Parath the Eu prates? Some of the biblical references do not readily support that argument, and point more towards Egypt.

Besides, if we turn to Josephus Flavius' record of this Genesis account, we see that the actual names and locations of the rivers of Eden had been lost to us by this time. Josephus says of Eden:

Now the garden was watered by one river, which ran round about the whole earth, and was parted into four branches. (Antiquities 1:1:3)

The four branches mentioned here are then identified by Josephus as being the: Ganges, Euphrates, Tigris and the Nile. Now that is some garden! Clearly, by the time Josephus was writing his version of the Old Testament, the name and location of these rivers had been corrupted or lost.  And yet Josephus was copying from a much older version of the Torah/Tanakh than the classical Old Testament in use today. Josephus was using the Torah that had been taken from the Temple of Jerusalem in AD 70, which dated from the time of the Babylonian exile. And yet even this early version of the Torah appears to have been confused as to where the four branches of the Eden river lay.

But if the names of the branches had been garbled by the 6th century BC, perhaps the description of the layout of this river may be a little more reliable - in brief, it was a long river running through a garden that eventually parted into four branches. So let us run with that idea and see where it takes us to. The possibility exists, therefore, that the Book of Genesis was referring to Egypt and to the Nile, and not to Mesopotamia at all. This is a suggestion that gives us some further interesting possibilities, but the prospect of finding a comprehensive explanation and a location for Eden and its integral Adam and Eve story seemed impossible, as the narrative and genealogies from this early part of the Bible initially seem too fragmented and confusing to provide a verifiable history. However, if Eden was in Egypt, and if Eden contained a famous garden and a famous first lady and first man then there may well be a good explanation for this story, and a comparable description of it in the historical record.

Comments

Interesting

For nearly five years I have been a regular contributor to "Atlantis Rising" magazine, with an article in every issue. Some time ago I expanded on the conventional theory about the location of the garden, suggesting that, shortly after the last ice age ended, when sea levels were still lower than today and the climate was warmer and wetter the garden may have been near the head of the Persian Gulf, in an area now submerged.
However, given that we know so little, Mr. Ellis' theory may well be the correct one. We should never be so wedded to our own pet theories that we forget how uncertain the ancient translations are.

Tsurugi's picture

Ahh...the Shepherd Kings! I had wondered.

The Bahr Yusef is a fairly good clue as well, I think.

And one you will not hear being discussed in archaeological or theological circles.

Theologians will distance Judaism from Egypt and from real history with every fiber in their body.

Archaeologists will distance real history from biblical texts with every fiber in their body.

So it takes an independent like myself to point out that the archaeo-theological claims and opinions on this subject, have no clothes.

The israelites came from Egypt, and so we should expect an Egyptian influence. But how far can we take this. I agree with Josephus flavius, who says that the israelites were the Hyksos, a fully Egyptianised monarchy who ruled Lower Egypt. And history would indicate that the radical regime of Akhenaton was descended from those hyksos refugees - with Amarna artistic styles coming direct from the Minoans.

Ralph

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Human Origins

Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research

Ancient Technology

Detail of a star chart dating to the Middle Kingdom.
The calendar is one of mankind’s most important inventions. Calendars allowed societies to organize time for religious, social, economic, and administrative purposes. The calendar, or rather, two sets of calendars, were invented by the ancient Egyptians. One of these was a lunar calendar, which was used mainly for the organization of religious festivals.

Ancient Places

Smuts house
The farmstead of General Jan Smuts on the outskirts of Pretoria, is reputed to be one of the most haunted private homes in the country, according to Mr Mark Rose-Christie, raconteur and social scientist, who regularly takes brave visitors on a tour of haunted sites on his mystery ghost bus.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article