Quick Points on Akhenaten and Atenism.

 

  • Akhenaten was a “Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC” (though David Rohl puts his reign along the time of Kings David and Solomon 1000-900 BC).*
  • Akhenaten was a radical new leader in Egypt, politically and religiously.
  • Akhenaten promoted “Atenism”; the belief that the god Aten was the only god or at least higher than the other gods (Atenism).
  • Some believe this to mean that Atenism was the first monotheism and Judaism borrowed the idea.
  • There are several problems with this theory though:
    1. The only similarity between both religions is that “both believe in one God, who is a Creator and sustainer of the universe.”
    2. Jan Assmann’s opinion is that ‘Aten’ and ‘Adonai’ are not linguistically related.
    3. There was already a pre-existing henotheism that promoted one god over others; before Aten, the sun-god, it was Re (Rah) the sun-god.
    4. Ethics, salvation, and evangelism had no role at all in the belief in Aten; neither did any other beliefs of Judaism. Donald B. Redford (the foremost Akhenaten-ologist) says that the two monotheisms are completely unrelated.
    5. The reign of Akhenaten did not last long (17 years) and after his reign traditional Egyptian religion was re instituted.
    6. James P. Allen states that even if it continued, it would have only produced a deism of Thomas Jefferson, Aristotle, or Thales rather than Moses.
  • There are similarities between the priestly mediator role of Akhenaten and his “father” Aten. Akhenaten believed that he was “thy son who came forth from [Aten’s] limbs” who spoke to and for the god. Though Akhenaten died without ever proving those claims.

 

*Egyptologist Bob Bianchi thinks this is one of Rohl’s best arguments because the cosmopolitan culture during the bronze age better fits King Solomon’s international status rather than the bronze age.

Sources:

Wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhenaten

David Rohl ~ ‘Pharaohs & Kings’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0Hd4J9ypzc

Tekton – http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/akhenaten.html

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