Viewing the text of the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah as a historical record one can deduce that the it is probably true that the ancient Hebrews were slaves to the Egyptian Pharos before that long 40 year migration to Judea.
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The other problem with your comment is that the Jewish Torah cannot be viewed as a historical record for that particular era. Archaeologists have now determined conclusively that the pyramids were not built by slaves. And there is no - literally no - evidence that a single Jew ever set foot into Egypt in that period. Some did, undoubtedly; Egypt was a trading center and a cosmopolitan civilization that drew people from all surrounding peoples. No remaining document or inscription records this, however, and a Jew as a powerful advisor to the Pharaoh would have been noted. The likelihood of large numbers of Jews held in Egypt as slaves is nil.
Kind of a bummer for literalists, but archaeology lectures are way more fun to listen to. Just went to a fine one on Thursday, on the town of Tel Kedesh, mentioned in Maccabees. That era is far better documented. The early stuff has to be considered myth, though.
I’m guessing it’s this column: Was there really such a thing as “white slavery”?
Also, here’s another common misconception of biblical literalists: the people of Israel at that time were not white. At least, not in the way we’d typically define “white”. They sure as hell weren’t Caucasian, which makes any “historical documents” that leave Christ looking like a Caucasian European male extremely dubious.
To be fair, the Bible doesn’t mention the pyramids. That’s from the movies. The bible story is that the Jews were set to build the Pharaoh’s treasure houses.
There is a list of some Pharaoh’s conquests that included a tribe with a name very similar to Hebrew.
There are also some prayers to the Egyptian gods that are remarkably similar to some of the psalms. This indicates a common origin.
In the first place, a lot of records from several thousand years ago are fragmentary. I’m not sure if we have a complete record of all the kings, let alone the names of their advisors.
Secondly, why would anyone note “a jew” as an advisor? Supposedly, thee were exactly 13 jews at this point. Nobody would know what a Jew was.
How many Jews were there supposed to be at this time anyway? It started with 12 brothers, and the Exodus was about 4 generations later. So maybe about a thousand or so?
Just to avoid misunderstanding I’m not a literalist. The above points I heard in legitimate archaeology shows on TV, or heard from a guide at Cairo museum, who was working towards an advanced degree.
This doesn’t contradict my point; it strengthens it. The Egyptian civilization was aware of the other populations around them. That included the peoples/tribes/kingdoms/whatever social structures in the land now called Israel. But there is not a single reference to any member/representative/traveler of these populations actually being in Egypt despite the huge number of other references. To be precise you have to make the qualification that we’re talking about the supposed era in which Moses existed. There are later references.
Whether this is true is irrelevant. See above. Nobody is denying contact. It’s the internal mentions that are the issue.
The era of Moses’ time is fairly well documented.
This one puzzles me if you’re going to cite the Bible.
First case of white slavery is probably a few years older than when the first white person was born. What I mean is the question is like how old is slavery, old as humanity.
Not so - hunter-gatherers have no use for slaves (and no ability to keep them).
My guess would be that slavery is as old as the exstence of agriculture-based chiefdomships.
I wanted to start a thread asking this, but I guess here is good too. I see the claim you’re making an awful lot, but it seems strange to me.
Two hunter-gather groups have a animosity, it leads to tribal war. A girl from the defeated group is spared and forcibly brought back to the others camp and forced to do labor and such. Hell you can imagine this happening on an even smaller scale.
Is that slavery?
Or does it have to be industrial in nature( a whole codified industry and selling and buying).
As I understand it, hunter-gatherer tribes in the Amazon that have had very little contact with the outside world keep (or kept) slaves, mostly captives from other tribes they fight with.
Are you sure they were “hunter-gatherers”? Most “tribes” in the Amazon in fact live by “slash and burn” agriculture - such as the infamously “fierce” Yanomami.
In fact, it is rare for hunter-gatherers to form “tribes” (one exception being West Coast natives - but that is due to rather exceptional circumstances). Most hunter-gatherers live in “bands” - that is, more or less, family groupings. They do not really practice tribal “war” (though individual murder is relatively common).
Generally would not happen with hunter-gatherers. What you get among them is not “war” on a “tribal” scale, but more along the lines of one individual “murdering” another.
Rape and murder does of course happen, but it isn’t a good idea, because of the small scale of the society - most hunter-gatherer bands know and are related to each other, so rape and murder tends to set up a Hatfield/McCoy-type cycle of violence.
There would not be “slavery” because the “work” of hunting and gathering inevitably requires a lack of supervision incompatible with enslavement - it is simply too easy for a hunter or gatherer to run off, back to some of his or her relations.
Once you have agriculture, and tribes, then there is scope for slavery.
Seems like the first slaves would have been daughters and sons traded as in order to build tribal peace. It is quite common for tribes to trade such and the traded person would be under orders from their father/uncle/whoever to not escape and the tribal leaders word would be law.
Btw in history most slaves would have been of a similar race, as the term is understood today Where race means skin color. It’s only when you are able to support global trade markets are you able to only enslave people who are of a particular race.
This would require “tribes” with leaders “whose word was law”. Which is a form of social organization generally correlated with agriculture, not hunter-gatherers (with the notable exception of ‘settled’ hunter-gatherers like the West Coast natives of Canada).
Bands or early tribes - the social organization correlated with hunter-gatherers - are (and were) a more simple type of social organization, lacking that type of organization and hierarchy. Anthropologists generally accept that hunter-gatherers were reasonably egalitarian, and lacked formal hierarchies and leadership roles (another reason why slavery makes little sense in that social context).
Huh? You do know “Caucasian” does not mean “white European” do you? Inasmuch as “Caucasian” has any scientific meaning (the meaning it had back in the days when race theory was still considered real science, only only were Semitic peoples such as Arabs (many of whom are not too far from looking “white-but-tanned” rather than actually brown-skinned) and (most) Jews considered Caucasian, but so were the distinctly brown-skinned people of much of India. (I believe the racial classifiers of the 19th and early 20th century relied more on skull shapes than skin color to determine major racial divisions.)
So no, the ancient Hebrew peoples were not white like a German, a Norwegian, a Pole, or most of the other nationalities that modern American whites claim descent, but they were probably not all that dark either, and most certainly were Caucasians (if we grant, for the sake of argument, that that term means anything.)
To address the title, if not so much the OP of this thread, probably a majority of the slaves kept by classical Greeks and Romans would have been white Europeans. (Some would have been Middle Easterners, including Jews, and North Africans, with probably a few Persians and the like from bit further east. Relatively few would have been black Africans.)
There are lots of bollux racial theories. Originally, “Caucasian” simply meant “descendant of Japheth [one of the sons of Noah] who obviously crossed over the Caucasus Mountains to get from Mt. Ararat to Europe.”
—“I’m not making this up, you know”
I call super BS on that, unless “fairly well documented” means “we know 10 names and 10 tentative dates”.
Even stuff like Julius Caesar, for example, relies on extremely few documents. Julius Caesar’s exploits in Gaul are mostly known by his own book and commenters on his book.
The names of pharaohs given in the Old Testament don’t match any known from secular history, but tradition puts Moses at the time of the Eighteenth Dynasty. That’s one of the more famous eras in Egyptian history, and the Egyptians had this wonderful habit of carving inscriptions into every hard surface detailing the lives of the pharaohs. If you want a poster child for what is well documented in the ancient world, the Eighteenth Dynasty is it. (Some scholars hold out for the Nineteenth Dynasty, which still has some of the best documented reigns.)
Rome itself is well documented. Having two solidly attributed books by someone is about as good as you can get. There were biographies or histories of Julius and his times from Appian, Cassius Dio, Plutarch, and Suetonius and some of their sources still exist. Not to mention the correspondence of Cicero, a contemporary, and references in works by other contemporaries. Plus the thousands of other documents on the Rome of that time. We know the names of his parents, his siblings, his wives, and his children. That’s more than ten names right there.
Much of the argument over the Bible’s historic provenance is in fact the comparison of the scarce written (non-archaeological) documentation for the general lands of what is now Israel compared to the much greater amount of writing that details Egypt and Rome.
I was under the impression that the bible just said “pharaoh” I don’t recall any names being given. Please remind me.
You talked about " a Jew as a powerful advisor to the Pharaoh." I presumed that you were talking about Joseph, who was (supposedly) several generations before Moses.
If you actually meant Moses, then he was raised as an Egyptian, had an Egyptian name, and didn’t act as advisor.