. On Graham Hancock's Theory

Sci.archaeology USENET postings, circa March 1995

       Subject: Ark of the Covenant Redux
          Date: 22 Mar 95 23:31:11 GMT
          From: greycat@larry.wyvern.com (Joe Canepa)
    Newsgroups: sci.archaeology

In his book The Sign and The Seal Graham Hancock theorizes that the Ark of the Covenant now resides in Ethiopia. Hancock tracks the Ark from Israel to Egypt, eventually temporally located at the Temple Elephantine at Aswan. From the Temple Elephantine Hancock has the next location as further down the Nile to Meroe. From Meroe he proposes that the Ark was then placed at Axum in Ethiopia, where it remains today.

Hancock has the Ark of the Covenant leaving Israel during the reign of Manasseh, as that ruler had introduced an idol into the Temple of Jerusalem. He does not cite a reference to the removal of the Ark but merely implies that it was removed by Manasseh to make room for that ruler's idol.

As far as I can remember the Ark, according to Hancock, would have been removed by the priests of the temple to avoid defilement by Manasseh and his idolatry. The Ark would have been transported to as safe distance in a safe location, a extensive jewish community of mercenary soldiers with their own temple on the island Elephantine (the only one outside Israel).


   Subject: Re: The Arc of the Covenant
      Date: Mon, 13 Mar 1995 10:56:26 -0500
      From: William Stoltzfus <bstoltz@pluto.njcc.com>
Newsgroups: sci.archaeology

On Sun, 12 Mar 1995, William E Meuse wrote:

Jollie MM (jolliemm@aol.com) wrote:

: impossible to say until a really good examination can be made by secular
: speculative chain of reasoning, but the proof is in the pudding and we
: need a serious taste to come to a conclusion.

You will NEVER obtain secular proof without incurring the bloodshed of about half the world. The Ark is very powerful, and Orthodox priests as well as Cherubim protect the people from it. Note I did not say, 'protect it from the people'. Please, don't even think about it because yes, your soul is eternal and yes, you are held responsible for what you do - eternally. Isn't this what you're trying to find out? And even if seculars did succeed in Sodomising the Holy of Holies (Prophecy tells us to be ready for anything of this sort) it would not change the Eternal Law that it was given to symbolise.

Cool runnins, Ras William I

I've been to Axum, the city where the Ark purportedly resides, and I've been to the front of the church, which sounds really impressive until I point out that I was 12 at the time, in 1968 (when Haile Selassie was still emperor), and I was clueless about the significance of the visit. (Sigh). What is especially interesting to read, is the Kebra Negast, the Ethiopian Scriptures (or a portion of them) which tell of Queen Makeda's (a.k.a. the Queen of Sheba) visit to Solomon and the source of the Ethiopian and Rastafarian belief that Selassie was/is?! the true Messiah. Well worth reading, particularly from a woman's perspective, since the Kebra Negast tells of Solomon's taking physical advantage of Makeda, which is how she bore Menelik I, and why the Ark came to leave Jerusalem.

The Ethiopian story of the Ark of the Covenant illustrates, as does the above posting by Ras William I (Prince William I? as in Ras Tafari, Prince Tafari, or Haile Selassie prior to ascending the throne), the distance between academia and religious belief. A recent book review on the Ethiopian Falashas (Ethiopian Jews), in The Journal of African History this year, (sorry no immediate citation, but can get it if any one wants) suggests there is no direct link between Jerusalem and the Ethiopian Jews. Most scholars (presumably non-Ethiopians) place Sheba in the Arabian peninsula, and the migration of Jews into Ethiopia (circa the 14th century CE, give or take?) from Arabia. Since the Ethiopian Christian church dates from the 4th century CE, it's hard, from this vantagepoint, to place the Hebrew egg before the Christian chicken.

Yet Graham Hancock did a fine job of describing, circumstantially, the pre-exilic nature of the Falasha Jewish beliefs (almost an oxymoronic name given that the term "Jew" derives from Judah, the southern kingdom, and really applies more to the people who came back from Babylon--see Bernard Anderson, Understanding the Old Testament) and the intrigue remains. It's rare that legends have zero basis in reality. On the other hand, the Hebrew Scriptures themselves may have been the focus of retrowriting: were the Exodus tent and tabernacle the prototype for Solomon's temple, or the reverse?, and the same may be true of the kebra Negast.

Hancock seemed happy, in the video mentioned in another posting here, to leave his "proof" in the hands of faith. He may be wise to do so, for everyone's sake, Ras William I, et al. The Ark as metaphor retains all of its power, in a land every bit as magical (despite Colonel Miriam's genocidal efforts) as the Ark itself. Yet, if no one has gotten around to doing this by the time I do (which will be too late since most if not all Falashas are now in Israel), I'd follow the lead described in Merritt Ruhlen's The Origin of Language (N.Y. John Wiley and Sons, 1994) and trace the linguistic origins of the Falasha tongue. If you can show an indebtedness to Egyptian languages, rather than Arabian roots, then Hancock's case would start to make more academic sense. The guy to ask is Ephraim Israel, mentioned in the video. He's probably already done the analysis and is a hell of a lot smarter than I. Regards, Bill Stoltzfus

P.S. See Revelation 11.19 for John of Patmos's version of the fate of the Ark.

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Last modified: May 13, 1998

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