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Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament

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Foreword by Kenneth A. Kitchen

"The evidence that Currid presents is quite persuasive. . . . He is quite skillful in detecting reflections of Egyptian culture in the biblical text."--Carolyn R. Higginbotham, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

The role of Egypt in the Old Testament, particularly the Pentateuch, is a significant one. John Currid's in-depth study of that role sheds valuable light on this important aspect of Israel's history and Scriptures.

Currid observes that more biblical scholars today are returning to the study of Egypt and its texts. My hope, he writes, is that this volume will add to the growing interest in and understanding of the Egyptian connections with the Old Testament.

After surveying the scholarly interest in Egypt and the Bible and highlighting the uniqueness of the Hebrew worldview, Currid proceeds through the Old Testament canonically, showing Egyptian influences throughout. He explores the creation story, Joseph narrative, Serpent confrontation, ten plagues, route of the Exodus, Solomon's contacts with Egypt, the relationship of Hebrew poetry to Egyptian wisdom literature, and the links between Hebrew prophecy and Egyptian magic and soothsaying. The result is an enlightening guide to Egyptian influences on Israelite history.

This valuable study offers the most up-to-date information on archaeological discoveries and includes Currid's original translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Photographs, indexes, and a bibliography enhance the study.

Kenneth Kitchen writes in the foreword: In the increasingly erratic world of Old Testament studies, where there is still too often a stubborn refusal to pay proper attention to the firm factual framework of reference that the ancient Near Eastern world offers us in assessing the nature and worth of the biblical writings, Currid's well-documented book is a breath of fresh air and represents a valuable contribution.

Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament will serve as a text in courses on archaeology and the Old Testament, Old Testament history, and Old Testament backgrounds.


"John Currid has written an excellent study of the Egyptian background of certain parts of the Old Testament. The author has read widely and commented judiciously on a number of very interesting topics, such as the itinerary of the Israelites as they fled Egypt, the plagues, Solomon's marriage to an Egyptian princess, the invasion of pharaoh Shishak, and comparisons with Egyptian wisdom literature."--Edwin Yamauchi, Miami University

"Professor Currid has provided a thorough, stimulating, and informed study of the many ways that the world of ancient Egypt can illumine the pages of the Old Testament. Those who take seriously the importance of reading the Old Testament in light of its cultural context will welcome his balanced assessment of the data. This is a valuable tool for background studies."--John H. Walton, Moody Bible Institute

The Author

  1. John D. Currid

    John D. Currid

    John D. Currid (PhD, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) is Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served on several archaeological excavations and is author of several books and commentaries.

    Continue reading about John D. Currid


"Currid has a talent for summarizing older and differing arguments and is at his best in this when discussing whether the ten plagues should be seen as events with natural explanations or purely as literary creations. . . . The idea of relating biblical traditions about Egypt to contemporary Egyptian culture from the perspective of the Bible being representative rather than being falsified or purely polemic, is refreshing."--Rachel S. Hallote, Society of Biblical Literature

"Currid's book is a well-researched study of the close connection between Egypt and the Bible. The book deserves close attention."--Yohan Pyeon, Religious Studies Review

"[Currid] succeeds in gathering significant information from historical--and literary--critical research as well as from archaeology, and he examines it with a fresh eye. . . . This book will help serious students fill in some of the gaps in their historical reconstruction of Israel."--Bible Today (March 1999)

"Well-documented and readable, all readers will benefit from John Currid's Egyptological expertise."--International Review of Biblical Studies

"More than half of the book is devoted to the Pentateuch, but Currid also touches on historical issues in the early monarchy, on wisdom literature, and on prophecy. The evidence that Currid presents is quite persuasive, especially because he resists the temptation to exaggerate the extent of the influence. Currid is quite skillful in detecting reflections of Egyptian culture in the biblical text."--Carolyn R. Higginbotham, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"Currid's work is perceptive and vigorous. . . . This volume is an excellent source for background material and would also be a fine resource for college and seminary students."--Peter Herbert Dongell, The Asbury Theological Journal

"The book is well structured. . . . In this reviewer's opinion, the book succeeds in providing valuable Egyptian background information for relevant biblical passages, challenging at the same time the student to reconsider the historical dimension of the biblical text in light of these data."--Daniel Istrate, Westminster Theological Seminary

"An interesting book on a subject that very few people have the courage to discuss."--Francesca Jourdan

"Interesting and helpful throughout. Currid is willing to offer a unique interpretation in places, firmly interacts with and critiques minimalists, and admits when he feels that existing evidence does not allow for a concrete conclusion. Kenneth Kitchen, an Egyptologist of note, writes that 'Currid's well-documented book is a breath of fresh air and represents a valuable contribution.'"--Michael Grisanti, The Master's Seminary Journal