Summary: Joseph was a key figure in Egyptian history, but was he Imhotep?

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Joseph the Grand Vizier

(Genesis 41)

1. The sermons and presentations in this series will be, by nature, uneven. Some weeks, more Bible less Egyptology. Other weeks vice-versa. I could solve this by speaking for two hours at a shot, thus giving us a balanced mixture. Some instinct in me tells me that this approach would not be the most popular. So last week’s presentation caught us up on some necessary Biblical information, this week we will build on that from the Egyptian perspective as we ask the question, "Was Jospeh Imhotep." But first, let’s view the next segment of our DVD to evidence that the Jews in fact did live in Egypt.

Show DVD, chapter 2 of the DVD, "The Exodus Revealed" (about 6 minutes)

2. From Wikipedia: "Imhotep …is the first architect and physician known by name in written history. As one of the officials of the Pharaoh Djosèr he designed the Pyramid of Djzosèr (Step Pyramid) at Saqqara in Egypt around 2630-2611 BC, during the 3rd Dynasty. He may also have been responsible for the first known use of columns in architecture. His name means the one who comes in peace.

Imhotep also served as chancellor to the pharaoh and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. He was said to be a son of Ptah… He was revered as a genius and showered with titles. The full list of titles is: Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, First after the King of Upper Egypt, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary nobleman, High Priest of Heliopolis, Builder, Sculptor and Maker of Vases in Chief. Imhotep is credited as the founder of Egyptian medicine, and as author of the Edwin Smith papyrus, detailing cures, ailments and anatomical observations…

Two thousand years after his death, his status was raised to that of a god…The location for Imhotep’s tomb is still unknown…One fringe theory is that Imhotep has strong similarities to the biblical Joseph. Some have suggested the biblical Joseph is a composite created by the authors of the Torah from a Hebrew individual and Imhotep, the authors confusing Imhotep for Joseph…

3. National Geographic, January 1995, "The annual Nile flood, which inundated surrounding fields every autumn before farmers sowed their seed, failed seven years in a row. Djoser asked Imhotep where the source of the river lay. The pharaoh intended to travel there to interrogate the river gods and beg them to show mercy on his people.

"But Imhotep replied that sacred [God] books had given him the answer.... The floods returned, and the famine was over...."

4. Anyone who studies Egyptology on even a superficial level knows of Imhotep. He had a mind as great or greater than Da Vinci and Einstein. Perhaps no one in all time advanced architecture as much as he: he invented the column, he invented the used of quarried stone for building, and he invented the pyramid.

5. The Edwin Smith papyrus is the world’s earliest known medical document, written around the 17th century BCE, but thought to be based on material from as early as 3000 BCE. It is an ancient textbook on trauma surgery, and describes anatomical observations and the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous injuries in exquisite detail. The papyrus contains the first descriptions of the cranial sutures, the meninges, (muh nin’ jees) the external surface of the brain, the cerebrospinal fluid, and the intracranial pulsations. The surgical procedures in the Egyptian Edwin Smith papyrus were quite rational given the time period. As well as having magical incantations against pestilence [1] it also contains a prescription for a wrinkle remover using urea, which is still used in face creams today.

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