»Sheshonq (Shishak) in Palestine«
May 31 – June 1, 2021
9:00 a.m. (CEST)
online via Zoom
Pharaoh Sheshonq I (c. 943-923 BCE) is traditionally viewed as the founder of the 22nd Dynasty. What makes this king a corner stone for Egyptian-Levantine interrelations as well as Biblical Studies and archaeology alike is his report about campaigning in the southern Levant. According to 1 Kings 14:25-28 and 2 Chronicles 12:2-9, Pharaoh Shishak looted the temple in Jerusalem in the 5th year of Rehoboam taking with him plentiful bounty.
When the inscription and great list of Sheshonq I on the south wall of the Bubastite Portal in Karnak were discovered, scholars immediately connected them with the narrative of the Hebrew Bible. Seemingly a perfect corroboration of the Biblical narrative, the royal inscription in Egypt offered one of the earliest external synchronisms for Biblical chronology. The link between the Egyptian inscription and the verses in the Hebrew Bible was perceived as even stronger and more reliable, after a fragment of a stela bearing the name of Sheshonq I was found in the excavations of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago at Megiddo.
In due course, Sheshonq I’s campaign became an unavoidable peg in the chronological system of Iron Age Israel and seemed only too useful for dating destruction layers in archaeological sites. In the light of the importance and wide-ranging implications of the Egyptian inscription, it is therefore important to review what we actually know and try to explore whether or not this inscription, its topographical list and the Biblical narrative refer to the single same event. A fresh, critical, and dispassionate view of Sheshonq I in Palestine is definitely needed.
Roman Gundacker | Felix Höflmayer