Biblical Archaeology Review 3:4, December 1977

Abraham in History

By Nahum M. Sarna

Fitting the “Patriarchal Age” into a historical framework is a formidable task. The issues are complex and our ignorance profound. There is no known synchronism between a single patriarchal Biblical event and a datable occurrence recorded in extra-Biblical sources.a Egyptian dynastic lists are of no help because the Bible designates the king of Egypt simply as “Pharaoh”; this was, unfortunately, the title of all Egyptian kings—at least from the New Kingdom (16th century B.C.). Conversely, no external document has turned up that mentions any of the patriarchs or members of their family by name.

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