Dear Dr. Federn:
Yesterday we have returned from a two and a half day trip to Vermont. It was very beautiful. I made som color photogrpahy and occasionally shall show you the slides. Upon our return we have found a letter of October 3-4, and a postcard of October 4th. Today came a postcard of October 6th. You have not mentioned my offer to advance your coming from Sunday to Saturday; instead you write about a visit on Thanksgiving which is far away. We will have to meet before, and if you feel inadequate to make the travel, I shall possibly meet you in New York, even drive to your home. So let me know about this Saturday. There is one good train leaving New York at 9:45 in the morning, and if this is too early, another good train that leaves at 11:15. I could come out to the Junction to either of these two trains. (Still later is a train at 1:15)
You write in your last postcard that you expect impatiently an answer to your letter of Oct. 2nd. I presume it refers to the letter of Oct. 3-4. Let me say very frankly. You now repeat the experiences I had over 18 and 19 years ago. But I have had time and clarified the issues to my satisfaction. You have missed so many years to follow through with me, and suddenly becoming yourself a heretic revolt also against my substantiated deductions. You have borrowed from me the clue of 550 years (I usually think of 540); but you apply it not only to the 18th dynasty, but also to the entire ancient history of Egypt and connected countries. This is too simplified and dogmatic. I am as certain that Ramses III belongs to the Persian time (fourth century) as that I presently write a letter to Walter Federn. You will however notice that it was never my way of expression my conviction. You, in your great exceitement, write on Sept. 25: “The Pharaoh of the Exodus is now definitely established as Thutmose IV” and on October 6th: “Ich glaube nich mehr dass Thutmosis IV der ‘Pharaoh des Exodus’ gewesen ist; dies war vielmehr Amenophis II...” The same with the Red Sea episode, that you have revoked on Oct. 4. It is not the change by the early Albright-like expression of certainty not given to debate that must be avoided.
For the 18th Dynasty the displacement was in the magnitude of 540 years, for the 19th Dynasty—700 years, for the 20th Dynasty—800 years. If you try to take Ramses III out of the fourth century, you will be going once more in a wrong direction, and I will have litle help from you in preparing my chapter on him for print—if it needs any revision at all.
I thought you knew why and how Oedipus and the Sphinx brought you to the problem of the Exodus and the synchronization in general. But you admit that the process of associations is not clear by now to you. In both cases—Oedipus and Ages, you do the same thing: agree with the basic idea but try to push the events one generation or one dynasty earlier.
I do not see your reasoning by admitting that Hyksos and Amalekites are the same, and still refering the Exodus of the Israelites to an earlier period than myself: yet the Israelites met and battled the Amalekites, who were the Hyksos.
The history of the war of Ramses II was followed by me and compared for 19 years event after event and month after month with the history of the war as described by the Scriptures and the Greek authors. Would you like to drop all this?
As to Joseph son of Jacob, I believe that I have long ago written you that I think to have found him mentioned in an Egyptian inscription dating from the 12th Dynasty. In the same register to Breasted’s records I looked up and found the name of Potifar (Potiwer) and there was also mention store-keeper Yotew (or something like Yotww). Also the literary form of Joseph story reminds well other products of Egyptian literature of that time. Only looking years later again in the first volume of Records I found that the inscription was a little different from what I had in memory, and since my memory on certain occasions proved rather good in retaining documental texts, I had the suspicion that vol. I of Breasted’s records had more than one edition, and that I have possibly looked into two different versions of the text, or perchance, into two different texts. Could you find out?
If you have a different idea about Joseph, you do not need to offer me your material and idea for my exploitation: it is yours and you may do with it as you think right. I however intend to add a little section on Joseph to Ages vol. 2.
It is absolutely clear that I have the gretest confidence in you and your scientific honesty which could not be surpassed. But I have asked you not to publish anything connected with my unpublished works especially not in advance without my consent the idea that the legend of Oedipus had its prototypes in Egypt because you have written yourself:
“Ich have ein Bruchstück des officiellen ägyptischen Berichts über den Ungergant ‘Pharaohs’ im Roten Meer gefunden (dass es Thummoseis IV war, lässt sich nur mit Hilfe Ihres ‘Oedipus’ beweisen); ich habe eine kurze Mitteilung über diese Entdeckung bereits niedergeschrieben und werde sie in wenigen Tagen an das JNES senden.” I could only conclude that in the great exaltation that possessed you since you came to certainnew idea you overlooked that basing your identification on my ‘Oedipus’ you should show me your paper before offering it for publication. So no reason for you to feel offended.
Now you have promised me to send page by page or chapter by chapter my ‘Oedipus’ manuscript with your corrections and suggestions. I would very much like to see these comments. I would also like to know what is your solution of Sphinx’s riddle; where is the official record of a Pharaoh who drowned; and where is the published paper in which the name of Solomon could possibly be read. I am certain that by searching and reading many important items will come your way for “Ages”.
The weather is good, Princeton is beautiful, I am in good spirits, and have a strong desire to progress with my works and have soon ‘Oedipus’ and ‘Ages’, then ‘The Orbit’ and the story of SAturn and Jupiter catastrophes finished too, and this besides a large number of other planned and partly prepared books. “Ages” is now being translated into Hebrew. The second volume of “Ages” is impatiently demanded by readers—so yesterday two letters in the mail, and one today. A man from Holland (one of yesterday’s letters) writes: “The waiting for the announced second volume has all the hallmarks of a ‘cliff-hanger’ for me.”
Warm regards from Elisheva, and our hope to see you soon.