Dear Dr. Federn:
I have received a series of your writings (because they are more than letters) and before I make me ready to answer one there comes the next. First I wish to explain that I have not had the idea that you have lately dedicated yourself to your research and neglected to help me. I only made the mistake to read too quickly one of your letters and concluded that the notes on the rand [i.e., margin] of the pages of my Oedipus-Akhnaton typescript is all what you have to remark. Soon I realized that more wil come and today I received ten handwritten pages with your remarks. When I hear (or read) that in the same time you have written several articles and almost a book (about Joseph), then I have a great admiration for the dedication, effort, and achievement, the more that I know that a frail body carries this unfatigable mind.
I have read the sheet in the little envelope, after Elisheva read it. I do not intend to follow your ideas, or schemes, either in Oedipus or in Ages. But any fact that can be used to support my theory or can be so interpreted by me, is of course desirable. Of all what I read until now in your letters, I am most interested by the fact that the Sphinx temples were oracle places; then that shortly before Akhnaton the cult of a Sphinx in Thebes was very pronounced; and when I think that human sacrifices were brought to Egyptian deities, I image, especially to Hathor, I find that my Oedipus book can be with great profit enlarged in this direction, and the drama of the identification enhanced.
Now I wonder why are you certain that Amenhotep III was the king who destroyed the cult of Sphinx in Thebes. Was it not exactly Akhnaton? The latter was an iconoclast, and not the former. If, generally, as you yourself write, the main reason for you to identify Oedipus in Amenhotep III because this king was great and famous, and Akhnaton was not, then I believe, the circumstantial evidenc eis not strong. Laios was a great king too; and Akhnaton was not a “nobody” whose memory died away in his own time. Akhnaton was the “criminal”, not Am. III; he had a child with his mother; he was away in his childhood and certainly in his youth; and many other elements, not the least, the teenaged brothers who followed one another on the trhone, and Aye’s role that coincides completely with that of Creon, and the tombs of Tutenkhamon and Smenkhkare, and the war or contest between them, and exile or arrest o Akhnaton, and references that sounds like a statement of his having become blind, and his swollen legs, etc... against all this you bring, as much as I know, mainly argument ex silentio, and the only arguments that sound like anything, are the statements that an oracle demanded of Thutmose IV to send away his child (where is this printed? or is this your surmise?), and that Amenhotep III grew at the Mitanni court. Again, is this your supposition, or a known fact? Which oracle required that a son of an Egyptian king should be sent away?
With a revision of “Ages” as much as I can glimpse from your letter, you baffle me. If you accept in the main my reconstruction as presented in “Ages”, vol. I, then I do not understand how you make of Amenhotep II (who fought with the Judea king Asa) a pharaoh of Exodus, or Exodus number 2. I also do not think that you have any foundation in fact by assuming that this Pharaohs pursued the Osarsiph of Manetho. I understood long ago (and had also a section on this in the original version of Ages, vol. 2) that Osarsiph is the priest and pretender for the throne, Osarkon, in the closing years of the Libyan dynasty.
As to Ptwr I have found in my notes a quotation from the records (Middle Kingdom) of Breated with this name; presently I again displaced it; but I shall find it when I go through the papares under my hand; but as I said, it is not the same quote that I had in my memory from an earlier reading of Breasted. For your book on Joseph, you may consider that Ginzberg refers to Hebrew sources that made Joseph to act in Egypt under two consecutive pharaohs. Ginzeberg’s index volume, under pharaohs, two, in Joseph days (this is the meaning of the index’ entry).
I am interested to know (unless one of the articles or books to which you refer answers this already) whether the Sphinx of Thebes was placed on teh cliff (that overhangs the Nile valley and constitutes the rampant of the Valley of the Kings); then it would be like in Oedipus story; whether human sacrifices were brought to it; whether it is definitely known who destroyed it, and whether it was destroyed by the Egyptians (not by the Assyrians, or by Cambyses).
Further I would like to know whether there is any reason to suspect that Amenhotep III was a homosexual, like Laios o the Greek legend, and further, whetehr there is anybody who could be regarded as his young and favorite captive.
Then, I wonder whether the philosopher Amenhotep of that period could be identified as the blind sage of the Greek legend. He seems to have been a statesman more than a poor seer.
I have received several leters from my readers taht owuld interest you. You will judge the impression that “Ages” makes six years after its publication. I may send them to you for reading and returning.
With cordial good wishes from both of us,