By David O'Connor
Even if the research of Egyptian tradition spurned its personal self-discipline, Egypt is and consistently has been a part of Africa. those twelve essays re-open the controversy at the impression of Egyptian tradition at the remainder of Africa from early instances to the Christian interval acknowledging and discussing the distortions which have been created through 'racial prejudice, colonial and imperial interests'.
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I am convinced that the first stage of this process, the abandonment of the Ancient Model, was not the result of scholarly 24 Martin Bernal developments, or ‘internalist’ factors. Rather, it was caused by changes in the general intellectual atmosphere, or for ‘externalist’ reasons. To put it crudely, I see four major forces as having effected the change. These were: (1) the establishment of the paradigm of progress; (2) the triumph of Romanticism; (3) the revival of Christianity after the French Revolution; and more important than all the others, (4) the application of racism to considerations of the relationship between Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece.
But in fact these are not the particular issues that Bernal himself has emphasized in his work so far. His work may have the implications that are sketched in above, as I believe it does; but that is not the direction in which Bernal himself has shown any wish to push his arguments. It seems to me that the fundamental challenge to ancient historians implicit in Bernal’s thesis lies elsewhere, and that the challenge has less to do with his substantive conclusions than with the issues of methodology that he raises.
Indeed, it is totally inappropriate for European and Euro-American scholars to do so when the Aryan Model itself serves the same therapeutic function for many Europeans and Euro-Americans. Buufnqujoh$sfwjtjpo Even though I see the Aryan Model as having been ‘conceived in sin or even error’, I do not believe that this in itself invalidates it as a useful historical tool. However, despite heavy criticism (as highlighted in Lefkowitz and Rogers 1996), the collation of studies in archaeology, Bronze Age documents and mythology, published in Black Athena Volume II (Bernal 1991), lead me to conclude that the ancients were right when they emphasized the centrality of Egyptian and Levantine cultures in the formation of Ancient Greece.