Archaeology of Biblical Astronomy
The Ancient Traditions
The Jews up to the Saviour's time had a cherished tradition that this Pyramid was built before the flood. Josephus, the learned scribe, gives it as historic fact that Seth and his immediate descendants "were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies and their order. And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed, they made two pillars, the one of brick, the other of stone. They inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain and exhibit these discoveries to mankind." He also adds, "Now this (pillar) remains in the land of Siriad (Egypt) to this day." (Jewish Antiquities, i, 2.) Such an idea so strongly rooted in the mind of God's chosen people is very noteworthy, to say the least.The Arabians had a corresponding tradition. In a manuscript (preserved in the Bodleian Library, and translated by Dr. Sprenger) Abou Balkhi says, "The wise men previous to the flood, foreseeing an impending judgment from heaven, either by submersion or by fire, which would destroy every created thing, built upon the tops of the mountains in Upper Egypt many pyramids of stone, in order to have some refuge against the approaching calamity. Two of these buildings exceeded the rest in height, being four hundred cubits high, and as many broad, and as many long. They were built with large blocks of marble, and they were so well put together that the joints were scarcely perceptible. Upon the exterior of the building every charm and wonder of physic was inscribed."Massoudi, another Arab writer, gives the same even more circumstantially, and says that on the eastern or Great Pyramid as built by these ancients the heavenly spheres were inscribed, "likewise the positions of the stars and their circles, together with the history and chronicles of time past, of that which is to come, and of every future event."Another Arabic fragment, claiming to be a translation from an ancient Coptic papyrus,gives a similar account of the origin of the pyramids, and states that "innumerable precious things" were treasured in these buildings, including "the mysteries of science, astronomy, geometry, physic, and much useful knowledge."So, too, the famous traveller, Ibn Batuta, says, that "the pyramids were constructed by Hermes, the same person as Enoch and Edris, to preserve the arts and sciences and other intelligence during the flood." And it was by reason of fanciful exaggerations of this same tradition that Al Mamoun made his forced entrance into this edifice. Of course these accounts cannot be accepted in their literal terms. They are manifestly at fault in various particulars. The very oldest of the pyramids, by its own testimony, was not built till six hundred years after the flood. Seth and Enoch therefore were not its builders, whatever they may have contributed indirectly to it. Nor was the motive for it just the one alleged, though perhaps involving something of the truth. The idea of the storage of material treasures, or of literal inscriptions on the walls and stones, has also been proven erroneous, at least as to what now remains of the edifice.