Book review: Jesus: Last of the Pharaohs

by Ralph Ellis


What a fun book! A conspiracy theory in the extreme, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s entertaining to simply recognize the parallels–in this case, the strong resemblance between Biblical characters and the Pharaohs of Egypt–and run with them, to see where they take you. This book leads deep into Egyptology, relating the stories of the Bible directly to ancient Egypt, and concluding that Judaism, including its offshoot Christianity, stems from ancient Egyptian ritual. You’ll find Abraham, Moses, even Jesus among the Pharaohs.

Ellis’ analysis of the exodus as stemming from the eruption of Santorini is one of the book’s more interesting passages. This isn’t a new idea (see Acts of God, by Graham Philips) but Ellis fleshes it out, explaining the boils on the skin and more. His point is that the Biblical account is historical and fits nicely into the timing of his thesis, relating Moses to the Hyksos people.

Ralph Ellis has produced a suite of similar books, and this is apparently the one that started the ball rolling. Jesus: Last of the Pharaohs has gone through at least two reprintings. There’s an awful lot of original information here, and a lot of conclusions drawn on linguistics and minimal evidence, but if Ellis and his topic piques your interest, there’s much more available to read.

While this is not a religious book, its intent is to uncover the truth about Christianity. It is, according to Ellis, “The true history of religion revealed.” It’s dedicated to his children so that they “may know the truth.” Ellis obviously wants us to take his conclusions very seriously, and change our view about religion. While I can accept that Egyptian history and myth influenced the stories written in the Hebrew scriptures on some level–this should not be terribly surprising if Israel really escaped from Egypt–I can’t quite carry the parallels as far as Ellis does. But I still found the book fascinating and learned a lot.

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