Strange identifications of historical and religious figures

The mummy of Yuya

The mummy of Yuya, father-in-law of pharaoh Amenhotep III

Ahmed Osman is a Muslim Egyptian writer living in London, who published a series of books since the late 1980s and early 1990s in which he argues that Yuya, the father-in-law of pharaoh Amenhotep III and grandfather of Akhnaton, who was the only commoner buried in the Valley of the Kings, was actually the Biblical patriarch Joseph. From this basis, he proceeds to identify Akhnaton with Moses (largely because no texts record his fate and his mummy has not been found) and his son and successor, Tut‘ankhamun, with Joshua ben Nun and with Jesus of Nazareth for reasons that are not at all clear.

Like so many Bad Archaeologists, his primary source material is textual: the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, the Qur‘an and ancient texts. He appears to be driven by a desire to demonstrate that the true religion of Ancient Egypt from the time Amenhotep III onwards was the monotheistic source of modern Judaism, Christianity and (most importantly for Osman, one supsects) Islam. He contends that the Hebrew Bible does not record the history of the Jewish peoples of Judaea but is instead a distorted version of Egyptian history. The monotheistic religion of Akhnaton was kept alive by Essenes – whom he recasts as the original Christians – who secretly followed the teachings of Joshua/Jesus after his murder. They were forced into public view after their prophet John the Baptist was executed in the first century CE.

Needless to say, this form of analysing the past – assuming that one historical character is recorded in different sources under another name – opens up all sorts of strange hypotheses. While Osman’s starting point, the evidently foreign origins of Yuya, is valid enough, considerable straining of sources is necessary to encompass the remainder of his hypothesis.