A French Researcher Recreates Ancient Egyptian Breadmaking

In the Hebrew Bible there is ample evidence for the importance of grain-production and bread consumption to the people of ancient Egypt—a picture confirmed from many other sources. There are even clues about what grains were grown; for instance, Exodus 9:31-32 states, “Now the flax and barley were smitten, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud, but the wheat and the emmer were not hurt, for they ripen late.” But more knowledge of how the ancient Egyptians baked their bread might also help understand such questions as what, precisely, happened with Israelites’ dough that necessitated their baking it into matzah. Adeline Bats of the Sorbonne has gone to great lengths to recreate Egyptian breadmaking, as Rossella Tercatin explains:

The question [of how Egyptians baked their bread] puzzled archaeologists for many years, in light of the profusion of cooking-vessel remains and even iconographic evidence that suggested that they baked their dough in conical molds. . . . Organic findings from the relevant archaeological sites indicated two types of grain were cultivated at the time, common barley and emmer wheat.

The researcher carried out several experiments, with different mixtures, temperatures, and humidity levels, with the goal of producing “a perfectly baked bread (with no trace of charring or a semi-baked mushy appearance) that would release itself perfectly from the ceramic without breaking it.” . . . The technique [Bats used involved] covering the inside of the conical bread molds with a layer of fine sandy clay, heating the molds up horizontally and shaping the dough in advance into elongated pieces.

“In my dream, similarly, there were three openwork baskets on my head. In the uppermost basket were all kinds of food for Pharaoh that a baker prepares; and the birds were eating it out of the basket above my head,” Pharaoh’s chief baker tells Joseph in the biblical book of Genesis, as the two find themselves in prison together along with the king of Egypt’s chief cupbearer. Were some of the foods he prepared for Pharaoh baked in a conical mold? This mystery might remain hard to solve.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, Exodus, Hebrew Bible


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University