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David Michael Rohl (born 12 September 1950) is a British Egyptologist and former director of the Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences (ISIS) who from the 1980s has put forward several unconventional theories revising the chronology of Ancient Egypt and Israel to form an alternative new chronology.
He first worked as a rock musician, forming a band in 1968, (Sign of Life, later Ankh), which was signed by Vertigo, but split up after Vertigo rejected the finished product. In 1969/70 Rohl completed an Institute of Incorporated Photographers degree at the University of Manchester, before forming a new group, Mandalaband, which released two albums, Mandalaband (1975 - "an ambitious concept inspired by the Chinese occupation of Tibet") and The Eye of Wendor (1978). About 1974, Rohl started work as a sound engineer, ultimately becoming chief engineer at Strawberry Studios, the Stockport home of the group 10cc. Royalties from four solo artist and composing recording contracts enabled him to retire from music and focus on Egyptology, in particular to develop the New Chronology which he had been working on for five years during his music career.
In 1985 Rohl became the first Director of the Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences (ISIS), and editor of its Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum from 1986. In 1988 he was accepted by University College, London and awarded the prestigious W.F. Masom History Research Scholarship by the University of London as well as being awarded a BA in Ancient History and Egyptology in 1990. He is a past President of the Sussex Egyptology Society (SES) and edited The Followers of Horus: Eastern Desert Survey Report.
The publication of his book, A Test of Time led to his role in a three-part television documentary, "Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest", which appeared late summer 1995 on Channel 4 in the UK, and spring 1996 on The Learning Channel/Discovery in the USA.
Following a thirty-year break from music composition and production, Rohl reformed a new incarnation of Mandalaband to release the first album of a two-part progressive rock concept work, BC - Ancestors, in 2009, and followed by its partner album, AD - Sangreal, in 2011. BC - Ancestors follows the Old Testament story of humanity from the Garden of Eden through to the birth of the Roman Empire.
The New Chronology is an unconventional revised chronology of the ancient Near East created by Rohl. It involves a major revision of the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt, in particular by redating Egyptian kings of the 19th through 25th Dynasties. Rohl asserts that the New Chronology allows scholars to identify some of the main characters in the Old Testament with people whose names appear in archaeological finds. The New Chronology has not gained acceptance among most Egyptologists.
Garden of Eden
In addition to his theories on Egypt, Rohl has put forth other theories related to the Old Testament. In his published work, Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation, he posits a location for the legendary Garden of Eden in Iranian Azerbaijan, in the vicinity of Tabriz upon which the Genesis tradition was based. According to Rohl, the Garden of Eden was then located in a long valley to the north of Sahand volcano, near Tabriz. He cites several geographical similarities and toponyms which he believes match the biblical description. These similarities include: the nearby headwaters of the four rivers of Eden, the Tigris (Heb. Hiddekel, Akk. Idiqlat), Euphrates (Heb. Perath, Akk. Purattu), Gaihun-Aras (Heb., Gihon), and Uizun (Heb. Pishon); the mountain range of Kusheh Dagh (the land of Cush); and Upper and Lower Noqdi (the Land of Nod). In the same work, he develops a local flood theory for the Genesis Flood, positing that the biblical reference to the covering of "all the high mountains" is merely a description of the flooding of cities in the plains of Mesopotamia on the basis that the Hebrew word 'har' does not just mean 'mountain' but also 'hill' and 'city mound'.
In his book From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible, Eric H. Cline, writing about Rohl's suggestion for the location of Eden, says "his suggestions have not caught on with the scholarly establishment. His argument is not helped by the fact that it depends upon speculations regarding the transmission of place-names for both the various rivers and nearby related areas from antiquity to the present. In the end, while Rohl’s suggestion is not out of the question, it seems no more probable than any other hypothesis, and less likely than those suggested by Speiser, Zarins, and Sauer."
- Rohl, David (1995). A Test of Time: The Bible—from Myth to History. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-5913-7.
- ——— (1998). Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-7747-X.
- ——— (2002). The Lost Testament: From Eden to Exile—The Five-Thousand-Year History of the People of the Bible. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-6993-0.
- ——— (2007). The Lords of Avaris: Uncovering the Legendary Origins of Western Civilisation. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-7762-3.
- ——— (2015). Exodus: Myth or History?. St. Louis Park, MN: Thinking Man Media. ISBN 9780986431029.
- Pharaohs and Kings A Biblical Quest (VHS, VCD, and DVD). Bethesda, MD: Discovery Channel Video. 1995. OCLC 34710041. Three-part documentary shown 1995 on Channel 4 in the UK and in the spring of 1996 on The Discovery Channel in the US.
- In Search of Eden (DVD). Santa Monica, CA: Discovery Communications, Distributed by Artisan Home Entertainment. 2002. OCLC 52319401.
- The Bible, Myth or Reality? A New Chronology Study Day (DVD). Fort Worth, TX: Stretch Productions. 2005. OCLC 69186801.
- Bennett, Chris. "Temporal Fugues", Journal of Ancient and Medieval Studies XIII (1996). Available at 
- "In his book A Test of Time (1995), Rohl argues that the conventionally accepted dates for strata such as the Middle and Late Bronze Ages in Palestine are wrong" - in Daniel Jacobs, Shirley Eber, Francesca Silvani, Israel and The Palestinian Territories: The Rough Guide, page 424 (Rough Guides Ltd., 2nd revised edition, 1998). ISBN 978-1-85828-248-0
- Barclay James Harvest, David Rohl accessed 6 August 2009
- David Rohl, CV, accessed 6 August 2009
- Sussex Egyptology Society, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) accessed 6 August 2009
- Toby Wilkinson, Daily Telegraph, 17 March 2001, Treasures in an antique land
- Mandalaband Website, , accessed 4 August 2011
- Rohl, David (1998). Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-7747-X.
- David Rohl (2002). In Search of Eden (Videorecording)
|url=(help) (DVD). Santa Monica, CA: Discovery Communications, Distributed by Artisan Home Entertainment. OCLC 52319401.
- Cline, Eric H. (2007). From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible. National Geographic. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-4262-0084-7.