New Research Confirms Dating of History's First Superpower

Peter D. Goodgame
September 5, 2013


A year ago, in the Summer of 2012, my latest book was published by Tom Horn and Defender Publishing entitled, The Second Coming of the Antichrist.  Based on several years of intense research it brought forward a whole new paradigm through which to view the end-times career of the biblical Antichrist.  Central to this new view was the idea that the Antichrist has been here before, and that he was once a powerful king who ruled over the world's very first superpower.  The fall of that superpower was dated to circa 3100 BCE, directly connected to the Tower of Babel event of Genesis 11 and the breakup of the great Empire of Uruk.

No doubt this research has been problematic for many Christians who put their faith in the biblical chronology of ancient times that is found in modern English bibles, including the KJV.  These bibles, based upon the Hebrew Masoretic Text, place the Tower of Babel event circa 2100 BC.  So why should we pay attention to a date that is one thousand years earlier and appears to contradict the Bible?  The answer to this question is the Septuagint.  The Septuagint (LXX) is the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was produced several hundred years before the Jews who rejected Christ put together an updated version of the Hebrew Old Testament that is known today as the Masoretic Text (MT). 

For several hundred years the early Christian Church a predominantly Greek-speaking Church looked solely to the LXX as the inspired version of the Old Testament.  Their devotion to the LXX was very similar to the devotion many English-speaking Christians show today towards the 1611 KJV translation of the bible.  To early Christians the LXX was the inspired Word of God for the Christian Era. Indeed, when Jesus and the Apostles quote from the Old Testament their quotes agree with the Greek LXX over the Hebrew MT the majority of the time, and they spoke Hebrew, so this in itself should be astonishing.  Then when we turn to the first Church Fathers such as Ignatius, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus, we see that they quote directly from the LXX almost exclusively

The Masoretic Text was put together by leading Jews in the first and second centuries CE, and when confronted with the differences between the LXX and the MT many early Christians argued that the Jewish scribes had obviously changed what the original inspired manuscripts had recorded!  It was only beginning with Origen of Alexandria, circa 230 CE, when the Hebrew MT began to be viewed by Christians as a potentially valid translation of the Old Testament. All of this controversy is covered in great detail in the new book, When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible by Timothy Law, published in July, 2013.

I mention all of this background not to get Christians to throw away their bible versions based on the MT, but simply to show that the LXX deserves to be considered as Scripture as well, and should be consulted and compared with all of the other original textual sources that are available.  Specifically I believe that the Septuagint should be considered when we look into ancient history and try to arrive at dates for watershed events.

A truly watershed event was the Great Flood of the book of Genesis.  The MT dates this event to 2348 BCE, whereas the LXX dates it to 3536 BCE.  This is a very serious difference of 1200 years!  So which text should we believe?  I know that there is a common mystical belief out there that the Masoretic Text was dictated by God to Moses letter-by-letter and that this is supposedly proven by the Bible Codes and "equidistant letter sequences," but the fact is that Moses didn't write in the squared-off style of Hebrew used by the Masoretic scribes.  Truthfully we don't know what the writing of Moses looked like, (although many believe he wrote the original Torah in paleo-Hebrew which preceded the Masoretic script and was much more cursive in style).  If we let go of this mythological account of the origin of the MT we are left with very little to go on when comparing the validity of the MT versus the LXX, at least if we contain our arguments to textual analysis and theology.  So we have to turn to the secular histories of the surrounding nations to discover which chronology holds up to scrutiny and makes rational sense. 

Ancient Sumer

The land of the two rivers is rightfully known as the "Cradle of Civilization."  It is in the region of southern Mesopotamia where Cain founded the first city before the Flood, and this is where the first "Kingdom" was established after the Flood by Nimrod, according to Genesis 10:10.  Sumer is credited as the first civilization to invent writing and mankind's very first body of literature was created here.  More than any other culture, the stories of ancient Sumer parallel the stories found in the first few chapters of Genesis, although with a twist. As I show in chapter three of my book the Sumerians documented the same events as found in Genesis, but their perspective was theologically opposite.  In any case, what is unique about the Sumerians is that while other cultures retained a mythological memory of a Great Flood that occurred in the distant past, the Sumerians documented the Great Flood as an historical event, occurring at a specific time in their history. 

The historical chronology of the ancient Sumerians is related in the Sumerian King List (SKL), copies of which have been found on several cuneiform tablets or blocks dating to different periods. It begins like this:

After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridug. 
In Eridug, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28800 years. 
Alaljar ruled for 36000 years.
2 kings; they ruled for 64800 years.
Then Eridug fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira.
In Bad-tibira, En-men-lu-ana ruled for 43200 years. 
En-men-gal-ana ruled for 28800 years. 
Dumuzid, the shepherd, ruled for 36000 years.
3 kings; they ruled for 108000 years.
Then Bad-tibira fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Larag.
In Larag, En-sipad-zid-ana ruled for 28800 years.
1 king; he ruled for 28800 years.
Then Larag fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Zimbir.
In Zimbir, En-men-dur-ana became king; he ruled for 21000 years.
1 king; he ruled for 21000 years.
Then Zimbir fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Curuppag.
In Curuppag, Ubara- Tutu became king; he ruled for 18600 years.
1 king; he ruled for 18600 years.
In 5 cities 8 kings; they ruled for 241200 years.
Then the flood swept over.

The Sumerian scribes documented the names of kings and the cities that they ruled over, beginning with the founding of the great city of Eridu(g).  The dating of these dynasties in terms of thousands of years is obviously exaggerated, (or else, as some scholars have argued, is a misunderstanding or mistranslation of the Sumerian cuneiform script).  The fact remains, however, that the Sumerians placed the Great Flood solidly within their historical chronology.

British historian and biblical scholar David Rohl, coming from a secular perspective, offers evidence that the original city of Eridu was the very city founded by Cain in Genesis 4:17.[1]  When the Sumerian King List was later translated into Greek by the Babylonian High Priest Berossos around 280 BCE the name of this first city of Eridu was translated as "Babylon."  In his commentary on Revelation 18 the early Church Father, Caesarius of Arles, offered support for the idea that Cain founded the original Babylon when he wrote,

...this is the city of all the proud and arrogant, which Cain established by the blood of his brother and which he named after his son, Enoch... For all the wicked in whom Babylon resides succeed one another and persecute the Church of God until the end of the world. In the city of Cain "all the righteous blood" is poured out "from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah"... This is the city which killed the prophets and stoned those who were sent to it.  This is that city that is built upon blood, as the Scriptures say [Hab. 2:12], "Woe to him who builds a city with blood and founds a city on iniquity." [2]

So we see that human civilization traces all the way back to the founding of the original Babylon by Cain, who was also the perpetrator of history's first murder. From this perspective the judgment upon Babylon in Revelation 18:24 begins to make much more sense: "And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."

The Sumerian narrative gets even more interesting when we turn to events that took place after the flood.  The first two dynasties that are mentioned after the flood on the Sumerian King List are the dynasties of Kish and the dynasties of Uruk.  Kish is mentioned first, but it is possible that the first two kings of the dynasty of Uruk may have reigned before Kish right after the flood, who were then followed by the kings of Kish, who were then eclipsed several hundred years later by Uruk under the rule of Gilgamesh.  This can be argued because of the fact that the Epic of Gilgamesh depicts Gilgamesh as a contemporary of King Aga, who was the last of the Kings of Kish. In other words, it was Gilgamesh of Uruk who brought an end to the Kish Dynasty, and therefore the kings of Uruk who preceded Gilgamesh must have ruled either before or alongside the kings of the Kish Dynasty.

The first two kings of the Dynasty of Uruk to rule in Sumer after the flood are described like this in the Sumerian King List:

  • Meskiagkashar, son of Utu, became high priest and king - reigned 324 years. Meskiagkashar went down into the sea and came out at the mountains.
  • Enmerkar, the son of Meskiagkashar, the king of Uruk, who built Uruk - reigned 420 years. [3]

It is interesting that the first king of the Uruk Dynasty reigned before the city of Uruk was even built.  The actual founding of the city of Uruk is credited to Enmerkar, the second king of the "Dynasty of Uruk."  The first king is the biblical Cush, who emigrated by sea from Mesopotamia and formed a colony that became named after him in the mountainous land of Cush (today's Ethiopia).  The second king, who built the city of Uruk, is Nimrod the descendent of Cush who is credited in Genesis 10:10 with establishing a kingdom based in Shinar that was later expanded into northern Mesopotamia.  Nimrod's southern base included the cities of Babel, Erech, Accad and Calneh.  The city of Erech is of course Uruk, while the city of Babel is the very same city of Eridu that was first established by Cain before the Flood.  In my book I bring forth the evidence that it was here in Eridu where the Tower of Babel was built.  Eridu was the spiritual capital of Nimrod's kingdom, whereas Uruk (Erech) was his political capital from where his empire spread out.

These facts are all necessary simply to bring us to this point: The civilization of ancient Sumer experienced the very events that are described in the early chapters of Genesis.  Their history goes right back to the very first city, documenting the Great Flood and the career of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, as well as a continuous line of kings and dynasties afterwards. These histories eventually lead right into the reign of Hammurabi of Babylon who lived between the time of Abraham and Moses. 

Now here is the problem: If we look to the MT date of 2348 BCE as the date for the Flood we simply don't have enough room to cram all of this Sumerian history in between that time and Hammurabi!  There are just too many kings, too many dynasties and too much documented history to make it happen!  We need an extra thousand years or so to make Biblical history line up with Sumerian history!  And that is where the Septuagint comes in with its Flood date of 3536 BCE.

The Uruk Expansion

We have looked at ancient Sumerian textual sources and now we will turn to modern archaeological sources for evidence of post-flood biblical history being played out in Mesopotamia in the years following the Septuagint's Flood date of 3536 BCE.

Many Christians harbor a deep suspicion of archaeology based on the assumption that the academic and scientific worlds operate with an axe to grind against the biblical record.  As if all the academic experts have secretly agreed to come together to promote studies, research, and evidence with the singular goal of discrediting what the bible says.  Generations ago this suspicion may have carried greater weight, but today this is hardly the case.  The bible has been dismissed for so long in this realm and therefore my opinion is that, in general, most high-level published academic researchers are simply doing their best to interpret the data.  They don't begin their research with an agenda against the bible, and neither do they try to wrap their research around pre-conceived ideas hoping to prove the bible.  Instead they essentially ignore the bible and do their best to assemble the facts and then to interpret them to the best of their abilities. Coming from this perspective I think it is all the more noteworthy what scientific research in the field of archaeology has produced regarding a phenomenon in Mesopotamian history known as the "Uruk Expansion."  Keep in mind that proper scientific studies of this phenomenon have only been in existence since about 1975, when the archaeological data first began to be identified.

The "Uruk Expansion" is an academic term for the growth of the Empire of Uruk during a period of a few hundred years from sometime around the middle of the 4th Millennium BCE to a concrete end date right around 3100 BCE.  Some scholars place the start date at 3700, others at 3600, while others place it at 3400 BCE, but all of them agree that this empire ended abruptly, even catastrophically, right around 3100 BCE.  In the notes below I refer to several sources involved in this research, and readers can also refer to a recent study published in late 2011 entitled,  The Uruk Expansion: Culture Contact, Ideology and MiddlemenIn chapter seven of my book I give a basic overview of the Uruk Expansion, identifying it with the aggressive imperial expansion of Nimrod, the biblical king of Uruk and builder of the Tower of Babel, who is named in Sumerian records as Enmerkar of Uruk.  History Professor Mario Liverani offers an overview of this time period:

At the height of its development the Late Uruk culture included the following elements: a capital of indisputable preeminence, Uruk itself measuring one hundred hectares, with its sacred and organizational center at the Eanna precinct; a central territory that embraced all of Lower Mesopotamia (poorly known in this phase, unfortunately) and Khuzistan (Susa); a zone that we can define as the semi-periphery, Upper Mesopotamia, with a mixed culture; and a zone with commercial outposts distributed over the Anatolian and Iranian highlands. But this system had a short lifespan of only a couple of centuries. The settlements of the periphery were destroyed or abandoned, and the long development of the Eanna center was interrupted. It seems, therefore, that the first period of urbanization faced a crisis or a real collapse, after a long formative phase and the culmination of its internal organization (writing) and commercial expansion (colonies). [4]

The date of circa 3100 BCE (give or take at most a few decades) for the abrupt end of the power and influence of Uruk, Nimrod, and the Tower of Babel, is one of the most concrete benchmarks that can be applied to the ancient world.  It is corroborated by Sumerian history, modern archaeology, and by the chronology of the Greek Septuagint Old Testament Bible.  From Mesopotamia we now turn west to examine the evidence that the end of the Uruk Expansion directly led to the beginning of the emergence of the great civilization of ancient Egypt.

The Origins of Dynastic Egypt

Like the Sumerians, the Egyptians carefully recorded their own history and origins.  Unlike the Sumerians, they provide no history of a Great Flood.  From its record of the king that first unified Egypt in the pre-dynastic past right until the New Kingdom dynasties of the classical period there is an unbroken recorded chain of events that are completely silent regarding an event that the bible says wiped out the entire human family except for eight souls.  Logically we must conclude that Egyptian history did not begin until after the Great Flood.  Once again, if we look to a flood date of 2348 BCE we find that there is not enough room to cram all of this history into only a handful of centuries from the flood to Abraham. The Septuagint flood date of 3536 BCE is the only date that works.

The most famous chronological history of Egypt was compiled by the Egyptian high priest Manetho sometime around 250 BCE. Written in Greek it was a three-volume work called the Aegyptiaca, or History of Egypt.  Manetho drew from an earlier document known as the Turin Canon that dates back to 1250 BCE created during the reign of Ramesses II.  From these sources the beginning of Egyptian history traces back to an original king who unified Egypt named as Meni (Turin Canon) or Menes (Manetho), who was the founder of the First Dynasty of Egypt.  Here is what Manetho recorded about this conquering king:

 After the dead and the demigods comes the First Dynasty, with 8 kings of whom Menes was the first. He was an excellent leader. In what follows are recorded the rulers from all of the ruling houses in succession.

Dynasty One, 1st King - Menes of Thinis, whom Herodotus calls Men, and his 7 descendents. He ruled 62 years. He led the army across the frontier and won great glory. He was killed by a hippopotamus. [5]

In the archaeological record there are two different kings that are identified by Egyptologists as King Menes. Some identify Narmer as Menes, whereas others identify his successor, King Aha, as Menes.  I favor identifying Narmer as Menes, but the emerging academic consensus (promoted by Zahi Hawass) seems to favor Aha.  In any case, Egyptologists agree that Narmer was the first king to unite upper and lower Egypt by conquest, as depicted in the artifacts known as the Narmer Palette (right) and the Narmer Macehead. I cover all of the Narmer issues in my book and in my online article, The First Pharaoh, providing an abundance of evidence that King Narmer the conqueror of Egypt was the very same figure as King Enmerkar of Uruk, known also as King Nimrod in the book of Genesis.

Most Egyptologists view the conquest of Egypt by Narmer as a pre-Dynastic event, and therefore they mark the founding of the First Dynasty with the accession of King Aha to the throne.  It is the dating of King Aha's reign that connects the end of the Uruk Expansion with the beginnings of Dynastic Egypt and confirms the timeline derived from the Septuagint that is the basis of my book.

Just recently, in fact yesterday, September 4, 2013, a scientific study was released by the British Royal Society entitled, "An absolute chronology for early Egypt using radiocarbon dating and Bayesian statistical modelling."  This study came to my attention through my Facebook page from a friend (thanks Tama Ferrell) linking to a BBC report entitled "New timeline for origin of ancient Egypt."  The reporter wrote,

Using radiocarbon dating and computer models, [researchers] believe the civilisation's first ruler - King Aha - came to power in about 3100BC... Archaeologists believe Egypt's first king... came to power after another prominent leader, Narmer, unified the land.

When we turn to the actual report we find a further explanation of this time period within the introduction to their findings:

The Egyptian state is normally defined to start with the First Dynasty, which was established during the Naqada IIIC cultural period. For this study, we take the foundation date to refer to the accession of king Aha of the First Dynasty, although his predecessor, Narmer, most probably held political control over the whole state. Historical foundation dates vary widely and recent estimates range from 3400 to 2900 BCE. An absolute chronology for the Predynastic would allow for new insights into this influential period in human history.

As the report states, prior to the research completed by this team there were competing estimates for the start of King Aha's reign that varied by 500 years.  The goal of the research was to use archeological data, radiocarbon dating, and computer models to arrive at a much more precise absolute date for this event.  Using the most precise models the researchers arrived at a period of time for this event from 3111 to 3045 BCE, and a median value of all their modeling arriving at 3085 BCE.  In other words, all of their scientific data when fed into computers points to 3085 BCE as the most statistically-likely year for the beginning of King Aha's reign over Egypt.  This is after the death of King Narmer of Egypt, whom I have identified as King Nimrod of Uruk, which ties directly into the parallel archaeological research in Mesopotamia that places the end of Nimrod's "Uruk Expansion" and the fall of the Tower of Babel right around 3100 BCE. 

All of this newly emerging data fits perfectly and supports the hypothesis put forth in my book, The Second Coming of the Antichrist, which indeed offers new insights into this influential period in human history.

Peter D. Goodgame
Kailua, Hawaii
September 5, 2013


Notes and Sources

1. David Rohl, The Lost Testament (London, UK: Century, 2002), 66.
2. William C. Weinrich editor, Ancient Christian Commentary On Scripture: Vol. 12 - Revelation (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2005), page 295. [From Caesarius of Arles, "Exposition on the Apocalypse" 18.21-24, Homily 17.]
3. David Rohl, Legend, 164
4. Mario Liverani, Uruk: The First City (London, UK: Equinox, 2006 [1998]), 73.
5. Verbrugghe and Wickersham, Berossos and Manetho, 1996, p. 131

Septuagint research:

When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible, Timothy Law, July, 2013.

“CREATION AND CATASTROPHE CHRONOLOGY” http://www.setterfield.org/ccchron/barrychron.html, Barry Setterfield

Alexandrian Septuagint History, Barry Setterfield, March 2010

Uruk Expansion studies:

The leading expert on “Uruk Expansion” studies is the University of San Diego-based Professor Guillermo Algaze. He is the author of two books on the subject:

The Uruk World System: The Dynamics of Expansion of Early Mesopotamian Civilization (2005)
Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape

Civilization and Its Discontents: Why did the world's first civilization cut a swath across the Near East? Science News, 1990, Bruce Bower - http://chip.choate.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/HPRSS/jstanley/webpages/pdf/civilization_discontents.pdf

The Uruk Expansion: Culture Contact, Ideology and Middlemen

Peter D. Goodgame's Nimrod research available online:

The Giza Discovery
Volume 1

Volume 2

Prophecies of 'The Assyrian'

Pete's Commentary On Isaiah 9-14

Osiris: Dying and Rising God of Egypt... and Freemasonry