After a series of considerations I think I cannot exclude a priori any connection between the two monotheistic religions which the subject of this research. On the contrary a series of considerations based on some historical and reliable evidence let us consider this connection probable. So I will try to expound the peculiar aspects of this theme. Firstly we must say that the two hypothesis can be agreed: one is the monotheism of Israel a revised and corrected derivation of the akhetonian religion, the other is exactly the opposite.The first hypothesis (Yahwism’s derivation from Atonism) is fairly reliable because nowadays, thanks particularly to the recent archaeological discoveries, it is usually supported with assumptions historically confirmed by several scholars. I refer to what has been previously said: for many centuries Jewish enjoyed the status of third worlder (let me use this term of great topical interest that maybe, more than any other word, better expresses the problems here examined). However, free for their own choice, they were persecuted and just after Amarna’s events they were made slaves (only Israeli tribes). It must also be added the distintictive similarity between the Hymn to Aton and some passages of the Holy Scriptures, the latter definitely going back to a period which followed the historical events so far described. The second hypothesis, which links the two religions in a different way, is quite interesting as well. It maybe sheds the right light on the role that the queen Nefert-iti had during this period, although in my opinion her character has not been thoroughly studied. However, at least in the light of the present knowledge, it is difficult to say with enough certainty whether the matrix of that social and religious revolution was determined by Nefert-iti, the pretty woman who here comes. At that time solar gods were also known by the populations of Western Asia (the likely queen’s country of origin) and of Iranian tableland. The most important solar god was Shamash, who was venerated not only by Mesopotamian populations (Assyrians, Babylonians and even Sumerians), but also by Hittites and Hurrians (the Japhetic populations). Another solar god greatly venerated in the Iranian tableland, but also well-known in the region of Mitanni, was Navrati. He was usually portrayed as a solar disc with arms encircling the world, thus presenting an iconography very similar to Aton’s However, what is singular is the fact that both gods belonged to polytheist religions. The concept of monotheism, which was exclusive prerogative of Israeli tribes, might lead to suppose that the Jew matrix was introduced into Pharaonic court by the young princess (1). In my opinion, the fairly mysterious events that accompanied the sudden disappearance of Nefert-iti during Akhenaton’s reign should be further closely examined. This unexpected disappearance dates back to around the 12th – 13th year of Akhenaton’s reign but, as far as we know, it is not possible to be sure whether she disappeared because of her death or because she had lost the king’s favour. In any case in that same moment Smenkhkharé, the king’s brother or nephew (some scholars think he was his son), undertook the office of co-regent of the Pharaoh and assumed the epithet of Nefer Neferu-aton. Until that moment the epithet had belonged to the queen Nefert-iti who had added it to her name during the 6th year of her husband’s reign. This is a very singular event that might lead to presume that she had lost the king’s favour. It would have been inconceivable that after her death, the king had taken away the queen’s name to give it to another person. On the basis of these historically ascertained events, some scholars think that during the last years of his reign, the king may have tried to back off in order to draw close again to people among which a general discontent (further fostered by the priests of the dismissed cult of Amun) was certainly rife. One of the first manoeuvres that the king may have used in drawing near again to people was to expel the queen, considered the main and the essential cause of the crisis. At the same time, he may have joined up with Smenkhkharé, a figure completely unknown in politics and who, consenquently, could probably guarantee an innovative political process. If these events were given value, they could give more credit to the primary and determining role that the queen Nefert-iti had in Amarnian revolution.There is also another element: a letter that has been discovered at the Hittite palace of the king Shuppiluliuma in the area of Hattusas and that is commonly attributed to Anches-en-Amun, the third-born daughter of Nefert-iti and Akhenaton. In this letter, sent to the Hittite king, she proposes herself to one of his sons since she is widow, refusing ever to marry a court’s servant. The fact that this letter bears the signature Dachamunzu, whose meaning in Akkadian language is queen, has created doubts about the exact identity of the person who sent the letter. This is a very foggy and unusual fact for several reasons. First, Pharaohs used to choose their wives abroad whereas the contrary never happened. Notably a foreigner could not certainly rise to the dignity of king. Secondly, Anches-en Amun had married Tut-ankh-Amun but, for reasons of dating, the widow status declared in the letter was not referred to Tut-ankh-Amun but, according to some scholars to Akhenaton, the princess’ father whom she had married first. Such a solution cannot be proposed since Tut-ankh-Amun belonged to the royal family and was certainly not a slave. In the light of what has been said, it becomes credible what some authors maintain, i.e. the fact that the letter was written by Nefert-iti when Akhenaton died (the queen at that time openly opposed the hostile court and maybe all the ungrateful Egyptians) (2). This fact could doubtless indicate the critical situation affecting Egyptian court when the movements hostile to Amarnian policy were about to prevail against the heretical queen. In addition, this fact gives further evidence to confirm the hypothesis that Nefert-iti was the primus motor of Amarnian revolution. Both the hypotheses here examined and each on its own, when are supported at least partially by reliable historical elements, denote solid links between the two monotheist creeds at the dawn of the iron age. At present other facts or plausible events that might sufficiently support or give a suitable justification of the sudden slavery of Israel after almost a millennium of freedom, do not exist. I would suggest that this aspect of the problems here discussed has not been sufficiently dealt with by scholars and such a deficiency can only partially be justified with the lack of historical sources. After all I would like to make clear what above mentioned about the origin of the word Adonis or Adonais as well as the connection between the Psalm 104 of the Holy Scriptures and the Great Hymn to Aton. In ancient times the word Adon (lord) was commonly used by the tribes of Israel instead of Jhwé (god), because mention directly the Divinity was contrary to the Tables of the Law. Infact it was considered a sin. The ethimology of such a word, most likely, is of hamitic origin, as many linguistic say. The hypothesis of a connection or better, an identity, with the word Itn (=Aton) is simply and hard to contest. All that, of course, should strenghten the hypothesis of the connection between the two monotheistic cults. As to the Psalm 104, it is insustainable for me to consider a pure coincidence some more lines of verses as Robinson says. I think that the only hypotheses that can consistently legitimate the historical events here examined are the two possible ones examined in the present study. Although they have antithetic starting-points, they find a coherent connecting link in their conclusions, i.e. in a creed which has an only one matrix. Nevertheless, at the present time certain and doubtless theories do not exist. We are still in the field of serious hypotheses which give rise to fairly intense suspicions and need to be closely examined. What seem at least unquestionable is the indirect link between the two religions: the Jewish, who were persecuted just after Amarna’s events, followed a monotheist creed which, at the time, was inevitably considered heretical.
1 – It is very likely that Israeli religious reformers historically placed the whole theological framework of many centuries during the political and formative period of Israel, and concentrated it on the mythic characters of Moses, who received the Tables of the Law directly from Jahweh. At least within the secular world, such a dictated law cannot be accepted because, as we have already pointed out, the influence of other cultures and civilisations, is too evident (cf. M. Liverani, op. cit.).
2 – First of all the great American archaeologist D.B. Redford (cf. the work by his author, History and Chronology of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt : Seven Studies, Toronto Ont., 1967).