Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Thursday stood by his belief that Egypt's Great Pyramids were built by the Biblical figure Joseph to store grain, an assertion dismissed by experts who say it's accepted science they were tombs for pharaohs.
Video posted online Wednesday by Buzzfeed News shows Carson explaining his theory 17 years ago at a Michigan college affiliated with his Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In the video, Carson says, “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids in order to store grain.” He was referring to the Old Testament story of Joseph predicting famine and advising the pharaoh to store surplus food.
Carson said that's more likely than the accepted archaeological conclusion that the massive structures were built as tombs for pharaohs. At a book signing Thursday in Florida, Carson stood by his statement.
“Some people believe in the Bible like I do and don't find that to be silly at all, and believe that God created the Earth and don't find that to be silly at all,” Carson said. “The secular progressives try to ridicule it every time it comes up and they're welcome to do that.”
Neither Carson's church nor any other major Jewish or Christian sect shares his belief about the pyramids' origins. Jodi Magness, a specialist in biblical archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said she knows of no scholar or archaeologist who questions that the pyramids were used as royal tombs.
“This is not an academic topic of debate,” Magness said in an email. “The use of the pyramids as tombs is verified by both written (literary) sources and archaeological evidence.”
The pyramids were built with narrow, secret passages intended to foil grave robbers, making the structures unsuitable for grain storage, Magness said. And the design of the pyramids, with associated temples, “reflects the ancient Egyptian concept of the cosmos, according to which the king or pharaoh was at the center of a unified kingdom, serving as a god, a political ruler and a divine mediator.”
-- Associated Press