Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told graduates during a commencement address in the late ’90s that he believed the pyramids in Egypt were built by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain, and not, as most archeologists contend, as tombs for pharaohs.
At the 1998 commencement for Andrews University, a school associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Carson also dismissed the notion that aliens were somehow involved in the construction of the pyramids.
“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Carson said. “Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”
In the Old Testament, Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob, is sold into slavery in Egypt by his jealous brothers. He eventually rose to become a top aide to the Egyptian pharaoh, advising him of a dream vision he had of coming years of famine in the ancient kingdom. Joseph’s sage advice of the coming famine (and directions to store gain) helped the Egyptians survive the famine.
Carson said the design of the pyramids made clear they were for grain storage.
“And when you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons. And various of scientists have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how—’ you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you.”
Watch the full commencement address below:
In response to BuzzFeed’s story, CBS News reached out to Carson where he confirmed his theory on the pyramids hasn’t changed since 1998, saying: “It’s still my belief, yes.”
BuzzFeed news spoke with John C. Darnell, a Professor of Egyptology at Yale, who said that, though people in the Middle Ages thought that the pyramids may have been granaries, today historians know for a fact this is not the case.
“The primary content of the pyramids are stones, they would be elaborate massive structures with little internal space to be used as storage of anything.”
Darnell went on to say that the story of Joseph is set in the time of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, five centuries after the pyramids of Giza were built.
He concluded by saying, “Pyramids. Not Granaries. We know this with 100% certainty.”
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