Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Macedonian Orthodox Church" promotes pseudoscience

Official cultural institutions from The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M) are promoting a mythical historiography which attempts to associate modern "Macedonians" with the ancient Macedonians. The nationalist theory that modern "Macedonians" are related to ancient Macedonians is not supported by any credible and objective historian, anthropologist or social scientist. An example of an attempt to relate modern "Macedonia" with ancient Macedonia is that of a recent theory being promoted by F.Y.R.O.M's cultural institutions which implies that an ancient dialect related to the modern "Macedonian" language is written on the Rosetta Stone. This theory attempts to implicitly establish the notion that the ancient Macedonians who ruled over Egypt spoke a language that was a predecessor to modern "Macedonian" and as a result there is a cultural/linguistic relationship between modern "Macedonians" and the ancient Macedonians.

The Rosetta Stone is an Ancient Egyptian artifact which was instrumental in advancing modern understanding of hieroglyphic writing. The stone is a Ptolemaic era artifact with carved text. The text is made up of three translations of a single passage, written in two Egyptian language scripts (hieroglyphic and Demotic), and in classical Greek. For more info on the Rosetta Stone see the official page from the British Museum.

Two electrical engineering professors named Mr. Boseveski and Mr. Tentov, from Skopje, operating under the auspices of the government funded Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Skopje and the official Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, have put forth a 'theory' that the "Demotic" script is, in fact, a text related to the "old Slavonic Macedonian language" and is Ancient Macedonian. This contradicts all mainstream interpretations of the Stone and the mainstream scientific evidence that Ancient Macedonian was not a Slavic language and, not least, that Slavic speaking peoples did not reach the Balkan peninsula until the 6th Century CE.

This pseudoscientific theory, which has not been peer reviewed or accepted by any credible authority, is being promoted by the "Macedonian Orthodox Church". A link to the official website of Mr. Bosevski's and Mr. Tentov's theory is found on the official website of the "Macedonian Orthodox Church":


In order to put this claim into perspective, and to shed some relevance on how far fetched this claim is, I will post some evidence from the official 'keeper' of the stone: The British Museum.

First, this is the official description that is placed along with the Rosetta Stone exhibit at the British Museum. This is the mainstream view that has been espoused by international specialists in the field for decades. Notice how the description mentions the "Ptolemaic dynasty from Greece" and there is no mention of a "proto slavic" or "ancient Macedonian" language:


Next, this is a letter sent by one of my compatriots to a scholar and representative from the British Museum:


As far as I know the demotic text of the Rosetta stone has been decoded and translated many years ago. However, two academics from the UKIM university in Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia claim to have decyphered the code and identified it as Slavic instead of Egyptian. Mr. Boshevskis and Tentovs work has been published in the official pages of UKIM: What is the British museum's position to this claim? Is it accepted as an orthodox method of decypherment, is it under examination or has it been dropped?

Kind Regards

This was the response he recieved from the British Museum:

Dear Mr ...,

Thank you for you enquiry about this piece of research on the Rosetta Stone. The common consensus among Egyptologists is indeed that Demotic was successfully and fully deciphered in the 19th century and that the language - now very extensively studied - is a form of Later Egyptian (e.g. Antonio Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge University Press), from the Afro-Asiatic language family.
As far as I am aware no Egyptologist or historical linguist has given any credence whatsoever to this alternative theory.

With best wishes,.

Dr R... B...
Assistant Keeper (curator)
Dept of Ancient Egypt and Sudan
The British Museum
London WC1B 3DG

The fact that the "Macedonian Orthodox Church" espouses this unsupported and pseudoscientific theory by advertising a link to it's official website is indicative of the lengths that official cultural institutions in F.Y.R.O.M will go to in order to promote a mythical historiography for the purpose of lending the "Macedonian" ethno/national identity , and new "Macedonian" nation, a historical legitimacy.

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