For Lurkers, the newest name proposed by Dave Armstrong in our Parade of Characters is E.A.T.W. Budge - prolific writer who wrote extensively on Egyptian history from 1885 – 1930.
We don’t have a specific writing from Sir Budge denying the existence of the Hittites; what we have are the writings of Melvin Grove Kyle (a contributor to The Fundamentals (1909) if that means anything to you!) where Kyle reports, “In 1904 one of the foremost archaeologists of Europe said to me: ‘I do not believe there ever were such people as the Hittites…’”
No name, situation or context is given for this anonymous quote. Dave Armstrong argues (persuasively, in my opinion) Melvin Kyle is implicating Sir Budge with this quote, without directly attributing it to Sir Budge. The documentation provided by Dave Armstrong supports this position:
1) In 1912 (three years after The Fundamentals), Melvin Kyle wrote The Deciding Voice of the Monuments in Biblical Criticism. At pg 105, he states:
Some had even gone so far as to say, though not often for publication, that “no such people as the Hittites ever existed.” Budge, in his History of Egypt, says: “The Kheta, who are, no doubt, the people referred to by the Assyrians under the name of Khatti, have been identified with the Hittites of Holy Scripture, but on insufficient grounds,” and again, “In passing it must be stated that the commonly accepted identification of the Kheta with the Hittites of the Bible is as yet unproved, since it rests only upon the similarity between the Hebrew name Heth, and the Egyptian name Kheta.”
The citation of Sir Budge immediately following the statement about Hittites not existing implicates Sir Budge either directly stated it, or supports it in his writing.
However…we encounter our first problem. Melvin Kyle is quote-mining. Sir Budge wrote a multi-volume set of History of Egypt in 1902. The second quoted sentence comes from Volume Six, page 34 [corrected link] where Sir Budge states
In passing it must be stated that the commonly accepted identification of the Kheta with the Hittites of the Bible is as yet unproved, since it rests only on a similarity of the Hebrew name Heth and the Egyptian name Kheta; on the other hand it may readily be conceded that the people who built the fortress temples of Baghaz-Köi and Eyuk belonged to the same race, if they were not actually the same people, as the Kheta depicted on the Egyptian monuments.
Whoops! Did you catch that? Melvin Kyle only quotes Sir Budge up to “Egyptian name Kheta” and then stops. I don’t know about you, but if I continued a sentence with “on the other hand” I would appreciate being quoted entirely! Sir Budge specifically states it is “readily conceded” the people who built the fortress (the Hittites), belonged to the same race as the Kheta, “if not actually the same people.” (his words.)
Sir Budge is NOT stating, “The Hittites never existed.” He is indicating is that the connection between the Kheta and the Hittites has yet to be proven at the time of his writing. Now look at the first quoted sentence by Kyle Melvin which comes from Sir Budge’s History of Egypt Vol. 4, pg 136 (1902)
The Kheta, who are no doubt the people referred to by the Assyrians under the name of Khatti, have been identified with the Hittites of Holy Scripture, but on insufficient grounds, and similarly the Khabiri have been identified with the Hebrews.
Again, Sir Budge questions whether Kheta is correctly identified with the Hittites. Not whether the Hittites existed at all.
1n 1906, archeology confirmed Kheta was referring to the Hittites.
Sir Budge wrote a book The Dwellers by the Nile which was originally published in 1885, but updated. I cannot confirm publication date of the copy linked, but in it, Sir Budge states at pg 53:
[F]or it was from this race the Khita nation, so celebrated for having waged war successfully against Ramses II, and recently identified with the Biblical Hittites, sprang.
(It appears in his later works Sir Budge refers to “Kheta” as “Khita.”) Reasonably, this was updated some time after 1906—after the discovery linking the two. If we review The Mummy: A Handbook of Egyptian Funerary Archeology published 1893, but updated 1925, Sir Budge repeatedly refers to the “Hittites” as historical without qualification.
At best what we have is a scholar who questioned the sufficiency of proofs whether “Kheta” was referring to the Hittites. Notice he carefully qualifies his statement. He doesn’t say, “Kheta does not refer to the Hittites” nor does he say, “The Hittites didn’t exist, so Kheta can’t be the biblical Hittites.” He says the case is “unproven.”
Further (contra Melvin Kyle’s quote-mining) Sir Budge states whether Kheta refers to the Hittites or not—If Kheta is not actually the same as the Hittites, they must be the same race. How could one claim Sir Budge was stating “the Hittites did not exist”? How could the Kheta be the same people, or at least the same race, as a myth?
Upon gaining new information, Sir Budge readily accepts Kheta and Hittites are the same.
Now to the second document.
2) Melvin Kyle’s entry on Archeology in the International Bible Encyclopedia (1915?) states,
Then grave doubts in the past have been raised concerning the Hittites Occasionally it has been boldly said that "no such people ever existed" (compare Newman, Hebrew Monarchy, 184-85; Budge, Hist of Egypt, IV, 136)
Uh-oh. Do you see those two cites? That first name may be familiar to you—Francis William Newman. He was a previous contestant in our Parade of names and we already blew out of the water the allegation Newman said, “Hittites don’t exist.” Indeed, he demonstrated he did think Hittites existed. And the second citation we have just demonstrated doesn’t hold water, either.
Realizing these entries are not enough, Dave Armstrong claims Sir Budge made an oral statement to Melvin Kyle, who did not attribute it to Sir Budge out of friendship. Curiously, the only support given is that they were in the same occupation (really? Everyone in the same occupation are friends?), and that Melvin Kyle didn’t attribute the quote to Sir Budge.
The second support is question-begging: We know they are friends, because Kyle didn’t attribute the quote to Sir Budge. Kyle didn’t attribute the quote to Sir Budge because they are friends.
I submit it more likely Melvin Kyle did not attribute this quote to Sir Budge, because Melvin didn’t want to be called out on it! Safer and anonymous to say, “I heard it from a leading archeologist” than to actually call out a name!
How many times have we had conversations like that? How many assertions have you heard, started with, “They say….” Or “Scientists claim…” And when we look for the proof (like we are doing here) all of a sudden “they” and “scientists” and “skeptics” become difficult to find!
This is the reason we do not allow hearsay (a witness stating, “She told me…”) in a courtroom. It is unreliable. We don’t know the context, the credibility, the bias or anything at all about the person making the hearsay statement.
Take this simple situation. Bob is testifying:
Bob: Tim told me the truck was red.
But Tim isn’t there; we cannot cross-examine him. What if Tim was color-blind? Or it turns out Tim wasn’t in a position to even see the truck? Or Tim has some bias? This is the reason we indicate attorneys must be allowed to cross-examine the ACTUAL witness. Not what someone else claims the person said.
We have the same problem here. What was the context where Sir Budge talked (if he did at all) to Melvin Kyle? How many of us have heard someone quote what we said, and think, “Wait a minute. I wasn’t saying that AT ALL!” or “Wait, that was taken totally out of context.”
Melvin Kyle already demonstrated he has no problem quote-mining. What if Sir Budge said, “The Hittites as literally described in the Bible? In my opinion, no such people existed”? Many other scholars questioned the literal accounts without questioning the Hittites existence. (The same way if I was talking about Exodus and someone mentioned the Egyptians willingly giving the exiting Hebrews gold, silver and clothing to the point the Egyptians were plundered. Exodus 12:35-36. I could respond, “No such people existed!” I am NOT saying Egyptians didn’t exist—I am saying those particular Egyptians are a myth.)
Melvin Kyle could easily take a sentence out of context or modify it, or mold it to his own wishes.
Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe Sir Budge said to him privately, “All this Hittite nonsense is bunk. No Hittites ever existed.” That is the problem with hearsay—we don’t know! This is why we must rely upon our sources, and avoid inferring something not there.
Finally, it appears anachronistic for Sir Budge to write about the similarities between the Hittites and the Khetas—if not the fact they were actually the same people!—and then privately proclaim the exact opposite. A hearsay statement conveniently fitting what a quote-mining apologist wants to hear, who carefully avoids attributing it to Sir Budge.
The actual quotes do not align with what Sir Budge claims—the fact Melvin Kyle cut out a most important portion should cause heavy concern regarding his reliability. Not to mention citing Newman, who we have already seen, contended Hittites existed. If Kyle is willing to misrepresent Newman and is willing to misrepresent Sir Budge, why should we consider him reliable for claiming an anonymous statement, implicating the opposite of what Sir Budge wrote?