Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson took the lead in the Republican presidential primary polls on Wednesday (Nov. 4), overtaking Donald Trump for the first time. The same day, Buzzfeed unearthed a 1998 commencement speech by Carson in which he lays out an unusual theory about the origins of Egypt’s pyramids.
According to Carson, the pyramids were devised as grain receptacles by the biblical figure Joseph, and not used as tombs for pharaohs, as most archeologists maintain. Asked by CBS about his views on Wednesday, Carson stuck to his guns: “It’s still my belief, yes.”
Back in 1998, Carson, speaking at Andrews University, a school affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, referred to a fragment of Genesis, in which Joseph stored grain during seven years of plenty that would feed the world during seven years of drought. (The relevant section starts around 3:50)
“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves,” Carson said. “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.”
He added that the pyramids’ chambers were hermetically sealed, and “they’d have to be that way for various reasons,” presumably to store grain, a view he reiterated to CBS this week, saying that “the pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments….You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time.”
While scientists aren’t entirely sure how the pyramids were built, the consensus is that they were tombs for ancient Egypt’s royalty. Carson also poured cold water on an even more outlandish theory:
“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.”