Chapter 23, "Out of Egypt or India" serves mainly to set the stage for the following chapter - the one about Evidence of an Ancient Global Civilization of which I previously have written an in depth review. Ostensibly, the chapter sets out to answer the question whether (the main bulk of) western culture originates in Egypt or in India - she dismisses Mesopotamia and the Middle East for no other reason than "...man first developed in Africa; hence, despite the current inclination towards Mesopotamia and Sumer, Egypt would seem to be the logical place to look for the origins of human culture". It is of course possible that culture originates elsewhere - we may trivially note that there are probably at least two cultures that developed without any influence from Mesopotamia, viz. the Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations (depending of course on what we include in the term 'culture' we could possibly stretch ourselves as far as to add some additional areas as independent cultures - different scholars use different definitions, and Murdock almost never cares to define her terms).
The current orthodox paradigm places a significant part of cultural origins in Sumeria, starting around 4500 BCE. Nevertheless, there are other “Old World” archaeological sites worthy of note older than those of Sumeria, such as Catal Huyuk in Turkey, which is at least 9,000 years old; Jericho, the pre-Hebraic foundation of which goes back to around 9000 BCE; Lepinski Vir in the former Yugoslavia, which is 7,000 years old; and remains on Malta estimated to be 8,000 years old. In addition, a number of researchers have averred that the site of Stonehenge in England is much older than the orthodoxy allows for. Furthermore, as noted, there is evidence that some Egyptian temples may be thousands of years older than presently hypothesized, and the date of the Indian culture continues to be pushed back as well.[1, p. 378]
These remains do not posit any great problem for the notion that western culture has inherited a great deal from Mesopotamia. Noteworthy are of course the claims of great antiquity for Egyptian temples, Stonehenge, etc. Who these scholars that have averred that the site of Stonehenge in England is much older than the orthodoxy allows for is not stated. Is it possibly, again, scholars that worked before modern methods were invented? Finally, regardless of the age of the remains at Lepinski Vir, Catal Huyuk, Malta, there seem to be little to modern civilization that can be reliably traced to those places.
The present anthropological/evolutionary paradigm dictates that man first developed in Africa; hence, despite the current inclination towards Mesopotamia and Sumer, Egypt would seem to be the logical place to look for the origins of human culture. [1, p. 378]
Why Egypt? Africa is a big continent! Man first developed in sub-Saharan Africa, would not the Great Zimbabwe be a better bet if this manner of reasoning was taken to its logical conclusion? Why is the location of where mankind first developed even relevant to the question of where the roots of western culture lie? The roots of, say, Inca culture clearly lie somewhere close to the west coast of South America, regardless of where mankind originally evolved. It stands to reason though that it is not per se wrong to go looking in new places - but if the search provides no evidence, one should be honest enough to point that out.
Yet, India also keeps beckoning for a closer look. Indeed, we have seen that the bulk of the Christian mythos and ritual was found in both India and Egypt millennia before the Christian era, and it is to these two nations that most research has pointed as the source of Christian origins. This fact has been recognized over the centuries, but the debate as to which came first has not been resolved, with erudite proponents and solid evidence on both sides, leaving the mystery intact. A number of these scholars were without modern archaeological knowledge; however, they made their assessments using sound scientific inquiry and methodology. [1, p. 378]
"Most research"? Maybe most of the research Murdock is referring to was carried out by theosophists, but that's not exactly quality research. Whether indeed the bulk of the Christian mythos and ritual can be traced to India and Egypt seems to depend on whether we take Murdock's claims at face value. In The Christ Conspiracy, this claim is mainly built on bad sources and assertion, but Murdock does claim that her newer books - especially Christ in Egypt have significantly better sources. That a number of these scholars were without modern archaeological knowledge should be pretty important when it comes to determining whether their arguments have any validity. Whether their assessments were made using sound scientific inquiry and methodology is difficult to establish - from what I have seen of her sources - and I have seen a lot by now - most of them would not recognize sound scientific inquiry and methodology if they saw it. (Still, a significant part of Christian evolution indeed did happen in Egypt. Few serious scholars, however, seem to posit any great Indian influence on Christianity.)
In upcoming posts, I will dig deep into this chapter and give it just as thorough a treatment as chapter 24 got.
 D.M. Murdock, The Christ Conspiracy, 1999. Adventures Unlimited.