Are Egyptians the Same Egyptians as in Biblical Times?
Anonymous commented on my previous post: "the Egypt the Torah is saying is gone forever, the actual egyptians are completely a different race of people."
Are Egyptians the same Egyptians as in Biblical times or are they completely different?
It seems to be a Mahloket Tana'im and a Mahloket Rishonim.
Tosefta Kiddushin 5:4 quotes Ribbi Akiva who (unlike Ribbi Yehuda) says that they are not the same, and they were dispersed by Sanheiriv (really, Nevuchadnetzar - see Tosafot Megilla 12b ד"ה זיל). And since the majority of the world is non-Mitzri, we'll apply the law כל דפריש מרובא פריש and allow them.
On the other hand, Tosefta Yadayim 2:8, which talks about the Mitzri side of the Mishna Yadayim 4:4 (see Tiferet Yisrael there), says that since the Egyptians were given a set time to return (40 years - see Yehezkel 29:13), they are different than Ammon, which were given an indefinite return date. Therefore, they returned already.
The Tur (Even Ha'ezer 4) brings down the Rambam, who agrees with Ribbi Akiva, but also brings down his father, the Rosh, who says that the Egyptians are the same. The Magid Mishneh says that the Ramban agrees with the Rosh. (At issue is whether one may marry a first- or second-generation Egyptian convert nowadays.) The Ba"h agrees with the Rambam.
The Shulhan Aruch (Even Ha'ezer 4:10) also brings down both opinions. See the Ba"sh and the Gr"a there.
I welcome comments from those who have more halachic knowledge about this subject.