Talk:Evidence for the Exodus

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page is automatically archived by Archiver
Archives for this talk page:

reference for the second sentence of "Mainstream historical consensus"[edit]

Can we get a reference for the second sentence of that section which says "Archaeologists from the 19th century onward were actually surprised not to find any evidence whatsoever for the events of Exodus. By the 1970s, archaeologists had largely given up regarding the Bible as any use at all as a field guide."? Thats the kind of assertive statement that should have one.

wander in desert[edit]

Moses know that area well as he lived there a long time with his wife's family after he was banished from Egypt. He was also an experienced general from his years in Egypt as a prince. He knew that the meek slaves he led were worthless as soldiers so he camped them out near Caannan for 40 years and trained the new youth to be soldiers. They did not "wander". It was part of his plan to invade and conquer the promised land. (it was already occupied by people with an army) Then they went in and attacked one city at a time, wiping out all the people, allowing a few to escape to tell the next city. so the fear grew and cities surrendered , but were also slaughtered. The Jews did not want anyone behind to launch counter attack for rear, or to be difficult when they lost their land and property. The best thing to do was kill each and every one of them. The plan worked. Then they claimed it as their "homeland" Kingfook (talk) 16:59, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

Extra-biblical evidence for the Exodus story[edit]

How have all of you been? It’s been too long. The last time I commented on this page was more than two years ago. Unfortunately I am not impressed with the changes that have occurred since then. Like most people here whenever I see something stupidly wrong I feel obligated to fix it. But because I am a passive aggressive person I am bringing up my concerns on this talk page first (with one exception) rather than starting an edit war and then moving on to the talk page as is traditional on wikis.

Archaeology is supposed to be conservative (so to speak), if there is no evidence for something it didn’t happen. But this article isn’t labeled “Archaeology of the Exodus” or something similar, no, it’s labeled “Evidence for the Exodus.” And given this fact I will critique this article from that perspective and make my point be deleting the demonstrably false quote at the top of the article. The quote is demonstrably false because it states that there is no extra-biblical evidence for the Exodus which is not only false but in fact is so ludicrously false that I could very easily use that quote as an example of how rationalists lose their heads when they have an axe to grind. Here I have an extra-biblical account from a classical Jewish author, Flavius Josephus, who quotes a non-Jewish author, Manetho, at length:

’…Thummosis the son Alisphragmuthosis made an attempt to take them by force and by siege, with four hundred and eighty thousand men to around them, but that, upon his despair of taking that place [Avaris] by siege, they came to a composition with them, that they should leave Egypt, and go, without any harm to be done to them, wherever they would; and that after this composition was made, they went away with their whole families and effects, not fewer in number than two hundred and forty thousand, and took their journey from Egypt, through the wilderness, for Syria; but that as they were in fear of the Assyrians, who had then the domination over Asia, the built a city in that country which is now called Judea, and that large enough to contain this great number of men, and called it Jerusalem.’

You may ask: is that all? Of course it isn’t. Josephus quotes Manetho that five hundred and eighteen years later there was a plague of leprosy in Egypt and that those who were infected were sent to work in the quarries and that even learned men like Priests were not immune from this fate. Sometime afterwards:

’After those that were sent to work in the quarries had continued in that miserable state for a long while, the king desired that he would set apart the city Avaris [the same one in the quote above], which was the left desolate of the shepherds, for their habitation and protection; which desire he granted them……But when these men were gotten into it, and found the place fit for a revolt, they appointed themselves a ruler out of the priests of Hellopolis, whose name was Osarsiph, and they took their oaths that they would be obedient to him in all things. He then, in the first place, made this law for them, that they should neither worship the Egyptian gods, nor should abstain from any one of those sacred animals which they have in the highest esteem, but kill and destroy them all; that they should join themselves to nobody but to those that were of this confederacy. When he had made such laws as these, and many more such as were mainly opposite to the customs of the Egyptians, he gave order that they should use the multitude of the hands they had in building walls about their City, and make themselves ready for a war with king Amenophis, while he did himself take into his friendship the other priests, and those that were polluted with them, and sent ambassadors to those shepherds who had been driven out of the land by Tefilmosis to the city called Jerusalem; whereby he informed them of his own affairs, and of the state of those others that had been treated after such an ignominious manner, and desired that they would come with one consent to his assistance in this war against Egypt. He also promised that he would, in the first place, bring them back to their ancient city and country Avaris, and provide a plentiful maintenance for their multitude; that he would protect them and fight for them as occasion should require, and would easily reduce the country under their dominion. These shepherds were all very glad of this message, and came away with alacrity all together, being in number two hundred thousand men; and in a little time they came to Avaris……It was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity and their laws, was by birth of Heliopolis, and his name Osarsiph, from Osyris, who was the god of Heliopolis; but that when he was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses.’ This is what the Egyptians relate about the Jews, with much more, which I omit for the sake of brevity. But still Manetho goes on, that ‘after this, Amenophis returned back from Ethiopia [where he had exiled himself; it’s a long story] with a great army, as his son Rampses with another army also, and that both of them joined battle with the shepherds and the polluted people, and beat them, and killed a great many of them, and pursued them to the bounds of Syria.’

I sympathize with Josephus since I too have omitted much of his writing for the sake of brevity. Needless to say this account as I have presented it is rather offensive to bible believing people (to say nothing of the rest of it) and sure enough Josephus himself only quotes Manetho in the context of disagreeing with him. Some people may take issue with me quoting an author who is considered within the Judeo-Christian tradition which is why I feel an obligation to quote another classical author who was not within the “Judeo-Christian tradition” the Greek geographer and historian Strabo:

…the most prevalent of the accredited reports in regard to the temple at Jerusalem represents the ancestors of the present Judaeans, as they are called, as Aegyptians. Moses, namely, was one of the Aegyptian priests, and held a part of Lower Aegypt, as it is called, but he went away from there to Judaea, since he was displeased with the state of affairs there, and was accompanied by many people who worshipped the Divine Being…….Now Moses, saying things of this kind, persuaded not a few thoughtful men and led them away to this place where the settlement of Jerusalem now is; and he easily took possession of the place, since it was not a place that would be looked on with envy, nor yet one for which anyone would make a serious fight; for it is rocky, and, although it itself is well supplied with water, its surrounding territory is barren and waterless, and the part of the territory within a radius of sixty stadia is also rocky beneath the surface…

Of course you could say that this quote is actually more problematic then the one given by Josephus since it is unusually positive (especially when you read the parts I left out for the sake of brevity) to the point that it may have been tampered with, which is why the last author that I will quote was a pagan who had as much regard for the Jews as Europeans after him did. Tacitus writes:

Some say that the Jews were fugitives from the island of Crete, who settled on the nearest coast of Africa about the time when Saturn was driven from his throne by the power of Jupiter. Evidence of this is sought in the name. There is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida; the neighbouring tribe, the Idaei, came to be called Judaei by a barbarous lengthening of the national name. Others assert that in the reign of Isis the overflowing population of Egypt, led by Hierosolymus and Judas, discharged itself into the neighbouring countries. Many, again, say that they were a race of Ethiopian origin, who in the time of king Cepheus were driven by fear and hatred of their neighbours to seek a new dwelling-place. Others describe them as an Assyrian horde who, not having sufficient territory, took possession of part of Egypt, and founded cities of their own in what is called the Hebrew country, lying on the borders of Syria. Others, again, assign a very distinguished origin to the Jews, alleging that they were the Solymi, a nation celebrated in the poems of Homer, who called the city which they founded Hierosolyma after their own name. Most writers, however, agree in stating that once a disease, which horribly disfigured the body, broke out over Egypt; that king Bocchoris, seeking a remedy, consulted the oracle of Hammon, and was bidden to cleanse his realm, and to convey into some foreign land this race detested by the gods. The people, who had been collected after diligent search, finding themselves left in a desert, sat for the most part in a stupor of grief, till one of the exiles, Moyses by name, warned them not to look for any relief from God or man, forsaken as they were of both, but to trust to themselves, taking for their heaven-sent leader that man who should first help them to be quit of their present misery. They agreed, and in utter ignorance began to advance at random. Nothing, however, distressed them so much as the scarcity of water, and they had sunk ready to perish in all directions over the plain, when a herd of wild asses was seen to retire from their pasture to a rock shaded by trees. Moyses followed them, and, guided by the appearance of a grassy spot, discovered an abundant spring of water. This furnished relief. After a continuous journey for six days, on the seventh they possessed themselves of a country, from which they expelled the inhabitants, and in which they founded a city and a temple.

So as I have clearly demonstrated, the claim that no-extra biblical sources mention the Exodus is incorrect. What all of this says about the "mainstream" scholarly opinion on the Exodus story being invented out of thin air is not for me to decide. Alsto003 (talk) 00:42, 9 January 2018 (UTC) Alsto0013

History Channel[edit]

I remember watching a show on the History Channel (it only appeared on the analog one) and it investigated all the possible locations for a crossing. The found that a certain area of the Gulf of Aqaba has a mass graveyard of possible chariots and chariot wheels that have coral grown all over them. You could still make out the shape too.Řïmũŗû ŢèmpéŝţRimuru Slime.png 01:38, 30 March 2018 (UTC)

Our History Channel article tells you why should perhaps not take what they say at face value.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:40, 30 March 2018 (UTC)

Intentional joke?[edit]

The bit where it mentions the gods who supposedly were to turn on the Egyptian people during Tutankhamen's reign mentions the fertility/frog goddess Heqet... only she's listed as "Kermit." I mean, it's sort of funny, but breaks the overall informative vibe of the article. (talk) 23:25, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

Reed vs Red Sea[edit]

Out of curiosity, has anyone thought about the fact that the Hebrews didn't speak English, so the idea that they somehow confused "reed" and "red" is, um, stupid? It might be interesting to see what terms the Hebrews actually used for those two seas and how they compare. DarthBinky (talk) 00:51, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Yes, There is Evidence for the Exodus[edit]

Hello, founder of BibleStrength here. There is evidence for the Exodus as catalogued at BibleStrength.

First of all, the Bible clearly shows that Mount Sinai is on the Arabian Peninsula, not the Sinai Peninsula, so those looking for evidence of the Exodus on the Sinai Peninsula have of course not found any because they're not looking where the Bible says the Exodus occurred. The Apostle Paul said that Mount Sinai is in Arabia. (Galatians 4:25) Furthermore, Mount Sinai is also called Mount Seir in the Bible, and is plainly said to be in Edom. (Deuteronomy 33:2, Judges 5:4-5) Ancient Edom was located in modern-day Jordan. Additionally, it is now known from ancient military annals like the Military Annals of Pharaoh Thutmose III and the Moabite Stone that the Sinai Peninsula was inhabited by the Egyptians at the time of the Exodus. Indeed the Egyptians ruled all the way up to Canaan (modern-day Israel) itself, per the Amarna Letters. If the Exodus had occurred on the Sinai Peninsula then the Israelites would have never even left Egypt.

Secondly, the date for the start of the Exodus, based on Biblical chronology, is approximately 1495 B.C., so scholars are not searching in the correct time period either. A chronology will be here at BibleStrength.

As for evidence for the Exodus, I'll assume those here are dead-set against hearing about the Ipuwer Papyrus for the thousandth time, so here are some evidences you're probably not familiar with:

  • There are thousands of ancient graves dating to the correct time period for the Exodus on the Arabian Peninsula in Saudi Arabia. The graves have been spotted from space, but due to government restrictions haven't been explored.[1] There are also hundreds of ancient stone structures as well.[2]
  • The Shiphrah Slave List (1809-1743 B.C.) preserves the name of Moses' midwife, showing that it was in use among Egyptian slaves before Moses was born.
  • The distinctive four-room Israelite house has been discovered in ancient Egypt, dating to 1175 B.C., with a nearby tomb missing a skeleton that could be Joseph's (consistent with Exodus 13:19 and Genesis 50:25).[3]
  • The Amarna Letters record the takeover of Canaan by the Israelites, as Canaanite Kings plead with their Egyptian rulers to send them military assistance. See the letters by Abdu-Heba and Rib-Addi for example.[4][5]
  • The Soleb Inscription contains the earliest mention of Israel as the land of the "Shasu of Yahweh" showing that the Exodus had already completed by 1400 B.C.

--Jzyehoshua (talk) 23:18, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

Oh goody, more apologetics from Jzyehoshua... I’ve converted the bullet points to a numbered list for easy reference in my response:
  1. The 2011 article from Live Science reporting the satellite photography doesn’t claim that it’s evidence for the Exodus and one of the main scholars interviewed (Juris Zarins) considers the graves and structures to be remnants seasonal(!) visits by nomads, not to mention giving a very uncertain and broad timeframe of 4000-1000 BCE. Neither does the other scholar mentioned (David Kennedy) make any claim about or connection to the Exodus. The 2017 NY Times story is simply the same one as that in Live Science with the same scholars and the same satellite photography referenced.
  2. How on earth is the presence of a name evidence for the Exodus? It simply shows that the writers of the Exodus story weren’t so inept as to use names that were not in use at the time.
  3. Shock! There were possibly Israelites living in Egypt? In houses of their traditional design? And someone died there? That must mean the Exodus is true, then! Yes. I’m being sarcastic; a single house of Israelite design does not a mass exodus make. That the apologetic source attempts this shows yet another example of the kind of over interpretation and desperate grasping at straws that is typical within apologetics in general.
  4. The Amarna letters are Egyptian diplomatic correspondence with their Levantine vassal states and local Egyptian representatives, with these groups bitching to the Pharaoh and trying to wheedle military assistance from him. That Egypt had vassal states, including ancient Israel and was wrapped up in both their local affairs and a sort of ancient “Great Game” in the Levant involving such other great powers as the Hittites, Babylon and Mitanni is not controversial. But how is that supposed to be evidence for the Exodus? Where does it say that the Israelites had just arrived from or was going to be deported to Egypt? Not to mention that it can’t be evidence for the any post Exodus narratives, since the whole point was that the Israelites supposedly got out from under Pharaoh’s thumb.
  5. And the presence of the name of Israel is evidence of the Exodus, how?
Basically, this is another example of bog standard apologetics, namely the awful cantilevering and force fitting bits and bobs into something that kind of maybe looks a bit like the biblical depictions of something. That this is nothing new can be seen from the equally laughable claim that Thallus’ description of an earthquake in Bithynia (in what is today Turkey) is somehow evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion (or at least the version given by Matthew, since his claim about an earthquake in Jerusalem during the crucifixion is found nowhere else in the NT...).
This apologetic phenomenon is a combination of wishful thinking and a sort of “source pareidolia”, in which anything that bears even a passing resemblance to or contains pedestrian similarities with biblical material suddenly becomes evidence for any and all tall tales found in the bible. ScepticWombat (talk) 01:02, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  1. The graves that Bible critics have been claiming for centuries didn't exist are now proven to exist right where the Bible says they did, in the time period when it says they did.
  2. The name of an Egyptian in the same societal caste as the one mentioned in the Bible, even a few centuries earlier, is a strong evidence that the Exodus occurred during the time period claimed. If the Israelites had left later, or never been in Egypt, they shouldn't have had that degree of knowledge of ancient Egyptian names - particularly since the name does not appear in later records. That it occurred so early and not afterwards is a strong evidence that an early date to the Exodus is accurate.
  3. The house dates near the time of the Exodus and shows Israelites were in Egypt around that time, in contrast to the claims of critics who have long suggested otherwise.
  4. The Amarna Letters provide documentary evidence of the Apiru/Shasu/Hebrews taking over Canaan in the 14th century B.C.; establishing an earlier date to the Exodus than scholars have claimed, but one fitting with the Bible's timeline of an Exodus prior to 1400 B.C.
  5. The fact that the "Shasu of Yahweh" were well-established in Canaan by 1400 B.C. shows, as mentioned, that the Exodus occurred when the Bible says it did, prior to then, rather than after that point, as Biblical minimalists have averred.
--Jzyehoshua (talk) 02:07, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
Okay, let's take this bunk from the top...
  1. There are two obvious problems here. First, as I've already pointed out, neither the article, nor the scientists cited connects these graves with the Exodus, nor necessarily with the right timeframe, since the one mentioned spans the vast chasm of 4000-1000 BCE. As I said, Jzyehoshua, you're jumping to conclusions far far beyond what little the source material provides. Secondly, it's absurd to proclaim that this undercuts what "Bible critics have been claiming for centuries", since actual, critical examination of the bible was a product of the very end of the 18th and primarily of the 19th century. You're beating up a straw man.
  2. Are you seriously claiming that the most plausible explanation for OT authors having knowledge of Egyptian naming conventions is that the Exodus accounts are true? Do I have to spell out that knowledge of the naming conventions in such a heavyweight regional and cultural power such as ancient Egypt among the tiny sliver of literate society in what was Egypt's geopolitical backyard does not require the wholesale enslavement and tranplanting of the populace of the vassal state in question?
  3. Sigh, see the point just above. It doesn't take a literally true Exodus to have some Israelites living in the great economic and cultural hub that was ancient Egypt at that or any other time...
  4. Once again we get this weird, unspecific claims of biblical vindication vis-a-vis some anonymous "scholars". Then again, it's not the first time I've seen apologists citing long out of date scholarship (the classic being the historicity of the Hittites) as examples of the bible having gotten the last word.
  5. That doesn't require the Exodus either, ffs.
Seriously, Jzyehoshua, if you want to play the apologist historian, do try to get at least a basic understanding of how source criticism, the historical method, and basic historical inferences work. This level of of apologetics just makes you look downright silly. ScepticWombat (talk) 13:06, 22 August 2019 (UTC)