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The Exodus - Fact or Fiction?


Dame_Enda

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Did the Israelite exodus from Egypt actualy happen? Where is the evidence it did, or that the ancestors of the Jews were even in Egypt?

This is what the archeologists have said:

wikipedia said:
A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has found no evidence which can be directly related to the Exodus captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness,[3] and most archaeologists have abandoned the archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus as "a fruitless pursuit".[4] A number of theories have been put forward to account for the origins of the Israelites, and despite differing details they agree on Israel's Canaanite origins.[24] The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains in the local Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite, and almost the sole marker distinguishing the "Israelite" villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether even this is an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.[25] There is archeological evidence of the Caananite Hyksos people moving into and out of northern Egypt, though the relation of their dates to the biblical account is debated by scholars.
- There is no evidence that 600,000 (Book of Numbers) out of 3.5 million Egyptians migrated out of Egypt in the 13th century BC (traditional period of the Exodus).

wikipedia said:
According to Exodus 12:37-38, the Israelites numbered "about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children," plus many non-Israelites and livestock.[15] Numbers 1:46 gives a more precise total of 603,550.[16] The 600,000, plus wives, children, the elderly, and the "mixed multitude" of non-Israelites would have numbered some 2 million people,[17] compared with an entire Egyptian population in 1250 BCE of around 3 to 3.5 million.[18] Marching ten abreast, and without accounting for livestock, they would have formed a line 150 miles long.[19]
No evidence has been found that indicates Egypt ever suffered such a demographic and economic catastrophe or that the Sinai desert ever hosted (or could have hosted) these millions of people and their herds.[20]
- No evidence of the Exodus has been found at Mount Sinai, a traditional stopping point of the Exodus.

Excavations at Kadesh conducted by Dr Rudolph Cohen (former head of the Israeli Antiquities Service) during the Israeli occupation of Sinai following the 1967 war uncovered copious remains of the Middle Bronze I period (sometimes known as Intermediate Bronze Age), which were also found at numerous other sites in the Negev. On the other hand, Late Bronze Age, the conventional time of the Exodus, is unattested in the Negev. In an article in Biblical Archaeology Review of July, 1983, Cohen put forward the suggestion that the Exodus took place at the start of MBI and that the MBI people were, in fact, the Israelites. The idea, fully accepted by those who have worked at sites such as Ein Hatzeva, has not been widely adopted.
- The Old Testament lists a number of cities as having been built by the Israelites, including Rameses (thought to mean Pi-Rammses and Pithom. Ramesses was build in the reign of Rameses II. However no evidence for Pithom has been found for earlier than the 7th century BC - and even this as the location is disputed. Also this would be 400-500 yrs after Pi-Ramesses was built under Pharoah Ramsses II. So the Israelites cannot have built both cities, if the suppose site of Pithom is correct.

The location of Pithom has been the subject of much conjecture and debate. In the spring of 1883 Édouard Naville believed he had identified it as the archaeological site Tell-el-Maskhuta. The site of Pithom, as identified by Naville, is to the east of Wadi Tumilat, south-west of Ismaïlia. Here was formerly a group of granite statues representing Ramesses II, two inscriptions naming Pr-Itm, storehouses and bricks made without straw. The excavations carried on by Naville for the Egypt Exploration Fund uncovered a city wall, a ruined temple, and the remains of a series of brick buildings with very thick walls and consisting of rectangular chambers of various sizes, opening only at the top and without any entrances to one another. Naville identified it as being in the region of Tjeku, the capital of the 8th Lower Egypt nome. Excavations carried out over five seasons between 1978 and 1985 have shown that Tell el-Maskhuta dates only to the end of the 7th century, and may have been built by Pharaoh Necho II, possibly as part of his uncompleted canal building project from the Nile to the Gulf of Suez.[1][2]
In the 19th century Allen Gardiner identified Pithom with the site of Tell er-Rebata, and this was later accepted by William F. Albright[3] and Kenneth Kitchen,[4] but archeological excavations show Tell er-Rebata to have been unoccupied during the period when we find monuments relating to a town called Pithom.[5]
- Some have argued that the Exodus refers to the fate of the semitic Hyksos people who ruled part/all of Egypt as the 15th dynasty in 1720-1550 BC. The problems with this theory are: - the Biblical Israelite slave-city Pi-Ramsses wasn't built until 200+ yrs later under Ramsses II; The Merneptah Steele - the first historical primary source mentioning "Israel" - was carved under the son of Ramsses II who died in 1213BC. So Israel must already have been in Canaan (modern Israel-Palestine) by then.

- Palestine/Canaan was part of the Egyptian empire under Ramsses II. So the Exodus would not constitute an "escape" from Egypt. Tbe last attested presence of Egypt in Canaan dates to 1183BC.

Given the important role of religion in international politics - especially US foreign policy in the Middle East I think this debate is very pertinant.

My opinion is that the Exodus was a nationalistic myth invented for political reasons at a time when the Israelites were embroiled in wars with the Egyptians/Assyrians/Babylonians. The documentary "The Bible Unearthed" (can be viewed on youtube) mentions the Book of Numbers appeared in the 7th century BC during the reign of the king Josiah (died 609 BC) of Judah, who wanted to reconquer the Assyrian-ruled northern kingdom of Israel. Incidentally Josiah sided with Babylon against Egypt and Assyria, and was defeate and executed by the Egyptians under Necho II.
 
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sic transit

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Most Old Testament books were written long after the alleged events, unlike the New Testament whose books were almost contemporary. According to Andrew Marr in his book based on the TV shows ( The History of The World) it may actually have been the Babylonians rather than the Egyptians. At the time it was common for invading armies to enslave and send those slaves to the own cities in their thousands. So they may have been enslaved by one king only to be sent back by a later king.
 

Sync

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Given the important role of religion in international politics - especially US foreign policy in the Middle East I think this debate is very pertinant.
Why? If it's shown 100% to be true do you think the Palestinians will pack up their tent and leave? That there'll be no more rocket attacks? That the countries backing their claim for statehood will forget about it?

If it's shown to be 100% false do you think the Israelis will leave the area? That there'll be no more illegal settlements or incursions into neighbouring countries? That the countries backing their claims to self protection will forget about it?

It's interesting from an historical curiousity point of view, but it's got no relevance to today's issues.
 

Levellers

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Zionist propaganda.

Akin the the Boers saying they were in South Africa before black people or the unionists being a lost tribe. All planters pull this stroke.
 

Dame_Enda

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Why? If it's shown 100% to be true do you think the Palestinians will pack up their tent and leave? That there'll be no more rocket attacks? That the countries backing their claim for statehood will forget about it?

If it's shown to be 100% false do you think the Israelis will leave the area? That there'll be no more illegal settlements or incursions into neighbouring countries? That the countries backing their claims to self protection will forget about it?

It's interesting from an historical curiousity point of view, but it's got no relevance to today's issues.
US support for Israel is largely based (on the GOP side at least) on the Christian fundamentalist movement e.g. groups like Christians United for Israel.

As evidence of this link I suggest you watch the Christian episode of the CNN series "God's Warriors" which can be viewed on youtube.

[video=youtube_share;1-R66XREaCM]http://youtu.be/1-R66XREaCM[/video]
 
D

Dylan2010

Why? If it's shown 100% to be true do you think the Palestinians will pack up their tent and leave? That there'll be no more rocket attacks? That the countries backing their claim for statehood will forget about it?

If it's shown to be 100% false do you think the Israelis will leave the area? That there'll be no more illegal settlements or incursions into neighbouring countries? That the countries backing their claims to self protection will forget about it?

It's interesting from an historical curiousity point of view, but it's got no relevance to today's issues.
politics and religion never mix well , it would certainly help US politics if the religious element was shown to be basing their views on cultural myths.
 

kvran

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Good OP. I better get a comment in before the anti semitic posts starts.

I saw a documentary a few years ago that said the israelis had been a tribe living on the verge of Egypt. They weren't required to supply labour as they defended against invaders across the Sinai (public works in Egypt actually built by require amout of work as a form of tax) When this tax/labour was extended to the israelis they upped and first spent time equipping their forces (bronzemines near where moses got the tablets) and then attacking the tribes in who lived in their new home.

I am ony phone but will check if there is any acadiemia to back it up later.
 

Mountaintop

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I'd be willing to bet my superfluous male rib, that everything in the Old Testament is true
 

Sync

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You guys seriously think this will ever be tabled? Or that people will care and adjust their positions if it is?

"Hey Benjy, turns out we now think that thousands of years ago someone exagerated the flight of people from Egypt. So forget our longstanding relationship, our reliance on you as ally against Iran, our belief in your right to exist and defend yourself, we think you should........" Do what exactly?

You guys seem to think that if you use historical investigation to disprove a religious point it will somehow matter. It won't. It really won't and with the best will in the world, it's more than a little childish to think it will.
 

Dame_Enda

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Sync it does have an enormous political influence over US foreign policy in the region. The Jewish settlers also base their claim to the West Bank and East Jerusalem on the Bible story including the Exodus and the "Promised Land". If it was disproven the consequences would be momentous imho

Canadian support for Israel is also tied to Stephen Harper's Evangelicalism.

Evangelicals believe in End Times prophesy which says that after the Third Temple is built on the Temple Mount, the Second Coming of Christ will happen. This is no fringe theory. It is mainstream in the American Bible Belt and is known as Christian Zionism.
 

Sync

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Sync it does have an enormous political influence over US foreign policy in the region.
Really? When has Obama linked his support to Israel as being based on the exodus? Or the Bushes? Or Clinton? When has France or any of the countries supporting Palestinian independence linked their support to be based on their disbelief of the exodus?
 

Dame_Enda

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Really? When has Obama linked his support to Israel as being based on the exodus? Or the Bushes? Or Clinton? When has France or any of the countries supporting Palestinian independence linked their support to be based on their disbelief of the exodus?
The GOP controls the Congress and a number of redstate Democrats have to pander to this sentiment by supporting Israel. Historically the Congress has played hardball with Presidents that put pressure on Israel. AIPAC is trying to get them to pass legislation designating Israel a "major strategic ally".

The prominent role of Christians United for Israel - which the Israeli govt provided a plane to to lobby against Chuck Hagel as Defence Secretary nominee - also attests to what I have said. It has 6 million members.
 

seabhcan

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Given the important role of religion in international politics - especially US foreign policy in the Middle East I think this debate is very pertinant.
The Israelis aren't claiming ownership of Egypt though, are they? So I don't see how its is anything but a historical curiosity.

The Israelis claim to Palestine is based on the idea that all Jews once lived there - which is also non-historical. But it doesn't matter much, because the idea that people today own land because people similar to them owned it in the past is... false.

Otherwise the US could lay claim to Plymouth based on the 'fact' that the pilgrim fathers set sail from Plymouth. Or Mongolia could claim the whole of Eurasia. Or the Africaners could claim Holland. Or Irish Americans could claim Ireland...
 

kvran

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It shouldnt matter in modern politics. If Israel has no right to exist because some ancient historic event has been imbelished what state has legitimacy? Throw out modern Scots, they're from Ireland and took the Picts homeland. English peoplle should be expelled and it should be given to the welsh, the're the true Britons, English are anglo-saxons. And lets resuurect the polish-lithuania commonwealth and novgorod. Polish-lithuaniam commonwealth was a proto democracy in comparison to Muscovy which became the centre of modern Russia.
 

Dame_Enda

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The Israelis aren't claiming ownership of Egypt though, are they? So I don't see how its is anything but a historical curiosity.

The Israelis claim to Palestine is based on the idea that all Jews once lived there - which is also non-historical. But it doesn't matter much, because the idea that people today own land because people similar to them owned it in the past is... false.

Otherwise the US could lay claim to Plymouth based on the 'fact' that the pilgrim fathers set sail from Plymouth.
If the Exodus story were disproven, we might start to see the US putting pressure on Israel, as the religious argument would be dispelled.
 

Sync

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The GOP controls the Congress and a number of redstate Democrats have to pander to this sentiment by supporting Israel. Historically the Congress has played hardball with Presidents that put pressure on Israel. AIPAC is trying to get them to pass legislation designating Israel a "major strategic ally".
So no links to countries supporting Israel because of the exodus or supporting Palestine because they think the exodus didn't happen then? The US believe Iran want to blow them up. I don't believe that, but the US do. The US have had military action a number of times in the middle east over the last few decades. The only country to consistently back them is Israel. If it weren't for the Palestine issue there's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Israel would already be designated a "major strategic ally"

So I think they want to increase partnership because of likely future action in Iran. You think it's because of the exodus. I can provide numerous examples to back up my position. You can provide none to support yours. Is that about an accurate picture?
 

kvran

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This thread is turning into a fine example people reading history backwards.
 
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