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The exodus the making of a nation essay

Archaeologists Fail to Use Sound Reasoning This story is one that has been repeated time and again throughout more than a century of excavation.

Does Biblical Archaeology Exist? It will come as news to Bible and Spade readers that, in fact, there is no Biblical Archaeology. Biblical Archaeology in 2010: ASOR's annual meetings are its focal event of the year. Approximately 750 scholars, students, and in. Tags Support Like this artice? Our Ministry relies on the generosity of people like you.

Every small donation helps us develop and publish great articles. This article was published in the Spring 2003 issue of Bible and Spade. In 2001, for example, The Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story reporting that a liberal rabbi in the Los Angeles area caused quite a stir when he shocked his congregation by stating he had his doubts that the Exodus ever took place.

Perhaps you have read such articles and wondered whether you can believe the Bible. After almost 200 years of archaeological research in Egypt and Israel, why do so many challenge the Exodus account? The stakes are not small, as the critics well know.

If the narrative of the Exodus is not factual, then the trustworthiness of Biblical revelation is indeed seriously undermined. Therefore it is essential that our evaluation of the evidence be accurate and fair. We find that Jesus Christ affirmed the Biblical account of the Exodus as true, and He based some of His teachings on it.

Reminding His countrymen that God had miraculously provided food for them during 40 years in the wilderness, He said: Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, the exodus the making of a nation essay a man may eat and not die.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven Jn 6: If this account were not true, then Jesus was wrong, and so are some of His teachings. We should not be surprised, then, that some critics have focused so much attention on this fundamental event in the Bible.

They try to discredit the story of the Exodus to undermine its historical validity. Biblical historian Eugene Merrill describes the importance the Exodus has for the rest of the Bible: To it the Book of Genesis provides an introduction and justification, and from it flows all subsequent Old Testament revelation.

In the final analysis, the exodus served to typify that exodus achieved by Jesus Christ for people of faith, so that it is a meaningful event for the church as well as for Israel 1996: Limits of Archaeology Many critics who doubt the historicity of the Exodus share a problem: Archaeology is, in fact, a limited and imperfect area of study in which the interpretation of findings, as archaeologists readily admit, is more of an art than a hard science.

Archaeologist Edwin Yamauchi points out the limits of this science when he explains: Considering not only the limits but also the positive side of archaeology, it is remarkable how many Biblical accounts have been illuminated and confirmed by the relatively small number of sites excavated and finds uncovered to date. Even though, regrettably, some professionals go out of their way to present a distorted picture of what archaeology does reveal, it does provide some of the strongest evidence for the reliability of the Bible as credible and accurate history.

Evidence Destroyed A major challenge in reconstructing an accurate view of history is that, through the ages, most negative or embarrassing evidence was never written down or was intentionally destroyed by later rulers. In fact, the Bible stands in marked contrast to most ancient literature in that it objectively records the facts about Biblical personalities, whether good or bad.

When new kings ascended the throne, they naturally wanted to be seen in the best light. So in many nations they covered up or destroyed monuments and records of previous monarchs.

This pattern of expunging earlier the exodus the making of a nation essay evidence can be repeatedly seen in Egyptian monuments and historical records. For example, after the Hyksos rulers were expelled from Egypt, the Egyptians erased the records of that humiliating period so thoroughly that some of the names and the order of the Hyksos kings remain uncertain. Some time later Pharaoh Thutmosis III destroyed virtually all records relating to Queen Hatshepsutthe previous ruler, whom he despised.

A few decades afterwards, the ruling priests eliminated virtually all possible traces of the teachings of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who had introduced what they considered to be heretical Egyptian religious reforms. This attitude is not limited to the past. Even today, some of what went on during the two world wars is still hotly debated by historians on both sides of the issue.

It seems too much to hope for, then, that a proud and powerful nation such as Egypt, whose rulers were considered gods, would record that their mighty army was ignominiously crushed by a band of virtually unarmed slaves who had a more powerful deity on their side.

This would have embarrassed them in front of the entire known world.

Image of Hatshepsut ca. Deir el-Bahri, mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Thebes, Egypt. Bias against the Bible Besides these limits of archaeology, an additional problem exists that is seldom noted—the ever-present scholarly bias.

The Exodus Controversy

It takes only a brief reading of archaeological journals to witness how alive and well human nature is among many of the experts. Differing opinions can stimulate public accusations that are envious, arrogant, spiteful and even hateful.

According to the [Los Angeles Times] article, most archaeologists. That most archaeologists conclude from the alleged lack of archaeological evidence that Jews were never slaves in Egypt and the Exodus to Canaan never took place tells us something about these individuals, but nothing about the Bible or the Exodus.

What does it tell us? That most of these archaeologists have the same bias against traditional religious beliefs that most academic colleagues have. Ten years ago, Dr. Jastrow described a disturbing reaction among his colleagues to the big-bang theory—irritation and anger.

Why, he asked, would scientists, who are supposed to pursue truth and not have an emotional investment in any evidence, be angered by the big-bang theory? The answer, he concluded, is very disturbing: The big-bang theory, by positing a beginning of the universe, suggests a creator and therefore annoys many astronomers. This anti-religious bias is hardly confined to astronomers.

It pervades academia, home to nearly all archaeologists The Jewish Journal, April 20, 2001, emphasis added. Uphill Battle for Believers When it comes to the Bible, archaeologists and Biblical scholars categorize themselves into two groups: The minimalists also called deconstructionists of the Bible generally hold the view that the Bible is full of myths and is therefore unreliable.

  • When Moses comes down from the mountain he symbolically smashes the stone tablets which contain the Ten Commandments, Israel's charter;
  • It seems that every year more discoveries are made that confirm the existence of Biblical persons and places;
  • It was one of the biggest explosions of the last 10,000 years.

So they vigorously try to refute any evidence that supports the Biblical account. Professor and archaeologist Anson Rainey says of the minimalists: Their view that nothing in Biblical tradition is earlier than the Persian period [538-332 BC], especially their denial of the existence of a United Monarchy [under Saul, David and Solomon], is a figment of their vain imagination.

Biblical Archaeology Review, November-December 1994: The maximalists, on the other hand, believe the Biblical accounts have solid historical and archaeological backing. Long a minority among archaeologists, their numbers are growing, since it seems that every year discoveries are found that support, rather than refute, the Biblical narrative.

Archaeologist Bryant Wood is an example of a Biblical maximalist who is slowly turning the tide in favor of the Biblical evidence. He argues that the archaeological data for the Exodus fall into place if the event is dated back to 1450 BC, the approximate date the Bible indicates for the Exodus.

He mentions that the documented evidence of foreign slaves at that time in Egypt could well include the Israelites. Wood goes against the current. The tide of scholarly opinion on the Bible has shifted several times in the past centuries. During the later part of the 19th century there was much skepticism of the Bible, but in the 20th century, thanks to astonishing archaeological discoveries supporting the Scriptures, the tide turned somewhat in its favor. The spirit of post-Enlightenment skepticism unquestionably continues to dominate the Biblical academy.

But it is skepticism seemingly less rigid and dogmatic than it has been at times in the past. Although not apparent at first glance, the Biblical account of the Exodus contains many tiny details that place it within a distinct historical and chronological context. Those who ignore this evidence refuse to give the Biblical record a fair hearing. Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen notes some of the flaws in the logic of those who reject the Biblical Exodus or assign it to unnamed writers many centuries later.

He notes that the price of 20 shekels is the price of a slave in the Near East in about the 18th century BC.

The date of the Exodus can be accurately calculated since the Bible mentions the exodus the making of a nation essay 1 Kings 6: Subtracting 480 years takes us back to a date for the Exodus in the 1440s BC. Another Biblical reference used to date the Exodus is found in Judges, where Jephthah tells the Ammonites that Israel had been in the land for 300 years Jgs 11: This would place the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan near 1400 BC, precisely 40 years after the Exodus.

Thus both Biblical dates for the Exodus agree. In spite of this Biblical evidence, most minimalist scholars believe the Exodus took place around 1260 BC, a date that contradicts the Biblically-derived dates by almost two centuries. Minimalists generally give three main reasons for this later date of the Exodus: So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed Gn 47: So the argument that Moses lived in the 1200s because the Israelites helped build a city with the name Rameses is not convincing.

The name Rameses was not used until the city was rebuilt by Rameses II in the 13th century. Thus the use of the name Rameses in Exodus 1: We have the same situation with regard to Pithom, the other store city named in Exodus 1: That name was not in use until the Saite Period, ca.

Earlier, when the Israelites lived there, the city had several different names. When the Biblical text was updated, the older, forgotten, names of the city were replaced with the newer, more familiar, name of Rameses. Evidence for Settlements The second argument against the traditional date for the Exodus is based mainly on the work of archaeologist Nelson Glueck in the 1930s, which failed to find evidence of permanent settlements in the Transjordan and the Negev regions between 1900 and 1300 BC.

This region should have shown a sizable the exodus the making of a nation essay of Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites at that time, since the Biblical account mentions their strong opposition to the Israelites. However, more-recent excavations have shown many settlements in the area that Glueck did not find.

All too often the 13th century date for the Exodus has been perpetuated by the baseless repetition of outmoded views Bimson and Livingston 1987: