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The Biblical EXODUS and the horribly flawed research that tries to debunk it

Discussion in 'History & Genealogy' started by lifepsyop, Jul 2, 2020.

  1. lifepsyop

    lifepsyop Regular Member

    One of the linchpins to the claim that the Bible is a false account of ancient history is that there is supposedly no evidence in Egypt regarding the major events in the Book of Exodus.
    The way this flawed conclusion was arrived at is almost comical.

    Information drawn from this lecture by Miles R Jones:

    So the main idea is basically this:

    - Mainstream historians place the accounts of the Exodus with the rule of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses,
    - There is no evidence of an Exodus-type event during the reign of Ramesses, ...
    - Therefore the Exodus did not happen.

    Firstly, this thinking is based on this passage from the book of Exodus:

    Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. - Exodus 1:8-11

    This is an anachronism. A good example provided is when a person might say "Around 50 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the English Channel to invade Britain." .... There was no England in 50 BC, and therefore no "English Channel" to speak of, but the speaker is simply using more current terminology so everyone understands what body of water is being referenced.

    So the Bible is simply referring to an Egyptian treasure city that, at the time of writing the Exodus, had become known as belonging to the Pharaoh Ramesses. That does not mean that it would have been called by that name at the actual time of the Exodus.

    But historians are happy to connect Exodus with Ramesses, because it gives them their desired conclusion of disproving the Exodus. That should surprise no one.

    Secondly is the mistaken identification of the Egyptian king Shoshenq as the Biblical king Shishak.

    So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made. - 2 Chronicles 12:9 (also mentioned in 1 Kings 14:25)

    Though Egypt was indeed launching later military campaigns into Canaan/Israel, there is no evidence that Shishak is the same Egyptian king as Shoshenq, other than the names sound similar. (In reality, they were two different kings of Egypt, separated by over a century, that launched two different military campaigns into Canaan/Israel.)

    So then, researchers commit to the false equation of the Egyptian king Shoshenq with the Biblical mention of Shishak. By using conventional Egyptian dating of Shoshenq and counting back in the list of Egyptian kings, this in turn reinforces the connection back to Ramesses, where researchers want to place the accounts of the Exodus.

    Unsurprisingly, mainstream history/archeology is quite happy to place the Exodus at the time of Ramesses, because there is no evidence of an Exodus at this period. They are not interested in considering other times in Egypt's history where there is evidence of an Exodus-style event. (see the Ipuwer Papyrus for an example)

    Got that? The biblical accounts of the Exodus must only reference a point in Egypt's history where there is *no* evidence for it. This is the basic thinking of mainstream history & archaeology. And, sadly, it should surprise no one....

    So... then this flawed Exodus-Ramesses fixture is used as a springboard to debunk other accounts in the Bible. For example, since there is no evidence of a large-scale military conquest in Canaan around this time, (claimed by the Bible to follow 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt) therefore events like the destruction of Jericho in the Book of Joshua must all be a myth as well! This is the basic quality of our academic institutions' treatment of Biblical history.

    So, when you hear claims that the Old Testament has been "debunked"... this is usually the quality of research they are drawing from. Every time you read in Wikipedia that "most scholars agree biblical account X has no historical basis"... this is the quality of research it is usually based on.
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  2. Hans Blaster

    Hans Blaster Well-Known Member

    There are far more important reasons than the names of cities or kings to think that the Exodus story, as written, is not true. I think some scholars get to hung up on trying to link a specific time period to the Exodus story because they assume (or are trying to prove) that it has a historical kernel.

    Here are the big reasons to think that Exodus is not true as written (and can't be):

    1. There is *NO* evidence of a large population existing in the Sinai for even a few months, not to mention decades. It just simply does not exist, therefore the duration and size of the Israelite exodus is not plausible.

    2. There is no Egyptian record of a large Semitic population living in Lower Egypt, especially in bondage, or anywhere else in Egypt.

    3. There is no record of a mass emigration from Egypt at any point, nor a record of the economic collapse that would have ensued.

    4. There is no evidence in the archeological record for a rapid conquest of Canaan at any even remotely plausible time period by any group that isn't previously known. (We know of Hittite, Egyptian, etc. invasions, there are no unidentified invasions of Canaan.)

    Could the Exodus story be based on a kernel of truth? Yes, but not at the scope presented. One plausible story would go something like this:

    A Israelite from Canaan (Joseph) migrated to Egypt with his brothers and their families and became a favorite of the Pharaoh. After he died, his kin lost favor with future Pharaohs and were taken in to bondage. A few generations proceeded of captivity for the family before one of their number (after a several generations and a couple centuries) again gained favor in the court of the Pharaoh and he (Moses) was able to lead his large family out of Egypt, either by effecting an escape, triggering revolt, or gaining the permission of Pharaoh. After trekking across the Sinai, the successor of Moses (Joshua) was able to aid the Israelites in Canaan to take over that land and became a revered founder of Israelite kingdom(s).

    If that was the story in Exodus, I don't think there would be a rejection of it. It would be impossible to prove, but not so easily dismissed by the lack of evidence for it and contrary evidence that the extant Exodus plus conquest of Joshua presents. (And though I didn't include it in my retelling, you should feel free to include all of the contact with God, delivery of the law, and dueling magic you like. History doesn't judge whether Aaron's staff became a snake or not, just the presence of an enslaved population that escaped and wandered through the desert.)

    This is why historians do not think the exodus took place. It's far bigger than some difficulties in matching the names of kings and cities written in different languages.
  3. lifepsyop

    lifepsyop Regular Member

    Okay, the first thing I notice is that you completely avoided the argument that was laid out in the OP... so how much of your criticism is based off of traditional Egyptian chronology and the assignment of the claimed Exodus/Conquest events at 13th century Ramesses Egypt? Because that is what everything is based off of.

    If your foundation is totally flawed then everything resting upon it will be likewise.

    Regarding your last point, Jericho was a substantial walled Canaanite city that is suggested to have collapsed due to "earthquakes" in the late middle bronze age. This would have been closer to the 13th Egyptian dynasty and to the earlier suggested dating of the Ipuwer Papyrus which describes extreme calamity that struck Egypt. (rivers turning to blood, trees destroyed, total collapse of social order, etc.) ... This would be just some of the evidence that you claim does not exist...

    But I will return to the original point, maybe you want to comment on it. Why are historians so fixated on keeping the date of the Exodus at the Ramesses period, which is obviously based on flimsy interpretations as I've outlined. Why the lack of curiosity I wonder?
  4. JackRT

    JackRT Well-Known Member Supporter

    The logistics problems entailed by an Exodus, as biblically described, are so formidable as to render it impossible. The bible suggests that 3 to 3.5 million people were involved. This would require 1500 tons of food daily and that would require two, mile long, freight trains daily. Who grew this food and where was it grown? That food needs to be cooked and that would require 4000 tons of wood daily to be carried by about six more mile long freight trains daily. Oh my, what about water? A conservative estimate is that 11,000,000 gallons were needed daily. To carry all this a train of tank cars 18 miles long would be required daily. The nightly camp would have to be roughly 750 square miles. Can you just imagine distributing all that food, wood and water in such a camp? For these reasons I believe that the bible account is mythological in nature. If there actually was an Exodus it must have been very much smaller --- perhaps a few hundred to a few thousand of people. It also could have consisted of a number of these smaller migrations over several generations.
  5. lifepsyop

    lifepsyop Regular Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you are presupposing the Biblical narrative to be false... (food was provided for by God in the form of Manna, birds, water from rocks....) If you recall, the author of Exodus was fully aware that a natural/man-made source of food and water in the wilderness would have been a major problem.

    Obviously we cannot test whether or not these things really happened, so your argument is more of a distraction if anything, is it not? How about we stick to things that can even be potentially studied in the first place?

    Are you going to respond to the OP at all? Because your objections have nothing to do with the arguments I put forth.
  6. Mosheli

    Mosheli New Member

    New Zealand
    I don't believe that Raamses is an anachronism but I agree that it doesn't relate to Ramses 2 (19th dynasty). Exodus doesn't say anything about a pharoah named Ramses it only mentions a "treasure city" named Raamses. Raamses can't be the same as the city Pi-Ramses of Ramses 2 because the bible name doesn't have any Pi-.

    The Exodus can't be 19th dynasty (1300s/1200s) because it was 480 years before Solomon ("900s") which makes it about 1400s bc. The Egyptian dynasties conventional ascribed dates are also too early.

    I agree that Sheshonk doesn't match Shishak. Sheshonk's campaign list doesn't match Shishak's, though orthodox scholars try to argue that Sheshonk's campaign list is incomplete and "may" have contained Jerusalem. This is a hard one to counter though because there is a problem with the Assyrian king lists.

    It is true that there is no evidence of exodus in the 19th dynasty (Ramses 2) where the conventional scholars place it, and no evidence of Joshua's Jericho in the Iron Age when they place it. But there is evidence in "earlier" period around the end of the 12th dynasty and the Bronze age.

    The 2nd poster made mistake: the wilderness wanderings were notin the Sinai peninsular but in Arabia. The chariots parts havebeen found in the gulf of Aqaba near Nuweiba and Mt Sinai was Mt Lawz.
  7. Hans Blaster

    Hans Blaster Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I wasn't clear enough---

    I ignored the argument in the OP because I think there are plenty of other reasons to think the exodus story is not correct as presented *WITHOUT* worrying about the specific time frame or names of cities, etc. As I laid out in my post, the best that could be said for the version in the Torah is that it is highly exaggerated as to the number of people escaping Egypt and likely the duration of the wandering.

    So long the logistics (See JackRT's post) are completely absurd an the impact on the desert is not observed there is *NO POINT* to argue about when it took place and whether the story is consistent with recorded Egyptian history. That's just rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship. The video lecture is pointless, because the "mainstream scholars" should stop trying to pin the exodus story down to a historical frame, because it did happen anything like recorded in the text.

    [Note: I did not attack the supernatural elements of the story as a reason for its falseness because the existence of the supernatural agent is assumed by the operators of this board. I clearly think that is *also* a reason to not believe the exodus story.]
  8. Hans Blaster

    Hans Blaster Well-Known Member

    I don't know why the historians have this recurring problem. Perhaps they take the story too literally, especially trying to place all of the Israelite history that comes after it and before the Babylonian exile. This makes it hard to put much earlier and the story already contains anachronisms that would just be worse if earlier.