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The Exodus Case (1) — Hubert_Luns

The Exodus Case (1) — Hubert_Luns

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Published by Hubert Luns
This is the first of a series of four articles that gives scientific proof that the Exodus and the 40-year trek through the desert is something that really happened. Yes, it is virtually impossible that a people so intelligent, so persevering as that of the Hebrew nation, would not have left a single monument of their Exodus, as a way to thank God for being able, in the midst of so much misery and danger, to have reached a safe heaven and liberty.
This is the first of a series of four articles that gives scientific proof that the Exodus and the 40-year trek through the desert is something that really happened. Yes, it is virtually impossible that a people so intelligent, so persevering as that of the Hebrew nation, would not have left a single monument of their Exodus, as a way to thank God for being able, in the midst of so much misery and danger, to have reached a safe heaven and liberty.

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Published by: Hubert Luns on Nov 18, 2013
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06/16/2014

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The Exodus Case
 
(1)
 
The Exodus and the 40-year trek through the desert is a scientifically proven fact of something that really happened.
The series under the theme The Bible, Word of God continues with a number of articles about the Exodus. First we pay a visit to the region where the wanderings through the de-sert took place, then some facts are presented about the pre-Exodus period, followed by a determination of the exact site where God handed over the Ten Commandments. And  finally an attempt is made to draw parallels between what happened at the time and what is now happening in our society, some 3,500 years later, in the series “The Competition of  Altars”. This does not end the series of The Bible, Word of God, and it will not, as long as the author is given time to live, for the Bible is an inexhausable source of knowledge.
1 - The historicity of the Exodus narrative
As regards the Bible as an historical book I would like to draw your attention to the book of Exodus. Archæology professor Carol Redmount writes in the authoritative “Oxford History of the Biblical World” # 1998 : «« The historicity of the Exodus narrative is a complex issue. Clearly, significant  portions are not and were never intended to be historiographic. Yet the overall intent of the narrative was historical, despite nonhistorical elements in its compilation. In this context it is important to remember that the biblical writers’ conception of history, particularly within what was primarily a theological document, differed from our own. (…) The biblical Exodus account was never intended to function or to be understood as history in the present-day sense of the word. Traditional history, with its stress on objectivity and verifiable, detailed facts as the building blocks of historical understanding, is a modern obsession.
 
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(She then concludes:) The biblical text has its own inner logic and consistency, largely divorced from the concerns of secular history. Over time, various hands shaped and edited the biblical narrative, combining and blending different sources and literary categories according to theological truths rather than historical imperatives. Historiographic methods alone can never do full justice to the spiritually informed biblical material; conversely, the Bible, never intended to function  primarily as a historical document, cannot meet modern canons of historical accuracy and reliability. There is, in fact, remarkably little of proven or provable historical worth or reliability in the biblical Exodus narrative, and no reliable independent witnesses attest to the historicity or date of the Exodus events. »»
2 - In confirmation thereof: the commentary of Ian Wilson
She thus formulates the prevailing opinion and unfortunate disposition of the scientific establishment, to which I like to add Ian Wilson’s comments in “The Bible as History” # 1999 : «« Near the end of the 19
th
 century, the pioneering British archæologist Sir Flinders Petrie made a fascinating discovery at Serabit el-Khadem. He found a series of inscriptions in a curious and interesting-looking pictographic-alphabetic script dating, apparently, from around 1500 BC - that is, the very time, according to our reconstruction, of the biblical wanderings in the wilderness. The inscriptions were found on a sandstone sphinx now in the British Museum, and on a number of other statues as well as rock faces in the vicinity. Their most intriguing feature is that, although written in pictorgraphs which are manifestly based on Egyptian hieroglyphs, the language itself is Semitic-Canaanite, the very tongue that Moses and his followers would have spoken. Scholars generally agree that this so-called Proto-Sinaitic script was the direct ancestor of both written Hebrew and our own alphabet. Obviously, given the still tentative dating of the Exodus to the late 16
th
 or early 15
th
 century BC, it would be optimistic in the extreme to claim that these inscriptions were written by Moses and
 
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his followers. Nor is there any sign of Yahwism, for some refer to Ba’lat, ‘the Lady’, denoting the Canaanite goddess Astarte/Ashtoreth. (Elsewhere he writes:) If an Exodus dated around the Ramesses II era is accepted, the conquest of Canaan would have happened at the end of the Late Bronze Age, i.e. around 1200 BC or later. If this were the case, there can be no doubt, archæologically, that the high-ramparted, walled cities biblically described as confronting Joshua and his men would have presented no obstacle at all. For by then their walls had already long since gone. They had been tumbled back in the late 16
th
 and 15
th
 centuries BC. According to the conventional wisdom, this was the work of Egypt’s 18
th
 Dynasty Pharaohs, who vigorously reduced Canaan to an Egyptian colony in order to make sure that the Canaanites would never invade them again. It is important, therefore, to proceed carefully, avoiding assumptions and trying to set the events, if indeed they happened at all, in their historical and geographical setting. »»
3 - Some arguments in dating the Exodus
Let us now ponder the facts. Panin, who made his biblical chronology based on the inter-nal logic of the biblical text, situates the Exodus in the period of 1468 to 1428 BC, which  perfectly agrees with the findings of Flinders Petrie, who is sometimes called the father of Palestinian Archæology. It proves that the conventional wisdom - that the destruction of the walls of Jericho was the work of the Pharaohs - is wrong. How could it be optimistic in the extreme to claim that these inscriptions were written by Moses and his followers? Carol Redmount says:
“The hypothesis dating the Exodus to the mid-sixteenth century  puts paramount importance on historical data and relies the least on biblical narrative.”
 She continues:
“The second hypothesis dates the Exodus to the fifteenth century BC and  stems from a literal reading of the biblical narrative.”
 This would agree with the position of eminent scholar James Hoffmeier (1), who concludes on the basis of epigraphic evi-dence and data from recent excavations in Egypt:
“Despite the problem of placing the Ge-nesis Patriarchs in a precise historical context, and even a denial by some scholars that these figures ever existed, they seem to fill in a period covering the nineteenth through mid-sixteenth centuries, a range followed by scholars who accept the essential historicity of Genesis.”
 So far as concerns the dating of the Exodus.
4 - Discoveries by Sir Flinders Petrie
 Now I would like to discuss the fascinating finds made by Sir Flinders Petrie (1853-1942), on display in the British Museum, which are a few specimen that belong to a very large number of epigraphs and graffiti in at least seven Wadis plus a mountain, the Serabit el-Khadem, that are all located on the Western side of the Sinai Peninsula closest to Egypt. The el-Khadem site, that was visited by Petrie, contains a large graveyard with inscriptions and is situated in a barren inaccessible region that in the 19
th
 century was still called by the Arabs the Turbet es Yahoud or ‘graves of the Jews’. While the Egyptians al-ways buried their dead in the plain or in a valley, this extensive graveyard sits on the top a 700 foot high mountain. The work involved in bringing the bodies here for burial would have been immense, but this is not uncommon for the Israelites. Who else would be bu-ried here on a desolate mountain in the Sinai except for those ancient Israelites killed by the wrath of God? This was discovered by Carsten Niebuhr (not his son Barthold) in 1761, 8 years after the excentric Irish bishop Robert Clayton made his discovery of simi-lar inscriptions on rocks and cliffs at one of the Wadis, then reported in the Journal of the Franciscans of Cairo. In “Voyage en Arabie” (Travel to Arabia) Niebuhr refers to Cosmas, surnamed Indicopleustes (Indian navigator), who recorded these graves and their inscriptions in the middle of the 6
th
 century. Cosmas is one of the most valuable geogra- phical writers of antiquity. He was an acute observer and vivid describer and his good faith is unquestionable. His observation, proven to be correct by the linguistic research of

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