The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

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¥akaSteelhead
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by ¥akaSteelhead »

Pottery tales interesting records
https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/dunn_jac ... 505_ma.pdf

This has some interesting theories
https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA375170.pdf

The actual history ? Lost to the sands of time.
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by huckelberry »

¥akaSteelhead wrote:
Thu Apr 14, 2022 9:20 pm
Pottery tales interesting records
https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/dunn_jac ... 505_ma.pdf

This has some interesting theories
https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA375170.pdf

The actual history ? Lost to the sands of time.
Over time memory shifts from the data of what happened to become what the events mean to the person remembering. Strawberry mountains in Oregon are a bit out of the way. I went hiking there some forty years ago and was impressed how the center ridge had the core of an old volcano while some miles away a flank of the old cone remained at a higher elevation. I was enough impressed with the idea of the volcanic core stem that over the years I came to imagine that core like a large tree trunk overlooking the ridge. A couple of years ago I returned and was much puzzled by finding that the core I remembered did not protrude above the ridge and in fact was just a shift in the rocks along the ridge. My memory had discarded the actual image and created one fitting the idea I had of what the rocks were.

People telling the old story of how Israel got started proceeded a long way along this path of held meaning replacing the particular facts. By the time the memory or story is put together in Exodus the history is a story where fiction based upon the held meaning of the story appears to be in control.


Yakasteelhead, I gues that says something much like your observation about history lost in the sands of time.
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by huckelberry »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-YlzpUhnxQ

Richard Friedman presentation on the Exodus. Thesis is that there was a group in Egypt who made an exodus and joined the people in Canaan. He see this group as the Levites who established themselves as a priestly leadership role and initiate a melding of tradition where after some generations all Israel saw themselves as descended from participants in the exodus. (a real exodus of much smaller scale than late reports in the Bible of unbelievable size

He does not question the judgment that there was no conquest as found in Joshua. He is also dubious about any reality behind destroying Midianites.

He is primarily following the different sources to evidence his theory with the earliest material in the Bible. He sees J and E sources as from the time of divided kingdom and rejects views seeing that material as post exile as poorly evidenced. (too specialized a judgment by quite a distance for me to argue about)
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bill4long
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by bill4long »

Okay, I must clarify: the Bible myth-story never happened.

2 million+ people meandering around in the Sinai desert for 40 years.

Without leaving a trace. None of the usual traces that such an enormous batch of people would leave.

That's DOUBLE the population size of greater Indianapolis. (Where I live.)

No trace in the desert for us to validate the story.

None of the surrounding historians in the Levant making mention of any thing of the sort.

Egypt RULED the Levant during that time period, beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Like the USA rules the world today.

Torah says YHVH was going to make himself a name for himself among the GOY.

He didn't.

It almost makes me cry.

As my uncle Jack used to say, "whuh hoppen?"

I could just cave in and say, "and it came to pass", but somehow I don't think that explains it.

--Bill
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by huckelberry »

bill4long wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 12:59 am
Okay, I must clarify: the Bible myth-story never happened.

2 million+ people meandering around in the Sinai desert for 40 years.

Without leaving a trace. None of the usual traces that such an enormous batch of people would leave.

.....

Torah says YHVH was going to make himself a name for himself among the GOY.

He didn't.

It almost makes me cry.

As my uncle Jack used to say, "whuh hoppen?"

I could just cave in and say, "and it came to pass", but somehow I don't think that explains it.

--Bill
YHVH has been remembered and held in high regard all across Europe, northern asia, middle east ,much of Africa ,and North and South America.

He most certainly made a name for himself even if that group of people leaving Egypt was much smaller than late much exaggerated reports held.
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by bill4long »

huckelberry wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 1:43 am
bill4long wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 12:59 am
Okay, I must clarify: the Bible myth-story never happened.

2 million+ people meandering around in the Sinai desert for 40 years.

Without leaving a trace. None of the usual traces that such an enormous batch of people would leave.

.....

Torah says YHVH was going to make himself a name for himself among the GOY.

He didn't.

It almost makes me cry.

As my uncle Jack used to say, "whuh hoppen?"

I could just cave in and say, "and it came to pass", but somehow I don't think that explains it.

--Bill
YHVH has been remembered and held in high regard all across Europe, northern asia, middle east ,much of Africa ,and North and South America.

He most certainly made a name for himself even if that group of people leaving Egypt was much smaller than late much exaggerated reports held.
That's a nice apologetic, but the claims of the Exodus are not affirmed by any surrounding peoples in the Levant or anywhere else or dirt evidence, which would be in abundance. The sad truth is, the dirt evidence, and the historical evidence doesn't support a 2 million people Exodus meandering in the Sinai desert for 40 years, and then landing in the area of Canaan in some big splash invasion.

No reason to accept the story from a historical or archeological standpoint.

That's a problem for the literalists.

The Egyptians were the Big Dogs of the Levant in those days. Imagine people from El Salvador trying to beat the USA in a conflict for territory in New Mexico. It's just that ridiculous.

Fuggedddaboutid.

Put flesh and blood on the stories.

Follow the real dirt evidence. Accept what can be empirically proven. Sorry, the Bible story doesn't hold up.

Best regards,
Bill (Okay, my real name is Mike. Bill is my middle name. Love to all, Fine-Business Operator)
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by huckelberry »

checking a link
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/meyers.html
"It's possible that a charismatic leader, a Moses, rallied people and urged them to make the difficult and traumatic and dangerous journey."

Q: What spurs the transformation of a real person into such a legendary figure?

Meyers: We can see the Moses narratives as the products of a period of trauma. We see this at other times and places. Think about our own American history. In the difficult period of the Revolutionary War, there's a lot of trauma and turmoil. Should people fight for freedom and risk losing everything? Or should they remain dominated by European colonial powers? And one man, George Washington, emerges as a superhero, the one in whom people could put their faith, who would take them to new terrain, who would lead them to independence. If you look at the biographies of George Washington that were written before 1855, you would think he was a demigod. The mythology about him is incredible.

In some ways, we have that kind of material about Moses. The hype about him is a way of expressing the fact that people could trust his judgment. They could trust that there would be success in this highly risky venture of leaving a place where they at least had food and water and going to a place where they might not have enough food and water. But they were apparently convinced it was worth the risk, if they might eventually be able to determine the course of their own lives and to escape the tyranny of Egyptian control.
Evidence of the Exodus

Q: You and other scholars point out that there isn't evidence outside the Bible, in historic documents and the archeological record, for a mass migration from Egypt involving hundreds of thousands of people. But it may be plausible that there was a much smaller exodus, an exodus of people originally from the land of Canaan who were returning to it. Is that right?

Meyers: Yes. Despite all the ways in which the exodus narratives in the Bible seem to be non-historic, something about the overall pattern can, in fact, be related to what we know from historical sources was going on at the end of the Late Bronze Age [circa 1200 B.C.E.], around when the Bible's chronology places the story of departure from Egypt.

Now, what is the evidence? First of all, during this period there likely were a lot of people from the land of Canaan, from regions of the eastern Mediterranean, in Egypt. Sometimes they were taken there as slaves. The local kings of the city-states in Canaan would offer slaves as tribute to the pharaohs in order to remain in their good graces. This is documented in the Amarna letters discovered in Egypt. So we know that there were people taken to Egypt as slaves.

There were also traders from the eastern Mediterranean who went to Egypt for commercial reasons. And there also probably were people from Canaan who went to Egypt during periods of extended drought and famine, as is reported in the Bible for Abraham and Sarah.

So Canaanites went to Egypt for a variety of reasons. They were generally assimilated—after a generation or two they became Egyptians. There is almost no evidence that those people left. But there are one or two Egyptian documents that record the flight of a handful of people who had been brought to Egypt for one reason or other and who didn't want to stay there.

Now, there is no direct evidence that such people were connected with the exodus narrative in the Bible. But in our western historical imagination, as we try to recreate the past, it's certainly worth considering that some of them, somehow, for some reason that we can never understand, maybe because life was so difficult for them in Egypt, thought that life would be greener than in the pastures that they had left.

And it's possible that a charismatic leader, a Moses, rallied a few of those people and urged them to make the difficult and traumatic and dangerous journey across the forbidding terrain of the Sinai Peninsula, back to what their collective memory maintained was a promised land.
Origins of the Israelites

Q: Do you think that these people returning to Canaan met up with other Canaanites in the hill country and became the people of Israel?

Meyers: The emergence of ancient Israel in the highlands of Palestine is shrouded in clouds and mystery. We'll really never know the whole story. We can only conjecture how the inhabitants of new settlements in the highlands, in places where there never had been any settlements before, somehow began to identify with each other. And, at least as I see it, they could have met with people who had made the trek across the Sinai Peninsula.

What was it that brought them together and gave them a new national identity, a new ethnicity? Many scholars, including me, would search in the theological realm. There is a belief in the Bible that the dream of escaping from Egypt and returning to an ancestral homeland could not have happened without supernatural intervention, divine intervention. And the group that had come from Egypt felt that one particular god, whom they called Yahweh, was responsible for this miracle of escape.

They spread the word to the highlanders, who themselves were migrants into the highlands, who perhaps had escaped from the tyranny of the Canaanite city-states or from an unsettled life as pastoralists across the Jordan River. And the idea of a god that represented freedom—freedom for people to keep the fruits of their own labor—this was a message that was so powerful that it brought people together and gave them a new kind of identity, which eventually became known by the term Israel.
Remembering the Exodus

Q: So even though most of the early Israelites had not themselves made the exodus from Egypt, they adopt this story as part of their heritage.

Meyers: Yes. While very few Israelites may have actually made the trek across Sinai, it becomes the national story of all Israelites and is celebrated in all kinds of ways. Their agricultural festivals become celebrations of freedom, for instance. Many aspects of a new culture emerge and are linked with the "memories" of exodus.

The people who made the exodus from Egypt remember the experience, relive it, recreate it in rituals. They pass their rituals on to others, to future generations and to other people. We do this in our own American lives: Very few of us have ancestors who came over on the Mayflower, and yet that story has become part of our national story.
A fairly straightforward discussion of the exodus. It is not focused on Levites and the differences between J and E as the Friedman presentation linked back a couple of posts.
Last edited by huckelberry on Sat Apr 23, 2022 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bret Ripley
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by Bret Ripley »

bill4long wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 4:24 am
That's a problem for the literalists.
Yes, well, it is to be understood that it must suck to be them, the poor bastards.

More interesting to some (like me, nodding in the peanut gallery) is inquiry into what historical nuggets, if any, may be embedded in the Hebrew epic. And interesting as I may find that pursuit I will readily cop to it being an inadequate, facile approach to the text -- though perhaps less so than that of the literalist. (One does find it useful on occasion to point to someone else to look down upon, doesn't one?)
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by Physics Guy »

There really are plenty of very literal literalists about the Bible, so pointing out their problems is not kicking a straw man. There is something straw-mannish, though, in the false dichotomy between literal history and sheer fiction. Just because the literalists will be equally outraged by anything short of inerrancy doesn't mean that there's no middle ground for more reasonable people.

As huckelberry says, after all, this obscure levantine clan and their god actually did make quite a name for themselves. Conceivably they did it with a compelling set of memes that were simply made up, out of nothing, by an unusually talented set of anonymous scribes, whose descendants are now writing blockbuster scripts. On the other hand, though, it's good advice even to a gifted writer to write what you know. Stories based on personal experience have an edge in the market; they just tend to be better, even if the basis in personal experience is just a kernel that gets dressed up a lot in post-production. And it's hardly unlikely that sometime in a good span of centuries, over a wide chunk of land, some remarkable experiences actually happened to some people. If a series of good storytellers spun the story that turned into Exodus, the most likely scenario is still that they started from some real experience.

Does that even matter, if the kernel of history was far less than the Red Sea drowning all Pharaoh's army? If it was really just a little group of escaped slaves breaking away in a storm, is that really any better than it all just being sheer fiction? If you're a literalist, No. Otherwise, maybe Yes.
What if fire is only the first of a million such things?
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Re: The Exodus Never Happened - Change My Mind.

Post by huckelberry »

bill4long wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 4:24 am
huckelberry wrote:
Sat Apr 23, 2022 1:43 am

YHVH has been remembered and held in high regard all across Europe, northern asia, middle east ,much of Africa ,and North and South America.

He most certainly made a name for himself even if that group of people leaving Egypt was much smaller than late much exaggerated reports held.
That's a nice apologetic, but the claims of the Exodus are not affirmed by any surrounding peoples in the Levant or anywhere else or dirt evidence, which would be in abundance. The sad truth is, the dirt evidence, and the historical evidence doesn't support a 2 million people Exodus meandering in the Sinai desert for 40 years, and then landing in the area of Canaan in some big splash invasion.

No reason to accept the story from a historical or archeological standpoint.

That's a problem for the literalists.

The Egyptians were the Big Dogs of the Levant in those days. Imagine people from El Salvador trying to beat the USA in a conflict for territory in New Mexico. It's just that ridiculous.

Fuggedddaboutid.

Put flesh and blood on the stories.

Follow the real dirt evidence. Accept what can be empirically proven. Sorry, the Bible story doesn't hold up.

Best regards,
Bill (Okay, my real name is Mike. Bill is my middle name. Love to all, Fine-Business Operator)
Bill4long, Apologetic but? Odd, I explicitly have stated I saw the story in the Bible as having crossed over to the area where fiction based upon received meaning or understanding as taken over the story telling. There was no conquest and it is likely a group from Egypt forming the original nugget of the story joined Canaanites settling in the hills leaving the coastal areas associated with Egyptian control.

I think I was about 12 years old when I realized (thank you science) that inerrant literal approach to the Bible was not realistic. It is true that I was not thinking of the exodus story at that time. I returned to valuing the Bible as an adult. At that time I expected the group of people leaving Egypt in reality to have been relatively small. Judges and the subsequent history in the Bible makes clear the conquest story is legend. Further study of the historical and archeological information being found certainly has added confirmation to that image.

More difficult for understanding the meaning of faith is the suspicion that the celebratory exaggerations in Exodus and Joshua have embedded a negative distortion into the message of the Bible. Perhaps I find it better to see a conflict of understandings that is both inescapable and unresolved. How to treat the destructive dimensions of oneself, people you are around, people in your own society as well as those troublesome neighbors.

The Bible is set up to invite consciously or not the idea that God proved he exists by the miracles of Exodus. Yet an adult view of this negates any proof here. It is the giant miracles which appear to not to of in fact happened.

I see the idea of God in the Bible as growing out of the very widespread human sense that there is a divine presence understood by people through a variety of images. If one is to look for revelation in the Bible it is located more in the questions and hopes expressed by the prophets. Well that plus the idea of freedom from slavery.
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