No Exodus – no Judeo-Christian faiths?

53


Discussion by: godisnotgreat

One of the fundamental myths of Judaism – and therefore of Christian and Muslim faiths – is the exodus story. Unlike other myths (e.g. Jesus), this one can (and was) tested: hundred of thousands of people are supposed to have spent 40 years in a desert which was never heavily populated since. It is inconceivable that not a shred of evidence has remained. Yet – not one was ever found, and not for lack of trying.

I may be naive to assume that facts can change beliefs, but still: wouldn't this single fact enough to crumble the foundations of Judaism and the related faihts?

I can't see how you argue the exodus story is "symbolic"

53 COMMENTS

  1. I think debunking Genesis cuts more to the Xian foundation. But it’s a bit difficult to put the two stories on the scales and weigh to determine the silliest. I just don’t think, however, that whether the Jews were indigenous to Israel or hiked through the desert to slaughter their way home makes much difference.

    The 10 generally ignored suggestions are, of course, important to the faith but the whole story of JC hangs on original sin.

    What likely happened is a group of jews got tired of waiting for a messiah to let them into heaven and decided he had already come and gone 50 years before without anyone actually noticing. The Islamists were just too lazy to make up their own creation story and instead invented the cut-and-paste.

  2. I agree that there could not have been a single great exodus of 2,502,200 (calculated from Numbers ch. 1, vss 1-47), although there may well have been lots of mini-exoduses each time the nomadic Israelites of Arabia took refuge in Egypt whenever they suffered a famine, and migrated out afterwards, taking away with them the gold ornaments of their Egyptian neighbours.

    The great exodus of Moses (an Egyptian word meaning son-of, as in Ra’-Moses, Ka’-Moses, etc.), was unlikely, if not downright impossible, because that number was probably greater than the combined population of both Egyptian and Israelite nations at the time of the biblical Exodus.

    Not only that, but the waters of the Red (or Reed) Sea could not have been parted by a wind coming from the east, as this would have drowned Israelites and Egyptians alike. It could not have come from the west because that would have made Sinai too soggy to negotiate in sandals. The only alternative left is that the Israelite god must have sent a wind blowing downwards, and if the Red Sea at the point of crossing was no more than six feet deep, then a downward wind of 529 miles per hour is required to part the waters, but unless the Israelites were wearing rocket nose-cones for helmets, then the force of this wind would be 2,592 pounds-force on the head and shoulders of adult Israelites, the unladen weight of a BMW 320i.

    Not only that, but if the Israelite males that “came out of Jacob’s loins” were 70 (Exodus ch. 1 vs. 5), when he entered Egypt at the age of 130, and if the 70 males produced 2,502,200 by the time of the Exodus, after 432.17 years of sojourning in Egypt (Exodus ch. 12, vs 40), then at this rate of going forth and multiplying, the population of Jews on planet earth today must be close to 134 trillion, unless they started using aggressive contraception the day they left Egypt. When I consulted the Dean of Peterborough about god’s conundrum, he put me right by saying that in this case when the bible says a thousand, it doesn’t mean a thousand but an armed soldier, although the Dean (who doesn’t speak any Hebrew) didn’t explain how the biblical scribe managed to confuse “Alf” with “Aish Sva”.

    Not only that but if you look at the number of males in the Book of Numbers, you will find that 11 out of the 12 tribes are in multiples of 100 exactly, while the tribe of Gad is in multiples of 50. If you can work out the probability of throwing 12 dependently variable sixes in 12 tosses, then you can also work out that the probability against the biblical scribe telling the truth is ten billion to one.

    Not only that but it is a puzzle why the biblical god found it necessary to parachute down manna from heaven to starving Israelites when they had already killed 5 kings and every male and married female Midianite, taking 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cows, 61,000 asses, and 32,000 virgins (Numbers ch. 31 vs. 32). Why wasn’t Midian covered knee-deep in crap. Oy Veigh.

    There is more.

    • In reply to #2 by ZedBee:

      Great post – please keep the scholarship coming!

      I’ve never been interested in finding natural explanations for miracles eg the parting of the Red Sea. Firstly, it gives the impression we may actually believe such an event took place, but secondly, even if we could show how something happened or couldn’t happen through natural causes alone, it will cut no ice with the religious because it was a miracle. We may even inadvertently reinforce their faith. So I don’t even go there.

      But I could be wrong.

      • In reply to #7 by GPWC:

        Thank you GPWC, but there really isn’t that much scholarship in my contribution. All you need is a copy of the OT, pencil & paper, lots of patience, and try not to laugh so much while you are reading the biblical garbage that you drop your coffee mug on the keyboard.

        And of course you are right, those who have been infected by the virus of religion, whether plebs or patricians, will always skirt round the impossible by accepting it, brain dragging behind them on the floor, as a miracle. It is useless quoting Marcus Tullius Cicero who, more than 2000 years ago, gave us the final word on miracles:

        “There are no miracles; what was incapable of happening never happened, and what was capable of happening is not a miracle”.

        Those who scribed the “holy” books knew perfectly well that although their knowledge of the physical world was appalling, yet their audiences were even more ignorant than themselves, but if by chance some smartarse pointed out a fallacy in the scripture, then, like a jack in the box, out comes a “miracle”, and those foolish enough to persist with their “heresies” were soon dealt with by a stoning to death, a roasting on a cross, or a severance of the head.

        That was the norm 3000 or 2000 or even 500 years ago, but what on earth is the excuse for seemingly intelligent people nowadays for swallowing “holy” garbage, as if we never learned anything over the last 30 centuries?

    • In reply to #2 by ZedBee:

      but unless the Israelites were wearing rocket nose-cones for helmets, then the force of this wind would be 2,592 pounds-force on the head and shoulders of adult Israelites, the unladen weight of a BMW 320i.

      African or European? ;)

      But seriously, you didn’t do your research. You can always rely on CNN for that (did anyone tell them archeologists now believe the whole thing to be made up?)

      • In reply to #17 by godisnotgreat:

        In reply to #2 by ZedBee:

        Do African BMWs have trunks instead of boots?

        On a serious note, since the exodus is a badly made up story, and since there is no such thing as a god signing contracts, then why do we have to suffer the endless garbage about escaping slavery from Egypt, and the right of one bunch of Semites to take the country of another, because a non-existent and nameless god gifted it to them?

  3. Further there is no record of Moses in the Egyptian history. The Egyptians kept very good records of their royal families. There is no record of the exodus. There was thus no parting of the Red Sea. There was no Manna. There was no burning bush. So likely no golden calf either.

    That is quite a chunk of the Christian myth in shatters. Any God-fearing Christian would prefer to believe god sent angels with metal detectors and sieves to find all the detritus of the 40 years in the desert. Why would God do this? To test your faith in a book of anonymous authorship.

    This sort of thing causes me to loathe Christians. They choose to wallow in ridiculous lies. They have no shame.

  4. Well, if one tries a little, then exodus can be interpreted as leaving idolatory behind …. Though, of course, it does not fit in the whole story – Egypt, after all, is supposed to have been a place of a true physical misery.

    • In reply to #4 by ieva:

      Well, if one tries a little, then exodus can be interpreted as leaving idolatory behind …. Though, of course, it does not fit in the whole story – Egypt, after all, is supposed to have been a place of a true physical misery.

      Indeed! Earlier (Xtian?) historians – for reasons best known to themselves, portrayed the pyramid builders as slaves, rather than the elite artisans archaeologists have shown them to be!

      @ 2 – ZedBee
      The only alternative left is that the Israelite god must have sent a wind blowing downwards, and if the Red Sea at the point of crossing was no more than six feet deep, then a downward wind of 529 miles per hour is required to part the waters,

      It’s not quite the only alternative. There is next to no tide in the Red Sea or the Med, so that could not be the cause. However a tsunami would cause the waters to draw back and then rush in (possibly a very long way). There would of course be a geological record and probably a historical record of this, if it happened.

      Dates would indicate when this could have been added to the story.

      http://facts.randomhistory.com/tsunami-facts.html

      • 3 – Greek historian Thucydides (460–395 B.C.) in his History of the Peloponnesian War was the first to associate tsunamis with underwater earthquakes

      • 23 – Up to half an hour before a tsunami strikes, the ocean can (but not always) suddenly appear to drain away. The withdraw of the water is called the “drawback” and is the trough of the tsunami reaching the shore.

      • Crete-Santorini, Ancient Greece 1410 B.C. – [or according to different calculations on chart] -

      • 32 – Only two large tsunamis are known to have struck Europe: one struck Crete and surrounding Mediterranean coasts in 1530 B.C., and one struck Lisbon, Portugal in 1755.b

  5. I think the Exodus, as a myth, conveys a whole lot of meanings, which arguably resonate down to today. These include the idea of a divinely ordained, holy nation; the inferiority (and expendability) of other nations; the debt of that nation to God (ie, his priests); the idea that invasion and killing can be justified by the belief in being chosen – etc etc.

    So, Exodus has, I think, huge symbolic meaning (indeed, being a myth, it can hardly have any other). The strident proclamation of the ‘lessons’ from Exodus continue to work much mischief, with many predictable and bitter consequences in the Middle East and of course beyond, as’God’s kingdom’ taking many forms ie Christian and Muslim nations use the Exodus mythology to ‘justify’ atrocities as much as the Jews – if not more so.

    • In reply to #6 by MKBW:

      Wouldn’t it be stranger for the Egyptians to record a loss like this than to wipe it from their record books? How many cultures do you know regularly recorded their defeats in detail?

      I think the departure of 60% of the Egyptian population at the time wouldn’t go unnoticed:

      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. Numbers 1:46 gives a more precise total of 603,550 men aged 20 and up. The 600,000, plus wives, children, the elderly, and the “mixed multitude” of non-Israelites would have numbered some 2 million people,[ compared with an entire Egyptian population in 1250 BCE of around 3 to 3.5 million. Marching ten abreast, and without accounting for livestock, they would have formed a line 150 miles long.

    • In reply to #6 by MKBW:

      Wouldn’t it be stranger for the Egyptians to record a loss like this than to wipe it from their record books? How many cultures do you know regularly recorded their defeats in detail?

      Wouldn’t it be strange that none of Egypt’s enemies noticed one of the biggest social, economic and military disasters of all times? The pestilence and disease would have destroyed Egypt’s agriculture and killed many people. Killing the first born sons would have destroyed much of the military and political leadership of the country and the Red Sea would have finished what was left of the military. Then over half the population walked out of the country. Egypt should have been finished, yet nobody noticed and Egypt didn’t miss a beat. They might not want to record the defeat, but the record books and monuments would surely be full of praise for the pharaoh that engineered the greatest socio-economic and military recover in recorded history.

    • In reply to #6 by MKBW:

      Wouldn’t it be stranger for the Egyptians to record a loss like this than to wipe it from their record books? How many cultures do you know regularly recorded their defeats in detail?

      There is apparently no mention of Israel in all the many hieroglyphic writings in Egypt. Thinking that the Pharaohs went to all the trouble to chip away any mention of Jews (building the pyramids, for example, a notion so far without any record, either) is just another attempt to say how unique the Jews are: “See how important we were? The Egyptians erased all mention of us!” But let us forget Jewish claims to historical importance. Think instead of the absurd idea that a god that is supposedly everything, made more of everything: the creation myth! Just the opening sentences of the bible gives the game away, as early skeptics pointed out centuries before Christianity was formed to make money like the Jewish elders were doing. And, if a god COULD make more of itself, why would it? Being able to see through time and space (after creating the two things, of course!) this god would be able to know the outcome of anything it set in motion, so why bother? End of the story! Cheers!

    • In reply to #6 by MKBW:

      Wouldn’t it be stranger for the Egyptians to record a loss like this than to wipe it from their record books? How many cultures do you know regularly recorded their defeats in detail?

      Can you think of any example (any at all) of a known defeat being successfully expunged from history? And remember, it’s not only evidence of the exodus that’s missing, but any evidence that large numbers of Jewish slaves were there in the first place.

      More than that! There’s the death and loss of a Pharaoh!

      • In response to #49 by Pabmusic:

        “More than that! There’s the death and loss of a Pharaoh”

        Good point, Pabmusic. The author of Exodus knew perfectly well that if he mentioned the name of any Pharaoh, the tale would be exposed as fake. I have before me the names of Pharaohs from the earliest dynasty around 3200 BC until Egypt became a province of the Roman empire in 44 BC. None of them died chasing exodites. Nor is there in the annals of Egypt, ancient or modern, any hint of a mass migration, either into or out of Egypt.

        There is, however, evidence that some Israelites were in Egypt scrounging food during times of famine in north-eastern Arabia, the normal home of these nomadic tribes, One such evidence is an extant letter from an Egyptian lady to a friend, complaining that she was being pestered constantly by Asiatic nomads (Habiru) who wished to earn a few shekels selling their servitude for an agreed period of time, but the lady refused repeatedly because they wanted payment in advance.

        I can imagine, although I don’t have any evidence, that if the Israelites had conned many trusting Egyptian ladies by taking money in advance of servitude then disappeared into the night, the irate husbands might well have given them chase, but I can’t imagine any Pharoah would lead all his generals and the entire Egyptian army of spearmen, archers, and “chariots of fire”, to chase a few scrounging crooks.

        Perhaps it is this paid servitude that the author of Exodus called “Slavery in Egypt”. If it is then the Israelite god who wrought miracles to whisk them off with the loot, after taking the money and “borrowing” their benefactors’ gold ornaments (to cast a heifer in Sinai), must be an even bigger crook than the thieving Habiru. However, I can understand why ancient scribes would write fairytales, but I can’t understand why these fables, even today, are being rammed down our throats as if they were facts.

  6. ZedBee, there was a BBC programme a number of years ago (with one of the well known Newsreaders), and he said that the parting of the Red Sea is possible on the following basis:
    1. The actual word usually translated as “Red” Sea is actually “Reed” Sea, which was the name of a fairly shallow body of water (maybe 2ft at the most) north of the Red Sea.
    2. This are is known to have a regular Tsunami type event which causes the water to rush out and leave the area dry and then suddenly rush back in a flood the area to a depth enough to drown the Egyptians.

    This must be true as it was a bbc newsreader who said it (jk). I guess the question I had on that was “does the fact that Moses timed it so that he and all these Israelites were there at the right second, make it a miracle?”

    I’m not saying this is a good explanation – but just thought I’d throw it in.

  7. the old testement is like a fishermans tale that was left to fester. yes the fish got away, i can accept that. how big? well who know?

    was there an adam and eve? maybe. did they piss off their tribal leader? maybe. did they once live in a nice place and got themselves evicted? maybe. talking snakes, animals that didn’t kill each other, complete lack of other humans. sorry. no

    was there a flood? hell yeah, live close enough to the nile and you get one anually, not to mention the evidence to show climatic changes over the last 10000 years show that sudden floods covering previously dry land would happen, and people would likely comment on the spectacle. did the flood cover the planet? well no obviously. what’s more who said it did? noah? pretty poor sailor if seeing water up to the horizon leads him to assume there is no dry land. did noah exist? maybe. did he put some livestock on a boat? maybe. examples of every single species? don’t be silly.

    the old testament is what it is. a book written when writing became possible, about stories that predate literature. to be an honest christian, you have to accept it’s all “symbolic” at best then struggle with WTF the whole crucifixion business was meant ot be about.

  8. I think we’re past the point where the truthfulness of the biblical account would make much difference to these people’s convictions. As far as they’re concerned, you might as well tell them all their friends, family, and role models are made up of incompetents, gullible lemmings, and outright liars, and doing so would be just as good at convincing them. Their loyalty’s with their community, not with dispassionate historians.

  9. I would guess that many believers have never considered details like this, and if you suggested it to them would fail to see any connection between it and their religious faith today. A lot of believers are not even familiar with the old testament. In any case, faith is clearly not a logical thing so no arguments of this type would suffice to refute faith-based beliefs.

  10. Yes, thank you jimbobjim, I did see that BBC programme which partially covered the “miracle” of the crossing, keeping well away from the rest of the garbage. However, even in covering the crossing they had to move its location I wouldn’t dream of altering a word of god’s affidavit, who the heck does the BBC think it is changing his sworn testimony and coming up with designer miracles of its own.

    As far as I know the entire Egyptian army didn’t ride Chariots of Fire or Panzers or Humvees that might get stuck in reed, it was mainly composed of foot soldiers infinitely better practised at fighting battles under difficult conditions. That apart, the OT says that every single exodite crossed safely, with the Egyptian army hot on their heels, but the BBC programme never explained how it was that not one single one of a population the size of Greater Manchester, ever had to squat for a dump and be struck by a spear, an arrow’ or a slingshot.

    Often an apology is much worse than the original affront. That BBC programme was such an apology, with knobs on.

  11. I may be naive to assume that facts can change beliefs, but still: wouldn’t this single fact enough to crumble the foundations of Judaism and the related faiths?

    Not very likely. The acolytes will simply explain it away using Cognitive Dissonance, Special Pleading and “god-did-it”.

  12. Sorry guys, I could have saved us all some time if I’d just looked up The Exodus. Of course the story “may not have been intended to be historiographic, but the overall intent was historical according to the understanding of the ancient writers: to demonstrate God’s actions in history, to recall Israel’s bondage and salvation, and to demonstrate the fulfillment of Israel’s covenant”. This is probably because “[n]o archeological evidence has been found to support the Exodus, and most archaeologists have abandoned the investigation of Moses and the Exodus as ‘a fruitless pursuit’.” and that “[t]he consensus among biblical scholars today is that the story is best seen as theology, a story illustrating how the God of Israel acted to save and strengthen his chosen people, and not as history.”.

    Obviously, the same archeologists would sell their daughters (which would be within their rights although I can’t bother finding the right verse of deuteronomy to prove my point) to find a single shred of pottery in Sinai they can shoe-horn to the right period. Think of the media circus such a find would create – I can already imagine the History Channel special. Interestingly, that the Ten Commandments is no more real than The Planet of the Apes doesn’t seem to be newsworthy.

  13. In response to those who feel compelled to explain the parting of the Red Sea, consider that the Red Sea did not extend to the Mediterranean until the Suez Canal was completed. If there was an exodus, they only had to walk north until they reached the land bridge that was there all along.

    • In reply to #20 by Street Logician:

      True but…

      If the story-teller didn’t lie in his teeth but simply said that the refugees got exit visas from “Pharaoh” and left, then where is the miracle for future followers of the faith to marvel at?

      If the author was to tell the truth that the number of exodites was, say 25, instead of two and a half million, then where is the miracle?

      If the guy who composed the tale was to give the name of “Pharaoh”, wouldn’t he run the risk of some future busybody discovering that no such exodus ever happened during the reign of that “Pharaoh”?

      If the name of the Israelites’ progenitor had remained Jacob (Hebrew, Ye’Qov which means “Lame” or “Twisted”) instead of being changed by the creator of the universe to Israel (Hebrew, Yisra-El which means “He who arrested God”) then where is the message to all future generations and you and me not to mess with such people whose crippled father is mightier than the Almighty himself?

      I am afraid not, Street Logician. If “prophets” didn’t “prophecy” events that had already happened decades or centuries before their time, and if the scribes of “holy” books did the stupid thing of telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, then there wouldn’t be any miraculous religions invented by militant guys to rule the world. Isn’t that what it’s all about? This website is here partly to expose the lying crooks for what they are, and that is what we are doing.

  14. Long before you ever even arrive at Exodus, the 40-year nomadic mythos is discredited. Of course you’re not going to find a shred of evidence for a story that is entirely based on its chronological predecessor (Genesis). From the very beginning of its ‘lineage story,’ the family line has inexplicable injections: ‘Cain knew his wife…’ Where did she come from? Greater detail is given to the lineage that begins with Cain than to the source of Cain’s wife… The bible never mentions the birth of a single daughter, to Adam and Eve (presumably, the misogyny of the author finds it unnecessary)… Accuracy in historical content is obviously not a concern for the author of this unbelievably destructive book (bible, et al). By the time a reader reaches Exodus, they have already been asked to accept so much unbelievable hogwash, that the palette is numbed to the need for accuracy. However, if the reader is indeed gullible enough to swallow the first five chapters of Exodus’ chronological predecessor (Genesis), then nothing is illegal, and any logical argument can remain as effective as clapping with one hand…

  15. True, Street Logician, but don’t you think that pretending slavery and a miraculous escape is more convincing as a justification for murdering the natives and taking their land and property, than “Please Philistines, do you mind awfully if we came and lived with you?”

  16. Why would showing this myth to be a myth have any more affect on believers than showing every other important part of their myths are factually wrong? They have faith – what is real doesn’t enter into the equation for them.

  17. This bollocks has been tore apart on these pages on numerous occasions. When the most influential Rabbi in the USA, David Wolpe, has to admit, “the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all.”, then the yarn is in diffs. So…from there the whole house of cards is FUBAR’d. The OT is bollocks and by association, the NT is even bigger bollocks, End of story, all the rest is a theological two-step.

    Exodus bollocks

    More about the Exodus bollocks

    • In reply to #27 by Ignorant Amos:

      I am afraid it doesn’t work like that. For more than 3000 years, OT fabrications have been drummed as absolute truths into the heads of most people in the world, East and West, whether the fabrication is about Adam, Noah, or Moses.

      The myth of the creation of the first man (Adapa) was first told in the Babylonian “Enuma Elish” based on earlier Sumerian literature, and the story of the great flood was first told on tablet 11 of the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamish”. But it is the Gideon Bible that you find by your bedside in most hotel bedrooms in the West, not the Enuma Elish or the Epic of Gilgamish.

      After centuries of incessant propaganda, it is hardly surprising that more than 14 million Jews, 2100 million Christians, and 1500 million Muslims (UN census – 2005) have become accustomed to being grateful – whether they rationalise it or not – to a biblical god for creating their ancient father and for rescuing one chosen family and 4 billion species of animals from a universal flood. These stories are being drummed into the heads of children at school even today.

      Bollocks? Of course it is bollocks, and so also is bollocks the contract signed in Sinai by a nameless god to take away a country from one bunch of Semites and gift it to another, but with the power of propaganda even atheists who, presumably, don’t believe in any gods, suspend their incredulity and go along with the British Empire in 1917, and with the most powerful nation on earth today, that the Jews have a “right” to Palestine and that Israel has a “right to exist” as an exclusive home for Jews. A country named after the alleged father of 2,502,200 Israelites who, by a string of designer miracles, “escaped slavery in Egypt”.

      • In reply to #28 by ZedBee:

        I am afraid it doesn’t work like that.

        What doesn’t work like what? I was merely pointing out that the members here have addressed the folly that is the myth of the Exodus on this site quite a few times already.

        For more than 3000 years, OT fabrications have been drummed as absolute truths into the heads of most people in the world, East and West, whether the fabrication is about Adam, Noah, or Moses.

        I don’t disagree. But at least some are coming to terms with the fact that these stories are just that, stories…even esteemed Rabbi’s. Francesca Stavrakopoulou has covered these myths in a number of television documentaries and books. It is only by showing myths that until recently have been seen as history that this nonsense will go the way of Roman, Greek or Norse mythologies.

        The myth of the creation of the first man (Adapa) was first told in the Babylonian “Enuma Elish” based on earlier Sumerian literature, and the story of the great flood was first told on tablet 11 of the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamish”.

        You mean the first written down record of such tales surely?

        But it is the Gideon Bible that you find by your bedside in most hotel bedrooms in the West, not the Enuma Elish or the Epic of Gilgamish.

        Not so much these days.

        “But a growing number of hotels are opting not to allow the placement of Gideon Bibles, according to an article in Newsweek magazine.”

        Why is that do you think?

        “Such hotels say society is evolving and a younger, hipper generation has no interest in the Bible. They also say they would have to cater to a variety of belief systems and could not single out Christianity.”

        From little acorns and all that jazz.

        After centuries of incessant propaganda, it is hardly surprising that more than 14 million Jews, 2100 million Christians, and 1500 million Muslims (UN census – 2005) have become accustomed to being grateful – whether they rationalise it or not – to a biblical god for creating their ancient father and for rescuing one chosen family and 4 billion species of animals from a universal flood. These stories are being drummed into the heads of children at school even today.

        Again, not so much so these days…I read this in the Daily Record last night…

        Parents’ outrage as extremist US religious cult hand out creationist books and preach to kids at Scottish school

        “The membership of the chaplaincy team is being considered, as is the role church groups play in school life.”

        “All our schools acknowledge the Christian tradition and encourage young people to engage with and explore a wide range of beliefs and religions.”

        Religion being taught to youngsters is not bad per se, it’s how they are being taught the religion that is causing the problems, but headway is being made.

        Role of religion in education discussed in public debate

        “Professor Richard Dawkins told the audience that there was a dichotomy between learning about and from religion in RE. He said that he favoured pupils learning about RE, as this helped make them become religiously literate, which was vital to ensure they could understand aspects of their and other people’s culture.”

        “However, he opposed schools making pupils learn from religion and registered his displeasure at how through faith schools society helped to support parents try and press upon their children their own beliefs, as well as to divide children on religious lines. He highlighted how society did not do this when it came to parent’s political or philosophical beliefs.”

        Bollocks? Of course it is bollocks, and so also is bollocks the contract signed in Sinai by a nameless god to take away a country from one bunch of Semites and gift it to another,…

        Well, there is another hypothesis that may well give those Semites even greater legitimacy to be where they are…

        “The Land of Canaan (called the Promised Land in the Hebrew Bible) was not taken over by conquest as described in the Book of Joshua – rather, the Israelites actually might have been Canaanites who migrated into the highlands and created a new identity for themselves.”

        “According to Rabbi Wesley Gardenswartz: “Conservative Judaism is fully accepting of the type of scholarship featured in this documentary.”

        …but with the power of propaganda even atheists who, presumably, don’t believe in any gods, suspend their incredulity and go along with the British Empire in 1917, and with the most powerful nation on earth today, that the Jews have a “right” to Palestine and that Israel has a “right to exist” as an exclusive home for Jews.

        How is it suspending incredulity? Why is 1917 the big landmark year? I don’t see the immigrant nation that is the US bursting a gut to hand the land back to the native American or the southwestern territory back to Mexicans, nor do I see the immigrant Australian nation in a hurry to give the Aboriginal back control of the land…and so it goes for just about any country you choose to mention. How far back is one to go? Is every country usurped from older indigenous inhabitants to be given up?

        I’m less concerned with the mythical reasons for rights of folk to exist as opposed to them having those rights. The fact is, the Jews are there, the state of Israel is there. What is to be done about it in your opinion? Bearing in mind that…

        “The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees absorbed by Israel from Arab countries is estimated to be the same.”

        …and Jews are not welcome in Arab countries.

        Anyway…none of this is relevant to whether the Exodus is based on an historical event or not, regardless of all the supernatural mumbo jumbo connected to the story. It is evident that, as you say, myth is concocted around older campfire stories, the events in that region subsequent to the stories being invented are academic to whether there is any virtue in the story.

        • Ignorant Amos:

          I see no reason to alter a single word I posted.

          I don’t wish to give a lecture on the 1917 Zionist conference.

          I don’t want to discuss the Balfour declaration.

          I don’t want to quote the US Secretary of State on vetoing every UN resolution against Israel.

          I don’t want to speculate on the ethnicity of the Jews.

          I don’t know what to do with the Jews already in Palestine.

          I don’t know what to do if you stole my motorbike with no cops around willing to take it back.

          I don’t want to tell you that there has been a home for Jews outside Palestine since 1934.

          If you don’t see a connection between an exodus and Palestine, then I can’t help you.

          If you are an atheist and still think the Jews have a contract with a god for Palestine, Jeez.

          If you can’t understand the power of propaganda, then there is little left to debate.

          There is more, but this will do for now. I am off for a coffee and a chocolate biscuit.

          • In reply to #32 by ZedBee:

            I see no reason to alter a single word I posted.

            I never asked ya to, nor do I care. At least have the decency to reply to my request for clarification on “I am afraid it doesn’t work like that”….what doesn’t work like what?

            I don’t wish to give a lecture on the 1917 Zionist conference.

            I never asked ya to, nor do I care. I don’t think I’ll be taking lectures from you of all people in any case.

            I don’t want to discuss the Balfour declaration.

            I never asked ya to, nor do I care.

            I don’t want to quote the US Secretary of State on vetoing every UN resolution against Israel.

            I never asked ya to, nor do I care.

            I don’t want to speculate on the ethnicity of the Jews.

            I never asked ya to, nor do I care.

            I don’t know what to do with the Jews already in Palestine.

            Something you might want to consider before going any further don’t you think? Typical I suppose.

            I don’t know what to do if you stole my motorbike with no cops around willing to take it back.

            Huh? WTF are you on about?

            I don’t want to tell you that there has been a home for Jews outside Palestine since 1934.

            I never asked ya to, nor do I care.

            If you don’t see a connection between an exodus and Palestine, then I can’t help you.

            I don’t care about the connection. It has no bearing on my original comment which have decided to use as a shoehorn for the ubiquitous Arab/Jew debate that are all over these pages. My original comment was that the subject of the veracity of the Exodus yarn has been debated with religious apologists on this site extensively, which it has. You are the one trying to inject another dynamic into my original comment. Straw men and non sequiturs abound.

            If you are an atheist and still think the Jews have a contract with a god for Palestine, Jeez.

            Where did I say that? You are just making stuff up now. Poor form.

            If you can’t understand the power of propaganda, then there is little left to debate.

            Ditto…I’m not sure what propaganda you are referring to, but ditto all the same. Incidentally, I wasn’t intent on engaging in any debate on the legitimacy of the Jews to live in Palestine, that was your beef. What it has to do with my original comment is any ones guess.

            There is more, but this will do for now. I am off for a coffee and a chocolate biscuit.

            I’m not interested. Go build your straw men to demolish with someone else if it makes you happy. Enjoy your coffee and choccy biscuit, after addressing your comments, I require something a bit stronger.

  18. The whole section of Moses from Exodus to the walls of Jericho is a rip of the Sumerian Epic; Sargon of Akkad.
    In short Sargon is found abandoned as a baby in a basket at the gates of the Akkadian palace, is taken in and raised by the King of Akkad as if he were his own son. Sargon later rebels against his adopted father, deposes him and goes on to conquer the first Empire, defeating the other Sumerian city-states with each victory being marked by his army circling the city blowing horns whilst the city walls are demolished.
    http://www.krysstal.com/display_biography.php?name=Sargon%20of%20Akkad

  19. Quite right Mr Green, the saga of “Moses in the basket” sounds – as far as the absent father (hence Moses, meaning “son of”) and the reed basket covered in pitch are concerned – rather similar to the story written by the hand of Sargon the Great (Akkadian Sharu-kin, which means “Rightful King”) who unified Sumer and Akkad in 2371 BC, about a thousand years before the alleged birth of Moses.

    His tablet is broken in parts, but here is part of it, according to one translation. There are longer translations but this will do, lest it bores the readers:

    Sahru-kin, king of Akkad am I

    My mother was a priestess, my father I knew not.

    My city is on the Euphrates.

    My mother conceived me, and in secret she bore me.

    She set me in a basket of reeds, which she sealed with bitumen.

    She cast me into the river which did not rise over me.

    The river carried me to Akki, the drawer of water.

    Akki, lifted me out of the river. He took me as his son.

    I worked as a gardener, and Ishtar granted me her love.

    I exercised kingship.

    The Salmat-qaqadi (black headed people) I ruled.

    The sea lands I traversed three times.

    Dilmun (Bahrain) I captured.

    (There is nothing in Sargon’s biography about the sky raining frogs, or manna from heaven, or the parting of the Persian Gulf to lead two and a half million Sumerians out of slavery in Kuwait).

    Where Jericho is concerned, the findings in 1958 of archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon have now been accepted by all except the gormless, that the walls of Jericho were destroyed by earthquakes seventeen times throughout the city’s history. After the 17th and last earthquake, the inhabitants abandoned their city for a safer location, leaving it to the jackals, some 1000 years before the alleged Joshua was born. Is there no end to biblical lies and fabrications.

    Presented with these conclusions, a prominent Israeli archaeologist (who digs with a spade in one hand and a copy of the Old Testament in the other), agreed that the final destruction of Jericho’s walls was by an earthquake, not a tin whistle, as long as the earthquake is named Joshua.

    • In reply to #31 by ZedBee:
      True this isn’t the place to look for tales of talkative shrubbery, but it does highlight the point that the Jewish scripture is plagiarized from earlier sources.
      As to the effect of debunking Genesis, it depends on the christian, Catholics wouldn’t bat an eyelid whilst Baptists may go into some sort of rage.
      Another point with Exodus is the question of the stone tablets and what they were written in given that the first alphabet (Phoenician) wasn’t invented till half a millennium after the supposed events.
      Though to be blunt I haven’t come across any bona fide archaeology that doesn’t directly contradict the biblical account till after the Macedonian conquest. Specifically the desecration and burning of the polytheistic temples and shrines across what is now Israel.
      Of course none of this is likely to have any effect on a believer.

      • In reply to #33 by Mr Greene:

        True, this is not the place for it, but you are right about the bush, the stone, and the biblical plagiarism (mostly by Ezra in exile near Babylon after Nebukhednesser’s invasion of Palestine in 597 BC), but I would like to add – for the sake of clarification – that although the first script was Sumerian phonetic cuneiform which dates back to 3500 BC, the first cuneiform alphabet was Ugaritic (not Phoenician) which dates back to the 14th century BC, about the time of the alleged career of Moses.

        Where biblical “history” is concerned, there is an Assyrian tablet which refers to Omri (a king in Samaria 887-874 BC) where that part of the world was known to the Assyrians as “Beit Omri”. What is strange is that there are no references in Sumerian, Babylonian or Assyrian literature, despite the quarter of a million cuneiform tablets unearthed so far, about such great heroes as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David or Solomon, not even in Egyptian literature, although there are some references to Hittites, Elamites, Hurrians, Mitanni, Medes, Scythians, Kushites and Edomites. We had to wait for Josephus to provide the “Antiquities of the Jews” from the creation of the universe in 3761 BC until his death circa 100 AD. But Flavius Josephus was himself a Romanised Jew that some consider to be the third biggest liar in history, after Ezra and Herodotus.

        • In reply to #38 by ZedBee:

          IIRC there is an Egyptian tomb of a minor noble ( Ankhtifi) dating to the First Intermediate Period (circa 2100 BCE) which describes the Nile as being “like blood, yet still people drink it.” The description also refers to internecine warfare and possibly acts of cannibalism as Egyptian society collapsed. This all seems to be connected to a long term drought in the region.
          In my experience ration argument has little or no effect, wheras emotional argument will often yield better results when “debating” with believers.

          • In reply to #40 by Mr Greene:

            You have me at a disadvantage there, Mr Green…

            For the First Intermediate Period, when there was great political instability in Egypt, I have the names of 8 Pharaohs in Dynasty VIII (2160-2150 BC), 9 Pharaohs in Dynasty IX (2150-2135) and 4 Pharaohs in Dynasty X (2135-2080), but Ankhtifi is not one of them. After some investigation all I can come up with is that he was probably the father of either Pharaoh Nefer-Ka’-Ra’ II or Nefer-Ka’-Ra’ (Neby) or Nefer-Ka’-Ra’ (Khendu) of Dynasty VIII, but not a Pharaoh in his own right. Perhaps his son gave him a piece of Egypt to govern during his lifetime, and a decent burial afterwards.

            I agree with you that during a famine starving people get up to all sorts of horrid things, an example of that is the Samaritan woman who boiled her son and shared him with her neighbour, but the following day her neighbour hid her son and refused to cook him (2Kings ch. 6 vs. 29).

            However, it seems to me that the First Intermediate Period, despite the Egyptians drinking blood-like Nile water, is rather remote from the supposed Exodus, as the description of the other calamities (if the OT is to be believed, albeit with a pinch of salt the size of Ben Nevis) seems to be more likely associated with the eruption of Santorini (Thera) sometime in the middle of the second millennium BC.

            You are also right to say that few believers can be won over with rational arguments; nevertheless, it should be a tad more difficult for them to argue against maths and physics :)

          • In reply to #41 by ZedBee:

            In reply to #40 by Mr Greene:

            You have me at a disadvantage there, Mr Green…

            For the First Intermediate Period, when there was great political instability in Egypt, I have the names of 8 Pharaohs in Dynasty VIII (2160-2150 BC), 9 Pharaohs in Dynasty IX (2150-2135) and 4 Pharaohs in Dynasty X (21…

            Ankhtifi wasn’t a Pharaoh, rather he was a minor noble (Nomarch of Hieraconpolis), one of his titles is Prince so maybe a lesser son of a Pharaoh but obviously he doesn’t appear in the list of kings. He may have been contemporary with Mentuhotep I.

  20. Ah, the power of myth ! Yes of course the exodus was a fictional event. The fact that it has been incorporated into the Bible does not surprise me. As far as I’m aware, no biologist has ever found a “great fish” in which a man could survive for three days. There is no corroberating evidence that Jaweh held up the sun for a day so that Joshuah and his bloodthirsty supporters could continue with their slaughter of their enemy. Unfortunately for the authors of the Bible, the Chinese were avid sky watchers and made no records of such an extraordinary event. The talking snake, the Flood, the virgin birth, the walking on water and all the other cobblers in the Bible, are glossed over by the believers, or most of them, as metaphors, allegories and the like. It’s autumn nearly and fruit picking time for the believers ! Glory be to God for the harvest, and the people who actually grew the crops can feel humble and grateful to Him ! So so many myths.

    I am reminded of the late great detective Sherlock Holmes of 221 B Baker Street, London. The great man has barely left this earthly vale of tears just over 100 years ago, and a thriving industry of Holmes’ memorabilia has sprung up. Whole societies discuss the stories of the great man’s achievements. There is even a Sherlock Holmes museum in Baker Street (wrong address), with a model Victorian policeman outside. Surely all this could not be based on pure fiction ?

    As to the Robin Hood museum in Nottingham, – please spare me !

  21. I don’t think we even need to go to Exodus, though it is true that there is absolutely no evidence to support even a whit of the events mentioned.

    Genesis is riddled with stories that have no evidence, beyond the multiple creation stories and the incestuously inaccurate society building. No evidence for the Ark, the tower of Babel, the creation of Israel as mentioned in it, the struggle Jacob has with the angel, any of the people living ridiculously long lives, Enoch being taken into Heaven without seeing death…none of this is either provable or has any archaeological evidence to support it.

    It has been mentioned several times that obviously evidence has no bearing on people who take such fantastical stories on faith (ironic that the Jews themselves don’t take the stories literally, and they wrote it). But I’d be more interested in finding out if there is any part of the bible that has any archaeological evidence to back it. We could be here for days documenting the stuff that can’t be proven or simply never happened.

    Clearly the book is a work of fiction, but are any of the stories based on any events that happened?

  22. I’ve been watching Simon Schama’s “The Story of the Jews” series on BBC. In Episode 1 Schama is shown celebrating Pesach (Passover) based on the Exodus story. He emphasizes how the symbolism of the Pesach celebration is of key importance to Jewish identity and goes on to state that “you don’t have to accept the literal truth of the bible to believe that something extraordinary and fateful happened 3,300 years ago”. I’m sure Schama knows that the Book of Exodus is not historical narrative nevertheless he clearly believes the story is crucial to Jewish identity. Unfortunately modern historical evidence which clearly shows that the events did not occur, no matter how convincingly presented, cannot compete with centuries of tradition and ritual when these people have their identities so deeply rooted in them.

    • In response to #43 by Chaerephon:

      Thank you for your comment on Schama’s TV programme. I didn’t watch the BBC “Story of the Jews”, and wouldn’t believe a word of it whether told by the Jew Simon Schama or the Christian Joseph Goebbels or the Muslim Salman Rushdie, for they all have their own agendas, axes to grind, and chips on both shoulders. Nor do I find it necessary to hear interpretations and reinterpretations of the autobiographies of the Jews which are before us, called the Old Testament and both Talmuds.

      As a matter of interest, did Schama care to mention that none of the two and a half million exodites, the youngest must have been forty years old plus one day, were allowed by their god to set a foot in the “promised” land, except two, namely Shamgar and Joshua, the first to slay 600 Philistines with an ox goad, and the other to knock down the walls of Jericho which had already been destroyed by an earthquake a thousand years before he was born.

      It seems perverse that the Western media need to keep laying down sympathy for the Jews with a trowel. Contract with a god or not, they now have firmly in their hands the land of Palestine as well as the minds, pockets, propaganda machines, and the politics of the West including the most powerful nation on earth. What other icing do they want on their cake?

      • In reply to #44 by ZedBee:
        Indeed, the biblical account is quite clearly pure fiction. If these silly stories and tall tales were just trotted out over family dinners to entertain the kids then there would not be a problem. They must be challenged though when they are used to support land grabs, oppression, ethnic cleansing and conflict. I’m pretty sure though that a simple presentation of the facts is not going to be enough to convince many believers.

        • In reply to #45 by Chaerephon:

          At the risk of digressing from the topic too much, I would like to add that I have never known anyone or any state or any group of privileged people that ever had enough icing on their cake, be they peasants, bankers, crooks, or empires. The danger is that when others have had enough evil done against them, the retribution is often grossly disproportionate to the original sin, and often includes innocent bystanders who had little or nothing to do with the injury. It seems to me that no one ever learns anything from history except the wrong lessons.

      • In reply to #44 by ZedBee:

        In response to #43 by Chaerephon:

        Contract with a god or not, they now have firmly in their hands the land of Palestine as well as the minds, pockets, propaganda machines, and the politics of the West including the most powerful nation on earth.

        The above are just the facts that no one can contest (ZedBee just explained, didn’t he)? The only question left is:

        What other icing do they want on their cake?

  23. Amen to that (haha). And there seems to be no evidence they were held as slaves in Egypt: you can’t leave a place you’ve never been. Egyptians were big record keepers, but there seems to be nothing about this whole episode. And you would think all those plagues, deaths of first borns all over the country would at least warrant a footnote. I am currently reading the bible, and it is amazing in the extreme why anyone would believe this let alone use as a model for living.

  24. Never heavily populated since !!!!!! They were nomads and know how life in those circumstances, rather than that there are now living in more difficult places much of the land of Sinai

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