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Ice_nine

Did Exodus really happen?

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Ice_nine

As in, did the enslavement of Israelites in Egypt and the subsequent wandering in the desert actually happen in human history? Should the book be taken as historical, mythological, an epic, or what?

Apparently there's no archaeological evidence outside of Biblical text that indicates such an occurrence took place in ancient Egypt. And I know the Bible is the word of God and we're supposed to assent to it, but I've been troubled by this for some time.

I don't really buy into the excuse that Egyptians did not record the event because it was embarrassing to them. They were pretty meticulous record keepers by all indications.

Does Exodus have to be an historical event for the Christian faith to be valid? Jesus talks about it a lot in the gospels and His life and resurrection are in some ways entangled in the exodus story. Is there any way for Exodus to be figurative without falling into heresy?

I'm hoping some more knowledgeable folks can help me out. @Archaeology cat you're an Egyptologist right?

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CatherineM

Biblically, we think that Exodus is the oldest story in the bible. It would have originally been an oral story passed down. 

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Peace
8 hours ago, Ice_nine said:

As in, did the enslavement of Israelites in Egypt and the subsequent wandering in the desert actually happen in human history? Should the book be taken as historical, mythological, an epic, or what?

Apparently there's no archaeological evidence outside of Biblical text that indicates such an occurrence took place in ancient Egypt. And I know the Bible is the word of God and we're supposed to assent to it, but I've been troubled by this for some time.

I don't really buy into the excuse that Egyptians did not record the event because it was embarrassing to them. They were pretty meticulous record keepers by all indications.

Does Exodus have to be an historical event for the Christian faith to be valid? Jesus talks about it a lot in the gospels and His life and resurrection are in some ways entangled in the exodus story. Is there any way for Exodus to be figurative without falling into heresy?

I'm hoping some more knowledgeable folks can help me out. @Archaeology cat you're an Egyptologist right?

You believe that a man was born of a virgin, that a wafer is changed into God, but the Exodus presents a faith difficultly for you?

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PhuturePriest
14 hours ago, Peace said:

You believe that a man was born of a virgin, that a wafer is changed into God, but the Exodus presents a faith difficultly for you?

In fairness, the others are matters of faith, but the historical validity of this depends on human record. Which, yes, still requires some faith because it requires that you believe the record, but it is a different type of faith.

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Ice_nine
On 3/20/2017 at 11:46 AM, CatherineM said:

Biblically, we think that Exodus is the oldest story in the bible. It would have originally been an oral story passed down. 

But that doesn't explain why there are no records anywhere else, when the Egyptians were meticulous record keepers. Yet, as far as I understand it, there are no records of Israelites being in Egypt as slaves.

On 3/20/2017 at 8:02 PM, Peace said:

You believe that a man was born of a virgin, that a wafer is changed into God, but the Exodus presents a faith difficultly for you?

FP addressed this well. Also, one doubt leads to another. If a totally non-supernatural event supposedly happened in history (such as enslavement of a population) there should be a record of this. It becomes a little suspect when there is no corroborating evidence.

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dominicansoul

You'd be surprised by the ego of the Egyptians.  I mean, how many plagues and they still wouldn't budge?  

I wouldn't doubt they wanted to bury this history, it would make their kingdom look extremely weak, and Rameses wouldn't stand being looked upon as the idiot who let his slaves go free...

Speaking of burying, chariot wheels have been found at the bottom of the Red Sea, as well as human remains.  

 

Jewish people kept meticulous records themselves, it's called the Torah...

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CatherineM

Actually there is some evidence in Egypt. One is cave carvings in an ancient script that is a precursor to Hebrew crying out to God for help and release from slavery. The caves were outside the city Ramses built. 

The second is an inscription about a people called a different name that I can't remember right now that they believe referred to a group that evolved into or joined the Israelites. 

The ancient God of Middian was called Yaho which they think is the background of Yahweh. I suspect the number coming out of Egypt was much smaller than what we were taught, but the experience was so important it was repeated in oral history. 

The largest portion of Israelites were actually nomads settling down and refugees from the collapse of the city state system. In a way they were oppressed by the city state's elite. That experience also affected the story. 

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Ice_nine

Thank you @Maggyie. That makes a lot of sense. I know there's all sorts of methods and theories about interpreting history, and I guess it's easy to say, if this or that event didn't happen, then it must be reduced to allegory or symbolism, when perhaps there are other shades betwixt and between.

You da best.

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Amum

"You'd be surprised by the ego of the Egyptians.  I mean, how many plagues and they still wouldn't budge?  "

Yep, the non-existent plagues didn't move them 

"I wouldn't doubt they wanted to bury this history, it would make their kingdom look extremely weak, and Rameses wouldn't stand being looked upon as the idiot who let his slaves go free..."

Yeah, especially since he died. Also they wouldn't have need to bury this history because the country would be in ruins, during a time when it was prospering. 

"Speaking of burying, chariot wheels have been found at the bottom of the Red Sea, as well as human remains."

Nope, Ron wyatt didn't find that, because he was a fraud. 

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Norseman82
On ‎3‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 10:32 AM, Ice_nine said:

I don't really buy into the excuse that Egyptians did not record the event because it was embarrassing to them. They were pretty meticulous record keepers by all indications.

 

Please also remember that a lot of ancient records were lost when the library at Alexandria burned down. 

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Era Might
On 3/22/2017 at 1:02 PM, Maggyie said:

What I'm saying is, we don't have convincing evidence of ancient stories, up until the moment we do. And even when we do, that doesn't mean we are interpreting the evidence correctly. The likelihood that the brain actually manufactures some of what we experience as reality and history is pretty high in my opinion.

Reminds me of this Seinfeld scene, where George and Jerry discuss whether Moses picked his nose. George's reasoning is, Moses lived in the desert, he had to get itchy from all the dry air. Jerry's reasoning is, there was no Commandment against picking, so it had to be okay.

All history is story. And there are no new stories. They're all the same, just different ways of telling them. The Exodus is a primordial story, as is the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Gospel, etc. You can reduce any story down to a primordial story (and if you can't, it's not a well-told story). Messiah saves people. Boy meets girl. Evil ruler oppresses people. Girl becomes woman. Man faces death. The modern novel is "novel" because it takes people seriously as individuals...it tells story through the lens of individual experience, whereas primordial stories didn't care about individuals. Nobody cared whether Moses picked his nose or not, and they weren't "historians" in a modern sense. They were story-tellers. So are we (people talk "about" history all the time, but they're just using it to prop up their stories. When Trump says "make America great again" he's telling a story as old as Israel and Rome, decline and resurrection, destruction and rebuilding. There's nothing "historical" about his slogan, it's mythology (and propaganda -- the modern form of mythology).

All of us are living in myths. In America, we have a lot of myths, one being that America is the modern Israel, specially favored and protected and blessed by God. WWII was a sort of meeting of myths...the Jews died as a mythological people, Americans emerged as their successors. (For some, America's mission in the world is to restore Israel, literally, as a mythological people in the holy land). WWII was America's exodus, where America emerged as the savior of all the world and took its place at the head of all nations.

I don't know whether there was a literal Exodus. But that doesn't make the story any less true. Even if Moses did pick his nose.

 

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Kia ora
On 3/22/2017 at 1:24 AM, dominicansoul said:

Jewish people kept meticulous records themselves, it's called the Torah...

Right...that's not conflict of interest or anything. ;)

 

On 3/20/2017 at 3:32 PM, Ice_nine said:

Does Exodus have to be an historical event for the Christian faith to be valid?

I don't think Exodus has to be a historical event for the Christian story to be valid. Why would it?

Does Adam and Eve and the talking snake have to a historical event for the Christian story to be valid? Did God really make man out of clay and Eve out of his side?

Edited by Kia ora

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