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 Post subject: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:16 pm 
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Hello all! I am new to the forums. I was directed here by Steve Ray, whom I contacted for help with a debate I am engaged in over at Catholic Answers Forums. My opponent makes the charge that the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt is unhistorical. Can anyone assist me? He posed me with this quotation- "Thus the “conquest” model derived principally from the book of Joshua, so promising in the beginning, is now seen to have fared rather badly in more recent research. We must conclude that as an overall model for understanding the origins of Israel, the whole notion of a literal “Exodus-wilderness wanderings-Conquest” episode is now unproductive and indeed detrimental, since it is challenged by current archaeological and historical research. The possible experience of some tribal elements in Egypt and Transjordan, or the scattered violence accompanying early phases of the settlement in Canaan, were undoubtedly minor factors... Today there are considerable data to support “non-invasion” models of the Israelite settlement in Canaan."
It comes from this article-
http://individual.utoronto.ca/mfkolarci ... stABD.html
Can anyone assist me with a rebuttal? Sadly, I know little to nothing on this particular topic: it is actually not the topic of the thread itself, but a side thing. Thank you! God bless you!


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:23 pm 
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The sad answer is that a person who wants to can find modern "scholarship" to debunk almost anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:26 pm 
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A slightly better answer: The Bible is in fact a written record, and treating it as false until proven true is contrary to the way any other historical document is treated. The archaeological evidence is that there isn't any, for or against, but what would you expect from a wandering desert people?


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:35 pm 
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Third answer, and probably the best: Put up or shut up. A vague handwave in the direction of "current archaeological and historical research" doesn't cut it. What research? Who did it? What evidence do they provide to support their conclusions?


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:43 pm 
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I don't mean to discourage you, but I honestly think it is best to avoid these kinds of conversations.

Archeological evidence, by its very nature, is very fragmentary and ambiguous. It would not be an exaggeration to say that what he have is only a fraction of a second fraction of a third fraction of a fourth fraction of a fifth fraction of the possible evidence.

The best that can possibly be hoped for is that the evidence will be such that you can say 'well, it is entirely consistent with the story in the Bible, but it's also consistent with 1,000 other possible things, so at least the evidence doesn't directly contradict the Bible.'

However, the standard of evidence required by skeptics is unreasonably, irrationally and unrealistically high. They basically demand that every single detail of every single story in the Bible be confirmed with absolute clarity, and they claim that if there is any ambiguity in the evidence, which there always will be, then the Bible has been 'disproved.'

Skeptics treat the Bible the same way that the IRS treats someone suspected of tax evasion: they are presumed guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent. In the same way, skeptics argue that every single statement is presumed false unless a Christian can prove that it's true.


And this is quite unlike the way that any other historical document is treated.

You've probably heard the expression 'to cross the Rubicon'. This means to make a decision which changes everything and is irrevocable. It refers to an event from the lifetime of Julius Caesar when the Roman Senate decreed that if he took his army across the Rubicon river into Rome, then he would be considered a traitor and it would be assumed that his intention was to lead an insurrection.

No one denies that this event happened. But did you know that it is not entirely clear just WHERE the Rubicon river was?

I mean, there is a Rubicon river just outside of Ravenna, but for centuries it wasn't entirely clear if this was the same river that was crossed by Caesar. Moreover, due to irrigation and changes to the course of the river over the last 2,000 years, no one is really sure just where the river was at the time of Caesar.


So even though the phrase 'crossing the Rubicon' has become a proverb, and no one really doubts that it happened, nevertheless scholars aren't completely sure just exactly WHERE it happened

But, imagine if the Rubicon river was mentioned in the Bible. Skeptics would be harping on the fact that no one is exactly sure just where the Rubicon river was as 'proof' that the river never existed and that the crossing of the Rubicon never happened.


That's the difference between the standard of evidence demanded of the Bible and other ancient documents. No one would ever say that just because we don't know exactly where the Rubicon was that therefore Julius Caesar never existed. But that is EXACTLY what scholars would be saying if the story of Caesar crossing the Rubicon was a story in the Bible.

Skeptics are dishonest, and no archeological proof you offer will ever be regarded as 'good enough' until it proves every single detail with absolute certainty, which obviously will never happen, because the archeological evidence is inherently fragmentary and ambiguous.


Last edited by Doom on Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:44 pm 
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^ This.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:42 pm 
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Thanks guys!
Doom, may I ask, how would you recommend I respond? The problem is that in this case I have already gotten myself into the conversation. And I did post that I would respond again, but that it was 1:25 AM and I had to go to sleep, which was true. I would absolutely hate to abandon the conversation now, and essentially let a false opinion prevail. That would not do God justice, nor would it lead my opponent to the truth.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:11 am 
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1CatholicTruth wrote:
Thanks guys!
Doom, may I ask, how would you recommend I respond? The problem is that in this case, I have already gotten myself into the conversation. And I did post that I would respond again, but that it was 1:25 AM and I had to go to sleep, which was true. I would absolutely hate to abandon the conversation now, and essentially let a false opinion prevail. That would not do God justice, nor would it lead my opponent to the truth.


I would respond by asking for documentation of where he is getting his information, and then by pointing out that the archeological record will always be incomplete and subject to interpretation, but this does not constitute a 'disproof' of the Bible.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:37 pm 
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http://abcnews.go.com/International/exo ... d=18068905

Link is an article suggesting a far smaller exodus, and noting the likely influence of an earlier Egyptian monotheistic pharaoh.

--------------
http://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/v ... ntext=auss

Link is a paper largely concerned with moderating the value ascribed to non-evidence, or the use of lack of archeological evidence to assert a theory.

-------------------
chrome-extension://gbkeegbaiigmenfmjfclcdgdpimamgkj/views/app.html

12/24/01 US News & World Report
The Fight for History
In the Holy Land, archaeology itself is a battleground. Will the Bible win out?
By Jeffery L. Sheler

Excerpt 1: THE EXODUS. As with the patriarch stories, there is no direct archaeological data to corroborate the biblical account of Hebrew slaves in Egypt, their release by a pharaoh after a series of plagues, or the existence of Moses. But that has not prompted the Bible's defenders to cede the field to the minimalists, who argue that the Exodus never happened. "Absence of evidence," says Kitchen, "is not evidence of absence."

Excerpt 2: The biblical details do "conform to the Canaanite experience of Late Bronze Age Egypt," says Baruch Halpern, a professor of ancient history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University. "There were Semites there (Egypt), there was forced labor, there was brick making, there was intense building activity under Ramses II." There were even reports in ancient Egyptian papyri of small numbers of runaway slaves fleeing into the Sinai desert. Though far short of proving the Exodus, some scholars argue, such evidence gives the story a ring of truth.

Excerpt 3: SETTLING THE PROMISED LAND. As the book of Joshua tells it, the Israelites took possession of the Promised Land swiftly and violently. After wandering 40 years in the Sinai wilderness, they crossed the Jordan River from the east and invaded Canaan, destroying city after city until the land was theirs. It is a story amplified--some say contradicted--in the book of Judges, where the settlement of Canaan is depicted as a long and arduous struggle marked by military and moral setbacks for the Israelites.
It is also a story that has not held up well under archaeological scrutiny. Citing a lack of evidence of sudden destruction at several key sites--such as Jericho and Ai, neither of which appears to have been occupied at the time--mainstream scholars for years have rejected the biblical description of a military conquest of Canaan. Instead, many now theorize that ancient Israel arose out of a gradual and generally peaceful infiltration, or perhaps as a result of internal social upheaval.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:57 pm 
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I agree with Doom.

And much of modern "scholarship" reflects modern ideology and entitlement. As in. when I assert that WWII in the Pacific was essentially a racist and unnecessary war against Japan, you must prove the contrary. And your evidence is unacceptable. And my evidence consists of a link to the Institute for the Racist War Against Japan, which cannot be challenged. Oh, if you refuse to respond, that proves my case. Well, if you do respond, it also proves my case.

Don't get into the mud pit.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:02 pm 
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Today's "assured results of scholarship" are tomorrow's "that theory is outdated."


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:03 pm 
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Highlander wrote:
Oh, if you refuse to respond, that proves my case. Well, if you do respond, it also proves my case.



This is a tactic commonly used by the militant atheists. If you ignore them, it is proof that they must have proved their case so conclusively that you can't even respond. If you respond, it is evidence that you must be worried that they are right because you felt moved to respond.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:37 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Today's "assured results of scholarship" are tomorrow's "that theory is outdated."

Enjoying the global cooling that was the growing consensus in the 1970's?


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:00 pm 
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There is a documentary on Netflix called patterns of exodus.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:42 pm 
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And it is about?


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:19 am 
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Highlander wrote:
And it is about?

Oh, I was going to say more but had to go. Primarily it is about the date of the exodus. It also has evidence for the event actually happening. It's an interesting and we'll made documentary, worth watching.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:57 am 
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Bombadil wrote:
Highlander wrote:
And it is about?

Oh, I was going to say more but had to go. Primarily it is about the date of the exodus. It also has evidence for the event actually happening. It's an interesting and we'll made documentary, worth watching.


Well, the specific event of the Exodus would be difficult if not impossible to prove thousands of years later. But one thing which has been noted by many historians is that a lot of the details in the account of the Exodus do closely match what is known about life in Egypt around that time.

For example, the plagues all sound very believable because they are things that tended to happen a lot in ancient Egypt, plagues of locusts, and grasshoppers were common problem, the river turning dark red like blood is something that happens pretty often as well, even the hail to fire was not out of the ordinary. The only thing that would be miraculous about them is that they started and ended on command by Moses, and that they afflicted the Egyptians but not the Hebrews. The only one of the plagues that sounds the least unusual is last one, the death of first born.

So, one could say that if the account was completely fictional, it was nevertheless written by someone with first hand knowledge of life in ancient Egypt. Given that Biblical scholars generally date the composition of the book of Exodus to around the year 500 BC, the fact that it contains so many accurate details about life in Egypt around the year 1290 BC (the traditional date of the Exodus) lends a degree of credibility to the account.


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:37 am 
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This is a late post but I have been away from the board for a while and I have been delaying writing this as it will take up time . I completely agree with Doom that the burden placed on proving these events is very difficult even when you encounter snippets of information, there are equal number of experts eager to disapprove them . As someone based in the Middle East I have traveled to the Holy Land , Jordan and Egypt . There is a very strong tradition in many places linking sites, artifacts to Biblical stories (there are also Islamic traditions which I'm mostly ignoring as they muddy the waters even more)

In Cairo , in the Egyptian Museum there is a special viewing room where the mummies are kept (additional entrance fees naturally) The guides showed us a mummy , who has his left hand extended (consistent with someone drowning and holding the reins of a horse!!) This is Ramses II , the Pharaoh of Exodus we were told . Tests have proven it conclusively blah blah blah . You will also find reams of authorship disproving it .

http://thecairopost.youm7.com/news/1422 ... rcher-says

In Petra , Jordan I was surprised to know that the locals refer to the Valley as "Wadi Al Musa" to date or Valley of Moses , somehow I had missed that in my research prior to going there and word of mouth information we received .

We saw this site
https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPho ... orate.html

We were also shown another site in the Valley which they claim is the actual rock (or there were two different places where Moses did this I can't remember now)

The Petra valley is a massive archaeological site which requires a couple of days at best . There are many small and big hills . We climbed one such summit which took 45 minutes . The guidebooks mention that the tomb of Miriam was known in earlier times , recorded in some history books including by Eusubius of Caesaria and was being venerated by the Crusaders . This tomb was atop one of the hills . Today it is lost and nobody knows where it is .

Eusebius of Caesarea wrote a dictionary of geographic places in 325 C.E. called the Onomasticon. Therein he locates Kadesh-Barnea in the area of Petra. “Kadea Barne. The desert which extends to (the city of) Petra a city of Arabia. There Mariam went up and died, and there the doubting Moses struck the rock to give water to the thirsty people. The tomb of Mariam herself is pointed out there even now” (Eusebius). Again, he didn’t have first hand knowledge of the location but he did have access to ancient documents and oral traditions that we no longer have access to.

http://robincohn.net/was-miriam-buried-at-petra/

Islamic tradition records a site in Petra as Aaron's tomb .

In Mount Nebo, there is a site called the Memorial of Moses . A large Basilica church was being built over the ruins of an ancient Byzantine church found there .(this might be completed now) From there you have an impressive panoramic view of the Dead Sea , the Holy Land and even the hills of Jerusalem . All consistent with the accounts of Moses glimpsing the Promised Land from afar . All Catholic monuments are in the Custody of the Franciscan Order . Even among these priests you will find skeptics and ardent believers that this is proven irrefutably .

And as always you will read both for and against theories . For instance many will question if this Mount Nebo is the same mountain as recorded in scripture .

Steve Ray conducts regular tours there so he will undoubtedly know many more such instances .

We don't need the discovery of the 'Pilate Stone' which now proves there was a Governor named Pontius Pilate to those who keep asking for proof about the happening's in the Gospels .


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 Post subject: Re: Defense of the historicity of the biblical exodus
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:57 pm 
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http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-ak ... lly-happen

this is a tidy little bit of historically proficient information. I like the way he makes use of the historicity of the topic being in sync with a tribe of people who truthfully represent them selves and their initial "people of origin" as slaves.


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