The Exodus Enigma
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BibArch Home Up 15th Cent. Exodus? Its Scope

There are, in essence, two basic ideas about the period in which biblical archaeologists date the events of the Exodus an early date and a late date. This chronological issue is probably the most troubling in terms of the history of Ancient Israel. Few biblical scholars doubt there was something called the Exodus but there is no consensus as to its nature. Many critical scholars are quick to reduce the significance of it. They tend to look upon the material in the Bible as being rather expanded by the retelling - sort of like the fish story that gets bigger and bigger. Perhaps most biblical scholars, if not all, would admit that at least a portion of the people called Israel were in Egypt and left in some fashion they, at least, deemed miraculous.

The early Exodus date is the 15th century BCE (ca. 1445) and the late date is the l3th century BCE. Advocates of the 13th century place it about 1260 or 1250 BCE. The latter placement depends on a shortening of the 40 years Israel spent in the wilderness. A date of 1250 rules out the 40 years (for reasons discussed later). Understanding why these two options exist requires an examination of basic approaches some scholars bring to the study of this particular matter (see The Bible as History). This should provide you with some idea of how their minds work. The chain of reasoning they employ has its basis in specific assumptions. While their reasoning can be quite logical and faithful, starting from a wrong assumption would make their whole argument worthless. This is, of course, the very situation here.

There is, therefore, the continuing discrepancy in the dating of the Exodus. How does one resolve the matter? As biblical archeologists we would suggest through both science and exegesis. We expect the scientific explanation and the exegetical explication to complement each other. Impossible? We shall see.

Page last edited: 09/08/10 07:28 AM

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