The Exodus has become a core tradition of Western civilization. Millions read it, retell it, and celebrate it. But did it happen?
Biblical scholars, Egyptologists, archaeologists, historians, literary scholars, anthropologists, and filmmakers are drawn to it. Unable to find physical evidence until now, many archaeologists and scholars claim this mass migration is just a story, not history. Others oppose this conclusion, defending the biblical account.
Like a detective on an intricate case no one has yet solved, pioneering Bible scholar and bestselling author of Who Wrote the Bible? Richard Elliott Friedman cuts through the noise — the serious studies and the wild theories — merging new findings with new insight. From a spectrum of disciplines, state-of-the-art archeological breakthroughs, and fresh discoveries within scripture, he brings real evidence of a historical basis for the exodus — the history behind the story. The biblical account of millions fleeing Egypt may be an exaggeration, but the exodus itself is not a myth.
Friedman does not stop there. Known for his ability to make Bible scholarship accessible to readers, Friedman proceeds to reveal how much is at stake when we explore the historicity of the exodus. The implications, he writes, are monumental. We learn that it became the starting-point of the formation of monotheism, the defining concept of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Moreover, we learn that it precipitated the foundational ethic of loving one’s neighbors — including strangers — as oneself. He concludes, the actual exodus was the cradle of global values of compassion and equal rights today.
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About the Author
RICHARD ELLIOTT FRIEDMAN is one of the premier bible scholars in the country. He earned his doctorate at Harvard and was a visiting fellow at Oxford and Cambridge, a Senior Fellow of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Haifa. He is the Ann & Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia and the Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization Emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Commentary on the Torah, The Disappearance of God, The Hidden Book in the Bible, The Bible with Sources Revealed, The Bible Now, The Exile and Biblical Narrative, the bestselling Who Wrote the Bible?, and most recently, The Exodus. He was an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow and was elected to membership in The Biblical Colloquium. His books have been translated into Hebrew, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, Korean, and French. He was a consultant for the Dreamworks film The Prince of Egypt, for Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers, and for NBC, A&E, PBS, and Nova.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 History Recaptured 7
Chapter 2 The Mystery Of Egypt 25
How Do Two Million People Disappear?
Chapter 3 The Mystery Of Israel 85
What Did They Find When They Came There?
Chapter 4 The Mystery Of Midian 119
From Where Did God Come?
Chapter 5 The Mysteries Of Babylon 147
Chapter 6 The Mystery Of Judah 197
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Appendix A From Egypt To Midian 217
The Oppression in Egypt and the Revelation in Midian
Appendix B The Story According To Each Of The Main Sources Of The Pentateuch 225