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March 17, 2016

Comments

Hi Brett,

I trust you are doing well. I watched just one of the many videos, the very last one, Is It OK to Question the Bible? It is well done and the obvious answer before even viewing the video is yes, it is ok. However it included a segment about how archelogy has confirmed the Bible accuracy which is not true. The video selectively chooses some names and places that archelogy can confirm to be true. However many books such as the Da Vinci Code accomplish the same thing, it mentions people and places that are historically accurate but nonetheless includes historical and scientific inaccuracies. A person can also make a similar case for the Quran because it mentions people and places that are historically accurate but I doubt you believe the Quran is the word of God.

More important however than names and places, archelogy has for the most part undermined the reliability of the Bible. The Exodus for example has been highly criticized. Two Israeli archeologists (Can’t think of their names at the moment but they wrote a book about it) spent about 10 years looking for evidence for the Exodus and found none. They had every reason to find something as a means of establishing Israel’s right to their “homeland” yet came to the conclusion that Israelis in the region were a splinter group form the Canaanites and not a result of the Exodus story.

Here is just a short quote from rational wiki….
“Despite being regarded in Judaism as the primary factual historical narrative of the origin of the religion, culture and ethnicity, Exodus is now accepted by scholars as having been compiled in the 8th–7th centuries BCE from stories dating possibly as far back as the 13th century BCE, with further polishing in the 6th–5th centuries BCE, as a theological and political manifesto to unite the Israelites in the then‐current battle for territory against Egypt.[3]
Archaeologists from the 19th century onward were actually surprised not to find any evidence whatsoever for the events of Exodus. By the 1970s, archaeologists had largely given up regarding the Bible as any use at all as a field guide.”
So the one video I watched was only a “sales and marketing” campaign and you would think Christians would take objective truth seeking more seriously.

Michael,

http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2011/06/evidence-for-the-exodus.html

I looked over the article the link leads to and all of the content is explained without the Exodus or is refutable which brings to mind a radio show I heard a while ago. I missed the beginning so I don’t know the context in which it was given but the program was presented by two guys proving the earth is flat. I’m guessing they were illustrating how easy it is to assemble “proofs” regarding something that is not true, although that is only a guess and it is possible they were serious. Its been a while so my main recollection is it left me smiling. The point I’m leading up to is that Christians generally do not study in a manner that leads to unbiased and honest conclusions. Christians, generally speaking, will when challenged run to an apologist website or book to reassure their faith, understandably. However some do eventually get to the point in life when they just want to know the truth and when you get there you will study the best arguments for and against the reliability of scripture. You can always selectively filter your data that supports your position; nearly everyone does especially when it comes to religion and politics. I don’t know where you live but I’m fortunate enough to live in the USA where information is readily available and to squander the opportunity of learning and growing in understanding is not something to be taken lightly. Put aside your tribalism and pursue truth.

Michael,

Your comment leaves us with nothing of substance to respond to. You assert that the link I provided can be refuted and then you assert that Christians don't look honestly at the facts.

What does your comment actually accomplish for a dialogue? Nothing. It gives no argument and makes no uncontroversial claim among your audience.

Here's how the comment section would look if Michael had a Christian counter-part:

Michael: You're wrong and you're dishonest.

St. Michael: No, you're wrong and you're dishonest.

Michael: No, you are.

St. Michael: No, you are.

Unfortunately to go through the article and explain how to interrupt the data in light of the Exodus myth is time consuming and would be like writing a book and since I’m a CPA and its tax season I just can’t do it. Please note that all you did was link to an article and then ask me to rebut it without addressing any real issues I mentioned. If you want a quick tidbit here you go…. You can see the entire article on wikepedia with references to support the information.

Numbers and logistics[edit]
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.[19] Numbers 1:46 gives a more precise total of 603,550 men aged 20 and up.[20] It is difficult to reconcile the idea of 600,000 Israelite fighting men with the information that the Israelites were afraid of the Philistines and Egyptians.[21] The 600,000, plus wives, children, the elderly, and the "mixed multitude" of non-Israelites would have numbered some 2 million people.[22] Marching ten abreast, and without accounting for livestock, they would have formed a line 150 miles long.[23] The entire Egyptian population in 1250 BCE is estimated to have been around 3 to 3.5 million,[24][22] and no evidence has been found that Egypt ever suffered the demographic and economic catastrophe such a loss of population would represent, nor that the Sinai desert ever hosted (or could have hosted) these millions of people and their herds.[25]
Some have rationalised the numbers into smaller figures, for example reading the Hebrew as "600 families" rather than 600,000 men, but all such solutions have their own set of problems.[26] The most probable explanation is that 600,000 symbolises the total destruction of the generation of Israel which left Egypt, none of whom lived to see the Promised Land,[27] while the 603,550 is a gematria (a code in which numbers represent letters or words) for bnei yisra'el kol rosh, "the children of Israel, every individual".[28]
Archaeology[edit]
A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has found no evidence which can be directly related to the Exodus captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness,[29] and archaeologist generally agree that the Israelites had Canaaniteorigins.[30] The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains are in the Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite.[31] Almost the sole marker distinguishing the "Israelite" villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether even this is an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.[31]


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/staks-rosch/the-biblical-exodus-story-is-fiction_b_1408123.html


Beside you don’t need me if you want to find the truth just read without fear. Here is a good start:

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Ashersilberman

Michael,

If you're short on time, you can spare us and yourself the armchair psychologizing of Christians since it's nothing more than a bald faced assertion that won't be swallowed by anyone other than the atheist choir. You're overconfident in your ability to read motives and between the lines of what Christians actually say. For instance, you claim that I asked you to rebut the article that I linked to. I clearly did not ask you to rebut the article I linked to. My thinking, in linking to the article, was only that there is more than one side to your assertions about Exodus.

Now you copy and paste a block of text from a wikipedia entry on Exodus and you pretend as if Christians are hiding from this information out of fear. In fact, all the standard commentaries on the Bible mention the problem that the text, prima facie, represents. And a few years ago, when my Sunday school teacher was going through Exodus, he mentioned the problem to the class. So I'm not sure where you get the impression that Christians are afraid of facing this issue, but it's certainly not from you being familiar with Christian literature.

Anyway, there are possible solutions to the problem: https://www.scienceandchristianbelief.org/serve_pdf_free.php?filename=SCB+12-1+Humphreys.pdf

Our knowledge of the ancient world through archeology is also rather tenuous. For instance, were it not for the fact that the pyramids still exist, I doubt any historian or archeologist would believe that it was even remotely possible that ancient Egyptians could have built the pyramids. Had they only read about them in some ancient document, the document would be dismissed, like the exodus, as a fiction.

Thus, the idea that a lack of evidence for the Exodus undermines the Bible is overly optimistic, to say the least.

Sir,

you can always come up with possible explanations thus my story about the flat earth. The pursuit is for the truth and I'm not "optimistic" nor pessimistic in regards to this issue.

In my above post it mentions the possibility of translating the Hebrew differently so you come out with a much lower number but maybe you skipped parts of my post? It also mentions there are some problems with such an explanation. Your PDF link is using the translation of the Hebrew word elef argument which is not widely accepted because......

Below is a cut an paste

And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand (elef) men on foot, beside children.

or in Hebrew:

וַיִּסְעוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵרַעְמְסֵס, סֻכֹּתָה, כְּשֵׁשׁ-מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף רַגְלִי הַגְּבָרִים, לְבַד מִטָּף

A different definition of elef is proposed here. Namely the definition that appears in Gen. 36:40-43

36,40 And these are the names of the chiefs (alufei) that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names: the chief (aluf) of Timna, the chief of Alvah, the chief of Jetheth...

The word aluf (אַלּוּף) has the same root as elef (אֶלֶף) mentioned above. The proposition is that this is the true meaning of the word, it means groups or families, not thousands. Exod 12:37 is actually referring to 600 families that left Egypt, which would certainly be believable historically, although it would contradict the story in part, like in Exod. 1:10 where the Pharaoh is concerned that the Israelites are too large and will join the Egyptian enemies

There are two motivations for this suggestion in meaning. The first is what we saw above by Hoffmeier. The archaeological evidence just cannot support an Exodus narrative of the size of millions. The second comes from the incredulity of a population burgeoning from 70 members to 2 million in 200 years. [4]

However, it is my opinion that this explanation of the numbers is completely unwarranted. For one thing, it cannot be applied to the two census accounts in Bamidbar (Numbers). The first census, in this week's parsha, uses the following format when discussing the numbers of each tribe (Num 1:22-23):

22 Of the children of Simeon, their generations, by their families, by their fathers' houses, those that were numbered thereof, according to the number of names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 23 those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand (elef) and three hundred.

First of all, the format uses several subdivisions already present. It uses families (mishpechotehem) and generations (dorotam). So interpretation of elef as family here seems to make no sense. Second, if you do interpret elef as family and not thousand, what do you do with the number 300 that appears afterwards in this example? Furthermore, if you add up all the counts, assuming they're actual numbers, as every translator has done for 2000 years, you get the correct total for all the Israelites. The Torah doesn't always get arithmetic like this right. It is arithmetically correct in both censuses.

The other census in Bamidbar is hardly any better (Num 26:12-14):

12 The sons of Simeon after their families: of Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites; of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites; of Jachin, the family of the Jachinites; 13 of Zerah, the family of the Zerahites; of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites. 14 These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred.

Again the word for family (mishpacha) is used, and the subdivisions are explicitly named.

Here's a link to a excellent documentary about an archaeological search for confirmation of the Exodus: http://store.patternsofevidence.com/?gclid=CO60h52yz8sCFYwlgQod_uMGjQ

Michael,

The article I link to doesn't translate the term in question as "families", which is what your pasted text is about and the article that I link to hashes out the math of the first and second censuses that your pasted text raises.

Trying to hand-wave explanations of Exodus or anything else on the basis that people also try to give explanations for a flat earth doesn't make any sense. You might as well be skeptical of attempts to explain the earth scientifically, since flat-earthers try to explain the flatness of the earth scientifically.

Make Fascism Great,

As mentioned I don't have time for this and therefore I'm trying to respond within the very limited time I have and have therefore have not addressed the issues as well as I should have so my apologizes to you. Nonetheless your article does try to re-number Numbers based upon the translation of the Hebrew word "lp" and the stuff I put in my post addresses why the number in Numbers is correctly translated in the Bible.

So I am not "hand-waving" and as I mentioned early on you don't need me anyway. Read the book I mentioned or easier yet watch the Youtube video, the book's content is posted on Youtube. If you are unwilling to do so that should tell you something. So please just consider the pros and the cons and consider each with nothing but a desire for landing on the truth, that's all I intended to communicated and I guess my choice of words has been poor at times because I never intended to insult you or anyone else.

Regarding the moon thing my point is that people can construct logically sounding arguments and be wrong which is especially true in regards to religion, politics and when people having something to sell, whether it is a product, service or an ideology.

I mean't to say regarding the flat earth thing :)

I'm not sure if this is the exact video I had in mind but if not it should still have similar content.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5RfScpEcZ8

Michael,

As mentioned I don't have time for this and therefore I'm trying to respond within the very limited time

This is something you constantly repeat in the comments section on this website, yet you continuously find time to post again and again and again.

the stuff I put in my post addresses why the number in Numbers is correctly translated in the Bible.

No, the stuff you pasted was about the problems with a particular translation and how that didn't add up with the two censuses in Numbers. And that doesn't apply to the article I linked to.

BTW, I don't mean to give the impression that this is *the* solution. John Byl, a mathematician and astronomer, believes the passage is correctly translated, but that a proper accounting of the rest of the data would only lead us to believe that there was a little over 1 million Israelites, not 2-3 million. My point is only that there are plausible solutions to the problem and so the exodus event is hardly an obvious mark against the integrity of the OT.

So I am not "hand-waving" and as I mentioned early on you don't need me anyway.

You respond to this in a point that is different than the one I raised. I didn't say that what you said was problematic about the exodus event is hand-waving. I said that what you have said about attempting to resolve the problem is hand-waving.

Regarding the [flat earth] thing my point is that people can construct logically sounding arguments and be wrong

That's a trite observation. If all you want to say is that coherence doesn't demonstrate truth, fine. But you clearly seemed to be implying more than that: that the Christian is engaging in absurd acts of theory-saving if they try to resolve any alleged problem about the exodus event. But the rhetorical punch only works if you can first demonstrate that the theory-saving explanation is in fact absurd.


"proper accounting of the rest of the data would only lead us to believe that there was a little over 1 million Israelites, not 2-3 million."

You still have a numbers problem, one million would leave some evidence in the Egyptian records and archaeology evidence in the "wilderness" and there are other problems besides the numbers.

Archaeological discoveries have made it likely that the Isrealis are a splinter group from the Canaanites as their earliest camps contain relics of the same god, the same pottery, they used the same alphabet, etc.

"But you clearly seemed to be implying more than that: that the Christian is engaging in absurd acts of theory-saving if they try to resolve any alleged problem about the exodus event"

The problem with Christian apologetic's is that they play mental gymnastics ad nauseam to get the implausible plausible so it is not just limited to the Exodus. Once science makes it clear that something is not correct in the Bible the spin begins. Reinterpret, symbolize, translation error, copy error, human limitation error ad nauseam. For instance the creation story, noah's flood story, 500 people rising from the dead and walking around Jerusalem story .....

one million would leave some evidence in the Egyptian records

This overlooks the fact that we have very few records from this time period in Egypt. You not only have to say that the Egyptians would have recorded the event but that we would have to have access to it.

archaeology evidence in the "wilderness"

Why should we expect to find evidence of nomads in this area thousands of years later? They likely weren't the only one's to travel through this area.

there are other problems besides the numbers.

Things like food and water, which God is supposed to have miraculously supplied.

Archaeological discoveries have made it likely that the Isrealis are a splinter group from the Canaanites as their earliest camps contain relics of the same god, the same pottery, they used the same alphabet, etc.

Making this assertion on the basis of finding Canaanite relics, potter, etc. makes no sense since the biblical narrative is that the Israelis occupied Canaanite land, lived among the Canaanites for some time, and worshipped Canaanite gods. So, given the biblical record, we should expect to find these things. Finding these things doesn't over turn the biblical record, it comports with it. The first link I gave you cites evidence that Israelis are not a splinter group from the Canaanites.

The problem with Christian apologetic's is that they play mental gymnastics ad nauseam to get the implausible plausible

That's a claim that you would have to demonstrate. It's the type of bald faced assertion that you are fond of repeating over and over, without bothering to give any argument for because you allegedly have no time... despite the fact that you've had plenty of time to come here repeatedly throughout the day.

The question, in the end, is whether the explanations work or not. Speaking about "mental gymanastics to get the implausible plausible" is a sort of Orwellian rhetoric. Either the explanations are plausible or not. Faulting them because of some shadowy illegitimate tactics you gesture towards going on behind the scenes is just a fanciful way for you to avoid having to admit we're not as crazy as you'd like to think.

" Why should we expect to find evidence of nomads in this area thousands of years later? They likely weren't the only one's to travel through this area."

In an early post you reference a guy named John something saying the correct number is ~ 1 million. If there were a million people plus livestock in the Egyptian peninsula for 40 years there should be a ton of archaeology evidence. Using the term "nomads" is ambiguous as to what type of numbers you are thinking of. Have you dropped your figures significantly? If your claim is now revised so that there were so few Israelis comprising "the Exodus" that archaeologist couldn't detect their presence then of course there is no way to dispute that. Its been a long time since I've read the Exodus story but it seems that a few nomads does not fit the rest of the story very well. Like I said earlier, mental gymnastics.

Archaeologist are not idiots. They trace the movement and direction of civilizations so as to understand when and how cultures developed and most have concluded that it was not the conquering of the "promised land" as told in the Bible that landed Israelis in the Palestinian region.

If there were a million people plus livestock in the Egyptian peninsula for 40 years there should be a ton of archaeology evidence.

How do you know? Archeology isn't a hard science. So far as I know, there is no formula which says that if you plug in x amount of people living in the manner of y then you will find z amount of evidence at time t3000. There are many variables that archeologists can't account for, like exact locations of camps or travel, what might be left behind, etc.

Using the term "nomads" is ambiguous as to what type of numbers you are thinking of. Have you dropped your figures significantly?

You're engaging in a straw-man for a rhetorical strategy, acting as if I've adopted one position and am now shifting positions. As I already stated, I was simply giving possible routes of explanation.

Like I said earlier, mental gymnastics.

You rely on rhetorical assertions instead of actual arguments. You prop up a straw-man position and then accuse it of mental gymnastics. But can you actually demonstrate it? Give us a clear definition of what qualifies as mental gymnastics and then demonstrate that anything I've said so far fits the bill.

90% of your engagement on this website is a rhetorical show, like continuously excusing your lack of arguments with claims about time constraints. Like your assertions about how Christians are afraid of this or that, even though when we look at the facts it doesn't fit your narrative. Like your spinning some narrative about me challenging you to refute an article or that I'm shifting positions when I didn't stake out a position or challenge you to refute anything.

Archaeologist are not idiots. They trace the movement and direction of civilizations so as to understand when and how cultures developed and most have concluded that it was not the conquering of the "promised land" as told in the Bible that landed Israelis in the Palestinian region.

I have no reason to think *most* archeologists have studied the Israeli migration into Canaan. Do you have any data which tells us that most archeologists have studied the Israeli migration to Canaan? And if an archeologist hasn't studied that event, his opinion on it will simply be derivative of what some other archeologist has said. In the end, you can't just pass the buck to what "most" archeologists say. What archeologists' say is only as good as their reasons for saying it.


You keep mentioning what archeologists think about Israel and Canaan during the alleged conquest period.

Here is what some archeologists, who actually study this period, have to say about the issue:

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/category/Conquest-of-Canaan.aspx

"Do you have any data which tells us that most archaeologists have studied the Israeli migration to Canaan?"

That is not what I meant and anybody wanting to engage in honest dialogue would not twist words as you do. Anyone other than yourself would know that I was saying that archaeologists who have studied the issues we've discussed have determined that Israelis in Palestine are not the result of Joshua's conquering army. For your information:

In 1868 Charles Warren identified Tell es-Sultan as the site of Jericho. In 1930–36 John Garstang conducted excavations there and discovered the remains of a network of collapsed walls which he dated to about 1400 BCE, the accepted biblical date of the conquest. Kathleen Kenyon re-excavated the site over 1952–1958 and demonstrated that the destruction occurred c.1500 BCE during a well-attested Egyptian campaign of that period, and that Jericho had been deserted throughout the mid-late 13th century.[4] Kenyon's work was corroborated in 1995 by radiocarbon tests which dated the destruction level to the late 17th or 16th centuries.[5] A small unwalled settlement was rebuilt in the 15th century, but the tell was unoccupied from the late 15th century until the 10th/9th centuries.[2] In the face of the archaeological evidence, the biblical story of the fall of Jericho "cannot have been founded on genuine historical sources".[6]

Regarding the number of Israelis that departed Egypt with Moses, how many were there according to the Bible? If you have settled in on 1 million then you are wrong, there would be evidence in the archaeology and Egyptian records. If you have a different number please clearly state it now or forever hold your peace.

This article responds to some of the claims you are cutting and pasting from wikipedia:

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/05/01/Did-the-Israelites-Conquer-Jericho-A-New-Look-at-the-Archaeological-Evidence.aspx

Regarding the number of Israelis that departed Egypt with Moses, how many were there according to the Bible? If you have settled in on 1 million then you are wrong, there would be evidence in the archaeology and Egyptian records. If you have a different number please clearly state it now or forever hold your peace.

There is no reason I have to have an answer as to how many Israelites were departed from Egypt. There are good arguments from the text of the Bible itself to suggest that the number may have been much smaller than is traditionally understood. But the problems with the larger number are not obviously insurmountable, from what I can see. You repeat your assertion that if the number were a little over 1 million that we must have in our possession archeological evidence for that today. But I already explained why that assumption isn't persuasive: archeology isn't a hard science and can't provide us with any formula for when we should or should not find archeological evidence. Do we even have a clear idea of how much of the Sinai peninsula has been searched? What was said about Jericho above at least demonstrates that multiple searches on the same location may yield different results.

"There is no reason I have to have an answer as to how many Israelites were departed from Egypt. There are good arguments from the text of the Bible itself to suggest that the number may have been much smaller than is traditionally understood"

I beg to differ and by not giving a number it allows you to play dodge ball and jump from one reconciliation argument to another without fear of contradicting yourself.

I quickly scanned the Bible Archaeology org site. The article itself admits they have dating problems with their reconciliation theory.

You never said if you watched the video I recommended. If not, why not? If you love wisdom and truth it will only add to your knowledge base however the content will be not be easy on your current belief system. As an example here is a short quote from the authors...

"In The Bible Unearthed , Israeli archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman dispelled any illusions that their digs had verified the story of the Exodus: “The process that we describe here is, in fact, the opposite of what we have in the Bible: the emergence of early Israel was an outcome of the collapse of the Canaanite culture, not its cause. And most of the Israelites did not come from outside Canaan – they emerged from within it. There was no mass Exodus from Egypt. There was no violent conquest of Canaan. Most of the people who formed early Israel were local people – the same people whom we see in the highlands throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. The early Israelites were – irony of ironies – themselves originally Canaanites!" [1] (Finkelstein & Silberman The Bible Unearthed, 118)"

Michael,

I beg to differ and by not giving a number it allows you to play dodge ball and jump from one reconciliation argument to another without fear of contradicting yourself.

You beg to differ with the fact that I'm agnostic on this issue? That makes no sense. This is just more evidence of your own rhetorical games and extreme prejudice. I'm not taking a position on this text simply because I don't know what the proper approach is. Your demand that I take an approach is simply childish.

Concerning your reliance on the video and the book, biblicalarcheology.org also addresses it:

"Finkelstein’s work has drawn substantial criticism from other scholars—even those who doubt the Bible’s veracity. Virtually no archaeologists have adopted his somewhat radical conclusions, which generally deny a great deal of historicity to the Old Testament narratives. It should be noted that Finkelstein, who once held a relatively positive position on the relationship between the Bible and ancient history, now holds a minority view that finds little acceptance among even mainstream archaeologists. His work has been heavily and publicly criticized by American archaeologist William Dever, who called the book “an archaeological manifesto, not judicious and well-balanced scholarship,” adding, “it will do little to educate the public” (2001, 322:74). It is significant that Dever, one of the most widely respected archaeologists in America, states explicitly that he is “not a theist” (2005, p. xi)." - http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2011/04/08/Armchair-Archaeology-and-the-New-Atheism.aspx

If you love wisdom and truth you should investigate these criticisms of the sources you rely on.

I quickly scanned the Bible Archaeology org site. The article itself admits they have dating problems with their reconciliation theory.

One of the sources you keep appealing to has also had dating problems: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2011/05/25/Israel-Finkelstein-Revises-His-Dating-Is-the-Indefatigable-Minimalist-Slipping.aspx

Guess you can grasp onto anything to prop up your prejudice if you try hard enough.

"You beg to differ with the fact that I'm agnostic on this issue? That makes no sense. This is just more evidence of your own rhetorical games and extreme prejudice."

If I was unclear I'm sorry but you seem to be intentionally reading my posts in the least favorable manner. I beg to differ in that the Bible is very clear regarding the minimum number of people who allegedly left Egypt. therefore evading an answer is a conversation tactic.

I invite anybody reading this blog to not rely on wisdom lover or myself for that matter, simply do your own google search regarding the Exodus and you will find many more archaeologist who don't believe it than do. Naturally if all you do is visit Bible sites and apologist website you are going to find exactly what you want. Therefore you need to use key words that are not going to prejudice your search. The minority you find that do believe the exodus story are virtually, as I mentioned, from Bible websites, in order words they are prejudiced toward defending Bible inspiration and there goal is not landing on truth.

"Virtually no archaeologists have adopted his somewhat radical conclusions, which generally deny a great deal of historicity to the Old Testament narratives."

This quote is out of context. The "radical conclusions" isn't in regards to the Exodus as that in a given except in the world of apologetic spin masters, as mentioned most archaeologist would agree that the Exodus never happened. The radical is in regards to the fact that the authors pretty much dismiss the entire Torah stories. Our conversation has been confined to the Exodus myth.

Additionally in my original post I only wanted to note that whomever created the silly video was misinforming people in that he/she made it sound as if archaeologist have confirm the Bible when that is not the case. I didn't really want to go and try to squash what you believe in but you kept egging me on.

Your name calling is not very becoming of anybody, much less someone who I presume would claim to a Christian and presumably wanting to be made over in his image.

I didn't really want to go and try to squash what you believe in but you kept egging me on.

You're behavior is delusional. You continuously try to read between the lines and imagine hidden motives or emotions or arguments that were never made. I've already pointed this out before, when you imaged that I was challenging you to refute something. This is just more of the same behavior.

Apparently you find it intolerable that someone could actually disagree with you and, therefore, any attempt to state the disagreement is egging you on.

Your name calling is not very becoming of anybody, much less someone who I presume would claim to a Christian and presumably wanting to be made over in his image.

Your behavior and the repeated ad hominem about Christians being afraid or this or that is what is not very becoming. Yet, in typical rhetorical fashion, when I call you out on it you try and spin yourself as the victim.

I beg to differ in that the Bible is very clear regarding the minimum number of people who allegedly left Egypt.

On the contrary I've provided a resource that presents very good arguments for why the standard translation wrong. You're only response was to appeal to a resource that didn't even address the argument of the paper I linked to, but addressed some *other* argument.

Yet now you slip back into mere bald faced assertions, asserting that the paper I link to must not only be wrong but *very clearly* wrong. Well you can assert that as much as you want, but you shouldn't expect anyone to go along you with you just on the basis of your assertion.

therefore evading an answer is a conversation tactic.

On the contrary, I defended *both* of the alternatives I mentioned. How is that a conversation tactic?

I gave a link to the non-standard interpretation and then I defended it against your attempt to say this or that resource debunked it.

Next, I mentioned that this interpretation is just one possibility and that even on the standard reading of the text others (e.g., John Byl) have argued quite plausibly that the number of Israelites would be about 1 million, not 2 to 3 million. And then when you tried to attack this position I defended it!

So again we see that you created another imaginary narrative where I pretend to be unsure just so that I don't have to defend a position in our conversation... when the fact is I'm unsure and yet I've defended both positions in our conversation.

I invite anybody reading this blog to not rely on wisdom lover or myself for that matter,

I'm not WisdomLover. But I appreciate the compliment.

simply do your own google search regarding the Exodus and you will find many more archaeologist who don't believe it than do.

As I pointed out before, what archeologists say is only as good as their reasons for saying it. So it makes no sense to simply count noses and say "Okay, that must be it then." Archeology isn't a science like physics or biology or chemistry. There is no formula for what archeologists should find or shouldn't.

Naturally if all you do is visit Bible sites and apologist website you are going to find exactly what you want.

Which again shows that you are completely unfamiliar with the Christian literature on this subject. You've only read wikipedia and some atheist websites and then you've constructed an imaginary narrative of what Christians must say around that.

When you actually look through some Christian resources on this you have many of them admitting that there are difficult questions here and proposing solutions while admitting that the jury is still out. How is that exactly what a Christian would want to find?

Therefore you need to use key words that are not going to prejudice your search.

The sources you've appealed to, like rational wiki and Finkelstein, are hardly free of prejudice.

The minority you find that do believe the exodus story are virtually, as I mentioned, from Bible websites, in order words they are prejudiced toward defending Bible inspiration and there goal is not landing on truth.

To say that their goal is to defend the Bible and not landing on truth is itself a prejudicial statement because it presupposes that the Bible is not inspired. This is just a glimpse of how deep you've got your head buried in your own prejudice.

In the end, we all have bias. Which means you have to listen to the reasons people give and assess their arguments on their merits instead of appealing to someone being a Christian in order to dismiss their arguments, which is all you're doing here.

This quote is out of context. The "radical conclusions" isn't in regards to the Exodus

The quote isn't out of context since I cited the quote in response to your appeal to *that book* and since the portion I quoted indicates that it's about the book's reliability generally. It's in regards to the book you keep appealing to.

Additionally in my original post I only wanted to note that whomever created the silly video was misinforming people in that he/she made it sound as if archaeologist have confirm the Bible when that is not the case.

The video says that archeology has confirmed (1) the existence of many people mentioned in the Bible and (2) the existence of many of the major places mentioned in the Bible. The video then gives several quotes by archeologists and historians. The only one that would be controversial is the one that says "It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference." That is controversial because many archeologists do believe at least some events in the Bible have been controverted. But, as I pointed out in my responses to you, there are in fact defenses of these controversial areas, such as the exodus.

“You’re behavior is delusional”
Early on I misread your post because I read in haste. That’s not delusional, it is just a mistake. I occasional make them. Everybody does.

"Do you have any data which tells us that most archaeologists have studied the Israeli migration to Canaan?"
Do you remember saying that? You intentionally read into it more than what anyone common sense person would but you excuse yourself and then call me delusional.

Regarding the numbers that you won’t make a commitment to the article I referenced addresses why the numbers in Numbers is correct and you ignored that. Also if one reads the entire Exodus story it is clear that we are talking about a significant number of people. The translations from the Hebrew and the Septuagint is a messy affair to say the least but it can’t be totally discounted that scholars familiar with Hebrew and Greek came up with those numbers based upon their expertise in said languages. If you feel the book is unclear then part of the blame must fall on the author of the book.

Then you accuse me of not familiarizing myself with Christian literature and you don’t know that to be true at all. While it is true I’ve haven’t the made the study of the Exodus a priority when time allows I think I will. However I do own and have read many Christian apologetic books and have attend apologetic seminars because at one time I was a “defender of the faith”. You have not expressed anything in these posts that would indicated you’ve studied archeological evidence that has not been influenced by presumptions that the bible is inspired. Your “go to” reference point is biblearchaeology.org which is not operated in the true academic sense of science. I’ve cut and pasted part of their mission statement here. By their own admission they begin with the presumption of the bible as true and then interrupt their finding accordingly.

“ABR combines presuppositional and evidential apologetics to dynamically reach the post-modern mind. The Bible is inspired of God, and as God’s written revelation it is the ultimate source of truth about God and His creation. Scripture is the foundation and guide in interpreting all other historical data including sources of evidence that support the reliability of the Bible.”

With such a mission statement they obligate themselves to convolute the data since anything that doesn’t agree with Bible is consider by default to be wrong and therefore the data is wrong. This is not science, this is religion but this is, oddly, your go to source for your data.

Do you remember saying that? You intentionally read into it more than what anyone common sense person would but you excuse yourself and then call me delusional.

Again, you try to divine the motives of your interlocutor. I simply took your words at face value. You made statements about archeologists generally. If you want to narrow that down to only those archeologists who have studied the issue that's fine, but you can't fault me for simply responding to your own unqualified remarks.

Regarding the numbers that you won’t make a commitment to the article I referenced addresses why the numbers in Numbers is correct and you ignored that.

Wrong. You attempted to say that your article already debunked the one I linked to because it dealt with the "families" translation and purported to show that the math didn't work with the censuses in Numbers. I didn't ignore this, I responded directly to it by pointing out that the article I linked to didn't translate the term as "families" and that the censuses in Numbers were shown to harmonize in the article I linked to.

Also if one reads the entire Exodus story it is clear that we are talking about a significant number of people.

This is just blowing smoke. It's a vague claims about how the Bible is *clearly* talking about millions, without a single argument. Just making another bald assertion in an attempt to cling to the original objection while not actually having an argument for it.

The translations from the Hebrew and the Septuagint is a messy affair to say the least but it can’t be totally discounted that scholars familiar with Hebrew and Greek came up with those numbers based upon their expertise in said languages.

You have a habit of simply appealing to authority. The article I linked to is supported by what others, who are Hebrew scholars, have also said (e.g., Stuart Douglas). He (and Douglas and others) provide an *exegetical* argument for his position. So you can't just appeal to what Hebrew scholars say, because I can appeal to what other Hebrew scholars say too.

Then you accuse me of not familiarizing myself with Christian literature and you don’t know that to be true at all.

I pointed to evidence that you're unfamiliar with the Christian literature on this subject. I pointed to the evidence of your false narrative about how Christians approach the subject.

You have not expressed anything in these posts that would indicated you’ve studied archeological evidence that has not been influenced by presumptions that the bible is inspired.

Nor have you given any indication that you could actually discuss this subject, if you were deprived of your computer where you can google and then cut-and-paste from wikipedia and atheist websites.

I will readily admit that archeology and historical evidences are not my strong suite. In fact that's why I decided to look up and engage these points, because I wanted to flush out this area which I usually ignore. And that's why I haven't adopted any position on what the correct approach to the text is. But it's also blindingly obvious that you know nothing more than I do about the subject and just as reliant on your internet search results. I've only demonstrated that one can find responses to your Google "scholar" searches.

Your “go to” reference point is biblearchaeology.org which is not operated in the true academic sense of science.

Throughout this conversation you repeatedly rely on the genetic fallacy. Instead of engaging the actual substance of the arguments by biblicalarcheology.org you attack the source as not being credible.

You accuse them of convoluting the data without a single shred of evidence. How do you know they convolute the data? Just because they are Christian committed to the truth of the Bible. But you haven't shown where they have actually convoluted the data.

Such conclusions only reveal your own extreme bias, as I pointed out last time.

Words must be taken in the context they are written. I’m sure you’ve learned that in your bible studies. It’s clear you were being contentious.

In my most recent post I said you paid no attention to the article I posted, which is true, you gave no heed to it even though it is every bit as academic as anything you have, at the least. I did not reference sequence of our posts. I was just saying you do not acknowledge sound arguments, the very thing you accuse me of.

“This is just blowing smoke. It's a vague claims about how the Bible is *clearly* talking about millions, without a single argument. Just making another bald assertion in an attempt to cling to the original objection while not actually having an argument for it”

Numbers 11:31
Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day's walk in any direction.

So, God sent quail two cubits deep for as far as a day’s walk in any direction. A person can walk approximately 20 miles in a day so if it is in any direction then the square feet equals PiR2 = (3.14)(20*5,280)^2 which equals ~ 35,000,000,000 sq. ft. Now you have approximately 3 feet deep of quail so now you have over one hundred billion square feet of quail. Not one million, not one billion, we have more than 100 billion square feet of quail for whom?

Eeeek, I meant cubic feet :)

It’s clear you were being contentious.

No, it's clear you are camping on a totally irrelevant point, because you have little else to grasp onto at this point. You spoke about archeologists generally, and so I pointed out that your statement is problematic about archeologists generally.

In my most recent post I said you paid no attention to the article I posted, which is true, you gave no heed to it even though it is every bit as academic as anything you have, at the least.

Again this is just rhetorical posturing. You made no effort to try and refute the articles I mentioned either--aside from appealing to an article that, as I pointed out, wasn't even addressing the argument of the article I linked to.

I was just saying you do not acknowledge sound arguments, the very thing you accuse me of.

You're all about thumping your chest and declaring your victory while avoiding arguments as much as possible. I could easily make the same claim to you: I presented you with articles to sound arguments and you fail to acknowledge them... alas, you must be afraid.

Numbers 11:31 Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day's walk in any direction.

So, God sent quail two cubits deep for as far as a day’s walk in any direction. A person can walk approximately 20 miles in a day so if it is in any direction then the square feet equals PiR2 = (3.14)(20*5,280)^2 which equals ~ 35,000,000,000 sq. ft. Now you have approximately 3 feet deep of quail so now you have over one hundred billion square feet of quail. Not one million, not one billion, we have more than 100 billion square feet of quail for whom?

So here you give an argument that, I guess, is supposed to look like this:

1. God gave the Israelites one hundred billion square feet of quail.
2. God intended for the Israelites to eat all the quail God provided.
3. Ergo, there must have been enough Israelites to eat all the quail.

Ignoring your first premise (which relies on questionable numbers, cf. Dennis Cole in the New American Commentary), the second premise is clearly flawed: the Bible indicates that God is flooding them with an over-abundance as a curse "he rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas;” (Psalm 78:27) and then God kills many of the people, such that the place is called "Kibroth-hattaavah" (graves of craving) -- clearly it's not God's intention to provide a proportional amount of food to the people's needs.

So once you start getting down to actually trying to present arguments it's clear they are rather easily disposed of.

Mr. Fascism,

The story regarding the quail by itself is circumstantial but it collaborates with the understanding that the myth writer had very large numbers of people in mind when he composed the Exodus story.

You repeatedly say I don’t have any arguments but all you need to do is read the Bible. Below is just one of the many census found in the bible all taken either just before, during or just after the Exodus and they all have basically the same numbers.

Numbers 1:2-3 at Mt. Sinai: 603,550
"Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies."
This was a headcount of males, able to go to war, over the age of 20 years old. Able to go to war would exclude adult males who are invalids, the sick, cripples and the lame. Reuben 46,500, Simeon 59,300, Gad 45,650, Judah 74,600, Issachar 54,400, Zebulun 57,400, Ephraim 40,500, Manasseh 32,200, Benjamin 35,400, Dan 62,700, Asher 41,500, Naphtali 53,400, Total = 603,550

There are also the times when the bible god was mad because his people were misbehaving. 40,700 were killed within the first two years after leaving Egypt. Then another 24,000 just before they entered the Promised Land. The large number of deaths is consistent with a very large population.

3000 killed by Levites, Golden Calf at Sinai Exodus 32:28
23,000 killed by God, Golden Calf at Sinai, Exodus 32:35 and 1 Cor 10:8
14,700 killed by God, Kadesh Barnea, Numbers 16:49
24,000 killed by God at Shittim near Jordan Numbers 25:9
many people killed by God Zered riverNumbers 21:6
At Kadesh Barnea: "But those who died by the plague were 14,700, besides those who died on account of Korah." Numbers 16:49
At Shittim, just before crossing the Jordan: "Those who died by the plague were 24,000." Numbers 25:9
Golden Calf at Sinai: "So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about 3000 men of the people fell that day." Exodus 32:28
Golden Calf at Sinai: "Then the Lord smote the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made." Exodus 32:35
Golden Calf at Sinai: "Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and 23,000 thousand fell in one day." 1 Corinthians 10:8
In the Zered Wady valley after leaving Kadesh Barnea for the promised land: "The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died." Numbers 21:6

The story regarding the quail by itself is circumstantial but it collaborates with the understanding that the myth writer had very large numbers of people in mind when he composed the Exodus story.

No it doesn't. I already demonstrated that your use of the story rests on a false premise. It doesn't even provide circumstantial evidence for the larger number, since the premise is false.

You repeatedly say I don’t have any arguments but all you need to do is read the Bible. Below is just one of the many census found in the bible all taken either just before, during or just after the Exodus and they all have basically the same numbers.

I've pointed out numerous times that the paper I linked to by Humphreys shows that the smaller interpretation is consistent with the censuses in Numbers.

There are also the times when the bible god was mad because his people were misbehaving. 40,700 were killed within the first two years after leaving Egypt.

Again your numbers are confused. To arrive at the 40k number within two years you assert that 26k were killed at the golden calf incident (23k and 3k) and that the Kadesh Barnea incident happened within two years. Both points are flawed. First, there is no evidence that 23k were killed at the golden calf incident. 1 Cor. 10:8 refers to the plague of Numbers 25 (both are probably rounding). Second, it appears that the Israelites were at Kadesh Barnea for the majority of their wilderness wanderings (some suggest 38 years) and I see no indication in the text that the Korah incident occurred somewhere within two years.

MFGA,

First let me start with an apology, I never gave your Humphrey’s article the attention it deserved. I work 7 days a week this time of the year and I scan through posts as quickly as I can, too quickly. I shouldn’t be doing this at all. Regarding said article it gives a possible explanation and in one sense I agree with it in that if there was an Exodus at all then those numbers would be historically acceptable. However there are multiple references throughout the Bible that have and will demonstrate that the “thousands” translation is the correct intent of the authors. I haven’t gotten to the best stuff yet but it will need to wait until tax season is over.

Regarding the 1 Cor reference it may or may not have occurred during the first couple of years, I’d need to do more reading which I can’t do right now. Either way I don't think it matters much given that the Humphrey's article, if I recall correctly, put the total number of men who left Egypt at ~ 6K. Paul too could have been misled by a mistranslation error but that would be a problem for those who believe his writing were inspired. Given the large number of deaths the Israelite's population would have had to exploded so you are right back to the same problem of why there is no archaeological evidence of such a large population regardless of how many left Egypt, especially a dying population. From United Nations Environment Programme website… “ The world's deserts serve as a natural laboratory for investigating the history of life, be it that of plants and animals or of humankind. This is because the desert's sparse vegetative cover, lack of thick soils, and aridity combine to provide large areas of exposed rock. This, together with the scant precipitation that reduces chemical leaching by groundwater, promotes the preservation and the detection of fossils that allow deciphering the evolutionary history of animals and plants, and of early man” and we aren’t even talking about “early man”, we are talking about modern man.

Your premise and logic statement has errors which I’ll get to.

Michael,

You raise the issue of the number of Israelites killed during the wilderness wanderings. You seem to have two points here:

1. There should be archeological evidence of their deaths.
2. The population would have needed to increase rapidly for the community to have been sustainable amidst such deaths.

Regarding 1, we are right back to the same point we were going around earlier: archeology isn't a hard science (and has been described by some archeologists as more art than science) and so there is no firm basis for saying if you plug in x for the condition y then you will find z amount of evidence at time t3000. There are too many unknown variables. The Jews placed great importance on the bones of the dead. For instance, they carried Joseph's bones out of Egypt. Perhaps they relatives of those who were killed carried their bones.

Regarding 2, those who argue for the larger number in the traditional translation (600k) have attempted to show that it is in fact possible for the population to expand at that rate. And if it is possible in regards to this larger expansion then, a fortiori, it would be possible for the population to be expanding at a more modest rate during the wilderness wanderings. One also has to keep in mind the context in which God is going to bless Israel by making them fruitful (or greatly reproduce) and is said to have fulfilled this during the wilderness wanderings: “The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven.” (Deuteronomy 1:10)

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