The story of the Exodus from Egypt by the ancient Hebrews under the leadership of Moses has been under fire and serious scrutiny for some years now. This is due to the lack of both archaeological evidence and Egyptian documentation from the period (they did have a form of writing after all in ancient Egypt) to support the Biblical account. We have linked below to an interesting article reposted by another blogger that addresses this (near the article’s end) and other issues. (For those who simply will not make the effort to read the article, I will briefly say that its main point is that it is much more plausible for various reasons that the Exodus occurred in the Arabian peninsula and not in Egypt, and that the Hebrews were never slaves in Egypt. The author also tells why the Exodus story was much later (many centuries later) situated in Egypt.)
Some skeptics of the Bible’s account of the Exodus will pose the question: If all those plagues had been visited upon Egypt by the God of the Hebrews, why with such concrete proof of that God’s existence did the Egyptians not convert to ancient Judaism? The fact that the Egyptians did not abandon their pagan polytheism and accept Judaic monotheism could be easily explained by concluding that the Exodus did not take place from Egypt at all.
The short answer to the question posed in the title of this evening’s post is no, the Old Testament is not historically and geographically correct in all details. (This is basically saying what has been said for the past 200 plus years in Western Christianity, and that is that the “Bible contains the Word of God”, rather than saying “the Bible is the Word of God”.) It is also worth remarking that the Bible mentions “Pharoah” numerous times in the Old Testament, but I do not think there is ever the mention of a specific name associated with the word, Pharoah. So, the question that immediately comes to mind is “Which Pharaoh is the Bible referring to?”
For me, it does not bother me if some accounts in the OT are not historically and geographically accurate. This does not threaten my Christian faith. Yet, there are some fundamentalist type persons for which any incongruence between the Bible and historical reality would serve to call into question the entire (Christian) Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament. I think that is a mistake in thinking. It is worth remarking here that there appears to have been a debate early on in the Christian era as to which books of the Old Testament to include in the Christian Bible, and which books to leave behind. Perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight now in the year 2019, we can say it might have been better if some books from the OT had been left behind.
As many readers are no doubt aware, the Biblical account of The Flood (Noah) is not the only such account from the ancient world. The Epic of Gilgamesh mentions such a deluge and is older than the Bible. For some, that serves to support the Biblical account.
Muslims and Jews vis-a-vis Christianity
Although many Christians will say that the Muslims and the Jews worship the same god as the Christians do, they make a mistake if they then draw the conclusion that there is some “common ground” between Jews, Muslims and Christians. Christians have a moral and ethical code that applies to the way Christians interact with others persons, all other persons including non-Christians, and it is a consistent ethic that the Christian is not to harm (rob, rape, murder, enslave, etc.) other persons. The fact that Christians (or those who claimed to be Christians) have harmed others, both other Christians and non-Christians is not the point here. Christians are commanded to love their neighbor and that includes all neighbors near and far.
This is not true in practice of Jews and Muslims, who both operate under a bifurcated set of ethics. The Talmud gives sanction (as in approval) in many passages to Jews to lie, steal from, deceive, and even in some passages, kill the goyim (literally cattle, referring to all non-Jews). Similarly, there are verses in the Quran that instruct Muslims to do harm (or that permit harm) to infidels (all who are non-Muslims). History, the history that is not sanitized through a multicultural or politically correct lens, informs us of the many terrible crimes and abuses committed by conquering Muslims over the centuries from India to Spain (as in the Moors’ conquest in the 8th century), and up into Hungary, Serbia and other Balkan countries by the Ottoman Turks. Jews are not to harm other Jews. Similarly, Muslims are not to harm fellow Muslims. But non-Jews and non-Muslims are fair game so to speak for inflicting harm upon by Jews and Muslims respectively.
Christians ought to be careful here, and not trip themselves up with naive or idealistic notions. The reality is that both Jews and Muslims are opposed to the social kingship of Christ. The Talmud and Sharia law are antithetical to Christian faith and moral precepts. And, for the many ethnic but quite atheistic Jews of today, we cannot delude ourselves into thinking they are any friends of Christianity.
In my life, I have done some reading. Unlike Hilaire Belloc (died 1953), I do not see Islam as being a Christological heresy. Rather, what I have concluded for some years now is that Islam is another form of, or offshoot of Judaism. And, in the article linked below, there is much to support that view. This one (same) article covers a lot.
Here is the link to the article noted in both sections above. Please be aware that my linking to it here does not necessarily imply that I agree with all the inferences and conclusions in the article, or that I agree with all or any of the other posts on this other blog. This is a challenging article that is not for everyone. We share it here as food for thought.
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