Friedman’s Exodus: Another View

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by Neil Godfrey

A month ago I posted my view of a scholar’s claim to be able to extract “nuggets” of historical events from a textual analysis of the biblical narrative of the Exodus: Can we extract history from fiction?

I see today that another blogger, James Bradford Pate of James’ Ramblings has begun to post a series on the same book: Friedman-source criticism as key to the Exodus event

James no doubt has quite a different view of Friedman’s argument from the one I hold, but I mention his posts for the benefit of anyone interested in further exploration of this topic.

I will soon be posting something on the archaeological evidence relating to the biblical Exodus.


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5 thoughts on “Friedman’s Exodus: Another View”

  1. I wonder if those scholars with academic degrees are just defending their degrees when they write about Israel.
    I haven’t read Friedman’s new book, but from the follow up of the blog post you linked looks like to me that he is choosing what ever he likes to present his thesis.

    For example :
    “You can’t use the Mernephah Stela’s mention of “Israel” to date the Exodus, because a number of tribes that had not been slaves in Egypt constituted a pre-Exodus Israel.”

    This is not an argument at all, cause you cannot use the name Israel for anyone else apart from the Bit-Omri kingdom, the so-called Samaritans.
    In other words seems to me that he is using myths found in OT as historical facts. A general problem with the Documentary Hypothesis scholars.

    Another problem is that some of those scholars are dating the Song of Deborah as the most ancient text. Their argument usually is based on the language used and the setting of the song. They just do not bother with the arguments that this song have many Hellenistic influences. They ignore the argument just by using the language and this is not valid at all for many reasons.

    In the end they are nothing more from professional liars with academic degrees who are exploiting and getting rich the need of religious people to find a single “nugget” of truth in a fictional book.

    1. I sympathize with many of your points of argument, but I cannot call them “professional liars” because that connotes some deliberate intent to deceive for their own personal gain. I don’t think so. I think they are no different from how I was when I was a believer. I was very sincere but hopelessly kidding myself about my objectivity. (And that experience always haunts me and keeps me hoping and doing what I think I can to be sure I am not repeating my mistakes of the past.)

      1. Yes, you are right, calling them professional liars seems too far-fetched, but I do not know how else I can call a person who is lying.

        Cause they pretend that they are applying historical criticism on the Bible when by the rules of historical criticism you cannot do that, you just need more sources. None of the books I read about historical criticism can be applied on the Bible, neither textual criticism we just need more sources and dated sources, but they pretend that they can do it.

        Other scholars by taking for granted the D.H. when ever they find similarities to Greek texts and the O.T. they say : somehow Greeks learned this from the Hebrew – Israelites and etc.

        I really liked Friedman when I started my readings about the Bible, but the more I learned through the years I realized how flawed his arguments are and seeing the sales of his books it really feels like he is exploiting the need of people for truth in the Bible.

        By the way I knew about his theory of the Levites only exodus for sometime now. There is a youtube video about it : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-YlzpUhnxQ

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