If There Was No Moses, Would There Be a Christianity?

While there are many things in the Bible not verified by archaeological evidence, some of these can be explained away by the sands of time.  We would not expect, for example, to find a block of salt the Lot’s wife inside.

There was a gigantic event in the Bible that is made for an archaeological dig.  It should be easily identified and grants for digs would be plentiful.  That is Moses and the epic exodus from from slavery in Egypt.

Part of the Moses exodus story is him climbing up Mt. Sinai and receiving the Ten Commandments from God.  Those Ten Commandments made movie maker Cecile B. Demille and actor Charlton Heston a lot of money.

For decades, there have been doubts about the Moses epic.  I have a book from the 1940′s which concludes, instead of an epic escape,  individual tribes of Jews probably went in and out of Egypt for a long period, eventually becoming established in Israel.

Though many written records of that period survive, there are none about the epic escape.  Then, the logistics of the escape story do not add up–a million people supported by animals in the desert for decades.

While I not a professional in theology, my impression is the Moses story, while about the Jews,  is one of the favorites in Christianity.  It somehow sets the stage for struggle and heroic leadership that is later filled in with a Jesus character.

If it were widely accepted as a hoax, it seems like it would leave a big hole.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2013/01/3-things-i-would-like-to-see-evangelical-leaders-stop-saying-about-biblical-scholarship/

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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26 Responses to If There Was No Moses, Would There Be a Christianity?

  1. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; Your “It somehow sets the stage for struggle and heroic leadership that is later filled in with a Jesus character”. —-Abraham c 2135-2025 BC. Moses c 1391-1271. No Jon, the stage was set much earlier. oops.

  2. Wanna B Sure says:

    There can be variances of a hundred years, that far back, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on source,

    • Avatar of Grandma Grandma says:

      Archaeologists, who check the historical record, have found no evidence of the Exodus story. According to Jewish rules of the time, the people “exiting” would have needed so many sacrificial animals that there should be tracts. After all, the area in question is about the size of Rhode Island, and for a group of hundreds of thousands of people, and hundreds of thousands of animals, to be “wandering” around is really rather silly unless one subscribes to the idea that the tale should be taken as political and cultural, rather than realistic description.

      By the way — since just prior to the “exodus” wasn’t there that death of every first-born Egyptian child? If so, why did the Egyptians never comment on what would have been such a monumental event? I’ve just never figured that one our.

  3. Hey Jon, Couple of questions.

    1. What is the name and author of the book you cite above.
    2. I’m curious why you included the following statement: “Those Ten Commandments made movie maker Cecile B. Demille and actor Charlton Heston a lot of money.”

    Thanks,

    Shane

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      J. Shane 4:03 I think you are asking about is Evolution of the Word by Marcus J Borg.

      I don’t have a good excuse for being snarky and tossing the Demille/Heston. It’s just that I’ve been reading documents and histories of the 10C monuments for a dozen years or so and the less than ethical things surrounding them is not far from my mind at any time–besides, as you can see, I don’t think the Ten Commandment story ever happened.

  4. entech says:

    The Moses story is suspect right from the beginning. The princess says, “Daddy look what I found in the bulrushes, can we keep him ?”.

    • Henry says:

      If so, the princess’ daddy wouldn’t have noticed the pregnancy for nine months? Really?

      • entech says:

        Come on Henry. It is only a story, not to be taken seriously, is it??

        • Henry says:

          Cop out. You get another pass. You are still on the mend.

          • entech says:

            OK. More bluntly it is a fabrication from ancient times. It is a story, a fiction.

            Who said something about “lies told about things that never happened, told by people who weren’t there”

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 4:56 “Who said something about, ‘lies told about thing that never happened, told by people who weren’t there’”.

            I might have said that. Then, I might have stolen it from someone else. If ever there was a story it applied to, it’s the Moses epic.

          • entech says:

            Sorry Jon, rhetorical question.
            George Santayana a Spanish born American philosopher.
            “History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.”

            Another thing he said that is appropriate to a lot of Biblical quote filled commentary found around here.
            “Habit is stronger than reason”

    • Margaret Walsh says:

      Folk tales seem to pop up all over the bible!!!

  5. Doubtful says:

    Only people with no imagination think that every story that is not factual is a lie.

    • entech says:

      re Doubtful’s post: Those who require facts have no imagination.

      I find that a very Doubtful remark.

      Perhaps the (mis)quote from Santayana was a bit extreme but I do think it would take a huge imagination, perhaps one if Biblical proportions, to think that something not factual was other than fiction. Well, perhaps metaphor or allusion (illusion?) but certainly if not factual then it could not be literal truth or a historical event.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        5:58 Putting together Doubtful’s admonition we should allow our imagination to replace varifiable information and Matt’s reference to “the truths of Christianity” we have another old saying, “The blind leading the blind.”

        • entech says:

          Leading in ever diminishing circles :) .

          Perhaps some kind of inverse Ouroboros

        • Doubtful says:

          Both of you are intentionally misinterpreting what I wrote, at least I hope you are because I do not want to think that you are really stupid enough to no understand it.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Doubtful 4:41 I scrolled back 9 pages to find you post and entech’s and my responses. I read you post twice. If we interpreted in incorrectly, please explain what it means. I have no idea what it means if not what we thought.

          • Henry says:

            Doubtful: “Both of you are intentionally misinterpreting what I wrote,”

            They (jonentech) tend to do that. They will re-frame what you said or nearly so, but add their special twist completely changing the context. Then, when you try to correct them, they will call you a liar. They play a pretty good game.

          • entech says:

            Henry, We owe it all too you, the master. The techniques you have introduced are a wonder to behold.

            I sometimes wonder what you actually believe and if scoring points is your only joy in life.

          • Henry says:

            You are projecting again.

          • Henry says:

            I hear your conscience yearning to break free from its suppression.

          • Henry says:

            A suppression of your making.

          • entech says:

            Henry, you are talking to yourself again, an early sign of incipient inanity ;) :lol:

  6. Thank you for your reply, Jon.

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