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

Posted by on January 16, 2013

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/

26 Responses to If There Was No Moses, Would There Be a Christianity?

  1. Wanna B Sure

    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

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

    • Grandma

      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. J. Shane Mercer

    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

    • Jon Lindgren

      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

    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

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

      • entech

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

        • Henry

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

          • entech

            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”

          • Jon Lindgren

            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

            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

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

  5. Doubtful

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

    • entech

      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.

      • Jon Lindgren

        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

          Leading in ever diminishing circles :) .

          Perhaps some kind of inverse Ouroboros

        • Doubtful

          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.

          • Jon Lindgren

            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

            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

            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

            You are projecting again.

          • Henry

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

          • Henry

            A suppression of your making.

          • entech

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

  6. J. Shane Mercer

    Thank you for your reply, Jon.

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