The Exodus as Portrayed in the Hebrew Bible is True!

Not really, but that sure got your attention didn’t it?  Well, anyway, according to the journalists over at MSNBC, it was a storm which parted the Red Sea which is portrayed in the Book of Exodus.

Mother Earth could have parted the Red Sea, hatching the great escape described in the biblical book of Exodus, a new study finds.

A strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have swept water off a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon along the Mediterranean Sea, said study team member Carl Drews of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. While archaeologists and Egyptologists have found little evidence that any events described in Exodus actually happened, the study outlines a perfect storm that could have led to the 3,000-year-old escape.

Oh, dilettantes,…when will you learn?   So typical of these news stories, they receive a study like this and immediately attach it to a Biblical account.  Also, it is incorrect that archaeologists and Egyptologists have found “little evidence”…in point of fact, they have found none.  So much for accurate journalism.

Read on, that is, if you’re a masochist or a religious ascetic: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39287373/ns/technology_and_science-science/

Update: Jim West offers his valuable insights!  Read his response here.

31 Responses

  1. The exodus sorry is true? Then how come science has found no evidence of it? I have been told that satellites and other tools are able to show evidence of people movement like that, yet non exist for any exodus legend. Do you have any links to anyone that has demonstrated that the exodus story is true? or is it just speculation at this point? I have text to speech converted the MSNBC story you linked to, and will be listening to it with my daily batch.

    But if anyone knows of anything that demonstrates that the exodus myths are actually true, I would appreciate it if you would email me.

    Cheers! webulite@gmail.com

  2. Wut? Did you even read what I wrote?

  3. Sir Colin John Humphreys is the Goldsmiths’ Professor of Materials Science at Cambridge University, Professor of Experimental Physics at the Royal Institution in London and a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. Most importantly: Professor Humphreys is a regular contributor to several peer-reviewed biblical journals, and I believe he is the true father of the theories you are referring to here (see his book, The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist Reveals the Extraordinary Natural Causes Underlying the Biblical Miracles).

    Indeed, according to Prof. Humphreys, the Exodus as portrayed in the Tanakh is true. Some of his work on the Exodus story includes the following peer-reviewed articles:

    (1) Colin J. Humphreys, “The Number of People in the Exodus from Egypt: Decoding Mathematically the Very Large Numbers in Numbers I and XXVI,” Vetus Testamentum 48 (1998), pp. 196-213.
    (2) Colin J. Humphreys, “The Numbers in the Exodus from Egypt: A Further Appraisal,” Vetus Testamentum 50 (2000), pp. 323-328.

    Gary A. Rendsburg, Blanche and Irving Laurie Chair in Jewish History, found it opportune to endorse Humphreys’s approach:

    Gary A. Rendsburg, “An Additional Note to Two Recent Articles on the Number of People in the Exodus from Egypt and the Large Numbers in Numbers I and XXVI,” Vetus Testamentum 51 (2001), pp. 392-396.

    This example nicely illustrates the extreme fallibility of the peer review system. It gave its approval to three articles by two authors who obviously failed to “fully realize the implications of the knells sounding the intellectual death of the traditional belief” (David Goldstein).

  4. And he provides archaeological evidence for the exodus? What Peer Reviewed journal does he do this in?

  5. The article you are referring to deals with “a new study,” according to which “Mother Earth could have parted the Red Sea, hatching the great escape described in the biblical book of Exodus.” It does not describe the alleged archaeological discoveries, and neither does our peer-reviewed professor.

  6. Being Peer-Reviewed does not mean a thing, Michael. He either has evidence or he has speculation. One is useful and the other is not. I am sure you can guess which one is which.

  7. “Being Peer-Reviewed does not mean a thing…”

    Being peer-reviewed means he wrote an academic report considered by other academics to be serious enough for publication. Some would say it means he possesses the Truth, Pure Knowledge, elevated insights that are not available to mere mortals.

    (Please note: I have no personal experience with scholarly journals. My only peer-reviewed publications are on physical metallurgy.)

  8. It only means a thing if it offers useful information from which the rest of academia can benefit. I know what peer review is, and I have read a lot of peer reviewed articles from several journals. Some are great, most are typical, but few…very few, are groundbreaking. I doubt anything he offered was groundbreaking, and I highly doubt he possesses any more than you or I. Don’t put him up on a podium until you know well enough to figure out the difference.

  9. I agree with you, and I too find it doubtful that the biblical papers published by Prof. Humphreys were groundbreaking. They are probably not even worth the paper they are printed on. My real concern is that their appearance in Vetus Testamentum, a journal of the utmost significance, has been used to promote biblical literalism. The newspaper story you are referring to in the initial post would hardly have seen the light of day, if the authors of the “new study” on the Exodus had not been able to cite a peer-reviewed paper. I assume that most biblical scholars regard his research as foolish, but I am not concerned about them at all. I am thinking of the masses of uneducated people who will once again be told: “The Bible got it right, after all. Scripture is really the most exact book in the world.” Their political and religious opinions are influenced by this trash.

  10. Fair enough.

  11. I should point out that Humphreys has a history with this sort of apologetic. His earliest work was “proving” the date of the crucifixion with a lunar eclipse and that a comet was the Star of Bethlehem.

    with Waddington, “Dating the Crucifixion,” Nature 306 (December 22/29, 1983): 743-46.
    (That’s right, Mother-F*ing Nature!)

    “The Star of Bethlehem: A Comet in 5 BC and the Date of the Birth of Christ”, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 32 (1991): 389-407.

  12. Thanks, Gilgamesh, for the additional refs. The depressing thing about this is that _Nature_ and the _Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society_ are peer-reviewed journals.

    Humphreys, when masquerading as a biblical scholar, actually fits better into the 18th century than the 20th and 21st. Heinrich Paulus, Johann Gottfried Eichhorn and Humphreys would have become great friends.

    I wonder whether a peer-reviewed journal of some repute (say, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions) would allow a metallurgist to publish a metallurgical paper in which the discoveries of the past two centuries were simply put aside and ignored. Perhaps I will try this out later.

  13. Well, it’s not all crap. Some science journals/magazines can actually get it closer to what is actually being said by Bible scholars. Cf. Sky & Telecope (Dec 2007).

  14. I will have to disagree with you on that one.

  15. Are you disagreeing with me concerning what I said about some science publications? I cited an issue where the author discusses the naturalistic theories about the Star of Bethlehem, calls it bunk essentially, and points out that it’s probably not historical. Compared to that Nature article I cited above from Humphreys, it’s golden.

  16. If science is used to debunk apologetics, I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is when science is used in any manner to explain a Biblical account, whether it be Moses parting the waters, or why Biblical authors told a story about a Biblical flood, or why the walls of Jericho came crashing down. When we start rationalizing the theological motifs in the Bible, or any religious book, we create whole communities and socio-cultural interactions which never existed in the first place, ergo skewing the past with fictions and coloring it with our own presuppositions. So I was disagreeing with you that any scientific journal can offer better insight than a Biblical scholar. I would want a Biblical scholar teaching me about physics, and I wouldn’t want a physicist teaching me about the author’s intentions behind a book from the Bible.

  17. Religion or Theology schools are really propaganda engines. We need to differentiate between two subsets currently in these schools. 1) the scientists… these in effect should move into “history” departments. History, is at least in theory supposed to be a discipline with a scientific approach, or makking hypothesis, gathering data, analyzing data, and accepting new findings. 2) the apologist… these are people that should leave academia, and become priests and ministers, who’s job is to try to sell or justify the supernaturalistic beliefs of a religious group.

    The problem is that we have this strange department called “religious scholars”, that are proporting to be examining the history of religions, but at not inside a history department. They therefore operate in a inbred world.

    Cheers! webulite@gmail.com

  18. You’re wrong about Theology, bud. I hate to tell you, but we need theologians.

  19. We simply disagree, but a clarrification. I was not speaking about “theologians”, I was talking about “Religious Scholars” like NT Scholars. There is a difference. NT scholars proport to be telling us how christianity started, and it’s development. They do not talk about what gods want or like. These are the people I would move into history departments. You mentioned “theologians”. These are people that will additionally comments on what gods want or like. I have absolutely no use for these clowns, and they can rename or be moved into a philosophy department, which deal with ideas of a purely speculative nature.

    Cheers! webulite@gmail.com

  20. You and I will continue to disagree about this. I mean no offense with this comment, you know I have a lot of respect for you, but your opinions about theologians are naive to say the least. Theologians do not speak about what god wants or likes because they often believe this themselves; theologians offer exegesis like this based on what the authors of these books believed. Historians do not do that and often times historians get it wrong. You need both theologians and historians to interpret the past. You can say what you want, but your opinions are baseless here. As someone who works with theologians, I can tell you of the usefulness of their work. I would take one Thomas L. Thompson over 20 Michael Grant’s or E.P. Sanders’.

  21. “What I’m not okay with is when science is used in any manner to explain a Biblical account, whether it be Moses parting the waters, or …”

    There is an entertaining aspect to the rationalist approach. Constructing explanations for biblical miracles is remarkably reminiscent of doing crime puzzles for fun. Heinrich Paulus (early 19th century) suggested that Mary’s angelic visitor, Gabriel, was a mere mortal and the true father of Jesus. He also suggested that Jesus did not die on the cross, he just fainted. When laid in the cool tomb, he recovered consciousness. On the Mount of Olives, a passing cloud came between Jesus and the disciples. They lost sight of him and thought he had ascended to heaven. David Friedrich Strauss put an end to the nonsense.

  22. Dear Thomas,

    I was not taking your comments as in any way hostile. And even if you strongly disagree, that is your right, and nothing that would offend me. I am simply expressing my opinion. Perhaps others will read it, and my view will help clarify their thinking.

    One of the “problems” is due to our current collection of departments sort of evolving, rather than being designed as a operating system would be. But the world is never clean, so I am not bemoaning this.

    Perhaps a clarification would be to state that I see things in this general way. Departments either fall into the Arts or Sciences. For example, if you get an engineering degree you get a Bachelor of Science, if you get a history degree you get a Bachelor of Arts. So the initial break down is are we Arts vs Science. Now, to go with a sort of Genius, Species, pylum organizational structure, I would see this;

    Arts
    Humanities
    history
    religion
    philosophy
    religion

    now, difference people have “fallin” into various groupings because they are established. When you say that theologians do not talk about what gods like or want I would disagree. While some theologians may talk more as history majors at talk like someone like Joseph Cambell, I HAVE seen theologians that will tell use things about the nature of gods. Augustine would be an example, and there are some today that will do this. They will make comments on the nature of gods, some of their attributes, etc… Yet… no gods have ever been demonstrated. So this is a purely speculative exercise. Anyone that tells someone else about the nature of gods, and any of their attributes, is involved in pure speculation, since gods have to this point have not been demonstrated.

    No historian will tell you anything about the nature or attributes of gods. they might tell you what a member of the christian religion in the 3rd century BELIEVED, but it is always a comment or commentary on that persons believe, not a statement of it’s accuracy.

    My comments go to the general attempt to rid the academic world of SPECULATION in fields that proport to be HISTORY based. So, if a person wants to talk about speculative ideas about gods in any way, I believe they should become priests or ministers. If they want to remain in the academic world, they should move the the Philosophy department, which is all about speculation.

    But NT Studies should fall under a history / humanities umbrella. So anyone that talks about gods from an attribute standpoint should be thrown out.

    Perhaps I will one day create a tree structure of my “proposed reorganization of academic departments”, it is not a complete rework of what we currently have, but is mostly a operation to remove the vestigial appendix that theology has evolved into/from. The goal being of making sure that all people that deal with speculative subjects get moved into philosophy departments. And let’s be clear, speculation (hypothesis) does play a role in even the science, but these people spend a great deal of time creating experiments that can be confirmed or disproven so they can try to put forth new knowledge. Until someone displays a test for gods that can either confirm of deny their actual existence, anyone that jumps ahead to talk about any attributes of these yet undemonstrated, purely speculative god ideas, is NOT doing history in any way. They are doing purely speculative philosophy.

    Cheers! webulite@gmail.com

  23. that breakdown should like like this;

    I) Arts
    -1) Humanities
    –A) history
    —a) religion
    –B) philosophy
    —b) religion

  24. Michael, yes, he put an end to it for a time. But rationalistic explanations about the miraculous past are returning. My lecture covers a few of these and explains why it is problematic and why such explanations exist.

  25. Tom, thanks for helpful comments. I hope the lecture will become available one day. The new search for “natural causes” is a bizarre trend.

    Webulite, I believe you are confusing several issues in your post. You should read Philip R. Davies’s “Whose Bible is it anyway?” The introductory essay (Two Nations, One Womb) is clarifying and inspiring.

  26. I agree with the book recommendation. Anything by Philip Davies, John Van Seters, Thomas Thompson, NP Lemche, and more recently Emanuel Pfoh, will help clear up the confusion. They will also give a good description of the situation in academia at present.

  27. Dear Michael,

    I looked on google books, but the copy does not include the chapter’s _two nations, one womb_ does not seem to be available. I also looked for that chapter published some place, have not been able to find it. If you have it on text, PDF, or anything, please feel free to forward it to me via email.

    If you would like to explain what you my confusion is, and how it could be corrected, also feel free to expand, and email me, or point me to your explanation on your site/blog or here (if it is short enough).

    Cheers! webulite@gmail.com

  28. Books are worth buying.

  29. thomas, true, but if someone is involved in a discussion, and says “i think you are wrong, see X”, they really should probide X in some way, or at least summaries what they think X is saying.” I was simply asking him to give me the details of what his objection was.

    BTW, i found chapter 2;

    http://books.google.com/books?id=7jDfyl70yKsC&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=philip+r.+davies,+two+nations,+one+womb&source=bl&ots=fL6xMs_dHn&sig=j7DoF34YeRUP7jVJiTONqfv9kGI&hl=en&ei=SM2aTJPuNYH78AaJpuy4AQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Cheers! webulite@gmail.com

  30. A lot of arguments here are typical of lay people. This is not how to perceive ground breaking scientific discoveries of this magnitude. It is very easy to critisise but very difficult to offer alternative explanations. I am a physicist but without this publication I could have never explained how even a small river the width of a standard bedroom could be parted into two? The bible itself is not necessarily a dogma and if it’s proved so be it.

  31. This article doesn’t prove anything at all about the Bible. It has NOTHING to do with the Exodus or the Bible. Someone is simply taking one thing and making it fit the context of a fictional story which has absolutely nothing to do with the laws of physics. I’m sure someone can take a paper published about some other physical law and apply it to Gulliver’s Travels too; would that make the story any less of a fiction or, conversely, would it only be wrongly implying that the author had this sort of physical law in mind when they wrote the story? You need to keep your head out of theological matters and keep them where it belongs, in your field. Don’t come here and criticize me for analyzing something out of my niche and then, at the same time, analyze something out of yours. Science and Theology cannot be mixed for a reason.

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