The Exodus

The Exodus of the Israelites from ancient Egypt to the ‘Promised Land’ is one of the most famous stories of the Old Testament. It is a story that is played out against the world of the pharaohs, involving escape from servitude and the attainment of freedom. This course investigates what the Old Testament says about the Exodus in the context of the known history of New Kingdom Egypt, using the findings of archaeology to illustrate the narrative and probe its plausibility.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Arnold, B.T. and Hess, R.T. 2014. Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources. Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Kitchen, K.A., 2003. On the Reliability of the Old Testament, WB Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Warker, M. (ed) 2012. Ancient Egypt in Israel and the Exodus. Biblical Archaeology Society.


COURSE OUTLINE
The Exodus, described in the biblical book of Exodus, is perhaps the best known story from the Old Testament, being the subject of films, paintings and documentaries. As presented in the Old Testament, it plays a central role in delineating the origins of the ancient Israelites, and also as background to the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. However, there is no direct evidence outside the pages of the Old Testament for the event itself, or any of the people involved in the event that are mentioned by name. The pharaoh from whom the ancient Israelites made their escape is not named.


This course does not set out to prove or disprove the reality of the Exodus, but rather use the findings of archaeology to establish whether the story can be described as “plausible”. Relevant information from the worlds of both New Kingdom Egypt and Late Bronze Age/Iron Age Israel is discussed. Possible “parallels” in both extant ancient written sources and excavated artefacts are also presented. Students will be confronted with what can be described as ‘facts’ from the archaeological record and encouraged to make their own conclusions. Topics that will be covered include:

  • Biblical data pertaining to the Exodus
  • First mention of the ancient Israelites in the archaeological record
  • Evidence for the presence of Semitic speaking people in ancient Egypt
  • The Apiru in the ancient Near East
  • Mention of escaping slaves in ancient Egyptian literature
  • The Delta capitals of the pharaohs
  • The Ways of Horus – the patrolled route across the northern Sinai
  • Theories relating to the Exodus


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Know how written and non-written sources are used to write history.
  2. Discover controversies in using the biblical text to write history.
  3. Learn about the presence of foreign peoples in New Kingdom Egypt.
  4. Discover the emergence of ancient Israel in the archaeological record.
$79 Limited / $71

<p>The Exodus of the Israelites from ancient Egypt to the ‘Promised Land’ is one of the most famous stories of the Old Testament. It is a story that is played out against the world of the pharaohs,

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07 Mar

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