The Exodus: Case Not Proved

The exodus as we know it didn’t happen. But it’s a great story.

Departure of the Israelites, 1829, by the Scottish painter David Roberts. Wikimedia.

Departure of the Israelites, 1829, by the Scottish painter David Roberts. Wikimedia.

Response
March 12 2015
About the author

Ronald Hendel is Norma and Sam Dabby professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Remembering Abraham: Culture, Memory, and History in the Hebrew Bible (2005) and The Book of Genesis: A Biography (2012).


To the question asked by Joshua Berman, “Was There an Exodus?,” the usual answer of modern biblical scholarship is: no. Berman, a professor of Bible at Bar-Ilan University, adduces arguments and evidence to suggest instead that a plausible, if qualified, answer is yes. As a biblical scholar, and as a liberal Jew, I’m tantalized by the prospect of new evidence for the exodus. But what Berman produces doesn’t convince me.

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More about: Biblical criticism, Exodus, Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, Religion & Holidays