The Exodus: Case Not Proved

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

March 12, 2015 | Ronald Hendel
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).
This is a response to Was There an Exodus?, originally published in Mosaic in March 2015

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

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.

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register Already a subscriber? Sign in now