Talk:The Exodus

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Gematria[edit]

"Some have suggested that the 603,550... is ... a gematria ... for bnei yisra'el kol rosh..." The Wikipedia article on gematria highlights the mispar gadol method. The gematria based on mispar gadol is 62+541+50+501=1154. Gematria relies on some assumptions: 1. The author intended to use gematria in this instance, 2. We know which one of the dozen gematria methods listed in Wikipedia were used. 3. We know which of the potentially many different combinations of words that sum to 3,550 were intended. 4. Textual criticism can safely be ignored. 5. An author would choose 603,550 which is not literally true but would be symbolically correct based on its gematria. I suggest that A) That 603,550 is related to "bnei yisra'el kol rosh" seems highly improbable so that particular gematria should not be used. B) Assuming 603,550 has numerical significance; it can still be interpreted that there literally were 603,550 men. The subchapter focuses on whether 600,000 is historically accurate. Gematria only is relevant to the subchapter if one accepts assumption 5, in which case assumption 5 should be listed. CreateW (talk) 17:34, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Read WP:SOURCES and WP:VER. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:58, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Chronology[edit]

"The chronology of the Exodus story likewise underlines its essentially religious rather than historical nature. The number seven, for example, was sacred to God in Judaism, and so the Israelites arrive at Sinai, where they will meet God, at the beginning of the seventh week after their departure from Egypt,[32] while the erection of the Tabernacle, God's dwelling-place among his people, occurs in the year 2666 after God creates the world, two-thirds of the way through a four thousand year era which culminates in or around the re-dedication of the Second Temple in 164 BCE.[33][34]" I suggested deleting this subchapter. The premise of 2666 is highly questionable. 1) To arrive at 2666, one must literally accept the biblical chronology; but then accept that numbers related to the exodus are symbolic not literal. 2) Wikipedia's, Chronology of the Bible, shows that there are many differing texts, and different ways to interpret texts (e.g., starting and ending point of 430 years of slavery) that make 2666 a mere guess. 3) One must assume the author can predict the future. 4) "In or around 164" 5) Why choose 2/3 instead of 1/2, or 6/7? Why is the rededication of the 2nd temple such a key event? Why choose a 4000 year era? Also, assuming the 2666 was chosen to be 2/3rds of 4000, then it still doesn't address whether the biblical authors felt that the numbers in the bible were literally true. (Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.) Regarding the 1st sentence. Yes, the exodus story has a religious nature, and it seems reasonable that numbers have symbolic meaning. There is a huge leap to therefore the exodus story was not intended to be numerically historical. note: Some biblical believers assume the bible is literally true others do not and some for example may make a distinction as to whether numbers are literally true. There are reasons why one may or may not accept the bible literally. I feel such discussion would mostly belong to the biblical literalism Wikipedia article which could be referenced. CreateW (talk) 19:40, 24 December 2013 (UTC)CreateW (talk) 09:08, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Read WP:SOURCES and WP:VER. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:58, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

I did not understand your comments. ″while the erection of the Tabernacle, God's dwelling-place among his people, occurs in the year 2666 after God creates the world″ is not a verifiable fact. Similarly, it is not verifiable that the tabernacle was erected in 2666 years since the world was created because the temple would be rededicated in 164 BC and therefore such events were essentially religious and not historical. Also, such views are not universally accepted, even though the Wikipedia article does not limit this view to a certain group of adherents.CreateW (talk) 09:08, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

I think you misunderstand that section. It talks of the reported dates, whose properties indicate that they were not a historical chronicle but chosen for their religious (and political) symbolism. That seems to be the gist of what Meyers, Hayes&Miller and Davies say. If you know of sources that interpret the chronology differently, please provide them. Huon (talk) 11:46, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the explanation as I misinterpreted what was written in the Wikipedia article (I had assumed the paragraph was written from a religious perspective). At the very least the article should be clearer. I read Meyers, Hayes&Miller and Davies. Dates (Abraham 1946, enter Egypt 2236, exodus 2666). The 430 years in Egypt creates a theological problem. As genesis 46 lists levi and Kohath as going to Egypt. Kohath had a son Amram who had a son Moses. The ages of Kohath, Amram and Moses are mentioned in Pentateuch (Kohath lived 133 years, Amram lived 137 years and Moses was 80 at the time of the exodus=350 years)so they are inconsistent with the 430 year number. It is common to count the 430 from Abraham (eg Septuagint). It also relied on the 480 years from the Exodus to the temple. Spinoza had an issue with the 480 years (http://www.fullbooks.com/A-Theologico-Political-Treatise-Part-II2.html) where to get the numbers to work men would have to father children at the age of 90 for a few generations. I also noticed in their chronology that the 1st temple existed for 430 years. It was unclear to me whether Meyers, Hayes&Miller and Davies were speculating or stating facts. The 430 and 480 presumably are from redactors and not from JEPD and so their evidence of textual manipulation may not apply to the core text. The 430 could have been added after the destruction of the temple but before 164. The 430 may have been added out of piety and not with the intent of manipulating the text for personal gain. The 430 may have been added via the Septuagint interpretation (from Abraham) and not counting from the time of Jacob. Also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Bible had the 1st temple existing for 410 (and not 430) years. Anyway, to claim that the text was manipulated around 164BC for personal gain that materially distorts the understanding of the Exodus/bible is a strong claim (I am unfamiliar with the evidence to judge) and it should require stronger evidence than provided. Also, the people that believe the bible was manipulated for personal gain in the 2nd century typically do not think the Exodus occurred in the year 2200 instead of 2448 or 2666.(So if Davies was provided a biblical text from pre164 or pre500 he would not assume the text was historical) Further, there are many key events (birth or key event in life of abraham, Jacob, Moses, exodus, entering the holy land, beginning of kingdom), different fractions, different ways to count when text is unclear that numerical coincidences can occur by chance. Suggestion: I prefer more direct wording such as Many people, particularly secular individuals, are skeptical of biblical chronologies (eg, 6000 years old, people living hundreds of years, inconsistencies, different authors with differing timelines, use of symbolic or round numbers) which make dating the Exodus challenging. I don't like "religious rather than historical"; the 2666/4000 seems to be built on many assumptions (those were the numbers they used, numbers were manipulated around 164 for personal gain, those changes materially impact the chronology of the exodus). Also, the current wording is indirect/unclear.CreateW (talk) 20:47, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Read WP:VER again. You have clearly missed its point. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:31, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
Afterwards read WP:NOR. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:32, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Modern Biblical Date of Exodus[edit]

The Wikipedia article on the documentary hypothesis dates the Torah (JEDP) based on Wellhaussen (950,850, 600 and 500 BCE) and Friedman roughly (730, 700, 700, 600). Wikipedia has separate articles on Yahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist and Priestly Source which provide other estimated dates. This Exodus article has (The opinion of the overwhelming majority of modern biblical scholars is that the Pentateuch as we know it was shaped in the post-Exilic period) (The opinion of the overwhelming majority of modern biblical scholars is that the Torah was shaped in the post-Exilic period). I would prefer that this article elaborate on that conclusion. What role did JED and P play in the Exodus narrative? When did JEDP live? Then when was it redacted and the extent that the redactor had in impacting the text. I am partly concerned by the lack of clarity. Also, e.g., based on Wellhaussen's dates, it would be true that the bible as it we know it is post-exilic, however, it would also show some pre-exilic evidence for the Exodus. CreateW (talk) 21:31, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Read WP:SOURCES and WP:VER. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:58, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Severely outdated and/or fringe sources[edit]

I have shown my reasons for reverting such edits at User_talk:214.69.128.197#January 2014. It was a time when the Albright school ruled the Levantine archeology, as it was a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:18, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Very short and enlightening reading from an evangelical scholar: [1]. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:23, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Event vs. Myth[edit]

Remember, regardless of your beliefs (IE: regardless of whether Christian, Jewish or atheist) Wikipedia is not truth. Rather it is verifiability. It is easily verified that the exodus is a founding myth. If you can provide WP:RS to verify that exodus was an event we can discuss changing it. Simonm223 (talk) 20:22, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Seems like alot of drama over two little words. In my edit, quickly reverted by Dougweller, I wasn't trying to imply that it was "something that factually happened" (despite Doug's and Simonm223's assumption that by using the word "event" I was definitively calling it a Historically verifiable happening) - just that calling it a "myth" seemed to be inserting non-NPOV as it is insulting to Jews and Christians to call it a myth. It looks like its been changed again to "traditional story" - which I guess is ok, but it lacks the right emphasis IMO of the word "Foundational". I changed it to "foundational story" and deleted the Wiki link as I thought it was too much of a stretch to connect "foundational story" to "traditional story". Probably needs further discussion. Ckruschke (talk) 12:57, 10 March 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
How is myth more "insulting" than story? It's not inserting an WP:NPOV - it's an accurate description of what Exodus is, supported with reliable sources. Simonm223 (talk) 12:59, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
There are various phrases used to describe it as a myth, but I think that "charter myth" seems to be used a lot in academic sources. Eg [2], [3], [4], [5] etc, more at [6] or we could use "myth of origins" which also has numerous sources.[7]. It would clearly be NPOV not do this. And of course, we already call it a charter myth with a reliable source. I don't understand why it isn't mentioned in Myth of origins. It's a classical example. Dougweller (talk) 13:25, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Simonm223 - why is myth insulting? Because the term "Bible/Biblical Stories" is used quite often in Jewish & Christianity spheres to refer to tales from the Bible. The word "story" does not make an overt assumption of historical accuracy while the term "myth" clearly does. Pretty obvious. Also contrary to your edit note, you don't create "concensus" by making one edit and then posting your opinion on Talk. Considering the lede and the whole page has gone through many many changes in just the last 6 months, I don't see how you can claim "any" concensus since it appears that the first edit you made on this page was 6 March...
Dougweller - Sounds fine. I should have looked at what was in the body of the text first - I didn't realize that it had changed so much.Ckruschke (talk) 16:07, 10 March 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
Thanks, Ckruschke - to make it more obvious we agree and not look like I'm edit warring, could you please make the edit? Dougweller (talk) 16:11, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Yep - no problem - no warring intended or implied. Ckruschke (talk) 16:17, 10 March 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
Appreciated. I wasn't suggesting you were trying to state it was a real historical event, just that the wording made it appear we were saying that. This is always tricky. Dougweller (talk) 18:56, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I do not agree that the use of any phrase with the word "myth" in it is appropriate. It seems to me that the basis to the insistence to its use is a determined refusal to give the bible any historical value, under the cover of a "non-reliable source". In fact, for some "events" the bible is the only source though outside sources may bring some aspects of it into question. It is not right to trash the whole story, which is so important to Jewish identity, as a myth or fable. You might as well delete the whole article if it is a myth. You might as well say that Jews are living a fantasy. One after another, the Bible Minimalists are trashing all articles which rely on the bible arguing that it as based on an unreliable source. I thought traditional story was a good compromise, but it went back to myth. What about "a story [or an event] believed by Jews and by others to be...". Enthusiast (talk) 21:26, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
To not use the word at all in a clear NPOV violation, given the number of reliable sources, some by theologians and other religious (in the sense of believing) scholars. Dougweller (talk) 21:59, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
What about, as a compromise: "an event described in the Hebrew a Bible, which some scholars describe as a foundation myth,..." Enthusiast (talk) 22:30, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
The consensus among mainstream historians is that the Exodus was no event at all (at least in the way that it got described in the Bible). Wikipedia simply renders what mainstream scholars have published. We do not decide the facts, scholars decide them for us and we are simply their scribes. See WP:ABIAS. Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:51, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
If only life would be so simple. There are scholars and there are scholars with other opinions. The weight of numbers is also not in issue. There are specific articles which discuss the historicity of the bible. Perhaps a reference to those articles would satisfy others. I thought my compromise wording would cover that point. Otherwise, I have nothing else to add, and will bale out of the discussion. Enthusiast (talk) 01:07, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Enthusiast - I agree with you that it is frustrating to see this called a myth. However, Tgeorgescu & Dougweller are 100% correct that The Exodus, as opposed to other Biblical events, has no historical or archeological proof to date. As Tgeorgescu has correctly related, Wiki needs to reflect current scholarship and although there are many suppositions about The Exodus, many of which I have personnally read, there is no hard proof. Ckruschke (talk) 15:37, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke