Talk:The Exodus

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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 [1], [2], [3], [4] etc, more at [5] or we could use "myth of origins" which also has numerous sources.[6]. 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
For some reason the Ipuwer Papyrus was not even mentioned on this page until now!? Obviously we cannot know to a 100% exact certainty the Exodus was a myth, since the Ipuwer Papyrus, while by no means proving the Exodus, calls that assertion into reasonable doubt. The claim that the Exodus is definitely a myth is clearly WP:POV. I find the repeated, and blatantly false assertion on this page that absolutely no archeological evidence has ever been found that could lend support for the Exodus, and the presumably intentional exclusion of the Ipuwer from this article, as well as the lack of sufficient information about the papyrus on its own page, unscholarly, disingenuous, deceptive to readers and extremely distasteful. Especially in light of many Jews, Samaritans, and other people connected with the Israelites, feeling the Ipuwer Papyrus is at long last the found extant traces of their national origins. Like a scene from Roots, I believe this best illustrates how many of them feel about the discovery of the Ipuwer: [copyvio link removed] --Newmancbn (talk) 03:31, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
You don't understand what is meant by "charater myth" or "foundational myth". The article doesn't even call it a myth, so this is a red herring. Dougweller (talk) 05:38, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
I understand perfectly well what is meant by 'charter myth' by scholars, it is a an ancient national origin legend that may or may not be based on historic events. That is not what the common reader understands by the word 'myth', which is a term that has implications of 'a made up fairytale' to the lay person. The completely neutral term 'event' is a far more appropriate choice of words for this article, especially in light of the Ipuwer, which casts some measure of doubt over the assertion the Exodus is devoid of any historical bases or any supporting archeological data.--Newmancbn (talk) 07:00, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Great, you understand. And we don't call it a "myth" but a charter myth with a link to that. You are asking us to dumb this down and treat the phrase "charter myth" as identical with myth. Are you actually denying that this is a charter myth? Are you really questioning the idea that charter myths can be charter myths and have some historical basis? All sorts of people have come up with claims for a historical basis, there is nothing special about the Ipuwer Papyrus from that viewpoint. And 'event' is about as unneutral as you could get. Everyone thinks that the word describes things that really happened, Dougweller (talk) 07:19, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
I changed it to read 'contested event', which I hope is satisfactory. I am not the only one who raised objections to the use of the term 'charter myth' to describe the claimed national origin of Israel in the opening sentence. I do not think the article should be 'dumbed down', there is obviously a place for the term 'charter myth', in the proceeding lead paragraph on the way scholars view the Exodus. I just think it should be as clear and simply stated as possible.--Newmancbn (talk) 07:38, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Date of the Exodus[edit]

I have questioned the use of the word "impossible" in this section regarding the date of the Exodus and even requested a citation, which was supplied; however, no matter what source one might use for the claim of "impossibility," the claim is ill-founded. The argument in the article continues to be that the absence of any evidence for an exodus in any historical records AND the archaeological evidence of the 1930s makes a date of 1406 for the conquest and 1446 for the exodus an impossibility. First, I would suggest that the ABSENCE of an historical record does not make something an impossibility--only that it has not yet been confirmed by history. Second, the claim is made that the archaeology of the 1930s prohibits the possibility of a conquest around 1400, which is in complete disregard of John Garstang's conclusions regarding Jericho in his digs during the 1930s. He actually wrote, "The date of Joshua's invasion of Canaan would fall about 1407 B.C." (John Garstang, Joshua-Judges, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1978 reprint of 1931 edition. Garstang, John, "Jericho: City and Necropolis." Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 20 (1933), pp. 52-55). Furthermore, Zondervan, the very source that is now being cited in support of the "impossibility" of a dating around 1400 actually reads that "a correlation is probable" between such a date and Joshua's conquest (The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Tenney, vol. 2, "The Chronology of the Old Testament). It has been intimated in my dialogue with the individual who eliminated my editing (to exclude the word "impossible") that my view is fringe, but I would suggest that it is no more a fringe view to argue for the "impossibility" of a dating of 1400 as proposed by Garstang in the 1930s (and by subsequent scholarship) than it is to argue for the "impossibility" of a dating of 1200 as proposed by Kenyon in the 1950s (and by subsequent scholarship). I would further add that any fear that "evangelicals" might hijack this Wikipedia page with arguments that would agree with the biblical record is unnecessary. I have not argued for the credibility of the Bible, but neither is that an academic disqualification as long as any arguments are measured and well-founded. I am only arguing for a balanced scholarship that recognizes that scholarly men both past and present agree that an early date is indeed possible. I would respectfully ask that any claim of impossibility be removed from this section. It is unbalanced and unnecessarily dismissive of careful research. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:32, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks to the OP for bringing this here.
The paragraph under discussion is this:
1 Kings 6:1 states that the Exodus occurred 480 years before the construction of Solomon's Temple, which would imply an Exodus c.1446 BCE, during Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty.[35] By the mid-20th century it had become apparent that the archaeological record made this date impossible[36]: Egyptian records of that period do not mention the expulsion of any group that could be identified with over two million Hebrew slaves, nor any events which could be identified with the Biblical plagues, and digs in the 1930s had failed to find traces of the simultaneous destruction of Canaanite cities c.1400 BCE — in fact many of them, including Jericho, the first Canaanite city to fall to the Israelites according to the Book of Joshua, were uninhabited at the time or, in the case of Jericho itself, "small and poor, almost insignificant, and unfortified. There was also no sign of a destruction."[37]
There's a source for the first sentence and it looks ok though I haven't checked it. Then comes the statement that by the mid-20th century it was apparent that this date (1440) was impossible. It's sourced (footnote 36), but I can't access the source - I'll assume the source does say this date is impossible.
Next comes a single sentence with two lines of evidence, the first the absence of Egyptian records for the exodus in or around 1440, the second the absence of archaeological evidence for the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan forty years later. I gather we take it for granted that everyone knows the desert wanderings took up forty years. A single source is given for all this, Finkelstein&Silberman, p.82. This one I can access, and frankly it doesn't support all that's said, just the bit about Jericho, and I'm not even sure of that (is it really talking about the 1400 period? - not doubting, just can't quite follow the argument in the book at that point).
So, sourcing is needed for all the statements in that long sentence (maybe break it in two, one on Egyptian evidence, the other on Canaan?) I suggest looking in Meyers' book, Dever 2003, and more closely in Finkelstein/Silberman. Even Kitchen is useful, but he's another one I can't access.PiCo (talk) 09:47, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Incidentally, while not strictly relevant, it's worth remembering that the only reason anyone even considers 1440 as a date for the exodus is because 1 Kings 6:1 says it happened 480 years before the Temple was built - without that, we wouldn't be having this discussion. So you need to look at how much faith you can put in 1 Kings 6:1.PiCo (talk) 09:46, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Tenney, who was active in the mid 20th century, is used to support the claim about the mid 20th century rejection of the 15th century BCE date. I mean he is a reliable source for the scholarship in mid 20th century, not for present-day scholarship.

... the view is no longer tenable that nonoccupation of that area from the eighteenth to thirteenth centuries B.C. makes a fifteenth-century date for the Exodus impossible.

—Douglas and Tenney, p. 417
Well, I guess I got this wrong. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:18, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

a fifteenth-century BCE date for the exodus very unlikely

—D.A. Knight and A.-J. Levine, The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us, p. 20
Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:31, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
I rewrote the first paragraph extensively to make it as succinct as possible while getting the essential information across. I can't find anyone saying the 15th century date is "impossible"so took that sentence out, but many/most say it's improbable, or words to that effect, and I've reflected that. The two strands of argument for this are the schematic nature of the 1 Kings material (the whole 15th century idea hinges on that) and the lack of archaeological evidence. Ok? PiCo (talk) 05:08, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for eliminating the word "impossible" which I have held all along to be without scholarship and biased. Even if a source can be found that quotes such a "finding," it would have been inappropriate to make such a conclusion based on the archaeological evidence which has been historically debated by Garstang and Kenyon. I am pleased with the increasing integrity of the paragraph. I have been left to wonder if the fact that I am supportive (along with Garstang) of an archaeological dating of 1400 for the destruction of Jericho based on pottery studies while also having a confident view in the matching historical veracity of the Bible's dating of 1400 has prejudiced my input on this matter in the eyes of some given a widespread support for a thirteenth century dating, but I would encourage all to study Garstang and study the pottery evidence at Jericho in depth before concluding that the widespread opinion is grounded in some unassailable paradigm. Nothing could be further from the truth. But again, thank you for making those necessary changes if Wikipedia is to have a scholarly reputation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:28, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Each time that I propose measured phrasing to the "dating of the exodus" paragraph, the edits are rejected. I'm not trying to edit the article to present an evangelical viewpoint. I'm merely trying to present the scholarly opinion that a date for the 15th century conquest of Jericho based on the pottery findings is plausible. The opening line of the paragraph has been rightly edited to state that there are two "major" proposals for the dating of the exodus, and for that the editors should be applauded, but any extrabiblical information that might support the 15th century view or any information that might attempt to temper a zealous defense of the 13th century view is met with resistance. That is troubling and there is no reason for it. If the scholarship of Garstang and others cannot earn representation in this paragraph and if the editors of this page cannot permit even the slightest wording changes to present a more balanced approach and one that attempts to honor one of the two "major" views, then scholarship suffers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

mainstream scholarly thinking is that there was no "conquest" led by Joshua - the archeological record shows no widespread destruction reflecting what is described in Judges. It is not maintream history to discuss the "conquest" like it really happened, much less to reference it in trying to establish a date for whatever sort of exodus happened. Jytdog (talk) 15:15, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
It was I who reverted your recent edit. One problem with it was that it changed the words used by the sources to words not used by the sources. For example, Moore and Keele p.81 say that it's "recognised" that the 480 years in 1 Kings is symbolic (and it says this recognistion comes from "sceptical and conservative interpreters alike", hence the gloss "widely recognised"). You changed this to "widely held." A small change, but away from accuracy and it weakens what's in the source. You then say "in this view" the number is symbolic, when there's no evidence of any other mainstream view. Cumulatively, you're taking a pretty-well universally held view and making it seem contested.
Similarly, you took Silberman and Finkelstein's discussion of obstacles to a 15th century date (page 81 in toto) and turned it into a statement that on that page they support a 13th century date. They don't, not on that page or any other. In fact on that same page (pages 81-82) they expressly say that there are major problems with a 13th century date for Jericho, in that Jericho wasn't inhabited in the 13th century.
In brief, sentences that cite sources have to reflect what those sources say.
The fact is that Garstang's conclusions have been rejected long ago due to Kenyon's later work. Kenyon's dating is now the one accepted by archaeologists and historians, and for that fact it's the one we have to reflect. PiCo (talk) 15:39, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I was just cleaning up after a massively disruptive editor. I have no dog in your hunt yet. and by the way, DO NOT EDIT OTHER EDITOR'S COMMENTS. There are very limited cases where it is OK to do that (fixing indenting or other things that actually affect other editors). Outside of that, ask first. See WP:TPG. Jytdog (talk) 15:53, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a scholarly website, meaning that Wikipedia editors don't indulge in original research in order to second guess mainstream consensus. We simply take this consensus for what it is and render the scholarship done by mainstream scholars. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:45, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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"Israelites might ally themselves with foreign invaders seems unlikely in the context of the late 2nd millennium"[edit]

The Hyksos page is quite clear that their invasion of Egypt, for those who agree that there was such an invasion, happened well within the first half of the 2nd millennium. That would make the subject line above, a quote from this Exodus article, in severe contradiction with with the majority of scholars. 2601:9:8400:6510:218B:13F6:CAC2:1660 (talk) 14:56, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

that's your own original research and we don't publish original research in WP. Jytdog (talk) 03:03, 22 November 2014 (UTC)