Talk:Moses

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Including data on 'Film and television' section[edit]

On 23rd March 2015 the Rede Record in Brazil premiered the first chapter of a TV series called 'Os 10 Mandamentos' (The 10 Commandments). The show is still ongoing. Pedro Pupak, Enzo Simi, and Guilherme Winter are the actors in the role of Moses through his different ages.

source: http://entretenimento.r7.com/os-dez-mandamentos/capitulos/noticias

earliest reference to Moses?[edit]

I think he was mentioned in a simple creed that was recited at Shiloh or another shrine, and that creed is preserved somewhere in the Tanakh, but I can't find it. Can we add that detail to the page? First recorded mention of Moses? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 02:15, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

In addition to the Pentateuch, Moses is mentioned in: 1 Samuel 12:6 and 8; 1 Kings 8:9, 53, and 56; 2 Kings 18:4; and psalms 77:21 [20], 99:6, 105:26, and 106:16, 23, and 32. There are also the numerous references to the "Laws of Moses". Discovering which of these is the earliest wouldn't be easy - the Petateuch is Persian-era, Samuel and Kings were first drafted in the late monarchy and substantially edited later, and the psalms are very difficult to date. The very oldest reference to an exodus-event is i Hosea in the 8th century, but it doesn't mention Modses by name, just "a prophet" who is said to have brought Israel out of Egypt. (I've put this in the article, the source is a contribution by Van Seters in an edited volume).PiCo (talk) 06:29, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

Lead, mediating Yahweh, etc[edit]

This: "Moses may have flourished between c. 1400 BCE-C.1201 BCE,[12] and he likely mediated Yahweh, whom he knew of through his father-in-law Hobab the Kenite, to the Israelites.[13] Despite this, according to some scholarly consensus, Moses is a legendary figure and not a historical person" - has problems. It more or less asserts he was real than sort of denies it. I don't know what "some scholarly consensus" could mean. We shouldn't state one theory as likely, and here's the text it comes from:

"The Midianite or Kenite hypothesis is the best known theory for the origins of Yahweh.4 This theory holds that Yahweh originated in the South, a tradition echoed in Deuteronomy 33.2, Judges 5.4 and Habakkuk 3.3.' South, here, denotes south of Judah, i.e. the Sinai, Paran, Edom, Teman, Seir or Midian. Going back to the late nineteen century CE, the theory holds that Yahweh was mediated to Israel via Moses who learned ofYahweh from his father-in-law Hobab the Kenite, a branch of the Midianites and a priest ofYahweh. This much can be extrapolated from the Hebrew Bible."[1] Doug Weller talk 12:37, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

I agree, and add that recently, some edits such as that are slowly pushing the character of Moses from fictional to historical. There is "overwhelming" consensus (as given in citation), not "some", against that point of view. And in my opinion, if we keep the Britannica conjectural dates, these should be subordinates to the historicity consensus, not the reverse like now (I mean, now is "Britannica gives [...] despite that, there is some consensus [...]" while it should be "there is overwhelming consensus [...] despite that, Britannica gives [...] Khruner (talk) 12:53, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
Apologies. I changed the word "likely" in the article, which was clearly POV, without having seen this discussion in talk. If my change is less than optimal, please change to something better. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 14:53, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
I would be in favor of removing this sentence entirely, since both parts of it are now hopelessly vague (may have, some believe) and neither half really belongs. Brittanica's "Moses flourished between the 14th and 13th centuries" is unnecessary to have next to our handful of calculated dates and the note about how current consensus is that he's a legendary figure; "some believe mediated Yahweh to the Israelites" is just a supremely unhelpful bit of text, and "actual historical individual Moses learned about Yahwism from his uncle and introduced it to his countrymen" is not exactly up-to-date scholarship anyway. -165.234.252.11 (talk) 19:38, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
I did some pruning. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 19:50, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, that's exactly what I wanted to do but the article is semi-protected. -165.234.252.11 (talk) 15:19, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
The lede sentence about the scholarly consensus on the historicity of Moses has now been removed for being tendentious, which is a move I don't agree with. -165.234.252.11 (talk) 18:10, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

"Overwhelming consensus" cheerleading in lieue of consensus or proof one way or the other[edit]

You guys take the most controversial questions that divide the human race - like 'was Moses a real person or fiction' - thump your favored scholars books in Appeal to Color of Authority in lieue of any actual evidence - and declare the dispute to be a matter of "overwhelming consensus". Any one who dares disagree or goes by the "wrong sources" is blocked and called a sockpuppet. This is the reputation of intolerant pov pushing wikipedia admins making it an intolerant, polemic, anti-christian backwater, and the reputation it deserves. 71.246.157.117 (talk) 13:00, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Please consider your own POV. If Moses existed, he was Jewish. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 13:25, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

::Yes, that is entirely consistent with my understanding of the matter (or more accurately Levi not Judah) so please dont try to twist me into a needless strawman for my use of the word "Christian", thanks. 71.246.157.117 (talk) 14:08, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Okay, but you might consider whether or not most Jewish scholars believe Moses existed, or, indeed, whether or not it is that important for their beliefs and culture. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 14:12, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

::::Why would I consider their opinions that differ from mine in practically every respect? Simple 'appeal to authority' where they figured it all out for us but can't show us the actual proof 'cause it would go over our neophyte heads so theproof was conducted behind closed doors by club members so we all just have to accept their conclusion? are you kidding me? Have they actually come up with anything new the world doesn't already know about, or are they merely saying 'our team is right, therefore our team is right and the others don't even count, case closed in full consensus, nothing to see here' i.e. appeal to authority ? 71.246.157.117 (talk) 14:19, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Jewish scholars of traditional Judaism - meaning rabbis - believed and do believe today not only that he existed, but that he lived as depicted in the Bible, and yes it is very important to them. Jewish. Jewish academic scholars may have a wide range of opinions on the matter from believing as the rabbis to denying he ever existed. And this is a pretty important issue for all of them. Benjil (talk) 14:35, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
The IPs a sock, so I've struck their posts. Doug Weller talk 17:30, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
We have one source stating that the "consensus" is Moses was legendary. Can we please find some more sources to make this statement? -- Hazhk (talk) 17:12, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Edit request: Y chromosomal dating of Moses to approximately 1000 BC[edit]

Unfinished business summarised from above (why is Wikipedia so slow in implementing new research?):

The Moses article is strangely ignorant of modern genetic research on Moses. I therefore suggest the following section be added somewhere:

"Genetic Dating of Moses There are many thousand living humans belonging to the Jewish priestly Kohanim caste who claim patrilineal descent from Moses' brother Aaron, according to the Torah and the Old Testament. Since biological brothers share the same Y chromosome, it follows that Aaron's Y-type is also Moses' Y-type and Moses' father's Y-type. Genetic analysis has supported the oral and biblical traditions by revealing that indeed about half of contemporary Jewish Kohanim are closely related within a Y-chromosomal type now known as haplogroup J1c3, with a common ancestor genetically dated to approximately 3000 years ago.[1]"

  1. ^ Thomas, M.G.; Skorecki, K.; Ben-Amid, H.; Parfitt, T.; Bradman, N.; Goldstein, D.B. (1998). "Origins of Old Testament priests". Nature. 394 (6611): 138–140. doi:10.1038/28083. PMID 9671297. 
I agree there should be some statement in the article about genetics showing support of a common ancestor from the timeframe of Moses, supporting the biblical account. Then point to the Aaron page. I'm a casual reader, not a scholar, as most of us readers are. I find it interesting. I'm sure you can put some disclaimers in there if needed. Rkcannon (talk) 14:29, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
We went around in circles on this with an IP editor. He/She said that "The "Moses legend" hypothesis is not supported by the 1997 paper in Nature". Other editors weren't convinced that that was proper reading of that and the other sources. There is already an article on Y-chromosomal Aaron. I can imagine adding a link to that article in the "See also" section of this article, but we can't say what isn't said in reliable sources. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 21:23, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
(ec) Note that the 1998 paper is way out of date. It was the very first paper to be published in the whole field of genetic genealogy. Things have moved on a lot since then (and are still moving ahead at a breakneck pace), especially including now results from archaeological DNA that are now starting to come through. Across the field as a whole, we're still even now only just starting to get a detailed picture of what current DNA patterns may be related to earlier migrational groups and over what timescales. Consequently, in a similar way to WP:MEDRS, material more than say 5 years old should be treated with extreme caution, as should popular glosses, and amateur research. (Older popular material can be even worse).
I disagree. The archaeological papers since about 2005 have not necessitated major changes of view since the landmark out-of-Africa papers published by Allan Wilson in 1987 and 1991.86.154.102.1 (talk) 18:15, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Some of the more recent published academic material on these particular lines of Jewish ancestry can be found at Y-chromosomal Aaron, our principal article on this topic. But be warned that that article itself is not in particularly good shape.
The most recent data shows that just under 50% of Jewish people with male Cohen ancestry appear to share a rare pattern of Y-chromosomal genetic values, including a distinctive mutation currently dated as having come into existence circa 2650-3250 years ago. (These estimates should not be considered set in stone -- the best way to calculate such dates is still quite controversial, and the best choices and assumptions made to base such calculations on are still topics of debate, and will be until there is a lot more archaeological data to establish really firm calibrations). There is also a second group of about 15% of people with Cohen ancestry who appear to have a different (but also very longstanding) pattern of Y-DNA values. Many of the Cohanim appear to be in fact very very closely related, apparently indicating the ascendency of a few lines from the early medieval period that then grew particularly abundantly during the explosion of the Ashkenazi population between 1400 and 1900. But the underlying shared patterns are older and a bit broader than this (both of them), and found both in Ashkenazi and Sephardi families with Cohen traditions.
Note for the layman: "patterns" here is genetic jargon for ancestral "men".86.154.102.1 (talk) 18:15, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
It does seem most likely therefore that these patterns do go back to patterns that were present in some of the hereditary priests of temple-period Judaism.
Precisely. This means the scholarly theories assigning a Babylonian Exile time depth (6th century BC) to the Moses story are genetically implausible. And yet this genetically implausibly shallow time depth is what the current Wikipedia article uncritically presents as scholarly consensus.86.154.102.1 (talk) 18:15, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Of course the Torah identifies that priesthood as descending from Aaron, the brother of Moses. But that's a somewhat more difficult proposition, because there's really nothing to corroborate it beyond the Torah (as indeed there's really nothing -- despite the most intensive searching -- to corroborate any of the story of the book of Exodus and its subsequent continuation; on the contrary, the archaeological evidence appears to firmly point to the people that became Israel having been indigenous to those places, rather than there having been anything like the mass immigration / conquest described in the Bible.) Another thing to note is that present-day Levites -- also traditionally considered to be the kin of Aaron -- show rather different sets of genetic values to the Cohens.
You are misreading the 1998 paper. No-one says the Levites are descendants of Aaron. Aaron is allegedly a member of the Levites, who claim pre-Moses ancestry. Hence the identified higher genetic diversity in the Levites represents supporting evidence in the 1998 paper.86.154.102.1 (talk) 18:15, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
The broad academic consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure. I would be very wary of imputing concrete real-world medical data, like a genetic signature, to basically a figure of legend. What I think we can say is that it does seem very likely that the present-day Cohen genetic patterns do very likely reflect patterns that were present in at least some of the priests in the temple period. But that would be matter for the Cohen article, not for this one. I would be very cautious about making claims any further back. Jheald (talk) 22:29, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
"the archaeological evidence appears to firmly point to the people that became Israel having been indigenous to those places" - absolutely untrue. There is not a shred of evidence for this theory other than "we did not find direct proof of the Exodus so they must have been there all the time", which is basically saying that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. On the contrary there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that support the Exodus story (in its broad lines) like the fact of a sudden population explosion in the hills of Canaan from the East in the 13th century BCE. Anyway there is absolutely no consensus in this question and different schools of archeologists have opposite views. Benjil (talk) 04:57, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
Why do people think absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence? If evidence can be found of tiny nomad camps in the desert pre dating any Exodus, lack of similar evidence for a much larger group is indeed evidence of absence. Not proof, but evidence. Doug Weller talk 04:51, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Evidence can be found of tiny nomad camps pre dating the Exodus ? That's interesting since even modern nomad groups leave no trace after one year, and for example we have no traces of the camps of the thousands of Egyptians workers who went on their way to the mines in Sinai every year during hundreds of years. So, yes, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Benjil (talk) 05:00, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
The Egyptians used, not Egyptians, but Near Eastern slave labourers in the Sinai mines, and they left evidence of their (often Canaanite) presence. Nishidani (talk) 19:16, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
They left evidences in the mines and around, not on the way to the mines, we have no traces of any of their camps, a few days walk every season. Benjil (talk) 18:44, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
I can't find where I read that. However, Finkelstein and Silberman: “Modern archaeological techniques are quite capable of tracing even the very meager remains of hunter-gatherers and pastoral nomads all over the world.” Furdicnnorc, “repeated archaeological surveys in all regions of the [Sinai] peninsula ... have yielded only negative evidence, not even a single shred, no structure, not a single house, no trace of an ancient encampment. . . . There is simply no such evidence at the supposed time of the Exodus.” Negative evidence is evidence of absence. You are confusing evidence with absolute proof. Doug Weller talk 18:53, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
Once again, we can't find any traces of modern nomads one year after they left. Nomads do not leave traces because they do not build "houses and structures", they live in tents and do not use pottery, so no, we will not find anything later. Why do they expect the Israelites fleeing Egypt to build houses and structures in the desert is beyond me. And Finkelstein and Silberman, who are not exactly the most neutral people here, do support the idea that negative evidence is evidence of absence. This is an ideological position more than a scientific one. Benjil (talk) 13:28, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

Since when was Moses White?[edit]

Moses is a little White washed in this wikipedia article. This is a photo of what the Jewish community in the Middle-East think of Moses, http://imgur.com/9Qufl7k

As I recall, Moses was Middle-Eastern, he wasn't European, or was I wrong? Perhaps I was wrong, it seems he was an Indo-European man of European lineage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zuormak (talkcontribs) 15:22, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Sources for Moses[edit]

"No Egyptian sources mention Moses or the events of Exodus-Deuteronomy, nor has any archaeological evidence been discovered in Egypt or the Sinai wilderness to support the story in which he is the central figure." Actually, there are no Biblical sources for Moses either until the 8th century, and then only in the northern kingdom (he's not mentioned in sources from Judah till a century later). The article needs more discussion of the Biblical texts regarding him.PiCo (talk) 08:48, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

Actually you are confusing speculation with facts. This separation between the sources and datation is not based on hard evidence but some interpretation of the texts.Benjil (talk) 13:10, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
It's a fact that the earliest mention of the name of Moses is in the prophet Hosea, who came from the northern kingdom of Israel, and that the Pentateuch is a product of the Persian period (though there's an increasing tendancy to date much of it to the Hellenistic period. Naturally I have reliable sources for this. PiCo (talk) 00:41, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I got that wrong - Hosea doesn't name Moses, just talks about "a prophet". So the first mentions of Moses all belong to the post-Exilic period. (The mentions of Moses by name in Samuel are additions to the late-Monarchic text).PiCo (talk) 00:45, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
It's ok, I found the other places where the bible mentions Moses - put it in the article already. PiCo (talk) 09:38, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

Lead fails WP:LEAD almost completely and is clearly pov[edit]

I won't tag it for the moment, but the lead is supposed to summarise the main points of the article, and this lead fails to do that. It also presents only a religious pov. Doug Weller talk 18:38, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

I believe this is the first time ever that I've been accused of expressing a religious pov :). I'll keep revising the lead as I go on with revising the article. Thank you for your patience.PiCo (talk) 22:51, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
Currently it is too short and does not adequately summarise the article. I have added a template to that effect. I'm concerned about the wholesale rewriting of the article. You have removed a lot of valuable information and I'm sure you intend to replace it but perhaps you should focus on rewriting the article in a sandbox first?? -- Hazhk (talk) 16:47, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for adding the template. Feel free to comment on anything I do, or to amend it. Just one thing: the article is about Moses, not about the exodus, for which we already have quite a developed entry. I want to get away from a description of the exodus (that's done elsewhere) and concentrate on Moses. Partly on the developement of the Moses tradition in Judaism, but even more on the post-biblical tradition - there's an awful lot about his history in medieval Judaism that isn't touched on here.PiCo (talk) 08:07, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
If that's what you have in mind, could you throw in a main article template linking to... Book of Exodus, I guess? The Exodus currently has nothing at all to say about the story itself beyond a paragraph in the lede, it's 100% about origins, historicity, and significance. -165.234.252.11 (talk) 16:09, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm puzzled why you want to reinsert the burning bush into the account of Moses' career. It was only one incident out of any, why focus on it? And even more, the important fact wasn't the bush, it was the revelation of God's name. The bush, as distinct from the revelation of the name, belongs in the See Also section IMO.PiCo (talk) 08:12, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
I think the burning bush is something that a lot of readers are familiar with, and so gives them a sort of guidepost for further reading. I'm in favor of keeping it in, and it hardly takes up much space. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 14:19, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
A brief mention of + link to the golden calf might be nice to have, on the same grounds. -165.234.252.11 (talk) 15:34, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
Actually, I just noticed that the current summary of the biblical narrative doesn't have a single mention of tablets or commandments (or mitzvot). Kind of an important part of the story, there! -165.234.252.11 (talk) 15:59, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
Ok, I get the message. I'll rewrite/expand the Narrative section to take in as many details like that as I can think of.PiCo (talk) 00:55, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Sorry, I've lost interest - this takes too much time. Good luck :) PiCo (talk) 11:25, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Aw, I liked your rewrite. It's just that there's no way to tell whether something that's removed will ever come back later, and as an IP I can't chip in here except by complaining on the talk page. -165.234.252.11 (talk) 15:33, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Pico. I hope you've copied your rewrite. By all means take a break, but when time and interests allows, get back to it. You don't need to take on board requests to include this or that. Just do a version according to your own lights, and let the others expand it.Nishidani (talk) 15:39, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Sourcing problems[edit]

While PiCo and others have provided various sources, several statements are still not supported by any sources. Particularly the section in Christianity identifies few primary sources for its conclusions and almost no secondary sources at all. Any ideas on how to improve that section? Dimadick (talk) 18:26, 17 June 2016 (UTC)