Talk:The Exodus

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NPOV[edit]

Concerning your edit comment when you again reverted my attempt to make this article NPOV: mediation is supposed to be a rare and last resort in cases of a large and prolonged edit war, not just whenever someone makes a small NPOV change to one of "your" articles. I've provided plenty of justification for my change, and it's just the normal procedure. GBRV (talk) 04:52, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

To be clear, please confirm that you want to change this:
The archaeological data does not accord with what could be expected from the Bible's exodus story: there is no evidence that Israel ever lived in Egypt, the Sinai shows almost no sign of any occupation at all for the entire second millennium, and even Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites are said to have spent 38 years, was uninhabited prior to the establishment of the Israelite monarchy.(reference Redmount|2001|p=77) Despite this, a few scholars, notably Kenneth Kitchen and James Hoffmeier, continue to discuss the historicity, or at least plausibility, of the story.(reference Moore&Kelle|2011|p=88-89)
to this:
Scholars have debated whether the archaeological data would accord with what could be expected from the Biblical exodus. Many scholars have argued that there is no evidence that Israelites ever lived in Egypt, and that the Sinai shows almost no sign of any occupation at all for the entire second millennium, and even Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites are said to have spent 38 years, was uninhabited prior to the establishment of the Israelite monarchy.(reference Redmount|2001|p=77) Despite this, some scholars, notably Kenneth Kitchen and James Hoffmeier, continue to discuss the historicity, or at least plausibility, of the story.(reference Moore&Kelle|2011|p=88-89)
The top text reflects the sources. Redmount does not say that the non-existence of evidence is debated, she says (quote): "[A]t no point in the known archaeological sequence for Egypt, Sinai and Palestine does the extant archaeological record accord with that expected from the Exodus..." Moore and Kelle do not say "some" scholars, they say "a few", but of course I don't think you're very concerned with that - in fact I have no idea why you want to change it, the difference is purely semantic, although I gather from Moore and Kelle that "a few" better expresses how little interest there is among archaeologists in the historicity of the exodus.
Your proposed changes would therefore tend to misrepresent the sources. Your main (sole?) argument seems to be that there is little archaeological evidence for various other nomad migrations. I doubt that this is as true as you seem to think - nomads leave graves behind, for example, and these are readily identifiable - but this is original research on your part and therefore beside the point. We reflect sources. So, if you aren't satisfied with this explanation for why you keep getting reverted (and not just by me), you should take it to an appropriate forum.PiCo (talk) 06:46, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
I might agree with you, Pico, regarding "authoriSation", but you're just plain incorrect for wanting to maintain the blatant POV wording of "The archaeological data does not accord with what could be expected from the Bible's exodus story: there is no evidence that Israel ever lived in Egypt," as IF Wikipedia itself is dogmatically stating and holding to this conclusive view, with obvious bias, as if it was a "sky blue" fact, when it's anything but, instead of the more NPOV (and WP compliant) wording and tone (which is NOT wrong at all) of "Scholars have debated whether the archaeological data would accord with what could be expected from the Biblical exodus." I would word it as "The general scholarly consensus is that the archaeological data does not accord with what could be expected from the Bible's exodus story", which is a fair compromise. Good day. Gabby Merger (talk) 18:11, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
See Daniel Okrent#Okrent's law. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:14, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
I know what you're saying, but doesn't really apply. This is NOT really a "sky blue" situation no matter what some people want to claim or believe, as there's ZERO expert disagreement that the sky appears blue, but there are at least some scholarly variations regarding the Hebrew exodus out of Egypt, as you can see from the comments and quotes a little farther above...from various RS sources on this subject. Gabby Merger (talk) 18:29, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
Nor is there any expert disagreement that there's no evidence for the exodus, not even from Kitchen and Hoffmeier. But this discussion is going nowhere - if you want to pursue your point, take it to a suitable dispute settlement forum. PiCo (talk) 19:52, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
It's not mainly my dispute if you notice, as I have not reverted you on this particular matter per se, though I more so agree with GBRV on this. (Also, that's not totally correct that, according to a "few" experts, there's literally "no evidence for the exodus". Some maintain that there are some things to be considered, like the "Israelite house" found in Canaan, and also found in Egypt. Unique and specific to Hebrews. That's arguable "evidence"...though not conclusive "proof". Also, the papyrus stating that there were some severe disruptions to Egyptian living, that tend to match some things with the plagues, etc. And it's not certain what time period or dynasty any of those things were. (It was NOT under the reign of "Rameses", as that's been debunked a while ago.) Also, what needs to be understood and remembered is that "evidence" is NOT the same as "proof", by the way. "Evidence" is more general and broad, and is data that give inferences, whereas "proof" is more solid and definitive.) But you didn't address or mention what you thought of my rendering as a fair compromise (of sorts), of "The general scholarly consensus is that the archaeological data does not accord with what could be expected from the Bible's exodus story", which is a fair (and WP compliant) compromise, and neutral-point-of-view as well as accurate wording. Gabby Merger (talk) 20:51, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
Gabby, we're getting into semantics here on the difference between your favoured phrasing and mine, but for what it's worth, I don't like to use the word "consensus" unless we have a source that uses it, and we don't. What we have is a source saying, well, you can see what what it says. As for the "evidence" you bring up, the that that particular house-style is specifically Israelite is no longer held by archaeologists, and the Ipuwer papyrus is never, ever, associated with the exodus by professional Egyptologists. In other words, the existing wording of our article correctly reflects the current state of scholarship. PiCo (talk) 21:57, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
The unique Israelite house matter is not held by most archaeologists (with the problem of group think) but is held by some. And again, Manfred Bietak, Austrian archaeologist, does NOT agree with your statement "no longer held by archaeologists". A few still do.
Archaeologist Manfred Bietak writes:
"In one detail, however, the Egyptian example does deviate from the usual four-room house: Its entry is through the broad room rather than through the courtyard (the middle long room). (From the broad room, one would have walked into the middle long room.) But even this anomaly sometimes occurs in houses in Canaan, at Tel Masos, for example.7 It may well be that the entry to this house is through the broad room because it is the northern room and, as in most contemporary Egyptian houses, is designed to let the prevailing north wind enter the house, especially during the heat of the summer.8"
Also an interesting tid bit here:
"In the course of this excavation, the archaeologists discovered evidence of some rude makeshift huts, whose dates I shall discuss later. The evidence for the huts consisted of narrow trenches chiseled out of the bedrock, from 6 to 8 inches wide and only 4 to 8 inches deep. In these small trenches were postholes, apparently for wooden poles or reed bundles bound together with ropes to be used as posts. The trenches and postholes still held evidence of the mortar or plaster used to secure the posts and the reed-walls. At two spots, postholes were found in pairs at ends of trenches, showing breaks. Here doorposts could be reconstructed. The excavators interpreted all this as evidence of workers’ huts, the walls of which were made of reeds plastered with mud or desert clay stamped around them and supported by intermittent posts in grooves in the bedrock. Similarly constructed huts can still be found in Egypt even today."
You frankly have been making all-sweeping statements, that are proven to be wrong. Most scholars discount the historicity of the exodus, but not necessarily all, and not all say that there's "absolutely no evidence". Some say there is, though scant. But again, as Prof Berman pointed out, that is not to be wondered at, as Egyptians would never honestly record a devastating humiliating defeat and tragedy like that, and also nomadic migrations would leave little to no archaeological trace, as has happened with other migrations that no one doubts or questions. But with circular assumptions of "no miracles can ever happen" and "there's no God" even, this is the stuff we get. Where things like unique Israelite houses and floor plans are denied, down-played, and desperately rationalized away, and dismissed. But Austrian archaeologist Manfred Bietak, one of a few experts, doesn't totally dismiss these things. Regards...... Gabby Merger (talk) 22:30, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
Gabby, I suggest you go to the article's bibliography and get the Moore-Kelle book and read the relevant parts - it's comprehensive, recent, and non-technical. Then read Dever's book, "Who Were the Ancient Israelites?", and the Finkelstein-Silberman book, "The Bible Unearthed." After those, the Killibrew book, "Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity," which is more technical.
On a minor point, the Israelites were not a nomadic people, nor does the Bible say they were - this meme is somewhat like the popular idea that there were three magi, although the Bible doesn't say that at all. The Bible says the Israelites lived 430 years in Egypt, 700 years in Israel, 6 months at Sinai, and 38 years at Kadesh-Barnea. That leaves just 18 months in the desert out of over a thousand years. PiCo (talk) 00:02, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
In one of my previous notes a couple days ago, I pointed out a number of issues in which the actual consensus differs from what these authors claim. Both Gabby Merger and I have provided RSs which could be added in order to justify moderating the wording, which right now is rather extreme. But you'll just revert it and then tell us to seek mediation. That's not how Wikipedia is supposed to work. You and Tgeorgescu don't own this article.
The issue isn't mere semantics, because 1) the consensus isn't what these authors claim it is; 2) there's an important difference between claiming that the expected archaeological evidence doesn't exist (in Wikipedia's own voice) versus saying that the matter has been debated.
On the issue of whether the Hebrews were nomads: while migrating (the incident we're dealing with) they were certainly nomads, and before they were enslaved (a time period which you failed to mention) they would clearly seem to have been nomads as well. As for Kadesh-Barnea: you (or your authors) are just assuming that they plunked themselves down and built permanent houses, whereas the Bible doesn't say that, nor does it say that it's referring only to one small location since it would be commonplace to refer to an entire region by the name of the most prominent location in that region. GBRV (talk) 07:56, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
To be sure, no miracles can be shown to have happened and the existence of God is unfalsifiable. That's what methodological naturalism is about and all historians, regardless of their religious affiliation, have agreed to work with it. Of course, some authors disagree with it, but that is theology, it isn't history. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:08, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Gabby accuses me of making sweeping statements, but I'm not making any statements at all, I'm simply quoting and paraphrasing reliable sources. We have to stick to sources. PiCo (talk) 00:17, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
My point is that proving paranormal phenomena or supernatural causation is not what historians do for earning a living. Otherwise we would have peer-reviewed articles like "Have leprechauns dictated the Book of Isaiah? An alternative theory for the claim that angels have dictated the Book of Isaiah", "Historical proof that Attila the Hun was possessed by evil spirits", "Vespasian's godly status confirmed through archaeological finds" and "The role of elves and fairies in World War II combats". Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:20, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
The things we've been discussing here aren't supernatural: pottery, whether nomads would leave foundations, etc. GBRV (talk) 07:56, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Pico, I already own "Bible Unearthed", and have for many years now. And of course I've read and studied it. And it's mostly the same usual circular reasoning and secular cocoon of flawed dogmatic nonsense. Not totally worthless of course, but it just reflects many of the usual fallacies and dogmatic assumptions. That outfits like DailyKos eat up, then barf out blindly and drone-ishly, because of wanting to believe that the Bible is "disproven by archaeology". (Like "no camels around Abraham" even though that assumption has been recently proven false by Millard etc.) It's the same old story. Like how the Hittites' existence were once denied. Because of no archaeologist evidence or documentation outside the Bible. Atheists and Bible critics at one time denied the existence of the Hittites, Belshazzar, and Pontius Pilate, because there was no outside archaeological evidence or documentation (outside of the Bible) for the existence of any of those people. Then later on, discoveries were "unearthed" confirming the existence of Hittites, Pilate, and Belshazzar, vindicating the Jewish-Christian documents (of the Bible) as usual. But (as I've pointed out before) hard-core Bible-rejecting Higher Critics and Atheists never learn and never change. The attitude continues anyway. No matter how many times the Bible's chronicling of events and peoples is eventually proven right. And the book "Bible Unearthed" just shows the usual and old failed mind-set. Finkelstein is a leading Israeli archaeologist that is really just a revisionist or minimalist, because he contends that the Bible is a late invention of Hellenistic Jews. But archaeologist David Rohl disagrees with "Bible Unearthed" and its author Israel Finkelstein. My point is that the archaeologist Brietak is an RS and does NOT discount the exodus's historicity, and says there's at least some "evidence" for it, though not much. That was my only point. That it's not necessarily "all" experts, who hold the majority view, but that it's the majority who do. Some (though obviously few) don't. (Also, by the way, I said that the migration was "nomadic", not necessarily the entire existence of the Hebrew Israelites, every moment. But that the Hebrews were at least for a while. For decades, at some point.) And also like I said, this dispute is mainly between you and GBRV, on this specific matter. Though I tend (obviously) to agree a lot more with GBRV's position and point. NPOV and careful unbiased wording are important on supposedly neutral Wikipedia. And also things like this should not be compared to things like "sky blue". Click this. Gabby Merger (talk) 00:56, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

"The things we've been discussing here aren't supernatural: pottery, whether nomads would leave foundations, etc. GBRV is right, that's the question. Sort of. Of course, the Israelites weren't nomads and the Bible doesn't say they were - 18 months crossing the desert from Egypt to Palestine doesn't make you a nomad. But that aside, the real question is, would archaeologists expect the Iraelites to leave traces if th3e exodus story were history? And the answer, according to the archaeologists, is yes. Kitchen says yes, Redford says yes, Beitak says yes - they all do. And they all say no conclusive traces have been found. Kitchen says that the tabernacle is very like the tents Egyptian kings used while campaigning abroad (but unfortunately kings used tents like that for three thousand years, right down to Greek times, so it doesn't carry much weight), and Beitak says he thinks the 4-roomed houses in the delta might just possibly be Israelite (be he admits that those houses aren't exclusively Israeliite as they're found in Jordan and elsewhere where Israelites never lived and they developed out of Canaanite house-patterns anyway), and Hoffmeier has written two very well-researched, exhaustive books on Israel in Egypt and Israel in Sinai and come up with nothing conclusive, as he admits. So that's it. PiCo (talk) 11:52, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Yes, maybe not "conclusive" proof (or conclusive "traces"), even the pro-exodus archaeologists and scholars might say, but "conclusive proof" (as I pointed out before) is not necessarily the same as general "evidence"...to some extent. As I mentioned before in one of my comments above, the word "evidence" is not the same as the word "proof". Evidence is general and broad, and is stuff that CAN mean something, though not necessarily. Whereas "proof" is more definitive, conclusive, and solid. And the word before was not "proof" or "conclusive" (necessarily) but was "evidence". And though admittedly scant, there's at least some to consider. (The RS scholars have so stated, as the quotes and links show.) And as I also pointed out clearly, some experts and RS have explained the two-fold issue of "no inscriptions" and "little to no archaeological trace" being the fact that "Egyptians would never honestly record devastating defeats and humiliations" and "nomadic migrations etc would not leave much if any archaeological trace". (And no, it was not just "18 months" (as the Bible-rejecting crew would want to say), but decades, for various reasons. But even if we go with a year and a half, that would make it even more so that "no trace" would be left. But even decades of nomadic travelling.) But again, to sum it up, there may not be (what many would consider) "conclusive proof", there's at least some rough "evidence" here and there. And Mietak and Millard et cetera admit that. To that extent. But anyway, Wikipedia should reflect more of NPOV tone and wording. If the wording was "there's no conclusive proof" in the WP article, I may accept that better. But when you say "no evidence" (again, "evidence" is not the same as conclusive "proof") that's going too far, as it's denying the (admittedly scant but still existent) "evidence". Not every one discounts (as Mietak clearly shows) the four-room house matter, and also other things like those huts etc. So this is not a "sky blue" thing necessarily. Evidence is not the same as solid proof. The former is some, the latter may be lacking though. And WP should be careful with that with the wording. Especially with the appalling record of Bible critics who were proven wrong a number of times over the decades (viz. the existence of Hittites, Belshazzar, Pontius Pilate, etc etc). Gabby Merger (talk) 16:34, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
PiCO: The question is: do these same archaeologists claim that we would expect archaeological remains for other migrations (the ones that aren't in a book which they personally dislike)? The answer is an emphatic "no", otherwise they'd have to similarly dismiss countless other migrations in history that aren't attested in the archaeological record, as well as numerous other events. I've already mentioned cases of this type, and Gabby Merger (I think) mentioned others. If your authors aren't using a consistent methodology, then maybe they're not the best ones to use as sources, and there's no reason why these guys are the only ones we can use.
As for the nomad issue: the main point I was making was simply that ex-slaves fleeing servitude are not going to be dragging houses with them nor are they going to be building houses as they flee through the desert, so that would certainly qualify them as "nomads" during the migration itself, which is the entire focus of this discussion. It makes no difference whether they had been nomads hundreds of years earlier, since that's not what we're debating. GBRV (talk) 07:35, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
If it boils down to 600 slaves who escaped from Egypt, it would be extremely improbable to find evidence for it. But if it is two million souls living for decades in Kadesh-Barnea, as the Bible suggests, some evidence should have been found by now. We notice again your assertion by fiat that the most trusted experts on this subject aren't experts at all. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:24, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Speaking about consensus in these matters, perhaps you should check above the quote from Grabbe (published in the proceedings of the British Academy). Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:32, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
The two million figure is disputed, for reasons already discussed; and it isn't much mote than the numbers given by Julius Caesar for the migration of the Helvetii and other tribes with them. So should we dismiss Julius Caesar's account, and do your authors dismiss his account? You keep citing them as the "most trusted" authors on the subject, but the only justification you can provide are quotes from these guys themselves claiming that most people agree with them. If I wrote an article claiming that most people view me as the next Einstein, would that prove the matter? GBRV (talk) 10:34, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
We speak of academics who have a reputation to maintain, so, no, they cannot simply state ridiculous claims without fear of consequences for their careers. But it is a more basic problem, explained at WP:SOURCES and WP:RELY. If you don't agree with basic policies and guidelines, there is little hope you will agree upon anything concerning Bible scholarship. You cannot simply dismiss a whole research field taught at major universities with an WP:OR claim about the Helvetii. Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:28, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
You say that academics with a reputation to uphold cannot make ridiculous claims, but in this case the issue isn't patent nonsense, but rather an author's statement about his own reception which does not qualify as an objective neutral opinion, or (as StAnselm has stated elsewhere) is based on his own personal definition of the term "critical scholar". Most authors claim to enjoy widespread approval, but that doesn't necessarily prove the matter.
You also claimed my example of the Helvetii is OR, although published academics accept Caesar's statements about the Helvetii migration despite the lack of archaeological evidence. It's not just my own opinion. GBRV (talk) 08:48, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
The out of hand dismissal of a whole research field is WP:OR. It is like rejecting evolutionary psychology because many don't agree with its basic assumption (namely evolution). See the reply written by a Christian at [1]. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:26, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
I didn't dismiss an "entire research field". I questioned a couple authors' claims about the reception of their own theories, and so did StAnselm on the mediation page. GBRV (talk) 07:53, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Myth/belief[edit]

Gabby Merger attempted to change "founding myth" to "foundational belief", apparently not realising that the statement indicates that the Exodus story is the myth about how Israel was founded. The Exodus is not a belief held by Israel. I have restored the accurate term, consistent with the target article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 23:50, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

Well a less loaded word than "myth" would be more NPOV...and it is obviously a "belief" too. Not sure how you think it isn't. Yes, the word "myth" is not always necessarily considered "untrue" but is generally considered to be something that is fictional. And that's POV in tone and wording, to the average reader. No need to revert. Or better yet, come up with a better NPOV word than "myth" in the very opening of the supposedly neutral Wikipedia. Maybe the word "story" would be less POV and less with the loaded baggage that the word "myth" obviously conveys. Gabby Merger (talk) 01:29, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Brought here...Editor2020 contributor was telling me...
We have had this argument on the Talk page numerious times and the existing consensus is that myth is appropriate. You don't have to convince me, you need to discuss it on the Talk page and convince the other editors that your version is an improvement of the article.Editor2020, Talk 02:59, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Ok, I'm sure it's come up before no doubt, but for very good reason. As admitted even by the Wikipedia article you directed me to: “in a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story[27] or any popular misconception or imaginary entity.[28] Because of this pejorative sense, some opt to return to the earlier mythos,[22] although its use was similarly pejorative and it now more commonly refers to its Aristotelian sense as a "plot point" or to a collective mythology,[29] as in the worldbuilding of H.P. Lovecraft.” Wikipedia itself says that the word “myth” has a pejorative connotation and is a loaded term. Hence the word “story” is (at least to many readers) more neutral SOUNDING. That’s not an opinion, but a fact admitted by the WP article itself... Gabby Merger (talk) 03:12, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
You don't have to convince me, you need to discuss it on the Talk page and convince the other editors that your version is an improvement of the article.Editor2020, Talk 03:14, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I know...you said that already. But you're conveniently dodging the fact that the WP article itself (that you directed me to) says that the term "myth" has a pejorative connotation...hence the problem. But I do discuss these types of things on article talk pages a lot. Gabby Merger (talk) 03:21, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
"Founding myth" is a specific term with a particular meaning, and here indicates that the Exodus is the myth about how Israel was founded. "Foundational belief" is not a valid replacement for the term. The Exodus is not a "foundational belief" of Israel. Countries do not hold beliefs.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:35, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Gabby Merger is absolutely right in saying that "myth" is a loaded term which (to most people) implies that something is fiction or fantasy, especially when the word is interpreted by a general audience (which is what Wikipedia is written for). GBRV (talk) 10:34, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Jeffro's right. The link is to Origin myth and this is an origin myth, and called such by numerous theologians and believing Christians and Jews. Why should we avoid this? The fact that some people don't like the word isn't enough. Our article Myth doesn't say it has a pejorative connotation, it says it can be used in a pejorative sense. Here we are using it in its academic sense. Not only that, the link is to the section on founding myths in the article Origin myth. Anyone seeing 'story' would be unlikely to click on it to see what we are really linking to. That doesn't seem right to me. Doug Weller (talk) 13:59, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
But Wikipedia is not just written for an academic, scholarly audience, and much of the general public views the term "myth" as synonymous with "complete bunk". Most of WP's other history-related articles (and science, medical, etc articles) avoid academic language wherever possible, instead paraphrasing things in layman's terms except when there's no other choice (e.g. the name of a species of bacteria that has no vernacular equivalent). The same should be done in this article: there are plenty of ways of phrasing the same thing in a vernacular form that will be unambiguously clear to everyone.
Concerning your comparison of the Exodus to pagan beliefs about their gods and goddesses: in this case we're talking about people escaping from slavery and migrating, which is about as mundane as it gets. Yes, it also includes descriptions of a handful of supernatural events, but the same is true of the Greek chronicler Herodotus who constantly mentions miraculous predictions by the Delphic Oracle and says that a "phantom woman" appeared to the fleet at the battle of Salamis, and yet no one calls the battle of Salamis a "myth". Assyrian government records constantly invoke their gods and goddesses when describing their conquests, but no one calls the Assyrian Empire a "myth". There are eyewitness accounts of supernatural events during the siege of Orleans in 1428-1429, but no one calls the siege of Orleans a "myth". Soldiers who fought in the battle of Gettysburg in 1863 described a supernatural figure whom they said appeared at two crucial points, but no one calls the battle of Gettysburg a "myth". The same is true of countless other historical events. So unless you want Wikipedia articles to call all these events "myths", you need to avoid that in this article for the sake of consistency. GBRV (talk) 08:48, 1 November 2015 (UTC)


Jeffro77, I SCRAPPED the word "belief" a long time ago already, and said "story" instead. "Founding story". You're still talking about the word "belief" as if I was still insisting on that when I wasn't anymore. Soon after, I went to the less POV sounding term "story". I was simply saying that though "founding myth" is technically correct, and I knew that already, and that the Greek word "mythos" does not always necessarily mean fictional or false, but it tends to usually convey that thought in many people's minds, and also the way the word is in fact used many times, and it has been admitted to be the case even the Wikipedia article itself, of "Mythology"...as I gave the quote above.
But, Doug Weller, the word "myth" can be used pejoratively and oftentimes is, whereas "story" not necessarily. And as far as the technical definition, the word "story" means that also, and is correct too, but does NOT necessarily have the pejorative connotation or baggage that the word "myth" has (let's not minimize that fact either)...but the word "story" is definitely more neutral. (At least more neutral sounding.) As far as the word "myth", yes, I know about "academic use"...but you think all readers of Wikipedia articles are academics? (This has been a complaint against Wikipedia for years now, about overly complicated and technical jargon sometimes.) The "Mythology" article definitely says that it is (not just "can" be but IS) used pejoratively or at least in the sense of something that is simply not historically true, but fabulous (fable). Let's not water down that fact. The term "story" can mean something fictional too of course...but can also mean something overall factual. And every reader and researcher knows that, right off the bat. But with the term "myth" not necessarily every WP reader or searcher necessarily is gonna know or understand right away that the term "myth" may not be a fable or false story. And that was my only (sighs) point.
Meaning, Jeffro77 is both right and wrong...in this matter, in the specific (proven) point I was bringing out. He's right on the technical point, but not on the point (admitted and quoted by the WP "Mythology" article itself) that it does definitely have a pejorative connotation. And hence the problem, and hence the lack of NPOV in the word "myth". Generally speaking, in sound, signal, and tone. (Who are we kidding here? WP itself clearly admits that in the article.) So again, I ask, what's wrong with the word "story"? Nothing. So why revert or be uptight or object to a more-neutral-sounding word, that basically means the same technically anyway?? It's accurate and basically means the same thing (that's a fact), but is less loaded, and has no real "pejorative" baggage with it, like the word "myth" does. Gabby Merger (talk) 14:30, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Gabby, you are misrepresenting the article. It doesn't say a myth is a fable, it says "Mythology is now often sharply distinguished from didactic literature such as fables used pejoratively or at least in the sense of something that is simply not historically true, but fabulous (fable)". Nor does it suggest that the word is (is always) rather than can(ie sometimes) " used pejoratively or at least in the sense of something that is simply not historically true, but fabulous (fable)" - that's not in the article but is your interpretation. As for the word story, that's a synonym for, among other things obviously, falsehood or lie. Doug Weller (talk) 18:37, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I have no problem with using 'origin myth' as it is a neutral, academic concept. The bigger problem with the sentence is the "of Israel"-part, which makes people think of the modern country. If anyone asked what I think of the role of Exodus in the founding stories of Israel, I'd think about SS Exodus. Regardless of whether the Exodus happened and on what scale, nobody (neither modern historians nor the biblical authors) claim it resulted in the foundation of Israel. According to the Bible, it led to the conquest of Canaan but not to anything like founding a state in any sense of the word. Jeppiz (talk) 15:12, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Good point, except you're objecting to the word "Israel" because it might be misinterpreted by a general reader, and yet you don't object to the phrase "foundation myth" even though a general reader will also misinterpret that phrase too. Let's change both of them so that the majority of Wikipedia's readership will understand the intended meaning in both cases. GBRV (talk) 08:48, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
I suggest that we look at other uses of the word myth in wikipedia. Gilgamesh flood myth, Sumerian creation myth, Flood myth, Romulus and Remus, Egyptian Book of the Dead, Keroessa, all described as myth or mythical. Why should the Exodus be treated differently? It can be described as a foundational myth for Judaism as a religion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnmcintyre1959 (talkcontribs) 15:44, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
It didn't serve as the foundation for "Judaism as a religion". It was an escape from slavery and migration across the Sinai, which puts it in quite a different league from most of the things that are described as a "myth". It's more along the lines of Harriet Tubman helping slaves escape to the northern U.S. while stating that she had visions from God (and, BTW, often invoking the Exodus itself as an analogy of what she was doing). GBRV (talk) 08:48, 1 November 2015 (UTC)


Doug Weller, I think you misunderstood what I meant because I never said "always", and also when I myself wrote "fabulous (fable)" as that was actually my own thing and I wasn't even directly quoting the WP article using that precise term in that way, (and you probably won't believe this as I almost can't believe it myself) it was coincidental for that phrasing. But the point is there's "no misrepresentation" by me (and I would appreciate you not saying that on here, assuming possible bad faith, just because I maybe was not being totally clear or you are not reading clearly or understanding totally or your thinking I was trying to make a direct quote with a phrase when I wasn't) that the article of course makes the point that a "myth" may not be fictional or a "fable", but that many times the term is used in that way. When did I say "always"? I never did. "Can" of course means "sometimes"...understood. But how often is the 'sometimes'? Obviously enough to make some academics to NOT use the word "myth" but instead the more Greek term "mythOs" to try to lessen that notion (a bit). I gave the quote that proves that (obvious and well-known) fact. Check below...
Again, quote: “in a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story[27] or any POPULAR MISCONCEPTION or IMAGINARY ENTITY.[28] Because of this pejorative sense, some opt to return to the earlier mythos,[22] although its use was similarly pejorative and it now more commonly refers to its Aristotelian sense as a "plot point" or to a collective mythology,[29] as in the worldbuilding of H.P. Lovecraft.” Yes can be and oftentimes is...that it has a pejorative sense. And that it "can refer to a popular MISCONCEPTION or a VERY IMAGINARY entity". Again, no "misrepresentation" by me at all.
Because I already said that the article says that it can be something "not a fable" too. I know this already, and said it clearly on here from the beginning. The point though is that the word "story" simply does not have that same "pejorative sense" ever really at all necessarily. "Myth" has more baggage than the word "story". And is used more "pejoratively" than the word "story" is. (That specific fact is not even debatable.) "Myth" many times (especially for people who are not "academics") means "fable" or "fictional scenario". Yes, it doesn't technically have to mean that. But the admission is clearly there. That it definitely has been referred to (and can mean many times) something "imaginary" and a "popular misconception" and has "this pejorative sense"...where some scholars have been shy about using that term, because of the baggage, of conveying the idea of something false or imaginary. Regards. Gabby Merger (talk) 19:24, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Ae you calling for the removal of the word myth from all religious articles, eg we should have "Greek stories" rather than "Greek mythology", or only for certain religions? User:Gabby Merger Doug Weller (talk) 21:44, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
To be fair and consistent, sure, the word "story" for all "religious articles" (including the religion of Islam) would be NPOV and consistent despite my personal beliefs, which have no relevance.(Especially depending on the context of a specific sentence.) Or even Zeusism. Because believe it or not, there are some people on the earth who believe in pagan Greek religions and Zeus. Who even got mad at Sam Harris for remarking that the story of Zeus no one believes and is universally considered out-landish. Some don't hold to that view. So I would use clear NPOV language even for that stuff. But even more so, with Biblical accounts, because (as I pointed out repeatedly, and so has GBRV), the Bible keeps getting proven right REPEATEDLY (like with the existence of the Hittites, Belshazzar, Pontius Pilate, etc, who were once doubted by atheists and higher critics, etc, but their existence was later confirmed)...despite the constant skepticism and idiocy of pagan scholars and biased agenda-driven inconsistent Bible-rejecters. (Who give more credence to pagan Egyptians, pagan Babylonians, pagan Assyrians, though they were superstitious TOO, believed in deities, gods and goddesses TOO, and magic and miracles TOO, but they get first preference over the Covenant Jews....the Bible always gets second fiddle to pagan inscriptions or records...do I see a diabolical thing there? hmmmm....side point.) But because this is NEUTRAL WIKIPEDIA...I would say "yes", give Islam "story" instead of "myth" (hypothetically) when dealing with the story of Abraham going to Saudi Arabia to fool with black stones or whatever, or the angel Gabriel supposedly yapping with Mohammad somewhere. I would NOT call them "myths" on Wikipedia articles. Only in regular personal discussions, which WP articles are not supposed to be.
So, yes, Doug Weller, I would. The gotcha question won't work on me, sorry. I believe in being fair and balanced (UNLIKE Fox Noise) on something like supposedly neutral Wikipedia. Everyone has biases, filters, and prejudices, but Wikipedia is not the place for that (presumably).
And my only over-arching point is that though the term "myth" can refer to either something true or false, it tends to convey to many regular people (even to the minds of many "academics" too) something false, fake, fictional, fantastical, imaginary, and delusional, and has a pejorative sense too often. Not always, but too often. But the word "story" a lot less so. (And that's just a fact.) Regards. Gabby Merger (talk) 22:04, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Gabby, as a friendly piece of advice? Don't you realize how much you're sabotaging your own efforts with posts like the one above. It's a blatant WP:SOAP violation with its completely irrelevant attacks on Islam, claims of the Bible being right, Sam Harris and other completely impertinent issues. This is the talk page to discuss the Exodus, and nothing else. If you write posts like that, even people who might be sympathetic to your cause will drop out. To reconnect to the topic, the term foundation myth is widely accepted academic concept, and changing it for a lesser used concept would take some explaining. Jeppiz (talk) 22:35, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I see that Gabby Merger's tangential meanderings are not improving. Trying to 'call Dougweller's bluff' about the academic use of 'myth' across Wikipedia is a particularly poor and soapy tactic. Even worse is the cognitive dissonance (not to mention irrelevance) involved in suggesting that "the angel Gabriel supposedly yapping with Mohammad somewhere" is more fanciful than the same kind of tales found in the Bible. Also very weak is the claim that "the Bible" 'keeps getting proven right' (particularly amusing from someone who believes the stories in Genesis are not merely allegorical), as if simply putting books next to each other makes everything in all of them completely true. 'The Bible' is a collection of different types of literature from different periods, and it is not the case that all literature of other civilisations is 'given more credence'.
The simple fact is that the term founding myth is a specific term in academic usage, and we don't need to use belief or story to censor the term with an unintuitive link.
Regarding Jeppiz' other concern, I don't know that the current wording universally "makes people think of the modern country", but it may be better to indicate it as the founding myth of Judaism.--Jeffro77 (talk) 23:21, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Jeppiz, Doug Weller is the one who asked me about "Greek Mythology" and brought that up first, and asked me what I would like to be done with articles like that. I merely answered his question, and got into some detail in the answer. He asked about "different religions"...and if I would be the same way (hypothetically) on other "religious articles". Sam Harris was not irrelevant because it was regarding Greek "mythology" such as Zeus, and Harris himself said that he has received angry letters and emails from people "who believe in Poseidon" after he disparaged Poseidon and the religion of "Zeus" etc...and I mentioned that to make the point that there are people who actually believe in that. So making the overall point (to Doug's question) that I would consistently use the more NPOV-sounding term "story" for those types of things too. And I hardly "attacked Islam" as what I said was barely anything really in terms of an outright "attack" per se...(and it was not "irrelevant" really...as it was an example that I used regarding, again, Doug's question to me about "all religious articles".) So, Jeffro77, if I was being "tangential", it was only because (sorry to say) Doug Weller was being so first with me in that comment, if that's the case. I merely answered his question thoroughly. Gabby Merger (talk) 00:44, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
And now you're going off on a tangent about a tangent. The fact remains that you are wrong about the point in question.--Jeffro77 (talk) 00:49, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
...that's cute I must admit. LOL. But the point is that Doug Weller brought up Greek mythology, not I. So I was merely responding to HIS "tangent"...if that's the case. And in my previous comment I was answering Jeppiz's remarks about "Sam Harris", as somehow "irrelevant" when (again) it was about "Greek Mythology"...and the point to Doug was that I would try to be consistent, regardless of my personal position on these "other religions". And how was I "wrong about the point in question" exactly? It's a proven fact that the term "myth" (though broad) tends to convey more so the thought of "fictional"...more so than the term "story" does. And that the term "story" is more NPOV-sounding. Nothing "wrong" in those statements I made, Jeffro77, just factual and proven by WP's own article on the subject, as the quote kinda clearly shows and proves. "Myth" is loaded, carries a "pejorative sense"...though is technically accurate (depending on how it's used, and in "academia"). But still with the negative connotation. And not so the word "story". And again, cute comment of yours...I was literally laughing out loud when I red it. "And now you're going off on a tangent about a tangent". Yeah, maybe...but too bad that it was originally Doug Weller's "tangent". Regards..... Gabby Merger (talk) 01:00, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
The only relevant content in your response is about the word myth, but your claim that it "carries a "pejorative sense"" is misleading. The term can be used in a pejorative sense, but it does not in this case, because it is being properly used in its academic context.
The fact that it takes you over a dozen sentences to (poorly) address only one relevant point is quite irritating.--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:06, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
But the rude unfair accusation and remark you threw about me of "tangential" when Doug was the one who brought it up, and I was simply answering his question (was I to ignore his question??) is what's very "irritating". So why not just stay away from me like I told you? Why are you even on this talk page and checking my edits as usual with your WP violation of constant hounding and second-guessing, as this article was never something you edited before I did, because of your "watchlist", and why are you on this section bothering me with your usual rude jabs and snarky uncivil gripes and snipes, and obvious bias and double standards? You actually said I was with "tangential" things when it was clearly Doug Weller who brought up "Greek mythology", not I. But you'll automatically see something in me, though it took place from someone else. But because Doug Weller is more in your camp, you won't call him out on his "tangent". When he (not I) was the one who brought up that gotcha bluff stuff in the first place. And insanely make it like I was the one who went off on tangents, when I was merely answering Doug's question. You're, frankly, really impossible, Jeffro77, as that was shown a long time ago already, which is why I did not want to deal with you anymore, at all, and I told you not to with me either. But you can't help yourself with your "watchlist" and constant hounding.
I was answering Doug's question. Was I supposed to dodge and ignore it? But look at the rude uncivil remarks you made on this thread to me. And totally inaccurate. And nonsense about "tangential" AS IF I was the one to first bring up "Greek mythology" when A) Doug Weller clearly was the one who did, and B) I was simply answering his question and giving reasons for the answers. I already conceded that "myth" is technically correct, but because of some negative connotations not quite as NPOV sounding as the word "story". That's it. You notice I never reverted again or bothered with the edit again. But it's not necessary for you to diss and make cold unreasonable unfair remarks to me, that you won't make to Doug Weller because he's an Admin and you agree with him in the overall subject matter. That's bias all over the place. He was tangential, not I. He brought that stuff up, not I. Was I supposed to ignore his question?? Gabby Merger (talk) 05:58, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
No one is interested in your continued 'meta-analysis' of the discussion.
Why am I on this page? As you already know, I was made aware of your recent POV edits at this article by Jeppiz, by way of his comments at ANI that you have treated him the same way you have previously treated me.[2] Consequently, it has been necessary to again review your recent edits for similar POV problems at other articles.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:07, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Gabby Merger was referring to the fact that skeptics and atheists had once claimed that the Babylonians, Assyrians, etc, allegedly were fictional just because the Bible mentions them, since they claim the Bible is fictional. Then archaeologists found the ruins of Babylon, Nineveh, Ashur, etc, and the skeptics quietly dropped their argument. Likewise for so many other issues (Pontius Pilate, etc). Gabby was also referring to the fact that skeptics constantly claim that Biblical accounts need to be backed up by pagan accounts such as Egyptian government records, although they know perfectly well that almost all the surviving Egyptian "government records" are religious monuments listing their achievements on behalf of their gods and goddesses, hence these are 1) just as religious as anything in the Bible; 2) these monuments only list Egyptian achievements and never defeats or other setbacks, making them less reliable than the Bible (which does list plenty of defeats as well as embarrassing details such as David's adultery with Bathsheba, Solomon's dabbling with paganism, etc, etc). So there's a double standard.
As for the use of the term "myth": Wikipedia is not an academic site, being intended for a general audience which tends to view the term "myth" as synonymous with "nonsense"; so it is in fact a loaded term that should be avoided in favor of less ambiguous language. You're willing to do that with the term "Israel" - which I agree needs to be changed to avoid confusion - but the same principle should apply to the term "myth". GBRV (talk) 08:48, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
There's a few things wrong with your claims about "skeptics and atheists". By definition, the only position maintained by atheists is that they do not believe in the existence of a deity. Atheism does not confer any opinion at all on the existence or non-existence of cities or civilisations mentioned in the Bible, nor any claim about the historicity of any particular story minus its theological elements. It is also not the case that 'skeptics' 'claimed' that certain nations 'were fictional' on the basis that they're mentioned in the Bible. Nor is it the case that 'skeptics' hold that everything in the Bible 'must be false'. Conversely, the veracity of anything in particular in one 'Bible book' does not mean that other claims by different authors from different time periods 'must' also be true merely on the basis that someone later decided both books belong in 'the Bible'. 'Skeptics' also do not assert that 'biblical' records 'must' be 'supported' by 'pagan' records. Scholars do not give any more credence to the superstitious religious claims of 'pagan' nations than they give to the stories in the Bible.
The link in question specifically uses myth in its academic context, and there is no reason to make the link less intuitive by censoring it.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:07, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
I was referring to a group of specific skeptic/atheist authors in the 19th century who did in fact claim that the Babylonians and Assyrians didn't exist because these authors were unwilling to accept anything in the Bible that wasn't backed up with arbitrary amounts of archaeological evidence. I didn't say that ALL skeptics and atheists believed that or continue to believe it, although plenty of them use similar arguments to dismiss events such as the Exodus. My point was that if these authors' logic wasn't sound on that point, then a similar argument about the Exodus isn't sound either. Relatively few historical events are confirmed by archaeology, and historians usually don't require archaeological confirmation.
Likewise for my point about specific skeptics who do in fact demand proof from pagan Egyptian records to confirm the Exodus. I already explained why that argument is flawed.
You didn't address the points I made about the use of the word "myth" (i.e. Wikipedia is not designed solely for an academic audience, so why should WP articles use terms that have a different meaning in academic usage than in their common vernacular form? Most of the population uses the word "myth" to mean "fantasy", regardless of its academic usage). GBRV (talk) 07:53, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
You did not specify any particular "skeptics and atheists", and even if you had, their atheism would be irrelevant to any claim about whether particular cities existed. Additionally, 'skeptics' did not claim things didn't exist specifically because they were 'in the Bible', but because there was insufficient evidence. The sceptical position is that there is not evidence for a claim—any claim—until there is evidence for it.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:53, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
I'd have to look up the exact names of these authors, since I don't have a photographic memory.
When you say that skeptics merely demand additional evidence, that overlooks the fact that most historical events from ancient times aren't attested by more than one or two sources, and only occasionally by archaeological evidence. Normally, if even one source mentions something (in this case the Babylonians and Assyrians), it would be considered sufficient even without archaeological evidence; hence the people who rejected these civilizations were applying a different standard due to bias. Likewise for the Exodus - a fairly mundane migration which would normally not be disputed, nor required to have archaeological confirmation since migrations are rarely attested in the archaeological record. GBRV (talk) 09:28, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────My question wasn't a 'got'cha' question and resulted in the answer I expected. My problem is, as it's been before with editors who have said the same thing, is that they always start by trying to change articles pertaining to their religion. Understandable, as is the comment that discussion here should only be about this article, but besides the fact that I think we are using the word 'myth' appropriately, I think that the encyclopedia needs to take an NPOV position on religion as a whole, and we can't do that if we start by trying to remove the use of the word in articles relevant to one of the major religions. And it is, of course, a fact that by definition the Exodus story is a founding myth. I'll comment on Gabby Merger's page about the accusations they made above. Doug Weller (talk) 14:04, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

But you're using the term "founding myth" in a technical academic sense that most of Wikipedia's readers won't understand, and most of them won't follow the link to see how the term is being used, nor should they need to. The normal procedure is to use language that will be readily understood by a general reader. This isn't a big change, and it's consistent with normal policy, so why are you guys so stubbornly opposed to it? GBRV (talk) 07:53, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
You are quite wrong. The word myth is readily understood by most English readers, and the mainstream scholarly view is that the Exodus is a myth. The term is not being used in a pejorative manner, and there is no good reason to censor the term with an unintuitive link. There is a difference between a term being used pejoratively and some readers not liking the mainstream view.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:53, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Doug Weller has been arguing that the academic usage doesn't mean "fictional nonsense", while you seem to be arguing the opposite. Maybe the two of you should decide which it is. GBRV (talk) 09:28, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Um, 'technical' academic sense? How about 'normal' academic sense. We expect a lot of our articles to be based on academic sources - I strongly object to simplifying the terminology to the point it removes the meaning. Are you really suggesting that most of our readers won't understand it and are too stupid to follow the link? What do you think links are for? Doug Weller (talk) 12:38, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia isn't an academic journal, but rather a general encyclopedia designed for a general audience. If readers are expected to follow links because the article is deliberately using terms whose academic usage is different than what they may be used to, then that's a problem with the way the article is written. GBRV (talk) 09:28, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

I haven't been very active in this discussion, but it's clear that is has become very unfocused. I'd recommend GBRV to read WP:SOAP, perhaps also WP:OTHERSTUFF. This article is about how to develop this article, and the current discussion makes it very clear that there is no consensus to change the current wording. I'd recommend everybody to move on, as this discussion is very much going in circles. Jeppiz (talk) 10:25, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

I've only made the same type of comments that you just made in your response to Sh33na : i.e., just as you cited examples of cases which lack archaeological evidence and also more hypothetical examples of underlying principles, I've cited examples of what historians normally expect when it comes to archaeological evidence and examples of how claims that violate these normal rules have led to gaffes in the past, such as claiming the Bible was making up the Babylonians and Assyrians. But yes, the debate isn't achieving anything. GBRV (talk) 09:28, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

I have been watching this discussion for awhile waiting for it to get back to the "myth" wording, as it jumped out at me the first time I read the article. I was a bit shocked. The word "story" isn't much better, as it sounds like something you would read to a child at bedtime about a Prince and Princess falling in love. If anyone is voting, I'd go for "belief" or something else.

And while I am here, no evidence cannot mean it did not happen. Look at Kathleen Kenyon's work in the 1950's that was taken to be absolute truth until only a few years ago, due to lack of evidence. Sh33na (talk) 16:11, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

That's not what Kathleen Kenyon says, but if you want to change that article I suggest you start with an explanation on the talk page. As for lack of evidence, again we need to discuss that using sources, as discussion of the historicity of the Exodus isn't appropriate here. And if you want to discuss your claim 'no evidence cannot mean it did not happen' I suggest you go to the Flood myth article and bring sources there saying that. Doug Weller (talk) 19:17, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

My bad. Meant to say no evidence doesn't have to mean it did not happen. You get my drift. Thanks. Sh33na (talk) 20:25, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

As a general rule, that is correct. There is no evidence (I believe) of me having a cup of green tea at work ten days ago, yet it happened. Then again, for some events we (or rather the scholars we cite) can say with some certainty the event didn't happen if there is no evidence, as it could not have happened without leaving any trace. If someone would claim there was an advanced civilization of 60 millions people on Antarctica until September this year, then the lack of evidence would be a sure indicator that the claim would be wrong. Likewise, the Mormon claim of an advanced Hebrew civilization in America can be refuted as there would have been archaeological evidence of it. Similarly, most historians seem satisfied that the lack of any evidence for the Exodus is conspicuous enough to say it did not happen. That is not an argument any WP user is allowed to put into an article, but if qualified scholars base it on meticulous research, then we can most definitely cite those scholars. Jeppiz (talk) 22:17, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Again, that's exactly the mentality which led some 19th century authors to claim the Babylonians and Assyrians never existed (despite being mentioned in written sources outside the Bible), until archaeologists finally found the ruins of their cities. The lack of current archaeological evidence doesn't logically prove anything because that argument is based upon a fallacy called an "argumentum ex silentio". The reason it's a fallacy is because a current lack of X amount of corroborating evidence may merely mean that it hasn't been found yet. More importantly, historians usually accept written sources even if they aren't backed up by archaeology: most of the stuff in Julius Caesar's "Commentaries on the Gallic War" isn't backed up by archaeology, but historians still accept it. GBRV (talk) 09:28, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Why are we still discussing this? We use what the sources say, not what someone things logic says. If a source says that we can still see hut circles in the deserts that are thousands of years old but nothing that suggests the Exodus happened, we can use that. This is what archaeologists do. Archaeology barely existed in the 19th century and comments about that are irrelevant. There were probably geologists in the 19th century that believed in a global flood. All historians accept that Caesar lived at the time and that his account was contemporary. All this is irrelevant here, on this talk page. Can we discuss things that are relevant, like sources? Doug Weller (talk) 10:16, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
In a similar article, there's been a recent dispute over how to determine the consensus among RSs. You can't just go by what a few authors claim about the reception of their own theory, because that's a case of using partisan sources commenting about their own ideas. This article uses much the same trick to claim that certain viewpoints are dominant. GBRV (talk) 05:15, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
At Wikipedia:Dispute_resolution_noticeboard#Talk:Nativity_of_Jesus.23Edit_war I did not have the strongest sources (PiCo suggested to base that WP:RS/AC claim on the strongest sources). But, no, you did not read WP:RS/AC very well or you don't really agree with it, anyway, you are not allowed to deny it in every talk page. Tgeorgescu (talk) 14:16, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Here's what WP:RS:AC says, verbatim: "The statement that all or most scientists or scholars hold a certain view requires reliable sourcing that directly says that all or most scientists or scholars hold that view. Otherwise, individual opinions should be identified as those of particular, named sources."
It doesn't say that an author's claims about his own theory's reception should be taken as trustworthy. Granted, it doesn't say the opposite either, but you seem to be claiming that if it was published in a source considered an RS then the author's opinion on literally anything would be trustworthy, which isn't how it's supposed to work, as both StAnselm and the mediator (UY Scuti) pointed out at the DRN page, if memory serves. We've been over this repeatedly. GBRV (talk) 10:52, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
See the reply written by a Christian at [3]. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:47, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
The post you linked to just repeats what you've been arguing, and doesn't address my rebuttal to that argument. GBRV (talk) 04:59, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
That's the way WP:RS/AC has always been applied inside Wikipedia: consensus claims by very reputable scholars are accepted as valid, until the contrary is proven. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:50, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
We're not getting anywhere with this. Both I and StAnselm have explained why consensus hasn't been established. GBRV (talk) 00:01, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
I tend to agree. In other words, as per WP policy, we keep "foundation myth" as we all agree no consensus has been reached to change it. In the absence of consensus, the previous version remains. Case closed. Jeppiz (talk) 00:10, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Jeppiz, since you have emphatically declared case closed - the next time this debate comes up, and it will, you might keep in mind while discussing myth vs. story or some other wording: First sentence: "...is the founding myth of Israel..." Two sentences later: "The exodus story..." is used. In the next paragraph, the wording of "story" is used 4 times. Off the case. Never really on it. Sh33na (talk) 23:47, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

I haven't "declared" anything, I've merely pointed out that we all seem to agree there is no consensus for a change. Jeppiz (talk) 00:57, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
I didn't agree on THAT issue, since I was referring to the academic consensus issue rather than the "foundation myth" wording, which still needs to be resolved. Since Wikipedia isn't an academic journal, the standard policy is to use wording that's clearly comprehensible by the general public. Here's an example illustrating why "myth" should be avoided: when Ann Curry wrote a book calling the battle of Agincourt a "national myth", that phrase gives many people the impression that she was claiming the whole thing was fictional. That wasn't her point, but the word "myth" can imply that since it has multiple meanings and its academic usage can differ from the popular usage. I would suggest we use something like "foundation narrative" instead. GBRV (talk) 02:08, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Can you please quote this "standard policy"? Doug Weller (talk) 10:14, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Here's the policy requiring language which is "understandable to as many readers as possible", while avoiding "wikilinking... as a substitute for parenthetic explanations": MOS:JARGON.
And let's not get involved in a silly semantic debate over what constitutes "technical language", because the MOS clearly says that the language needs to be understood by as many readers as possible, regardless of whether you consider it technical or not. How many readers in the general public understand the use of the term "foundation myth", especially the use of the term "myth" to mean something other than its vernacular definition of "fictional story"? I'm only suggesting a tiny change in keeping with standard policy, which should not require so much debate. GBRV (talk) 02:04, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

Jeppiz wrote: "I tend to agree. In other words, as per WP policy, we keep "foundation myth" as we all agree no consensus has been reached to change it. In the absence of consensus, the previous version remains. Case closed." Jeppiz (talk) 00:10, 8 November 2015 (UTC) Emphatically declared, stated, said, professed, asserted, decided, notified, announced, informed ... you pick the wording. It was said, Jeppiz. You've decided the case is closed, and I don't think you have that right. While I agree a dead horse has been beaten beyond recognition at this point, can you state "case closed" with any authority? Someone else can, and probably/hopefully will for this round of discussion, but until then... Sh33na (talk) 14:23, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Dating section[edit]

I think the dating section is a mess - propose to split into 4 subsections:

  • traditional (Jewish, Jewish-adjusted and Samaritan versions of the dating)
  • Early Exodus (scholar putting the event to 15-16th century BCE)
  • Late Exodus (scholar opinions putting the event to around 13-14th century BCE)
  • No basis (scholar opinions claiming that the event is a myth).

This would make the dating a much more clear issue.GreyShark (dibra) 10:42, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Route? And was Jordan crossed west-to-east or east-to-west?[edit]

Is there a map available which shows the likely route (or routes), particularly near the end of the journey? In particular, could the article state whether the Jordan was crossed from west to east or from east to west?

Feline Hymnic (talk) 21:35, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Recent edit war[edit]

The cover of a book does not amount to a verifiable reference. Also, quoting Josephus is original research; contemporary mainstream scholars should be cited instead of ancient historians. There is no evidence that the Hyksos were (part of) Israel. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:28, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

The word "myth" has been discussed to death, see archives. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:46, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Unverifiable statement: "some scholars posit that the exodus narrative perhaps evolved from vague memories of the Hyksos expulsion, spun to encourage resistance to the 7th century domination of Judah by Egypt." Finkelstein and Silberman don't say that, they say that it is impossible to know if it is so. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:43, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes, THEY DO say that. Have you read the source ? That is what it says, as is also stated on the article about the book. They are saying it is possible there is a connection between the Hyksos and the Exodus narrative. The Hyksos are known to be Semitic Canaanites, the same ethnic grouping from which the Hebrews were from. The discussion on the link between the Hebrews and the Hyksos goes back all the way to Josephus and Manetho, and even before this possibly in some other sources. The Hyksos are said by Finkelstein to be Semitic and to have inhabited many of the same regions in the Sinai and Lower Egypt as mentioned in the Exodus narrative (e.g. the Land of Goshen). Regardless of your ignorance to the obvious presence of Semitic Canaanites in Egypt at the time the Exodus narrative likely took place, it is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Your opposition is nothing more than original research and is not a justifiable reason to omit cited material. Israel Finkelstein is a VALID source. The same critique you have been making against my edits, "original research", is in fact what you are now pushing here. End of story. 173.238.79.44 (talk) 01:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I do acknowledge that Finkelstein and Silberman are a valid source. See for yourself what they wrote at https://books.google.nl/books?id=lu6ywyJr0CMC&pg=PA69&dq=finkelstein+silberman+hyksos+impossible+say+whether&hl=nl&sa=X Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:08, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
"The 2004 discovery of fragments of the Hebrew Bible at [[Ketef Hinnom]] dating to the 7th century BCE, shown to have specific textual parallels with the Book of Numbers, suggests that at least some elements of the Torah were current before the Babylonian exile.<ref>Davila, James, [http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/2004_09_26_archive.html#109644758320238769 "MORE ON THE KETEF HINNOM AMULETS in Ha'aretz]," ''Paleojudaica'', Sept. 2004.</ref><ref>Barkay, Gabriel, et al., [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=1094-2076%28200312%2966%3A4%3C162%3ATCOKHU%3E2.0.CO%3B2-L&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage "The Challenges of Ketef Hinnom: Using Advanced Technologies to Recover the Earliest Biblical Texts and their Context"], ''Near Eastern Archaeology'', 66/4 (Dec. 2003): 162-171.</ref><ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/28/science/28scro.html?_r=2&8dpc=&pagewanted=all&position=&oref=slogin& Solving a Riddle Written in Silver]</ref><ref>[http://www.bpnews.net/17741 'Silver scrolls' are oldest O.T. scripture, archaeologist says]</ref>" could be properly sourced, but in this article it is off-topic. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:20, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
So, who are the scholars who affirm that the Exodus is based upon vague memories of Hyksos expulsion? They are not Finkelstein and Silberman, since they opine that it is impossible to establish the truth value of this claim (see the words outlined in yellow on the Google Books link). Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
WP:SYNTH problem: the view has to be verified upon a certain page or pages of the book through something written by a scholar, not simply inferred by the reader who reads the titles of the sources included in the book. We simply abstract what scholars wrote, we do not write ourselves reviews of their scholarship. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:25, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Wow, OK, your play on words here is ridiculous. The page numbers to the Finkelstein source are referenced in the sections I entered in the article. As for the material itself, it is specifically stated by Finkelstein that it is possible that the Exodus narrative was based on the memories or oral traditions of the Semitic Canaanites being expelled from Egypt during the Hyksos period. How could this not be included in the article ? Josephus and Manetho were discussing this as far back as Roman times. Excluding the content I added is nothing more than subjective opposition from you based on your own POV. Finkelstein is a valid source, and what I entered matches what was stated in the source. It will be re-entered into the article. 173.238.79.44 (talk) 16:38, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
"It is impossible to say whether or not the biblical narrative was an expansion and elaboration of vague memories of the immigration of Canaanites to Egypt and their expulsion from the delta in the second millennium BC. Yet, it seems clear that the biblical story of the Exodus drew its power not only from ancient traditions and contemporary geographical demographic details, but even more directly from contemporary political realities." (p.69)
"Older, less formalized legends of liberation from Egypt could have been skillfully woven into the powerful saga that borrowed familiar landscapes and monuments." (p.68)
"The Egyptologist Donald Redford has argued that the echoes of the great events of the Hyksos occupation of Egypt and their violent expulsion from the delta resounded for centuries, to become a central, shared memory of the people of Canaan." (p.68-69)
"It is clear that the saga of liberation from Egypt was not composed as an original work in the seventh centry BC. The main outlines of the story were certainly known long before, in the allusions to the Exodus and the wandering in the wilderness contained in the oracles of the prophets Amos and Hosea a full century before." (p.68)
"These stories of Canaanite colonists established in Egypt, reaching dominance in the delta and then being forced to return to their homeland, could have served as a focus of solidarity and resistance as the Egyptian control over Canaan grew tighter in the course of the Late Bronze Age...with the eventual assimilation of many Canaanite communities into the crystallizing nation of Israel, that powerful image of freedom may have grown relevant for an ever widening community." (p.69) — Preceding unsigned comment added by DifensorFidelis (talkcontribs) 17:35, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
This section supports that which I entered in this article as clearly Finkelstein IS saying it is possible that the narrative was based on the expulsion of Semitic Canaanites, likely including the ancestors of the Israelites, during the Hyksos period. It is also stated that the narrative did draw from ancient traditions. As for the other content I entered, other pages specifically mention that the Hyksos did occupy the Sinai in the mid to late second millennium BC, including areas which correspond with locales in the Biblical narrative such as the 'Land of Goshen', which corresponds with the location of the Hyksos settlement at Avaris (p.55). 173.238.79.44 (talk) 16:50, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Ok, then Donald Redford is at least an answer to my question "who are those scholars?". Although it is something of a faith leap from "shared memory of the people of Canaan" to "the basis of the Exodus story". We have to be careful not to put our own words in the mouth of scholars. Finkelstein and Sliberman say there is a parallel development of the Hyksos memories and the Exodus story, they don't say that these are basically the same. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:36, 5 February 2016 (UT C)
"The basis of the Exodus" is related to my interpretation, but that is not what I entered into the article. Finkelstein and Sliberman are merely saying the Exodus narrative has a possible connection or foundation in an earlier oral or written tradition based in some form on experiences of the Israelites' Canaanite ancestors during the Hyksos period, which is at the present time impossible to verify. Redford mentions the events of the Hyksos period as being an influence, but Finkelstein and Sliberman also mention in the quotes above that it could have played a role. In any case, the article is semi-protected right now, and thus I can not edit it for a few more days as I just registered an account on Wiki. Fidei Defensor (talk) 12:05 am, Yesterday (UTC+0)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────To be sure, not all of your edits were wrong, but the manner in which you pushed valid edits together with unacceptable edits is itself unacceptable. The lead about Redford should be further researched, and his own papers should be quoted instead of the vague relationship between Hyksos memories and the Exodus (which could be just apparent similarity or parallel development) presented by Finkelstein and Silberman. In history unfalsifiable hunches are not worth much, that's why their work is not the best source to describe such hypothesis (for them such hypothesis lies in a limbo were it can be neither affirmed nor denied, so "it is not even wrong"). If Redford stated that memories of the Hyksos led to the Exodus story, he should be quoted stating it verbatim. Also, the claim that the Hyksos are the new game in town in respect to Exodus research should be cited from a reliable source. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:37, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

One source about the Hyksos memories as ground of the Exodus: Michael D. Oblath (2004). The Exodus Itinerary Sites: Their Locations from the Perspective of the Biblical Sources. Peter Lang. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8204-6716-0.  Another: James K. Hoffmeier (19 February 1999). Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. Oxford University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-19-976123-4.  So, it isn't false that some scholars claimed such link. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:34, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

I noticed that Redford's paper is from 1963, so meanwhile he could have changed his view. Thus the hypothesis could be outdated. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:06, 7 February 2016 (UTC)