As many of you are aware, I have been interested in the history of the Exodus. For some time, I have been putting forth a hypothesis based on a thesis written by Richard Elliot Friedman that the Exodus wasn’t a large event but a smaller event of Levites. Of course, my approach combines other research to include a more plausible event the can coincide with what we know from the Exodus text.
However, after giving a brief example of my hypothesis to a Lutheran pastor who seemed very adapt to historical studies of the scriptures. He informed me of a minority view within Egyptology proposed by a David Rohl that the Egyptian dates for the Exodus are off by several hundreds of years. Many scholars date the Exodus to the reign of Rameses II because of this particular passage in the Exodus 1:11 text:
11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens; and they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Ra-am′ses.
After thinking about this for a period of time, I thought to myself, “Well isn’t it ironic that a text that secular scholars say isn’t historical is how they attempt to map out an event against other archaeological evidence?”
David Rohl proposes that the evidence for the Hebrews in Egypt is found in the Middle Kingdom rather than the New Kingdom. He believes that the mention of the city of Raamses is an anachronism from when the text was written rather than what the city is more commonly known as Avaris. An example, in Genesis 47:11 of the use:
11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
Of course, Rameses couldn’t be the Pharaoh of both Joseph and Moses. So, it would be like someone writing a history of the Byzantine empire about the waning years approximately three-hundred years before it’s collapse and the rise of the Ottoman empire. In our Political correct-climate instead of using the name Constantinople, the author decides to play it safe and uses Istanbul. So, imagine 2000 years from this point, several collapses of civilizations and dark ages, new historians find this text and compare it with the few other pieces of evidence and start looking for information of groups of Latin Christians in the Byzantine empire during the time of the Ottomans and conclude, “The Latin massacre never took place because there is no evidence of Western Christianity at this point of time; of course looking well after the massacre and expulsion. ”
Naturally, there is one of the best archaeologists in the world working in the area named Manfred Bietak from Austria. Bietak has found in the area of Avaris large settlement of proto-Caanites during the middle kingdom but asserts because they’re too early for the Exodus event these cannot be the same Semites.
But, if they’re gone a few hundred years after we start looking for Semites, where did they all go?
Is this new dating plausible? Most Egyptologist entire careers are tied up in the old dating system so many would fight it tooth and nail, but historically speaking with the lack of information, it could be plausible. I’m not entirely confident enough to jump across a conventional dating system.