Five Views on the Exodus looks at competing views on the historicity, chronology, and theological implications of the exodus. The biblical account of the Israelite exodus from Egypt is one of the most enduring narratives ever told and is a foundational event for several world religions. It resonates across cultures with its timeless themes of redemption and deliverance. It is also the only explanation the Bible gives for Israel’s origin.
Despite its unique legacy, many scholars regard the exodus as fictitious or a cultural memory that may not be a historical event. Even among those who believe the exodus happened, there is no consensus regarding its date. Five Views on the Exodus brings together experts in the fields of biblical studies, Egyptology, and archaeology to discuss and debate the most vexing questions about the exodus. Each offers their own view and offer constructive responses to other leading views on the exodus.
The five views presented here include:
“At issue in the controversy over the date of the Exodus is the interpretation of the biblical and extrabiblical data. Proponents of the early-date position emphasize the literal interpretation of the biblical numbers … and selectively appeal to archaeology for support (e.g., both camps cite archaeological evidence from Jericho and Hazor in support of their positions). Those holding to the late-date view understand the biblical numbers symbolically and place priority on the extrabiblical historical information and archaeological evidence.’” (Page 26)
“The biblical authors inexorably link the identity of the ancient Israelites with a miraculous deliverance from Egyptian slavery, but many scholars, such as Bernard F. Batto, challenge the historicity of the exodus: ‘The biblical narrative in the books of Genesis through Joshua owes more to the folkloric tradition of the ancient Near East than to the historical genre and cannot be used to reconstruct an authentic history of ancient Israel.’” (Page 25)
“Early-date adherents give greater weight to the Bible, whereas late-date purveyors tend to elevate archaeology in their historiography. In this essay I will argue that strong archaeological evidence supports the early date as well, but the case for an early date begins with the text of Scripture.” (Pages 26–27)