I've seen two shows on the science channel by a particular archaeologist: in one he found the Garden of Eden and the other explored the events of
Exodus. It convinced me, and I thought they were well enough presented to convince any non-believer of Biblical truth.
What I remember of the Exodus one is as follows:
Around 1600 BC the volcano known as Thera (Santorini) off the coast of Crete erupted, playing a major role in the downfall of the Minoan Civilization.
The blast, in addition to giving Crete a good thrashing, sent off tidal waves out radially.
Allegedly, this blast was somewhat larger than any that have been experienced in recent times (i.e. Krakatoa). Therefore, Egypt saw in the distance a
big black cloud in the distance, perhaps suffered some ash "fallout" and was hit by some sort of tsunami.
Keep in mind I may have made some of these up since I saw this a while back:
The volcanic ashy billowing (plague 9--darkness)
Perhaps erupting lava a few hundred miles away and the absence of sunlight caused the water to reflect the redness (plague 1--blood)
Ash (plague 7--hail)
Widespread death for a zillion different reasons (plague 10--slaying of the first-born)
Then there are a whole number of plagues involving animals. This I would attribute to mass migration of animals fleeing the impending
Egypt is in chaos, so a group of opportunistic Caananite slaves take advantage of the moment and flee. When it is discovered that the villages
formerly occupied by the Jews are empty, the Pharaoh sends out the cavalry to follow their tracks and return his slave property.
Now here's where this theory requires a leap of faith.
It is known that before a tsunami, the ocean often recedes for up to several hours. So, the slaves, who are heading east along the north coast, take
a shortcut and go across wet sand with dead dying aquatic life around and head for some hill. When they get to their destination (the high ground)
they see the pursuing Egyptian war party in the distance get washed away by the tidal wave.
Thus, the seas parted. However, the Bible says calls it the "Red" Sea, which is not on the northern coast of Egypt. The archaeologist claims that
somewhere along the line it was mistranslated from "Reed" Sea.
Some random site
Reed Sea or Red Sea? "God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea" (13:18, NRSV). Most English Bible versions
locate Israel's miraculous escape at the Red Sea, but the underlying Hebrew phrase yam suf might better be rendered Reed Sea. Suf is derived from the
Egyptian word for the papyrus reed, which only grows in fresh water. This would place the crossing at one of the lagoons or inland lakes in the
northeast of Egypt near the shore of the Mediterranean Sea (see Batto 1984, who presents the evidence but opts for a mythological interpretation of
So one interpretation of the bible is that its an inlet of the Mediterranean which happened to literally be full of reeds.
Its a cool story regardless of whether or not its what Genesis is about.