Here's my take on a very tricky subject.
posted by pudro5: “Yes, I know the Bible speaks of the miracle in Exodus, but I have never found any account of this event in any of the
ancient Egyptian history written in that time period (2650B.C.) so until then I will be a skeptic that this event really happened . . as for chariots
found on the bed of the Red Sea . . I doubt that is what those relics are . . [Edited by Don W]
I think most scholars agree the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) was written between 1100 BCE and 300 BCE. I use “BCE” and “CE” in difference
to our Jewish friends. And recognizing the fact there are so many Jewish scholars on this topic. Stories that are older than that - 1100 BCE - were
maintained by oral tradition. Which is not meant to denigrate oral history. As we ought to realize - we can’t agree on what happened in Florida in
2000 - written history is not all that reliable anyway.
I don’t recall when the books making up the Holy Bible were named. I’m sure the ancients had ways to refer to the books, but I’m not sure it is
the same names we use today. We do know ancient Hebrew writers - scribes - did not use the style of grammar or syntax (or logograms and logographies)
we are familiar with today. No punctuatin marks, no numbers, no spacing between words or verses or sentences. No paragraphs or chapters. And what
makes it even harder for translators, no vowels. We know so little about it all we have no right to be literal, in my opinion.
Finally, Western culture did not become the “literalist” thinking society it is today until post the 14th century. Fact and fiction blurred
easily and comfortably. The great historian, Barbara Tuchman, shows it to be the beginning of the modern era. See her book “A Distant Mirror,” in
which she relates how the Black Death was the primary causative factor of modernity.
Essan posted: “However, there's no evidence of any large group of people spending any time in the Sinai, nor does the Biblical story
mention the numerous Egyptian border forts that the Israelites would have had to get past to reach the Sinai. All of which points towards the whole
story being a complete myth. [Edited by Don W]
Egypt was the primo place in that era. The pyramids had been up and running for over 1,000 years before the Israelites learned to write. If you are a
nomadic people and don’t know where you came from, why not claim to have come from Egypt? Or at least, claim to have been the one’s who really
built the greatest structures every built? The tallest man made structure until the Eiffel Tower. I find that explanation easy to grasp.
Persons who hold to the literal interpretation of the Holy Bible have dug for themselves - and for their progeny - a pit out of which they cannot get.
It is not at all clear that the ancients took their own history literally. Popular tv shows that have us visiting people today who live in what we
regard as a state of backwardness often show they are able to accommodate their old beliefs to contemporary times without difficulty. That is, they do
know the difference but find the old versions to be of high value to them and can live in both worlds simultaneously. In other words, there are no
heretics in their world.
I think we can date our own uniquely Western insistence of uniformity of beliefs (and thought) to Emperor Constantine and his ideological descendants.
I’m thinking of such “free thinkers” and apostles of tolerance as Tomas de Torquemada and those of his ilk and lineage. How many people have
been slaughtered in the name of orthodoxy? And don’t forget the English Star Chamber (Lat. Camera stellata for the star painted ceiling) which
persecuted so many dissenters using all the powers of the state. 1487 to 1641. So you wonder what were the origins of our own 5th Amendment?
What am I saying? I’m reminding that if you are a literalist then you have to accept the Red Sea story as written, and you cannot play off on a
“Reed Sea” explanation. Surely such a play on words is limited to English, anyway. Either you accept as literal what is recorded in those pages we
call the Holy Writ, or you have to understand it is figurative. Not obligatory. And realize and accept that to some extent are myths or legends so old
they have become “sacred.” As they say in the law, “till the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.”
Once you cross that line, then you have to deal rationally with the whole book, and take what applies to 2006, and leave behind what does not. Which
is most of what is written there. Such as the proscription on homosexuality. You are then a free spirit, having to make your own way in the world.
The beauty is you have shaken off the chains of yesteryear, but downside is that we realize all things are relative. Situational ethics replaces
dogma. Do right because it is right. And by logical argument, you can demonstrate that fact.
Hierarchies are no long needed. Institutions that impose uniformity are the anchors holding back progress, not the bastions of permanence they would
have you believe.
Keep in mind, everything evolves.
[edit on 4/11/2006 by donwhite]