August 22, 2006
Okay here's another T.V. show recommendation. The Exodus Decoded, an interesting film by a Canadian Journalist, Simcha Jacobovici, who is apparently an Orthodox Jew, (He keeps his head covered though not with a traditional yarmulke.) is airing on the History Channel. I watched it Sunday night but it's airing again Thursday night, Aug. 24, at 8:00p.m. on The History Channel.
Jacobovici, who I think sees himself as a sort of modern day Heinrich Schliemann, (The non archaeologist who discovered the city of Troy when most professional archaeologist considered it a myth.) argues that Archaeologists have missed substantial clues which support the Biblical story of the Exodus because they have misdated the Exodus. He dates it at around 1500 B.C. (He uses the term BCE meaning before Before the Common Era.) He spends most of the two hours explaining how the 10 plagues of Exodus could have been the result of natural phenomena resulting from the huge volcanic eruption on the Mediterranean Island of Thera now called Santorini.
But the most interesting parts of the program, as far as I'm concerned, were the archaeological discoveries which apparently support the Biblical account of the Exodus story. For example Jacobovici argues that the Pharaoh of the Exodus story is actually, "Ahmose" which according to Jacobovici means brother of Moses. He also shows a recreation of the Ahmose Stele, an ancient Egyptian stone monument covered with Egyptian hieroglyphics which apparently contain many of the same details as the Exodus, It makes it a little more compelling that the Stele is warehoused away from view in the Cairo Museum and that Jacobovici was not allowed to film it. He also has difficulty filming in other Egyptian sites which might give the modern Israelis support for their claim to a homeland.
One of the most interesting archaeological discoverys is the Tomb at Beni Hassan dated to around 1700 B.C. i.e. 200 years before the Exodus. The tomb includes a painting of Semitic people migrating to Egypt with all of their herds. Also at the, recently discovered, Egyptian city of Avaris, a royal city, populated by semitic people he finds royal rings with the Hebrew name Jacob on them. Jacob, of course, was the father of Joseph.
Pretty interesting stuff. Don't miss this program if at all possible. Also for further reading there's a very informative email debate between, Hershel Shanks an editor at Biblical Archeology Review, and Jacobovici, here.