MemberFebruary 12, 2021 at 11:54 pm
I will write this here because I don’t know which discussion it fits.
All the effort to locate Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia: What use is it? How does it help? Is it preaching? How does it convert people? So what? Now what?
The Arabian candidates in the Hejaz (al-Lawz, Hala al-Badr etc) do not make any better sense of the routes and stations of the Israelite journeys than Jebel Musa did. They don’t identify more biblical sites, if anything fewer, and create confusion re the long-established location of Kadesh-barnea which works *in every other way* historically and biblically. Rainclouds without rain, for a biblical allusion (Jud 1:6). If you want to get excited about Moses and Mount Sinai and you don’t mind if the site fixes the itinerary or not, go and climb Jebel Musa and see the sunrise. At least you can get into Egypt more easily. And it is a better view. And the monastery is amazing.
I don’t get this obsession with al-Lawz seeing as it seems to be a dead end for research. The true location of Mount Sinai should be the key to unlock the wilderness itinerary, the breakthrough in the puzzle of Pentateuchal geography. But all we have out of the Beke-Musil-Caldwell-Cornuke-Williams-Wyatt-MooreCross-Humphreys-Richardson-Fritz-Rudd-Mauro (did I miss anyone?) pot-boiler is a whole lot of sensationalism but no progress. The wanderings remain mysterious, the texts geographically inscrutable. We have no more information about Early Israel with which to demonstrate that the biblical narratives are historical. I don’t know what the aim is, but the outcome is not historical apologetics.