MemberJune 4, 2021 at 11:14 pm
Hi Donna. I re-viewed Simcha Jacobovici’s movie Exodus Decoded, and took some notes, as below. Firstly, he does not offer a candidate for Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia. His candidate, Hashem al-Tarif, is in eastern Sinai.
The panning spinning GIS visuals with ‘hologram’ effects are gimmicky… he calls it his “chronology machine” at 34:00, but it does nothing to illustrate chronology. Simcha is a film maker so he can make fancy visuals which cover for his film being light on content. The whole movie has a ‘sensational’ tone and soundtrack, and a treasure-hunting tone.
10:00 He launches straight into the Pharaoh of the exodus and chooses one (Ahmose) with no arguments! “Here is the man who confronted Moses”. Why would anyone believe him? He has the mummy for a start. The pharaoh of the exodus was drowned and lost with all his army. There should be no mummy.
14:00 So this is the Avaris theory… heavily reliant on Bietak’s excavations at Tel ed-Daba. Simcha mentions the Hyksos that Pharaoh Ahmose drove out of Egypt. So he thinks the Hyksos are the Israelites. Again he gives no arguments. This is also Rohl’s view. The connection of Avaris with the Hebrews is entirely based on the MBA II remains in Avaris being ‘Asiatic’. Well yes, they are, because the Hyksos were Asiatic invaders of Egypt.
The Hyksos-Hebrews ID is actually an antisemitic view if you scratch the surface. The Hyksos were iconoclastic pillaging raping murdering barbarians. They were the ISIS of the ANE. They invaded and ruined Egypt, dominated it, and developed their own dynasty in Lower Egypt. The native Egyptians in Thebes (Upper Egypt) eventually overcame the Hyksos kingdom, isolating them in Tel ed-Daba and then evicting them to “the borders of Syria” i.e. Southern Judah (NOT to the Sinai or Negev as the Bible describes the exodus).
Not only were the Hyksos violent invaders not mild refugees as the Bible describes Jacob and his sons, but the proposed Hyksos-Hebrew ID would make the whole biblical narrative of the Egyptian sojourn and exodus narrative into a clever self-serving saga of lies. In fact, the Hyksos were not slaves but enslavers. They were not accommodated by Pharaoh, rather they invaded and took over. The Hyksos were not victims but perpetrators. So everything in the patriarchal-sojourn-exodus story would be a lie: Joseph would not be the saviour of Egypt but a foreign-born despot, and so on.
The Hyksos were actually the bad guys. So no wonder the atheist and agnostic theorists are so eager to sell the Judaeo-Christian world on the Hyksos-Hebrew ID and to identify MBA Avaris with the Rameses of the sojourn. It fits in very well with literary-critical views of the Bible as semi-fictional lying Jewish propaganda.
25:00 Simcha connects the Santorini eruption with the exodus. Again this involves wild dating assumptions. By this event, he attempts to explain the 10 plagues, including the 10th plague, the death of the firstborn.
52:00 He has a “Reed Sea” crossing in the Ballah Lakes in the northern isthmus. Simcha again does not make any kind of proper argument, but just states his position and then uses footage from his trip(s) to illustrate whatever he wants. This showy movie with its shallow commentary is a kind of mental chewing gum.
59:00 So he buys into James Hoffmeier’s northern isthmus crossing. But Simcha has the Santorini eruption somehow involved… a tsunami across the Mediterranean. Such theories barely use the biblical descriptions of any events; they don’t seem to mind that the account of the Red Sea crossing doesn’t describe a tsunami. They ignore the primary role of the wind. They can’t explain the ‘walls’, or the bogging of the chariot wheels, and don’t even try.
1:00:00 So here he has jumped the shark (in the Med Sea)! He is looking for the Hebrews in Greece. He says the Red Sea crossing is depicted on Mycenean tombstones. This is all really woo-woo stuff.
1:10:00 He identifies Mount Sinai in the eastern Sinai, Hashem el-Tarif. His argument is based on the ’11’ days vector of Deut 1:2. This text is an issue for all the Sinai candidates… any mountain closer than 11 days from Kadesh at Ayn al Qudayrat is discounted. But if the 11-days text has been wrongly read and in fact the 11 days apply between the place where Moses spoke to all Israel (in the Plains of Moab, v. 1) and (Mount) Horeb via Kadesh-barnea as I have explained elsewhere on this forum (v. 2), then this requirement is reframed.
1:15:00 He has Elim in the right place. But he takes the other coordinate from Timna (which he arbitrarily IDs with Midian). So he swings three vectors and comes up with a mountain at their intersection between Elim, Kadesh, and Petra. Hashem el-Tarif has not had any impact on the Mount Sinai debate. Simcha has done no itinerary work other than to mention the 11 days. People can’t just keep throwing up Sinai candidates without doing the geographical work. The geographical data of the Pentateuch is the prime testing ground for any would-be Mount Sinai-Horeb. It actually doesn’t matter what features a mountain has: if it doesn’t solve the problems of the wilderness itineraries, it cannot be Mount Sinai.
1:25:00 He has some golden Mycenaean artifact that he thinks looks like the ark of the covenant. Simcha has a wild imagination and no logic. How did the Hebrews cross the Ballah Lake, end up in Greece, and yet go to Mount Sinai in the eastern Sinai? Or in some other order? It is pointless to expect any of this to make sense.