Book Review: The Exodus, by Richard Elliott Friedman, PhD
The book was on my Christmas list and I unwrapped it and have already read it. Though I seldom delve into religion on this blog because every single reader has a different take on these things, it’s a book review and you can make of the book what you will.
I have an interest in the Late Bronze Age, and recommend 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed, by Eric Cline, PhD (the book and his YouTube presentation) to those of you who have an inclination toward this field of scholarship. One of the mysteries if I can use that word safely, of the Late Bronze Age is the exodus. I have lots of questions about the exodus because there is scant historical or archeological evidence to support it beyond the account in the Bible. The town of Jericho, that Joshua allegedly sacked ‘when the walls came tumbling down’, wasn’t ever sacked and the walls never tumbled down. There is overwhelming evidence of this. I reference the work of Yigael Yadin on the subject. General Yadin has huge credibility to me. He’s a man of impressive intellect, Israeli Army Chief of Staff turned archeologist. Additionally, there’s ample historical evidence that the 12 tribes of Israel (or most of the 12 tribes) never left Caanan/Israel.
So given the lack of proof, and given my faith, I have strained to know more. Facts tend to fit the way pieces of a puzzle snap into place. I hate it when people strain to make the pieces fit, and Dr. Friedman didn’t do that.
Back to the book. Dr. Friedman makes a compelling argument that “the” exodus occurred, that it was small, consisting almost exclusively of Levites, and that it had intimate links to Egyptian culture and religion. He explores Moses the historical figure and the connection to Midian, etc. along with many other issues that you may have an interest in. I take small issue with some of Dr. Friedman’s propositions later in the book, but, overall, I think that it’s worth buying and reading if you have an interest in such things.