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Exodus Decoded: What a Gas!
In Response To: Moses II ()

El_Dred,

I caught the show last night. I liked the cool archaeology and the hot graphics, but the fundamentalist tone was disturbing - inappropriate I think for the History Channel. Little wonder that Egyptians remain leary of overzealous Jews and Christians.

I've also noticed that the History Channel has been airing a number of seemingly politically motivated specials lately, such as hit pieces on Iran, etc. Or perhaps they just think that this is what their hawkish American viewers want to see.

There is no conflict in my model regarding a Hyksos Period Exodus - actually it demands one. Perhaps elements of it were even included in the Biblical Exodus narrative. That's hard to say though, because within the royal culture an Exodus event was expected and deliberately orchestrated at the end of each major dynasty.

The Patriarchs that correspond to the late Hyksos period are Terah and Abraham, both of which have a Moses aspect in their typecasting, but there isn't any evidence (to my knowledge) that either led an Exodus party out of Egypt into the desert. In order to survive being deposed in Babylon, Terah in fact became not a savior but a mass murdererin Egypt.

Many points in the documentary were strained. For example, the royal seals found at Avaris with the name of Jacob date long after the mural paintings of presumed Israelites found at Beni Hassan. And we already know that there was a prominent Hyksos king named Jacob (Yakhubher), so it shouldn't surprise anyone to find the name Jacob at Avaris. And again, this Jacob came well after the time of the Beni Hassan murals.

The identification of Ahmose as the "pharoah of the Exodus" and Prince Sapair as "firstborn" was also very much strained. As it has been shown here, Ahmose was not killed in an Exodus event and was in fact a relatively minor player in the so-called expulsion of the Hyksos. The major players were Kamose and Thutmose I. Tao II was the victim of their attacks. It seems to have been his court and followers (or army) that were driven out of the Delta after he was captured and killed by direction of his own father Tao I (Terah). Ahmose went along with Kamose to the battle of Avaris, but the inscriptions of one of his officers (also called Ahmose) reveal that it was a token involvement.

The documentary was almost gleeful in its proposal that enemies of the Jews were "gassed". Its theory as to how the gas only killed the firstborn males was ridiculous, i.e., the firstborn males of Egypt all slept on special beds that were close to the ground while everybody else slept on the roof. Give me a break!

Toward the end of the program I started to flip over to the special on Neanderthals, which they concluded were powerfully built with high pitched voices (like Mike Tyson?). In Exodus decoded they mentioned an "El Arish" inscription, the significance of which I missed out on while channel surfing. They then proceded to find some other drawing/incription that was used as a model for their reconstruction of the ark of the covenant. Finally, they suggested that the tabernacle with its Greek-style winged-griffins and four-horned altar for animal sacrifices should be considered as an attempt by God to forge a new covenant with mankind. I've only got one thing to say about that: "El save me (from your followers)".

A toast to your "drying out"!

Chuck-an-Aten