Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus
This documentary is a classic. It is filmed beautifully and clearly, so that with pleasure we can follow in Mahoney's footsteps, follow his determination to dig deep for the truth, with excitements and disappointments every step of the way. And I appreciate the courtesy Mahoney extended to the many experts he interviewed and consulted – even though he finally concludes he must disagree with all who say there is no evidence for the Israelite Exodus out of Egypt, as described in the Bible.
The evidence for Exodus is a serious matter for all people of faith, as far as I am concerned. For over 70 years now, the mainstream archaeological theories have conspired with all the evidence to show a very thorough *lack* of evidence for the Biblical stories of the Exodus, thus challenging over 3000 years of belief for both Jews and Christians.
But this film has shown me that the Biblical story of Exodus did happen; moreover, it happened exactly as described in the Bible, without the tiniest archaeological detail of evidence being missing or faulty. For if we look for *patterns of evidence*, and put the dates to one side, we discover that every single Biblical detail fits the evidence strongly – strong because the pattern does fit, timewise, only at a different time period; and each piece of evidence is unique, powerful, and unexpected – exactly as the Bible stories themselves convey.
When filmmaker Tim Mahoney discovered that all the mainstream archaeologists said that there was absolutely no evidence for the Exodus ever having taken place as described in the Bible, he could no longer sit comfortably with his Christian faith if it was so strongly rooted in a historical lie. The story of Exodus has, after all, details of such magnitude that it was unthinkable there should be no archaeological record unless Exodus was a complete fabrication. Is it possible that since the earliest times, the Jews, then Jesus, then Christendom, should have fallen for so graphical, so collossal, and so supportive a story if it was only a myth? What was Mahoney going to tell his grandchildren? Unable to let the matter rest, he decided to investigate for himself, armed only with his film-making skills, his innate faith, intelligence and commonsense, and a deep wish to find the truth, wherever that might lead him.
Mahoney's first forays to Egypt seemed to go nowhere. The archaeologists explained that the Exodus took place at the time of Ramesses II (the Late Bronze Age) - and had left no evidence.
He then reasoned that he should put aside any presupposition that we know the exact dates, and he should just look to see if there was evidence at any time of Egyptian history that fitted the pattern of the Bible stories. He figured out there were six parts to the story for which he would hope to find evidence:
* the presence of a Hebrew family of twelve in the Egyptian Delta, one of them serving a very high position under Pharaoh
* a subsequent multiplication of population
* followed by slavery and infanticide of males
* awful things suddenly happening to the Egyptians
* a very sudden departure of all the Hebrews
* Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, starting with Jericho.
Mahoney then created excellent visual aids to chart the progress in his findings, through each of these six stages: a great Wall of Time, marked by pylons every 1000 years, with layers of wall showing the absolute dates, the three principal Egyptian kingdoms, the Biblical date records, and dating from other Near East archaeology eg at Jericho.
The Old Kingdom is when the great Pyramids were built.
The Middle Kingdom is when literature and the arts flourished.
The New Kingdom built massive monuments and a massive empire.
And following each Kingdom were times of weakness and confusion.
Mahoney found unequivocally clear evidence for each of these six parts, exactly in the right time sequence – but it all happened during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt – whereas Ramesses is in the New Kingdom, hundreds of years later. The Ipuwer Papyrus contains graphic Egyptian descriptions of desolation that exactly fits the Israelite description of the plagues as recorded in the Bible. And there is very telling evidence for Joseph and his twelve brothers in Avaris, which lies underneath the later city of Ramesses and is now being excavated.
The destruction of Jericho fits the Middle Kingdom period (= Middle Bronze Age) too, and again the evidence matches the Biblical story detail for detail: a completely fire-damaged city interior, including burnt grain stores that suggest a very short springtime siege; and a single area on the perimeter wall that was not destroyed, that suggests Rahab's house being protected.
In the end it becomes clear that the evidence for Exodus during the Middle Bronze Age actually far exceeds the quantity or quality of the evidence traditionally used to date the Exodus as during the time of Ramesses – but still, mainstream experts put aside each piece of evidence as “coincidence”, without seeming to notice how massive the evidence is when put together. Or rather, some are noticing, but are afraid to speak out, to rock the boat.
Mahoney has done something that takes courage and has left us all a tremendous legacy: he persistently stood up for truth; followed the rocky evidence wherever it would lead; and invites us to do the same, to make no assumptions that any theoretical source, either of biblical or of secular archaeological origin, is correct.
There is a lot more evidence out there that needs similar work and standards to be applied to it. I feel that Mahoney has set a standard the next generation should live up to. This is truly a work of Spiritual Science, the spiritual redemption of Scientific Method that has long been called-for.