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The True Date of the Exodus Online Index
2. THE TRUE DATE OF THE EXODUS
“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” — Proverbs 22:28
The evidence of the early Greek writers who dealt with the subject of the Exodus has often been neglected. Some of these writers were native Egyptians (e.g. Manetho), others were Jews who spoke and wrote in Greek. Yet, without their long-term historical view, it will, until appropriate archaeological evidence turns up, be impossible to say anything decisive about this important event. Archaeology, like detective work, can usually only provide isolated pieces of evidence. Rarely does it produce a definitive answer to a particular historical problem. The Greek writers around the turn of the Christian era had one advantage over modern archaeologists, and that was access to native Egyptian-speaking priests who had received from their ancestors a treasure-trove of king-lists, biographical and historical legends, and other written and oral material, which backgrounded the bare memorials and inscriptions which are all too often the sole evidence available to modern researchers. We should treat this evidence with respect, particularly when it is our only witness to events, like the Exodus, which the native Egyptian royal scribes, contemporary with the event itself, had every reason to consign to oblivion. As archaeology has advanced, it has consistently vindicated Manetho of Egypt, and Berossus of Babylon, in respect of their reliability in transmitting to the Classical world the authentic historical traditions of their respective countries. This work employs in a positive way the testimony of Manetho relating to the Exodus, as well as, amongst other Classical evidences, a very interesting, and provably reliable, historical biography, the work of one Artapanus, which turns out to supply the missing key to the problem of the true era of Moses and of the Exodus.
(Transcriptions of the documentary evidence are presented at the conclusion of the article and are referenced by links beginning §S-. For a Timeline of the Early New Kingdom Period, go to §63, below, >>.)
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