Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of posts around the internet claiming that Moses did not exist, mainly due to the fact that there has been no archaeological evidence in favour of him existing. I was wondering if anyone knows of any evidence, or scholars, which point to him having existed?
While we know that not *every *part of the Bible is to be taken as literal historical fact, this does not mean that *none *of it is historically true or everything should be viewed with suspicion. We must keep in mind that the Bible is not one book, but many, many books that were written over vast amounts of time by different authors from different cultures. Some books of the bible are books of poetry, others are letters, and some are laws, while still others *are *recorded histories of ancient people. I doubt any of the authors knew that their books would later be considered to be part of one book of sacred Scripture known as the Bible: they were simply writing for the people of their time. These were all compiled together and made into one. This being said, there is indeed archaeological evidence that Moses and the Hebrews’ exodus was an actual historical event. Archaeologists studying near and in certain areas of the Red Sea have found chariot wheels and swords dating from the time in which Moses was guessed to live, and there are sites near the location assumed to be mount Sinai where there are the remains of ancient structures and pots made in the Hebrew style. Not only that, but we know that when Pharaoh Ramses II was ruling, there was a large population of Hebrews living in Egypt because of written accounts on stone. And of course, we have the ancient tradition of Passover that has lasted thousands of years to this very day, which alone suggests that the event was real…
Lack of archeological evidence does not mean Moses did not exist. Archeology is always discovering something from the ancient world. It might be that they just haven’t come across the evidence yet. Remember, these artifacts from the ancient world are usually buried beneath layers of debris and dirt, and even other sites built on top of them for century after century. So to say Moses did not exist because they haven’t found evidence is jumping the gun a bit–that statement cannot be made definitively.
Just remember though, the odds of finding material artefacts directly linked to a historical person are very low and there absence means little. Also, startling new discoveries are made every now and then that make the doubters eat their hats. For instance the discovery of the palace of King David a year or two ago.
Hi. It would be a remarkable find to discover archaeological evidence of Moses considering he was not a monarch nor ruled over Israel when they were a settled people. Practically every piece of archaeological evidence from the ancient world comes from city life, such as trade exchanges, manufacturing, pottery, etc. Nobody expects to find archaeological remains of what amounts to essentially bronze age nomads!
I think to answer the question about Moses’s existence requires a study of the biblical text because this is the only evidence near the time period that we have. Interestingly, Moses is not only mentioned in the Pentateuch - where he plays a leading role - but also in many other books in the Old Testament, including the prophets and history texts. Look up the entries on Moses in prophets like Micah or Jeremiah, and 1-2 Kings (which are the earliest sources). His inclusion, always related to the Exodus from Egypt, certainly suggests a cultural memory of this individual. Even if you want to deny some or most of what is recorded about Moses in Exodus-Deuteronomy, I don’t think there would be many scholars out there who would reject Moses’s existence or his role as a leader of ancient Israel outright.
OK let’s play the devil’s advocate and let’s stipulate that Moses did not exist.
Now you will have to come up with a plausible explanation as to how, uses and customs that the Jews, remnants of the 12 tribes of Israel still carry out today.
How they, alone, surrounded by civilizations that practised polytheism came to believe in 1 God that cannot be carved out in any material.
Do not try to confound the God of Israel with Zoroastrianism beliefs which is a dualistic system. The God of Israel does not have competitors.
No other culture or people on the whole planet came to such an understanding.
They are indeed a light to the nations that cannot be refuted by the evidence we have from all around them.
The Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, (Amenhotep IV), father of Tutankhamun, came to this conclusion during his reign as Pharaoh and was a monotheist, worshipping Aten, the sun disk. He was not a dualist, he was a monotheist. He did not permit symbols or images of the Aten. He tried to eliminate the old religious system and built a city for himself and his religion. He ruled for 17 or 18 years and was succeeded by his son, who under the influence of the priests of the old system, returned to the old ways. I do not know if at this time there was any contact between the Israelites and the Egyptians, but monotheism was present in the Egyptian culture for a short period of time. in the 14th century BC.
Here is an article from Biblical Archeology Review discussing him, and also mentioning the possible influence on Moses, which I believe, was rejected by most archeologists.
You will note that the monotheism developed differently among the Israelites, developing over a long period of time, whereas Akhenaten’s was a sudden development which he forced on the people, but nevertheless was monotheism.
I am no scholar or archeologist, so this is as far as I can elaborate. I have subscribed to BAR for a number of years, and this is not the first time this subject has come up.
“The article should be more properly titled, “Was Akhenaten influenced by Moses monotheism?”, since Moses lived decades before him. People compare the hymn to the aten to pslams 104. David couldn’t have borrowed from the hymn, because it laid buried at the abandon Amarna. It’s more reasonable to assume Akhenaten borrowed from the psalm which would make its original author Moses or perhaps Joseph or some other Israelite. In the Amarna letters the ruler of Jerusalem asks why the king favors the apiru invading the land over him. He may have favored them cause he knew who they were and who their single God was. Akhenaten was simply attempting his own version of monotheism. It died when he did and Moses’ monotheism has never been lost, but has spread throughout the centuries, and the world.”
Years ago I read somewhere that mummies from that time period were covered with scabs. The article linked above also states,
Further, there is evidence that disease affected the royal court before the reign of Hatshepsut. The mummy of Thutmose II is the only corpse of a pharaoh during the Eighteenth Dynasty covered with cysts from an unknown malady. These lesions coat the back, waist, arms and legs of Thutmose II and exhibit a mixture of papules, scabs and scars up to several centimeters in length. These cysts also cover the corpse of the wet-nurse Sitre-In, who was probably unrelated to the royal lineage. In addition, Hatshepsut and her successor, Thutmose III (ca. 1,457-1,425 B.C.), bear traces of the disease suggesting their skin healed after a period of time. Recent DNA evidence suggests that Thutmose III might not be related to Thutmose II. That Sitre-In and Thutmose III show evidence of this disease suggests the disease was not hereditary but widely affected Thutmose II and his court.
Yep, not only does Jesus converse with Moses and Elijah, He ascribes the Torah to Moses as well! John 5:45-47.
5:45 "Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”