Monday, October 16, 2006

Moses and the Sea Peoples...

I've been staying close to my hotel room the past few days in part to save some money but also to give myself a chance to work on some Web site tasks. To keep from going nuts, I turn on the television and listen to the news or interesting shows on the History Channel. Lately, they've been running programs about Egypt and the Middle East that have led me to think about possible connections between discrete historical events.

Many archaeologists and historians treat the subject of Moses and the Hebrew exodus from Egypt with care. There has been, until recently at least, very little archaeological evidence to directly support the Biblical account of the Exodus, although the emergence of the Israelites and their gradual conquest of Palestine are well confirmed by archaeological and historical evidence.

One (controversial) show (I believe it's called or based on "The Exodus Decoded") looked at whether there is evidence for the parting of the Red Sea. I have long been influenced by The Bible As History to understand that it was not the "Red Sea" whose waters were divided, but rather a "Reed Sea".

This History Channel documentary followed the much discussed hypothesis and proposed that the reed sea is today's modern Lake El Balah. The documentary also looked at a proposed hypothesis that a Mycenean grave stone contains a record of the event. Of course, the proposition is not wholly supported and does have some apparently flaws. History will never be without controversy, I think.

Now, here is where I begin to wonder about unexplored connections. Let's suppose that the El Balah/Reed Sea conjecture is correct and that Moses' crossing point has been identified. Let's further suppose that some Israelites or other people who fled with the Israelites did indeed cross the Mediterranean Sea to settle in Mycenean Greece and/or nearby lands. Their stories about the weakness of Egypt and/or Palestine could have inspired the invasions of the Sea Peoples, who have been connected with the Philistines of the Bible.

Wouldn't that be an interesting parallel? Did the Hebrew Exodus inspire the migration of the Sea Peoples who ultimately settled in what is now Lebanon to become the Philistines?

Another documentary called "Strange Egypt" mentioned that the ancient Egyptians did not have a marriage ceremony. Rather, when a young couple wished to become husband and wife, they simply moved in together and became irrevocably bound together. This is similar to Tolkien's Elvish marriage custom, where a ceremony was not required for the union of male and female. In Eldarin culture, "marriage" ensues from the moment of sexual union.

The Egyptians also developed many canals running off the Nile river. I've only been marginally aware of their canal building, but it does remind me of the supposed canals of Atlantis. If Plato's account of Atlantis really was conveyed to the Greeks by Egyptians, the presence of canals in Atlantis would make a great deal of sense to the Egyptians.

So, my weekend has been inundated with Egyptian mish-mash, some of it interesting. I think the computer reconstructions of ancient monuments and architecture is becoming very good. But I hope to become more integrated into Seattle as the weeks pass by. I may have found a place to move into in November, assuming everything works out.

Until next time....


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