Having read Richard Elliott Friedman’s The Exodus: How it Happened and Why it Matters, I am both appreciative and disappointed. I appreciate his argument that the exodus event does not depend on huge numbers of people leaving Egypt. His theory that it was just the Levites is provocative, although I can’t say that I am totally convinced.
Also his discussions about the origin of ethical monotheism do meet the expectation of grappling with why the exodus matters.
He does not spend much space on how it happened. So that promise in the subtitle sets up an expectation that I should have known couldn’t be fulfilled.
None of us knows just how it happened. We have the biblical accounts. But, as Friedman shows, those accounts are layered and include several different kinds of literature composed at various times.
He takes the Song of the Sea in Exodus 15 as the…
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