Answering Secularists – In Defence of Christianity

In response to this letter in the Courier   our friend, Alistair McBay, of the National Secular Society penned this response.   It’s a classic of its type – I think we need to invent a new game called Secular Bingo – see how many ad hom, untrue and irrational arguments you can spot in this one letter?

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I have a simple rule….don’t let them get away with it!  Every time they lie, attack and accuse Christ and his Church, we challenge, refute and proclaim the truth.

So this response was published today….

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204 thoughts on “Answering Secularists – In Defence of Christianity

    1. I doubt it….he has his faith that there can be no evidence and he will not budge from that…although it is somewhat touching to see your faith in your fellow atheists ability to reason, think and change!

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      1. His mind is made up. Therefore no evidence would convince him, just as no evidence would convince the unbelief of Jesus day, unless they respond to the challenge to repent.
        aka. To change their minds, to think differently, to reverse a decision.
        Repentance first and foremost.
        Without which, convincing is impossible. It was impossible for Jesus. Even Jesus acknowledged that.

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      1. Well, rather let’s go with the simplest shall we?
        Atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods – yours and everyone else’s. ( I abide by this one, by the way)
        How does this sit with you, Kevin?

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      2. That may be a perfectly valid model for a kind of atheism, Arkenaten, but I am not sure what kind of model Mr McBay’s latest correspondence reflects, other than the perpetuation of a kind of polemic which persists entirely independently of any rational engagement with the real world. Do you think, for example, that he would have us believe that the Roman Catholic church has cornered the market in child abuse?

        John Gray’s helpful commentary suggests that, whatever else atheism might be, it’s certainly not simple when one considers the disparities of opinion between the New Atheists, secular humanism and scientism, to name but three of the seven categories he identifies.

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      3. No ,sorry. you are mistaken over the word. At its root, atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods. And that-s it.
        It has no worldview or content or doctrine or anything else over and above this.
        How individual atheists conduct themselves is an entirely different matter altogether.

        A christian worldview on the other hand ….

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      4. Basically, “I believe, therefore it’s real. ” Evidence is worthless, yep. ANYONE can manufacture fossils, tools, or a broom to clean the floor of footprints. But belief, by golly, that’s REAL. And belief based on belief is even better.

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  1. Great response David. I don’t often comment on your blog, but I have read almost all of them said Bec I heard you speak at KEC and really enjoy what you have to say. Thankyou

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  2. Christianity has been morally bankrupt since the time Paul corrupted. The Bible is filled with contradictions whilst the Holy Quran is the very word of God. Islam is the fastest growing religion in Britain and, Allah willing, will soon replace Christianity.

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    1. Ya, Abdullah,

      Salaam wa Aleikum. I am delighted that you should be reading David’s blog, although I am not sure how your comment relates to this particular post. I would invite you to do some genuine research rather than follow the line I was given during (a very happy) twelve years in the Middle East.

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      1. Greetings, Abdullah,
        Forgive me for asking, but are you the real Abdullah al Andalusi? These are, as Alan has suggested, very basic Islamic charges against Christianity and it seems strange that someone well known as a debater with secularists would choose this particular topic comments list to attack Christianity and not mention secularism, at all. Funny that, unless this is a secularist ploy to take attention off the threadbare nature of their mercy.
        Again, apologies, but the real Abdullah would be able to say just how he supposes that Paul has ‘corrupted’ Christianity. I myself have identified seven different types of ‘contradiction’ in the Bible and find them all to be confirmations, in their way, that the Bible is the Word of God. Perhaps ‘Abdullah’ would like to give us his best case for that not being so?
        Perhaps not?

        Yours,
        John/.

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      2. Greetings John,
        No I am not Abdullah al Andalusi of the Muslim Debate Initiative but I greatly admire his work. The biblical contradictions are well-known and have never been answered. Yes you can harmonize them but then you are making your own gospel. Jesus (pbuh) was Jewish, all western scholars (except Christian apologists who have to follow the party line) agree on that, and is horrified to know he has been turned into some false god. The Trinity doesn’t even make sense, did God the son die on the cross? How? Does that mean God is mortal? The original followers of Jesus, before Paul, were Jewish and followed one God. May God lead you to Islam the true faith.

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      3. Thank you for the clarification, Abdullah,
        and for the gracious way you have dealt with my doubts about who you could be.

        The beginning of an answer to the contradictions-in-the-Bible conundrum is that they are intended to be there. If, for example, two contradictory statements are juxtaposed for effect — [cf. Proverbs 26:4f.]

        Answer not a fool according to his folly | lest you be like him yourself. | Answer a fool according to his folly | lest he be wise in his own eyes.

        — that is obviously intentional and only a fool would say that this is evidence that the Bible is not the Word of God. No doubt the examples you have to hand are not so obviously intentional but your implied assumption that they cannot be shown to be so is ill-founded.

        If ‘The Trinity doesn’t even make sense …’ as you claim, then Muslims have no grounds to claim that ‘Trinity’ must mean a plurality of gods in spite of Christian denials. Since the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is full of Trinitarian language, statements and structures it is impossible that the glorified Lord Jesus could view what was written about him by the New Testament writers as ‘turn[ing him] into some false god.’ If the Trinity makes no sense to you then you cannot contradict Christians who claim — as we do — that we worship the One God. To claim that we are tritheists is to insist that you know exactly what the sense of ‘Trinity’ is and, furthermore, that we do not know what we believe.

        In the same vein, if I may, the common Islamist insistance that Christians must believe in an abhorrent sexual union between God and a woman in order for Jesus to be the Son of God is deadly dangerous. Christians have always insisted that they don’t believe that, so teaching children that that is the only possible meaning of the expression ‘Son of God’ is wrong and, as I say, inherently dangerous.

        Your query: ‘did God the son die on the cross? How? Does that mean God is mortal?’ is answered by the Doctrine of the Two Natures of Christ [i.e. Jesus was both God and Man]. Again the fatal flaw in Islamist critique of Christian doctrine is to tell us what this must mean — e.g. that God would therefore be mortal — at the same time as protesting that the teaching is both beyond comprehension and contradictory. What I perceive of as the highest level of (intended) contradiction in the Bible is the contradiction that marks the boundary of a mystery. We do not yet know, for example, how it is possible that God is Sovereign and Man, Responsible; but that’s what the Bible teaches — and my prayer is that the Revealer of all mysteries will reveal himself to you in his death upon the tree.

        Yours,
        John/.

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    2. Abdullah, as Paul checked that what he was preaching with Peter, James and other disciples who had known Jesus (see his letter to the Galatians) I am somewhat surprised that you seem to think that the gospel he preached was corrupted.

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      1. Mainstream (not Christian apologists) agree that Jesus (pbuh) never claimed to be God or the Son of God apart from the Gospel of John written 60 years afterwards and contradicting the other three Gospels.
        Peter and James opposed Paul and his rejection of Jesus’s original Jewish religion.

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      2. Replying to Kevin,
        Trinity is a nonsense that even Christians don’t understand, an attempt to pass polytheism off as monotheism. Claiming Jesus (pbuh) was the Son of God (and the Holy Spirit!) meant that they now had one or two gods too many! So the Trinity was designed by committee and it looks like a committee result too!
        Christianity owes everything to Islam, whilst Christians were living in caves there was the Golden Age of Islam. Everything from democracy to science came from Islam.

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      3. Abdullah, it must be an interesting experience attempting to navigate your way through the world without any understanding of history whatsoever. Your comment is helpful in that it demonstrates a line of polemic which pays precisely zero attention to the granular detail of a subject, simply in order to assert dogma. Let me see if I can help you with this:

        (1) The first Christians (of the Pauline variety, that you take such an issue with) were, to a man, monotheists. That clearly includes the Jews (of whom Paul was the most orthodox, imaginable) as well as pagans who, having previously worshipped a multiplicity of deities, saw that God was One, incarnate in His Son, Jesus;

        (2) The deity of Christ is not ‘just’ present in John’s Gospel, but is clearly evidenced in the other three;

        (3) The doctrine of the Trinity is not a ‘nonsense’ (so much for modern inter-faith dialogue!) that Christians struggle to understand. It is clearly taught in BOTH Old and New Testaments, thousands of years before Mohammed engaged in his particular brand of syncretism. Without the doctrine of the Trinity, there is (a) no certainty about God’s revelation to man, (b) no assurance of salvation, (c) no direct experience of God’s grace in our lives, (d) no basis for understanding our own nature as human beings;

        (4) Just to be clear, the deity of Jesus Christ is a truth that Christians have loved and celebrated over 21 centuries, witnessed to and died for, and discovered to be infallibly true in our own experience. They continue to delight in, and hold fast to that truth when they are being butchered in their tens of thousands by ISIS, Boko Haram and other groups, and when they are being relentlessly persecuted in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and other such countries. We worship a living, risen Saviour, who dwells with His people, so that we may know Him directly.

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    3. It is interesting, is it not, that the one person (at this moment in time) who has ‘liked’ your comment is the same person (gender unspecified) who, above, was able to state that “Atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods – yours and everyone else’s. ( I abide by this one, by the way)”. ? His support for Islam, implied in his ‘like’ would suggest that his real position is anti-Christian!

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      1. @ Brian.

        Wrong. I am anti – religion. Christianity is not that special.
        And I liked the post simply because it is always a wake up call for those individuals who consider their religion the only worthwhile religion, and their prophet/s the only prophet/s that matter.
        While Christians are not currently killing each other over doctrine like their Muslim counterparts, it was only a few centuries ago that they were at each others throats, raging across Europe.
        Much earlier if you consider the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the war in Bosnia etc.

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      2. Brian Ross, bingo sir. I had indeed noticed the “anti Christian pro anything else but Christianity” in Arkenaten liking the post from Mr Abdullah.

        History shows us that What Arkenaten and others of anti Christian ilk fail to realize is that if the hijrah (conquest by immigration) succeeds the atheists and any other non believers of islam will perish no matter what their belief is, that includes us all, Christians atheists and any other belief outside of islam.
        It’s the way it has always been, the history of Islam shows us this.
        I for one haven’t enough faith to follow Arkenaten into his faith of atheism and the belief that nothing made everything. He will of course tell you that that isn’t what he believes. But if one doesn’t believe in a Creator that’s of course what you believe.

        Two of my favourite quotes are what I leave you with.
        Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose (doesn’t he come so very close here to the truth he denies)? ….. Richard Dawkins from his book the blind watch maker.
        And finally
        Of course it’s a faith, you believe it don’t you?……. John Lennox in debating an atheist on the folly of atheism.

        Of course nothing I’ve said here will convince anyone who is determined not to believe in God.

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      3. Good point, Brian. Having spent far too much of my life debating with atheists, I have discovered one almost inviolable, common thread: an enthusiasm for facilitating and privileging Islam, whilst at the same time attacking Christianity. The ‘a-theism’ paradigm seems to invariably focus its energies upon a Judaeo-Christian worldview, whilst favouring Islam. I have wondered about the reasons for this, and have considered the following:
        (1) Islam denies the incarnation, and so is a form of religion devoid of any experiential encounter with God – which appeals to the atheist mentality;
        (2) Islam is primarily a political ideology with a form of religion attached – which replicates much of what we encounter within the New Atheism;
        (3) Islam has been extraordinarily effective, historically, in assimilating the fruits of Christian culture – and modern atheism functions only using a similar model, as it has no original thoughts of its own.
        And I am sure there are other reasons – material for a new Blog, David?

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      4. For what it’s worth, and to clear up any misconceptions; I can assure you that I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to privilege ANY religion,let alone Islam, whose doctrine derives from a pedophile war monger, whose claimed last act of ”peace” was to lead 30,000 troops into Syria.

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      5. For that, Arkenaten, I am very grateful – thank you. Unfortunately, the broader trend amongst pretty much every atheist I have encountered since I have been debating these issues follows a very different path.

        The ‘New Atheists’ (hate that term) are the inheritors of the more left-wing extreme of the Enlightenment ‘project’ (such that it was) which was all about the very specific unpicking or unraveling of the Christian underpinnings of Western culture. In that sense, there tends to be a much tighter motivation for the polemic, which is perhaps why the progressive islamisation of our society escapes most of them.

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      6. Hitchens was firm on his view of how revolting Islam is.
        Dawkins has a similar, if less vitriolic view.
        Among my own small circle of friends and acquaintances – on and off the internet – I am unaware of any who are actively sympathetic to Islam as a religion.

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      7. @Belfast Christian –

        I never understand the accusation that someone is “determined not to believe in God”.

        I always thought that sort of determination lies elsewhere….

        Here’s William Lane Craig:

        “…if in some historically contingent circumstances the evidence that I have available to me should turn against Christianity, I don’t think that that controverts the witness of the Holy Spirit, In such a situation I should regard that as simply a result of the contingent circumstances that I’m in, and that I should pursue this with due diligence and with time, I would discover in fact that the evidence – if I could get the correct picture – would support exactly what the witness of the Holy Spirit tells me.

        and theologian Justin Thacker:

        “Let’s take the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If science somehow, and I can’t even imagine how, but if it told me that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was just categorically impossible, could not happen, I would disbelieve that and continue to believe what the bible teaches about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because if you take away the resurrection there is no Christian faith, it just doesn’t exist.”

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    4. Rather than replying to your assertion here (I admit to some ignorance about Islam, although I do not know how knowledgeable about Christianity many muslims are), I’ll wait until I have finished reading the book I just receive, by coincidence, two days ago: James R White’s ‘What Every Christian Needs to Know About The Qur’an’.
      I don’t yet know if it is a good book – I bought it hoping for a theological insight into the differences between Islam and Christianity, rather than yet another polemic. I strongly believe that you can’t have a productive discussion across great religious divides (and I certainly can’t hope to convince you of the claims of my own Christian faith) if neither party really knows anything about the other, apart from what is essentially hearsay and opinionation.
      Let’s see if I can find out more..

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    5. Perhaps you could direct us to the uncorrupted Gospels, as used by Muslims to expose the falsity of the corrupt ones. We could perhaps judge their authenticity for ourselves, and see where they were altered by later writers.

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  3. Judaism teaches the student that God created everything in the world to be appreciated, since everything is here to teach us a lesson.

    One clever student asks “What lesson can we learn from atheists? Why did God create them?”

    The Master responds “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all — the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an atheist performs an act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching. He does not believe that God commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his acts are based on an inner sense of morality. And look at the kindness he can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right.”

    “This means,” the Master continued “that when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say ‘I pray that God will help you.’ Instead for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help, and say ‘I will help you.’”

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  4. The last line – brilliant. I’ve said before that the NSS should not be allowed to comment on matters of church and state before they do as much as the church does for the community.

    I remember once when I raised this with an atheist he said “the church had a head start”… hilarious.

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      1. Arkenaten – what we actually ‘spend’ for charitable purposes (hospitals, orphanages, hospices, AIDS clinics and orphanages, water-projects, community resources etc etc) vastly outweighs any benefits in terms of tax breaks. And – practically – what we are actually ‘spending’ are our own people – this year, we’re sending folk out to Thailand to rescue trafficked women, currently in prostitution to satisfy the growing demand from westerners. You can’t put a price on that, let alone a tax-break.

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      2. Charity and religious conversion only go together when the charity is a provided by a faith based organisation.

        I wonder how many charities which are not faith based provide their services while admonishing those they assist not to believe in any of the gods on offer?

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  5. Perhaps Mr Abdullah could point out the corruptions of Paul. After he does that, perhaps he would explain how the quran is the word of God when most if not all of the quran was lost when the memorisers were killed at the battle of Al Yamama Dec 632. At that time there was no written record of the quran and what was handed down was memorised by a handful of memorisers who had memorised what had been “revealed”.

    As a military strategy it was flawless (if it had worked). Put the memorisers at the front of the battle. God surely won’t let His word be lost. But history shows us that most of the memorisers were killed.

    But what from was left of the memorisers, it was decided to put the quran into written form. But even that didn’t go well as no two memorisers agreed on what they had received. An example would be!

    Narrated by Umar bin Al Khattab: I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way different to that of mine. Allah’s Apostle had taught it to me (in a different way).

    The quran that muslims have today is nothing like the original quran, but besides all the above, the quran could not be the word of God as it gets just about everything wrong. According to the quran, sperm is made and located between the ribcage and the spine. If the quran had been the word of God it would never had made such a huge mistake. And I quote,

    Quran 86:6-7:
    Man is created from gushing water which comes out from between the backbone and the ribs.

    Mr Abdullah may be quite correct when he says that the religion of Islam is the fastest growing religion in Britain (and possibly many other places). Has Mr Abdullah ever taken the time to ask why? It’s growing in Britain by numbers of reproduction, and growing in other parts of the world at the point of a sword. I am not surprised that it could quite well overtake Christianity in numbers. Jesus foretold us so in Matthew 7.13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and MANY there be which go in there at: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it.

    I pray Mr Abdullah you will join the few that find the way.

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      1. Simple. Research for one thing. Archaeological discovery and/or fulfilled prophecy. Perhaps you might possibly be aware that with the discovery of the dead sea scrolls in 1948 that that find gave us much much older copies of biblical books than we ever had before. The scroll of Isaiah found there was almost intact, and except for a few spelling variations, was the same word for word as the book of Isaiah we have today, thereby showing that God preserves His word.
        You will find some interesting

        Fulfilled prophecy is another miracle. Isa 66.8 asks “can a nation be born in one day”? We see this prophecy fulfilled as recently as 1948. Against all odds and in the face of an arab war where the fledgling nation of Israel defeated the arab nations around her, and Israel was born.

        The birth of Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophecies. There are extra biblical references by secular historians of the time testifying that Jesus lived. You will find some interesting stuff here

        https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jesus-exist/

        Try to read it outside of an anti Christian bias. Why do I get the impression you don’t want proof? I’m beginning to think that no matter what is posted here you are unwilling to accept it. I hope I’m wrong.

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      2. @ Belfast christain
        Research will show you, for example, that, the Egyptian captivity the Exodus and Conquest are simply geopolitical foundation myths.
        Noah’s Ark and the global Flood are simply nonsense – although there was quite likely some serious localized flooding.

        In fact, these day,the entire Pentateuch is regarded as historical fiction, as is much of the New Testament.

        As for prophecies- well, I am afraid your acceptance suggests you only read within the narrow confines of Christian Apologetics.
        The virgin birth prophecy -Isaiah 7:14 is the perfect example as this was directed at King Ahaz and had absolutely nothing to do with anyone called Jesus.
        The writer of Matthew simply inserted into his narrative to ”fulfill prophecy”.

        The Gospels are riddled with every form of error you can mention including interpolation (fraud and forgery).
        Many of Paul’s epistles are recognized as fraudulent.
        We have no way of knowing if the claimed words of Jesus were ever actually spoken by him.

        The Catholic Bible differs from the Protestant bible so who told the Protestants that certain books were not, in fact , God’s Word?
        Martin Luther?

        No, I’m sorry, nothing you have written provides evidence of your god’s word and in fact a basic understanding of biblical history will cast enough doubt to deem it entirely man made.

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      3. Fairly simple, Ark.
        We have the internal witness of the Spirit; the Word of God’s own ‘ring of truth’ and the answer to prayer.

        [1 John 5:10-15]

        • Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
        • I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
        • And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      4. By the bible being such a powerful, divisive book which gives the complete account of mankind in every respect and points in every direction to Jesus – that even those who despise it’s depth, who have spurned and burned it, those who simply don’t believe it and are at liberty to deny it as anything other than a bunch of fables regurgitated from other sources, who see the only absolute answers as being science based, that the secular life proves the lie of “faith”, that religion is the root of control and evil and that because we don’t see God we can play fast and loose with blaming something that we don’t believe exists anyway – that the structure man has made called religion is just a game because God doesn’t exist anyway, therefore what is the point of atheism? Phew!

        Until God can be proven not to exist and the bible can be proven to be a pack of lies (Paul talks of this regarding ) we continue to hold to the bible being the word of God. My life will never be long enough to plumb the depths of what the bible says and the bible will never be proven to be a lie nor will God ever be proven not to exist – the proof we have for Him is his word and that is faith indeed. This will not ever satisfy the natural human desire but then why do we know the reason (not the need) for motion? Or a laugh? I

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    1. The Birmingham Quran shows that the Quran had been completed in the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh) and hasn’t changed since then whilst the Gospels contradict each other, contradict Paul, most are forgeries and were written 40 years afterwards with thousands of mistakes.

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      1. And the Qu’ran was composed from the claimed babbling of an illiterate, war mongering pedophile for whom there is no concrete evidence for his existence.
        So exactly what is your point?

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    2. I expect you understand the number of those who follow Christianity owes something to reproduction as well – as does the number of star wars fans.

      I can only assume – reading your objections to the contents of the Quran – that you haven’t read any of Bart Ehrman’s many books on the contents of the bible.

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  6. Well, it likely all comes down to evidence – something that David Robertson mentioned above I think. So…

    Who can show that a god – any – actually exists in reality? Philosophy won’t work as it can prove anything, old books making claims hardly count as we have no eyewitnesses even in the bible and nothing outwith the bible. So can any show a god exists?

    As for atheist societies, why not look at Norway and Sweden or even Denmark and the Netherlands? None of them are religious. Even Iceland, which now has worshippers of the old gods are hardly religious. Yet each and every one of these countries treat his people better than the UK – or, the most religious civilized country in the world, the USA. The falling numbers in Christian worship are staggering in the UK and now more than 50% of the population do not have a religious – a state set to increase as the young are the least likely to be religious.

    Oh, and as a footnote, to qualify as a Charity in the UK, just being a religious organisation qualifies with no need for charitable work!

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    1. If you want to play that game – who can show that anyone exists – outside your own mind?! Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands are not atheist societies. All of them were founded upon Protestant Christianity and all of them have strong Christian churches. It is true that the elites who govern them have rejected their Christian roots – and that is now beginning to show in what is happening – especially in Sweden and the Netherlands.

      Your footnote is also wrong. Every charity in the UK has to show some ‘public good’ – just being religious does not qualify.

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      1. @ David
        The Scandinavian countries had societies before Christianity and I am sure they will have societies after Christianity and all other religions have faded away.

        Are there legal guidelines that determine Public Good when applied to a religious organisation?

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      2. I have a smattering of knowledge how the Vikings etc lived. I did history at school like most of us.

        How were their societies any less desirable than being under the yoke of Catholicism during the period of the Inquisition, for example?

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      3. They were never under the Inquisition. I studied Scandinavian history at university….

        By the way – I don’t delete ‘all’ your comments. In fact I don’t delete any – I just don’t approve all of them…this is after all my blog and I really don’t want it to be swamped by your endless posts, continual attacks etc. If you wish to display how ignorant you are of Christianity and many other subjects you can do so on your own blog. But not on mine. If you have anything worthwhile to contribute (which I’m sure you do…) it will be posted….

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      4. I did not say the Vikings were under the Inquisition.
        You obviously misunderstood.
        I meant how were Viking societies any less desirable than Europe when it was under the terror of the Inquisition?

        You continually level the term ignorant of Christianity at me and yet you have never once provided a single piece of evidence to refute anything I have written.
        Yes it is your blog, and I respect the fact you allow me to comment.
        But if you are in the pursuit of truth then one should explore all avenues until one arrives at this truth, should one not?

        You allow John to level apologetics at me but refuse to post my reply.
        Are you afraid John cannot stand up for himself or concerned that scripture and apologetics are his last resort when the facts become too uncomfortable?
        Whenever I post a comment that contains reference to archaeology or biblical scholarship it will be based on the current consensus and is always supported with verifiable evidence.

        If you disagree with this position then post verified evidence that refutes it.
        It is this simple.

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      5. If you read Scandinavian history and know anything about European history you should know that Europe was never under the inquisition – Spain and Italy were for a while. But even comparing there is not contest.

        Of course you have been provided with plenty evidence – the trouble is you have a faith that there can be none – and you are so busy posting your confirmation bias posts googled of the Internet – that you don’t take time to listen, think and investigate. You already know all the answers!

        And of course we explore all avenues….but just allowing someone to rant their beliefs without providing any evidence is not allowing exploration. Your posts are so numerous, predictable and often boring that of course I am not going to allow them all on here. Intelligent discussion would become impossible if that were to happen. You are free to post whatever you want on your own blog. On mine – I ask that you stick to the subject, that you avoid insults and you limit the number of your posts. You know nothing about biblical archaeology or the current consensus (what you really mean is ‘that which agrees with me’!). You don’t post verified evidence….

        And John can speak for himself. You are easy to refute in most subjects -but the trouble is you just jump from one assertion to another. My advice is stick to the one topic…

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      6. You know nothing about biblical archaeology or the current consensus (what you really mean is ‘that which agrees with me’!). You don’t post verified evidence….

        Then to clear up this single issue regarding Noah’s Ark and the Flood and also Moses the Exodus and Conquest please provide a link to single peer-reviewed paper that fully supports either of these two foundational bible stories.

        Thanks.

        Oh, and the title of the post is Answering Secularists in defense of Christianity.

        I am responding to the topic.

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      7. You have turned the question. You claim to know biblical archaeology. You don’t. Asking for ‘peer reviewed’ papers is just a red herring. There is a great deal of evidence for Moses and the Exodus (just as their are scholars who deny it)…

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      8. As you are wont to dismiss everything I say and continue to state I have no knowledge or provide evidence here are couple of links and a few excerpts that might help up some of your gross misconceptions about the Pentateuch and things pertaining to Moses etc.

        if you have the integrity to post this comment I would appreciate an honest response based on evidence that refutes the evidence. Thanks

        http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/judaism/2004/12/did-the-exodus-really-happen.aspx

        However, the archeological conclusions are not based primarily on the absence of Sinai evidence. Rather, they are based upon the study of settlement patterns in Israel itself. Surveys of ancient settlements–pottery remains and so forth–make it clear that there simply was no great influx of people around the time of the Exodus (given variously as between 1500-1200 BCE). Therefore, not the wandering, but the arrival alerts us to the fact that the biblical Exodus is not a literal depiction. In Israel at that time, there was no sudden change in the kind or the volume of pottery being made. (If people suddenly arrived after hundreds of years in Egypt, their cups and dishes would look very different from native Canaanites’.) There was no population explosion. Most archeologists conclude that the Israelites lived largely in Canaan over generations, instead of leaving and then immigrating back to Canaan.

        And this …

        Israeli archaeologist, Professor Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University:
        Deconstructing the Walls of Jericho:
        “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land… Those who take an interest have known these facts for years.”
        Professor Magen Broshi, archaeologist at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
        “There is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position. Herzog represents a large group of Israeli scholars, and he stands squarely within the consensus. Twenty years ago even I wrote of the same matters and I was not an innovator. Archaeologists simply do not take the trouble of bringing their discoveries to public attention.”

        http://www.umich.edu/~proflame/neh/arch.htm

        There are many more references from world renowned scholars and archaeologists. that can be provided. All you have to do is ask.

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      9. If only, Ark,
        you had limited yourself to showing that you do know (and understand) more about Biblical archeology than David gives you credit for. Instead you have to exaggerate to the point of embarassment:

        your gross misconceptions about the Pentateuch and things pertaining to Moses etc.

        What possible misconception could be cleared up with these links and excerpts?

        David says ‘the[re] are scholars who deny evidence for Moses and the Exodus’ but after giving us a few examples of such scholarly denial you add ‘There are many more references from world renowned scholars and archaeologists. that can be provided.’ So, if I’ve got this right, David’s first gross misconception can only be about the number of denying scholars or the vehemence of their denial. As I said: embarassing, it is not news that there are a great number of scholars who deny that there is evidence for the Exodus.

        You don’t do Prof. Broshi any favours by chopping off the words ‘I think’ from the beginning of his statement what he actually said — according to http://individual.utoronto.ca/mfkolarcik/jesuit/IsraelFinkelstein.html — was,

        the picture on the ground is 180 degrees different from what is described in the various history books of the Bible. I think there is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position.

        Broshi is not — as your trunkated quotation of him might imply — declaring that there is no serious opposition to the new consensus but readers even of William Dever’s Who were the Early Israelites and Where did they come from? might think that Broshi was not up to speed in his own subject. (You will remember that it was Dever who supplied the list of conservative dissenters from the new consensus that I extracted for you a little while ago.)

        If I might just attempt to clear up one of your own ‘misconceptions about the Pentateuch and things pertaining to Moses’; Dever says, in summary of another of his books:

        the biblical writers knew a lot, and they knew it early on.

        Well, quite!

        Yours,
        John/.

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      10. Thanks, David;
        my apologies for my part in Ark cluttering up your in-box. We have both given him lots of advice which he has ignored. Small wonder that he doesn’t listen to us when he also — apparently — ignores the advice on the Dawkins Foundation Website.

        Next time somebody tells you something that sounds important, think to yourself: ‘Is this the kind of thing that people probably know because of evidence? Or is it the kind of thing that people only believe because of tradition, authority or revelation?’ And, next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: ‘What kind of evidence is there for that?’ And if they can’t give you a good answer, I hope you’ll think very carefully before you believe a word they say.

        I very much appreciate that this is your personal blog but that you allow the ιδιώτης such as myself to engage with secularists in a safe space. I’m thankful for good answers and thoughtful responses.

        Yours,
        John/.

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    2. I would like to know if those countries really treat their citizens better than in the UK or the USA. We only ever see what a country wants us to see – unless you live there or know people who do. Have a look at this article https://www.thelocal.se/…/opinion-yes-real-poverty-exists-in-sweden-but-it-has-been made invisible-…” Similar articles on Norway are available.
      Telegraph article:
      “In 2007, the US State Department recorded 6,192 cases of child abuse in Sweden by November of that year. It also reported homophobic crime was on the rise, and tens of thousands of rapes and domestic violence incidents in a population of just nine million. “Violence against women remains a problem,” its report concluded. Likewise, a 2006 report from the group Global Monitoring on the commercial sexual exploitation of children found systemic faults in Sweden, including allowing child pornography to be viewed, although not downloaded, and failing to care properly for children caught up in sex trafficking.”………..“Sweden has yet to come to terms with its Nazi past,” says Anna Blondell, who runs a Swedish restaurant in London. “We were neutral during the war, and our Nazi party still lives on. In fact, I think it will do well at the next election, under a different name. Many people in the older generation were very sympathetic to Nazi ideas like eugenics but, unlike Germany, we have not so open about this.”

      Certainly the country practised forced sterilisation of women deemed unfit to be mothers until as recently as 1975. Branded low class, or mentally slow, they were kept in Institutes for Misled and Morally Neglected Children, where they were eventually “treated”. In 1997, the government admitted that 60,000 women had been sterilised……………………..”

      “Kamprad also admitted to a widespread Swedish vice – alcoholism.”

      The Christian Post reports:
      “Fifty-three percent Christian refugees reported they had been attacked at least once. Nearly half, 45 percent, reported that they had gotten at least one death threat…..”

      Swedish Christian leaders wrote.
      But “the reaction both in the media and from government officials have been cool” toward the hostility and violence toward Christians, they said…..Despite news reports of such attacks against Christians, Sweden’s government has launched no serious investigation.”

      Maybe that’s enough for now……

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    3. “Yet each and every one of these countries treat his people better than the UK .”
      That, of course, is a matter of opinion as the meaning of ‘better’ is open to all sorts of interpretation. For example, Iceland brags about being close to becoming the first country where no one gives birth to a child with Down’s Syndrome. That resuult is achieved by testing followed by abortion if the result of the test shows that a child will be born with Down’s Syndrome. I don’t call that better. I call it inhuman.

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      1. Also…….Norway treats its citizens better than UK! Maybe this is what we will face in Scotland when we are continually told what a model country Norway is. Protest marches against Government Agency Barnevernet held in several European cities, including London.

        Scandal of Barnevernet basically kidnapping children – Continued separation of families (Forbes)

        “In the wake of the international outcry that followed the Bodnariu case, many other parents in Norway approached human rights organizations such as ADF International claiming that Barnevernet was also holding their children in permanent care without any basis to do so.

        One striking example is the case of a Czech mother, who had her two sons taken away in 2011 after allegations of child abuse were made against the father. Police never brought charges against the father, and the couple have since separated. Still, the children remain in permanent foster care with minimal contact with their mother. Her case has provoked a furious response from the Czech president, who compared the Barnevernet system to Nazi Germany’s Lebensborn—the infamous Arian “breeding program” which kidnapped foreign children. Czech ice hockey legend Dominik Hašek has offered his Olympic Gold medal to the person deemed most instrumental in reuniting the mother with her children.”

        See Facebook Page: – Norway, give us back the children you stole

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  7. To add to my earlier message above which I didn’t complete before sending: Paul talks of this regarding Christ being raised from the dead 1 Cor 15:14.

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  8. Alistair McBay states that “the Catholic Church (is) continually embarrassed by the global scandal of child sex abuse by its clergy and the cover-ups by its cardinals, including in Scotland”.
    Let us take a close look at what he says.
    ‘global scandal of child sex abuse by its clergy’. True, although it might be more accurate to say ‘some of its clergy’ as ‘its clergy’ could imply ‘all of its clergy’. So, apart from that quibble I have no objection to that part of his statement. There has been a large number of cases of Catholic clergy committing sex abuse with children. That’s a fact and it would be foolish to deny it.
    ‘the cover-ups by its cardinals’. Again, the way it is put could imply that all of the Church’s Cardinals have been involved in covering up the misdeeds of others. So that part of his statement could have been expressed more carefully. Or was it phrased that way deliberately?
    ‘including in Scotland’ This is just making the sentence very muddled. Obviously Mr McBay is referring to Cardinal O’Brien, but what does his statement imply about Cardinal O’Brien? Is Mr McBay implying that Cardinal O’Brien was involved in child sex abuse? His statement could be seen as implying that. But the only accusations I am aware of relating to Cardinal O’Brien concerned seminarians and it is a long time since boys were admitted to Catholic seminaries. Is Mr McBay suggesting that Cardinal O’Brien was involved in covering up the abuses of others? His statement could be seen as implying such. But I am not aware of any such accusation.
    So while Mr McBay is perfectly correct to refer to child sex abuse by some Catholic clergy and to cover ups by some Cardinals, his statement is expressed in a way which could be taken as exaggerating the extent of the problem and, in the case of Cardinal O’Brien, to a very misleading version of his misdeeds. Whether this was all done intentionally or by carelessness only Mr McBay knows the answer.

    The other interesting thing about Mr McBay’s statement is what it excludes. He refers to ‘child sex abuse’ but many of the most recent revelations refer not to children but to adults. What is being revealed is the existence of a large number of homosexual clergy within the Catholic Church who have taken advantage of their positions to sexually abuse adults. Furthermore, the cover ups of this homosexual abuse has been undertaken by clergy who are themselves homosexuals. It is an undoubted fact that there is within the Catholic Church a large network of actively homosexual clergy who have protected each other from further investigation. One has to ask the question why, in his fulminating against the Catholic Church, Mr McBay made no reference whatsoever to the dreadful existence of a large number of homosexual abusers among the clergy.

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    1. The interesting thing about your post is your attempt to try and downplay the sexual abuse within the Catholic church.

      That you would even try is shocking.

      Now you try and blame it upon “a large network of active homosexual clergy” who apparently “protected each other from further investigation”.

      Complete garbage and a silly attempt to distract from the reality of things.

      The Catholic church knew full well of the sexual abuse perpetrated by those within its ranks and knew so for years and years – and what was the response from the Catholic church to learning of the sexual abuse of young children and the ruination of their lives?

      They hid the guilty, blamed the victims, fought the payment of compensation and furthered the victim count by shuffling the abusers to different churches.

      You should be ashamed of your post.

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      1. John,
        The only way you could interpret Mike’s post as ‘downplaying’ sexual abuse is that you have a knee-jerk reaction to the linkage of a paedophilia cover-up with a network of homosexual clergy. Ask the obvious question: why would homosexual clergy cover for paedophiles whereas a secular gay community would in all probability expose them?
        The answer, or at least, the beginning of an answer is that homosexual activity is still outlawed in the Catholic Church whereas it is no longer outlawed in secular society.

        Remember that it was just a few years ago that the Paedophile Information Exchange was openly affiliated to the National Council for Civil Liberties. When there was a hue and cry
        more recently about this affiliation having been condoned by NCCL officials (especially those who went on to serve as MPs) the pursuit seemed to go on until Tom O’Carroll, the founder of PIE, told the BBC that the chief source of support on the NCCL was the homosexual lobby.

        I’m not saying that the gay activists weren’t as hoodwinked as everyone else by PIE’s protestations of ‘innocence’ but it is all too easy for one group of outlaws to think that they share an interest with another group as long as both are outlawed.

        Mike’s post is not something he should be ashamed of. Young people struggling with same-sex attraction should not swap the love of parents who don’t approve for the cheap applause of here-today-gone-tomorrow politicians and fairweather friends.

        Yours,
        John/.

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  9. The fool hath said in his heart there is no God. We all ought to be concerned about wrongdoing but those who carry out the kind of sordid sexual abuses referred to, whilst claiming to represent “the church “, are truly and in fact men of the world alone and that is a significant indictment on the men of the world.

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    1. Thank you for your question, Jon.
      I know it wasn’t directed at me but since David posted it in his comments page without reply, I reckon you won’t mind me ‘butting in’.

      The openness of your question intrigues me. Normally when I come across requests for evidence in comments about David’s blog posts, they are ‘qualified’ with limitations such that the evidence must be ‘verifiable’ or ‘peer reviewed’ but by dispensing with such encumbrances you make it easy to respond that the Bible itself is ‘a great deal of evidence,’ however much questioned. Your naïve — if I might use that word — request is quite refreshing.

      Requests for evidence seem usually to come from those who have read a great deal more into what we might call scholarly posturing than they ought. For instance, most of the dismissals I’ve seen (of Scripture as evidence) leverage outdated estimations of when the earliest books must have been written and scholarship is at a disadvantage from that point on.

      Yours,
      John/.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Normally when I come across requests for evidence in comments about David’s blog posts, they are ‘qualified’ with limitations such that the evidence must be ‘verifiable’ or ‘peer reviewed’

        ‘verifiable’ or ‘peer reviewed’ are limitations to ensure that what is provided as evidence is not nonsense but rather taken seriously by professionals in the field of study in question

        So what you are saying is that “unverifiable” evidence should be given the same level of credibility as “verifiable” evidence

        In light of the current knowledge in the field of history, archaeology, egyptology. I would ask for your evidence for the exodus

        but by dispensing with such encumbrances you make it easy to respond that the Bible itself is ‘a great deal of evidence,’ however much questioned

        We need ‘independent’, ‘verifiable’ or ‘peer reviewed’ sources to authenticate any claim

        From what I can see in your comment, you don’t like that people ask for ‘verifiable’ evidence. If we are to reduce the barrier for what you are implying then that we shouldn’t request for “independent”, “peer reviewed” evidence
        Based on that, “The Odyssey” by Homer could be said to be ‘a great deal of evidence’ or “The Iliad” could be said to be ‘a great deal of evidence’ for the trojan war

        In fact, without requesting for “independent”, “verifiable” evidence almost all the mythology could be said to be ‘a great deal of evidence’

        John Kilpatrick if no evidence in scholarship for the exodus can be provided and the “overwhelming” evidence we have point to the contrary
        Then the bible account for exodus is as valid as the writings of Herodotus, Pindar, Pausanias, Plutarch, Cicero, Apollodorus, Peisander etc as ‘a great deal of evidence’ Labours of Hercules
        We even have “independent” evidence for the trojan war

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      2. Jonathan.

        I am not entirely sure that these ideas of ‘verifiable’, ‘independent’ or ‘peer-reviewed’ evidence gets us very far at all. I have read a couple of ‘peer-reviewed’ papers over the last few years which demonstrate that a huge proportion of what gets published via this medium is anything but verifiable or independent. Scarily, this discovery was in the field of medical science, where one would like to think that standards would be at their highest.

        And when it comes to Egyptology, having watched a number of interviews with leading (sceptical) academics, it would certainly be unwise to proceed on the assumption that their confident denouncements of the biblical Exodus narrative are epitomes of objective veracity. In the Middle East, where politics has a huge part to play in deciding the legitimacy of the State of Israel, it is perhaps unsurprising that there are vested interests behind the idea that there is no historical basis to the formation of the distinct Jewish people. Is it any surprise at all that Kathleen Kenyon’s dig in Jericho (1952-1958) – which purportedly reversed the conclusions drawn by Garstang, Sellin & Ratzinger and Warren, directly followed the Israeli War of Independence (1947-99) and the Declaration of the State of Israel? Or that her work was funded by the Jordanian government?

        Yes, I know that sounds a scurrilous suggestion, but welcome to the murky and far-from-substantive world of ‘peer-reviewed’ science.

        When it comes to Egyptology, and the validity of the biblical narrative, everything boils down to chronological assumptions. The evidence is all there – it just depends upon which timeline you’re going to use, the biblical one, or the one concocted by skeptical academics that does not correlate with Mediterranean chronology.

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      3. Yes it does border on being scurrilous and you should actually fact check how many subsequent (modern) datings have been done since.

        The evidence is all there – it just depends upon which timeline you’re going to use, the biblical one, or the one concocted by skeptical academics that does not correlate with Mediterranean chronology.

        What evidence are you referring to, Kevin? There is no evidence for a Israelite presence in Egypt no matter what timeline you look at and certainly no evidence of an Exodus of 1,2 million people. This would have had a devastating effect on Egypt at the time and there is no record of any collapse.

        There is no evidence at Kadesh, and no evidence of any mass immigration into Canaan at any time.
        Such a massive amount of human movement would have impacted on many tribes and people who would have come into contact with the fleeing Israelites.
        There is no mention of such an event among any country’s history.
        Any lengthy stay in one place (Kadesh for example) by such a multitude would have required a massive amount of infrastructure to sustain it. Not least food, and thus it would have engendered trade with neighbouring states.
        There would also have been millions of deaths over the period listed in the bible and thus there would have been an enormous number of burials.
        There s no evidence of this anywhere, at any time.

        For the sake of clarity , exactly what is your position on this topic, Kevin?
        I am going to assume at this juncture you have at least looked at the archaeological evidence ( scholarly papers or books or videos ) – and not just the absence of any evidence, but of actual evidence showing how the Israelites came to settle Canaan.

        As this is crucial, especially from an evangelical Christian point of view that considers the bible inerrant, rather than a Jewish perspective, how do also see the tale of Noah and the Flood?

        Thanks.

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      4. Thanks Arkenaten.

        Happy to provide you with more detail on the evidentiary aspects of this, but I would repeat the overriding principle: this is primarily an issue of chronology. The evidence is all there: if you use the biblical dating framework, everything falls into place. If you do not, then you have a big pile of data that you cannot harmonise or make sense of. I will attempt to do this when I get home later, however, I have been here before…

        A number of years back, finding myself being ridiculed by a pack of atheists on one of the online forums, I referred to the growing pile of evidence for intelligent design (which has continued to grow subsequently). The immediate response was derision. I was told that “no peer-reviewed research supports I.D.”

        So, I produced a pile of the stuff. There is actually quite a bit of decent, perfectly respectable peer-reviewed research out there, if you’re prepared to look. The problem with it is that it does not agree with the atheists. In that particular case, this meant that they felt that ‘they’ were entitled to dismiss ‘my’ peer-reviewed papers. This is simply a ‘my-brother-is-bigger-than-your-brother’ approach to winning arguments.

        This really was the main point I was seeking to make to Jonathan. Simply slapping the label ‘peer-reviewed’ on a piece of work is, I am sorry to say, very often a meaningless value-judgement.

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      5. Hi, Kevin.

        I asked whether you accept the biblical tale of the Exodus as written and also Noah’s Ark and the global flood as described in the bible.
        it was a pretty straightforward request.
        I also asked you to provide the evidence to support these beliefs, yet I do not see a single reference to such evidence in your comment.
        We can have a look at ID later – no problem – but for now I’d like to clear up any misunderstandings I may have picked up regarding your initial comment pertaining to what is generally accepted as evidence.
        So, to this end, please provide details of evidence that you claim supports the Flood and the Exodus.

        Thanks.

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      6. Hi Arkenaten.

        I am not avoiding the point, I am simply ‘in work’ which means that my technical reference journals are a couple of miles away. I can, with reasonable accuracy, recall the conversations with Egyptologists at Cambridge University in 2010, when precisely this topic was discussed and debated at some depth, but I felt that your insistence on detail merited rather more than a swift recall. Furthermore, at the tender age of 59, my memory is not quite what it once was – thankfully, I did take extensive notes, and that sparked an ongoing interest in the subject.

        Bests, Kevin

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      7. Thanks David. His posts certainly do give that impression, but not having interacted with him before, I did want to assume good faith in terms of my responses. And I do love this subject – the atheists are so determined that there could not possibly have been an Exodus, and yet the evidence that does exist is both powerful and intriguing.

        I appreciate your warning, and hope that you are keeping in reasonable health?

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      8. Very true, David.
        Thank goodness for the internet. These days you religious types can’t keep hiding all the good stuff under a bushel any more!

        I never would have realised that Moses was simply a narrative construct if it wasn’t for the internet. I even learned who Martin Noth was.
        Such research encouraged me to read some of the work by Tacitus, whose books sit on my shelf. And also people such as Gibbon.
        In fact, had it not been for the Internet I doubt I would have ever opened my bible, yet now it is dotted with little red felt tip marks from Genesis to Revelation.
        Ah, yes, the gods bless the Internet.

        So, tell me , David. Where do you get your info regarding history, archaeology, biblical scholarship, etc etc?

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      9. The Internet provides information but does not provide wisdom. The trouble is that you just google what you can find to support what you already believe. Real scholars study and get their information BEFORE making up their minds. What you do such not constitute ‘research’! My info regarding history, archaeology, biblical scholarship come from seven years full time study, two degrees, one (partially completed) doctorate, several hundred books (I have read between 100-200 books per year for the past 35 years…, numerous magazines and of course the Internet – but it is very much a secondary source which constantly needs to be checked….As Thomas Jefferson said ‘don’t believe everything you read on the Internet”!

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      10. The Internet provides information but does not provide wisdom.

        Much like the bible, then. Except with the bible there are no references to follow.

        The trouble is that you just google what you can find to support what you already believe.

        Rubbish! When I first began researching the bible it was purely out of interest for a book I was writing. I never once doubted the historicity of characters such as Moses, even though the miracle stuff was patently nonsense.
        I was very surprised when I discovered he was nothing but a narrative construct and that this had been known for ages. I am surprised you still cling to his historicity.

        Real scholars study and get their information BEFORE making up their minds.

        Yes and they put it out there for laymen like me to read. Just like most teachers.
        So when I reference Dever or Finkelstein or Herzog or Wolpe or Noth for example and quote them or watch one of their videos are you suggesting they are /were lying and simply making stuff up?

        My info regarding history, archaeology, biblical scholarship come from seven years full time study, two degrees, one (partially completed) doctorate, several hundred books (I have read between 100-200 books per year for the past 35 years…,

        Excellent. And I commend your diligence to study.
        So you will agree then that, based on the evidence, evolution is fact, Noah and his ark and the flood is myth, Moses was simply a narrative construct, and the Captivity Exodus and Conquest as described in the bible is nothing but geopolitical myth, or historical fiction.

        Or do you have evidence that says otherwise? And if so, please provide references.
        Thanks.

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      11. Glad to know you follow the references! Except do you? And of course there are many references in the bible.

        So before you ‘researched’ the Bible, you thought it was true and believed in the God of the Bible? I doubt it.

        Yes – there are many scholarly disputes and yes scholars do have their biases as do you. Basically you accept those who agree with you and automatically dismiss those who disagree with you. Because you have no framework of reference outwith yourself that is remarkably easy to do!

        No – I don’t agree for example that Moses was simply a narrative construct and your continual repetition of that meme does not make it true. You really need to get evidence – other than just repeating ‘I read it on the internet’! I also read on the internet that the Jews caused 9/11, aliens are coming to get us and Hitler didn’t do the Holocaust! I have no intention of wasting any more time with you because I find that arguing with conspiracy theorists is a waste of time….so please stop cluttering up my inbox!

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      12. So before you ‘researched’ the Bible, you thought it was true and believed in the God of the Bible? I doubt it.

        I didn’t say this at all, or even suggest it.

        Basically you accept those who agree with you and automatically dismiss those who disagree with you

        Wrong once more.
        Evidence is the key.
        Provide evidence that flatly refutes all the archaeological evidence to date and you have a case.

        No – I don’t agree for example that Moses was simply a narrative construct and your continual repetition of that meme does not make it true. You really need to get evidence

        It isn’t a meme and it is the accepted consensus of scholars and archaeologists.

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      13. Once again you keep repeating the mantra ‘the accepted consensus’ (which really means you accept it!)….I suspect I read a lot more biblical archaeology and ancient history than you and there is no ‘accepted consensus’. By definition those who have atheist presuppositions are predisposed not to agree with the biblical story.

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      14. Fair enough. I will await your evidence with interest.
        As you can imagine I have been down this path on more than a few occasions.

        Sorry for jumping the gun.

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      15. Arkenaten.

        Apologies in advance if this turns into a bit of an essay. I have reviewed some of the material to be covered, and realised that it occupies a great deal of space on my bookshelf.

        By way of providing bookends for this topic, I reference your comment about crediting the interweb with your realisation that Moses was just a narrative construct. That idea predates the interweb by many years, and appeared within academic circles a long while prior to contemporary skeptical egyptologists such as Finkelstein and Silberman. These days, to listen to secular discourse regarding the ‘mythical’ status of the Exodus narrative, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was purely the result of modern ‘scientific’ approaches to the subject (vs ancient, dogmatic ignorance). But that is not actually the case.

        Within modern history, I think the single most significant step in the mythologisation of the Exodus narrative was due to the writings of Julius Wellhausen, whose ‘Prolegomena’ was published in 1883. This tome formed the backbone of probably most of the liberal/higher critical approach to theology, aimed at eviscerating it of all of its supernatural content. It certainly had that effect, emasculating the German church so it had little resilience against Hitler’s National Socialism. Significantly, Wellhausen’s work was published at a time of rapidly increasing anti-semitism in Germany and right across Europe. Whilst this theory is now largely discredited, the damage was done: it provided substance to the idea that the Jews are not really a proper nation, and may therefore be dealt with as if they have no real identity. No Exodus from Egypt…no nation-building in the desert…no conquering of Canaan in God’s power…no national formation and legal constitution (Leviticus/Deuteronomy). Bye bye, Jews.

        This is why, in an earlier post, I sought to place Kathleen Kenyon’s revisionist interpretation of the destruction layers in Jericho in their modern cultural context. The vested interests behind denying Israel’s claim to the land are huge – and this is another area where the views of left-leaning atheists tend to overlap significantly with those of Muslim polemicists.

        However, if you reference Jonathan Israel’s excellent treatise ‘Enlightenment Contested’ (OUP, 2006) you will find that this focus, the rendition of historical biblical narrative as myth, was very much integral to Enlightenment thinking. There was a sudden, and it appears largely uncritical reappraisal of Islam – prominent thinkers such as Bayle, Boulainvilliers, Radicati, Toland and Argens all portray Muhammed in a glowing, saintly light. Israel correctly observes that these (admittedly extreme) Enlightenment thinkers liked Islam because (a) it is anti-supernatural, (b) it was actively exterminating both Jews and Christians. Bayle writes his ‘Dictionnaire’ in order to debunk the very idea that the Bible text had anything to do with real historical events. The atheists could (barely) bring themselves to tolerate the idea of a remote, theoretical god, but certainly not the kind of God who acted in the real world, the kind who rescued his people from slavery in Egypt.

        It’s an ancient pathology this, and it is so easy to tart it up with a dab of ‘science’, here and there. But underneath, it’s same old, same old.

        OK, so that’s the bookends. Now I’m going to bullet some evidence for you.

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      16. The vested interests behind denying Israel’s claim to the land are huge

        As evidence tells us they were already there in the first place and simply broke away from the existing Canaanite tribes there seems little to dispute on this front.

        If your evidence includes the dating etc of Bryant Wood please don’t bother, his theories have been refuted, and he holds some rather odd views regarding other things as well.
        I will not consider the views of the Exodus by James Hoffmeir either, for similar reasons.
        Other than this … the floor is yours.

        Oh, and the evidence for the global flood as well, I’d like to remind you?

        I’m watching so I will be here …

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      17. Ark – you keep saying ‘as evidence shows’ when you mean ‘as what I read on the Internet shows’…..please don’t trivialise the discussion by calling it evidence!

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      18. Arkenaten.

        This is Part 2 – looking more specifically at ‘evidence’. I’m not interested in anything other but the Exodus narrative.

        Firstly, a piece of suggested reading: ‘The Miracles of Exodus’ by Sir Colin J. Humphreys (2003). They don’t come more academically equipped than Sir Colin, and this book summarises the fruits of many years of research. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him for afternoon tea (the Copper Kettle, in Cambridge) where we discussed this work. It does not ‘prove’ the granular detail of the Exodus narrative: what it does establish is that every element within it is entirely plausible. That alone ought to be sufficient to encourage anyone to question the revisionist view of things.

        Secondly, let’s deal with this bigger smear, that Exodus is just ‘myth’. The book follows immediately after the patriarchal narratives in Genesis. The content of this text dates it precisely to Middle Bronze Age – covenant formulations are precise, social customs described accurately, law codes and slave prices are correct almost to the last penny, personal names are constructed perfectly, place names are all correct, and the main people groups described. The book of Exodus simply continues this pattern – there is a continuity of approach. The author clearly intends us to view it as a historical narrative.

        Thirdly, where are we going to find ‘evidence’? The Nile Delta region isn’t promising, as it’s wet, and stuff simply rots away – but there is evidence of Israelites living there in 1446BC. Kenneth Kitchen is clear that Exodus 1-14 is describing the East Delta – a muddy region, where they would have lived in mud hovels. Interestingly, the entirety of Egypt’s own administrative records for Delta are lost – so we can demand ‘evidence’ until we’re blue in the face, but unlikely to find selfies of hard-working Israelites posing in front of the brick-kilns. However…

        + Egyptian wall-painting (1870BC) shows semites entering Egypt, including their families and livestock.
        + Excavations at Tell el-Dab’a show that semites were living in Egypt prior to the posited time of the exodus – scarabs inscribed with semitic names, early residential structures built to the Levant pattern (not Egyptian) and in the middens the bones are of Canaanitish sheep breeds. 20% of all pottery shards come from the Levant.
        + The Leningrad Papyrus (1116A) talks about immigrants being enslaved for building projects (the Egyptians did not bother distinguishing between ethnic groups).
        + 18th dynasty wall-paintings show semites involved in various types of slave labour – Thutmose III (15th C) tomb wall-painting shows slaves making mud bricks – and Egyptian documents refer to the quota system for brick-making where straw is removed as a punishment.
        + Speos Artemides inscription refers to asiatics in the region of Avaris and complains that they did not worship the Sun-god Ra. There are dismissive references to sheep-herders or ‘vagrants’.
        + The Brooklyn Papyrus lists the names of household slaves in Egypt between 1700-1620BC: 37 out of 95 are distinctive semitic names (Eve, Menahem, Jacob, Isaac, David and Hebrew).
        + There is the compound at Avaris, behind the palace. There are 12 graves with memorial chapels built above them. The palace has 12 pillars. Inside the grandest tomb, there is a statue of a semitic figure, and he is wearing a striped, multicolour coat. There is no other instance of such a thing in all Egypt. The bones have been removed from the tomb (Gen. 50:25).

        There’s more of the same, but I think that is a reasonable sample to demonstrate that the Jews were living in Egypt around the time in question, although I cannot deliver to you a neon, flashing sign which says ‘Moses woz ‘ere’.

        It is late, and I am tired, so I’m going to hold off bothering with the conquest of Canaan. I’ll finish with evidences which are suggestive of the escape from Egypt itself:

        + The most likely Pharaoh at the time would be Amenhotep II. His daughter was Queen Hatshepsut. She has a significant part to play in the early life of Moses (Ex. 2). All of her images have been systematically defaced (by her father): why might that have been?
        + The Admonitions of Ipuwer (Papyrus Leiden, 13th C BC) describes an almost exact parallel to the Exodus ten plagues account, even down to the slaves running off with Egyptian gold.
        + Prior to Amenhotep II, the Egyptians had achieved military supremacy – but during his reign, the position declines disastrously. Why might this be? (Ex. 14). Suddenly, there is a focus on slave conquests to rebuild the army.
        + Amenhotep II had a particular dislike of semites.
        + Amenhotep’s son, Thutmose IV, was not the rightful first-born son, so where did that chap end up? (Ex. 11).
        + Manetho, the Egyptian priest-historian refers to an exodus of people leaving Egypt. Josephus reports this.

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      19. Firstly, a piece of suggested reading: ‘The Miracles of Exodus’ by Sir Colin J. Humphreys (2003).

        Sorry, no matter his qualifications he is a member of the Templeton Foundation. Not interested and you should know why.
        I’ll ad this from Wiki.
        Theologan William R Telford  notes that Humphreys uses some very dubious sources. In doing so, Telford says, Humphreys has built an argument upon unsound premises which “does violence to the nature of the biblical texts, whose mixture of fact and fiction, tradition and redaction, history and myth all make the rigid application of the scientific tool of astronomy to their putative data a misconstrued enterprise.”[12

        Evidence already exists as to how the Israelites emerged within the larger framework of the Canaanite society. An Exodus on the scale of the biblical tale would have collapsed Egyptian society.
        This of course does not even take into account the nonsense of the plagues as dished out by Yahweh.

        As you cite a dubious source right off the bat and soon after chuck in the term ”selfies”, which is asinine to be frank, go on to cite Kitchen, who is an evangelical inerrantist leaning Christian, in all honesty I can’t imagine there is any real need for me to plough through the rest of your material.
        But I applaud your dedication, albeit misguided.
        Try Dever or Finkelstein and look up the settlement pattern.

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      20. And this is why it is a waste of time people arguing with you – in effect you dismiss anyone who does not share your faith/philosophy. And you rely on Wiki!

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      21. Arkenaten.

        There is a problem pathology here which does actually eviscerate this kind of dialogue of any rational basis, and that is your predisposition for a form of ad-hominism.

        Poor old Sir Colin Humphreys. Who would have thought that his association with the Templeton Foundation (TF) would have turned him into the kind of intellectual zombie that you appear to think he is? As it happens, I am not especially fond of the TF, as it has a primary objective for promoting theistic evolution which I consider a nonsense. However, unlike you, I don’t tend to form derogatory opinions of people from a distance, and having taken the initiative to meet up with him in order to discuss his research, found the exercise most illuminating. It is perfectly possible to appreciate a man for his work, without succumbing to some strange psychological need to write him off, simply because we disagree over something.

        And then there’s Ken Kitchen. Imagine, the mere fact that he is an evangelical Christian disqualifies him from being considered seriously, and must mean that anything he has to say is hopelessly biased and tinctured with the most exotic and fantastical presuppositions. I’m sure his publications are brimming with purple unicorns, flat-earthism and Corbyn-esque Marxist utopianism.

        I haven’t met Prof. Kitchen, but I have had the opportunity to meet up with other Egyptologists, and the very specific archaeological finds I enumerated, fruitlessly, in my last post to you are a kind of common curriculum amongst that fraternity. An acquaintance of mine runs guided tours of the relevant sections of the British Museum at weekends, showing visitors the very artefacts you delight in denying existence to.

        But, more to the point, my own historical studies have proved, conclusively, that a significant proportion of the founding fathers of Western Science were all – guess what? – evangelical Christians. Not closet atheists as His Dawkinsness would have us believe, but real, live, card-carrying Christians, people who knew their Bible and were not only theologically savvy, but were committed scientists in every respect. I’m not even going to bother to cite them, because if you had an enquiring bone in your body, you’d very easily be able to do your own research. Needless to say, if the ‘mere fact’ of their Christian belief was such a terminal disability, then the legitimacy of Western Science hangs by a thread. Better go back to our middens and hunt for filth with Dennis.

        And, lastly, of course the big elephant in the room is that those scientists that you revere, you know – the ones who are card-carrying atheists – they couldn’t possibly have any kind of ax to grind, could they? Oh no, there’s Richard Dawkins, a man who is not known for his peer-reviewed papers (although there are a few) but who has achieved fame through his anti-religious polemics, and highly-selective editing of material for Channel 4 documentaries. No evidence of bias there, then. Similarly Krauss, Coyne, Dennett and the rest of the bunch, unremittingly objective the whole lot of them.

        Richard Lewontin: “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

        It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

        The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.”

        (Billions and billions of demons (review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997), The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997)

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      22. And then there’s Ken Kitchen. Imagine, the mere fact that he is an evangelical Christian disqualifies him from being considered seriously ….

        As I am regulalryr being lambasted regarding context I shall state ONCE AGAIN.
        Kitchen is an acknowledged expert regarding certain aspects of Egyptology.
        However, because of his evangelical Christian innerantist leanings he has little or no such acknowledgment regarding his views concerning the Exodus and Conquest of Canaan as reflected in the bible..
        So I’m sorry, Kevin , but I don’t feel inclined to wade indulge in a point by point break down of your comment, which is more like a tome, to be honest and looks a bit on the ”rant” side.
        And of course David had threatened to not publish my comments which further reduces my motivation..

        So here’s my offer: When you can provide specific evidence from a recognised scholar/archaeologist that refutes the consensus regarding the Exodus and Moses etc ( And Noah and the Flood) I am sure we could have a pretty good chat.

        All the best.

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      23. Good – glad your motivation is reduced – although given the obsessional nature of your comments I doubt that will make much difference. People have been very patient with you here – but enough is enough. The conversation is ended. When you dismiss someone because their views do not correspond with yours – you have lost all claim to intelligent discussion…

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      24. B**ger, that’s telling him! lols!

        I have been enjoying the whole of this thread immensely – and learning things too. I do appreciate the basically devotional responses to the acid-rain of atheism, and am basically in sympathy with them. But it is the winkling out of learnedness (is that a word?) and scholarship that has given me most satisfaction. I am just a layman here, and it is wonderful to be given access to some robust scaffolding for my own faith, which is unanswerable in a personal sense, but equally does not ‘answer’ in the public-intellectual arena. Thanks to all of you who take up the cudgels on our behalf.

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      25. Not really, and as David holds comments in moderation you do not get to see why a considerable amount of what Kevin cites is simply pure speculation.
        If you put faith first before evidence then you are always going to be chasing fairies, I’m afraid.

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      26. Ark – You are nearing the end of your time on here. People have been very patient with you – offered you plenty evidence but you just stick your fingers in your ears and say you can’t hear anything! Far too many of your posts are dismissive and abusive which is why I don’t allow them on here. The irony is that the very thing you accuse others of you do yourself…You are the one who is putting your faith before evidence. Please don’t get too angry if you find that less of your posts are permitted on here. If people want to share your wisdom and you want to vent your anger then I’m sure they can go to your blog. My hope and prayer for you is that you will wake up out of the stupor that has clearly engulfed your mind…

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      27. Arkenaten.

        Everyone puts ‘faith before evidence’:

        + we have faith in our own ability to make sense of things

        + we have faith that what we actually have before us is ‘evidence’, or that it is reliable evidence, or that it is the right kind of evidence.

        + we have faith that, if we look at the evidence in a certain kind of way, then there is going to be a kind of reliable outcome that will make sense.

        + we have faith that there is even a point to looking at the evidence.

        + we have faith that living organic matter, a product of wholly directionless processes, where consciousness is merely a byproduct of a stew of chemicals and electrical discharges, is even capable of ‘knowing’ that another category of matter may be regarded as ‘evidence’.

        It seems to me that you must have enormous faith. I’m afraid, I don’t.

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      28. Hi, Kevin,
        thank you for sharing your insights and experiences.
        I’m pretty sure that the tide has turned with the missuse of peer review protocols — by invoking the guilt-by-association bogeyman of ‘Creationism’, for example — to stiffle genuine scientific contributions. I remember a few years ago, an editorial column in the New Scientist saying that it would be impossible to give a positive review to a book that made use of the concept of Beauty! Maybe she was joking but the violation of common sense did not appear at all benign to me. I don’t think that that’s the atmosphere of science publishing now; certainly historians have twigged that dismissing an ancient text on the grounds that it contains miracles would mean dismissing all ancient narratives, thus doing themselves out of a job; and as for archeologists: the rapidly changing nature of their craft has meant that their bun-fights have been conducted without the ‘protectionism’ that makes such a fuss of peer-review.

        Anyway, peer review never was the balwark against innovation that conservativism of any variety would have liked to make it. I remember a lecturer recounting an anecdote in which a researcher was blocked from publication because the champion of the regnant theory at the time was the editor of the journal. Nil desperandum, the researcher was editor of the railway magazine so he just published his paper there. Similarly, Lorenz’s seminal paper, that kick-started the whole discipline of Chaos theory — ‘Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow’ — was published in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences; and as one disgruntled colleague complained, ‘Who reads the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences anyhow?

        In the case before us the question would more likely be, ‘Who reads the Bible, anyhow?’ and we could reply, obviously not those who spent time and money looking for a settlement at Kadesh Barnea that the Bible itself never mentions and which Ark knows cannot be cited as evidence against the Exodus narratives, because it isn’t.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      29. All one has to do is look for all the evidence of a mass immigration into ancient Canaan.
        What one would expect to find?
        Pottery, different weapons, major cultural imports reflecting Egyptian influence of 400 years of captivity etc etc.
        And yet, it simply is not there.
        s a comparison, there is ample evidence that Europeans landed in the Americas.
        And there is even evidence of the original (indigenous) people in the USA – and where they most likely arrived from .

        But there is nothing comparable for the supposed fleeing Israelites.
        No a single scrap.
        They made no impact on any neighbouring territories and not a single nation or state makes any mention or even allusion of this wandering multitude of millions. Not in any time frame.
        However, there is ample evidence of settlement patterns that show how the Israelites were part of the greater Canaanite population and this is the consensus view of modern scholars and archaeologists and the view of most rabbis as well.
        Those that disagree with this view are to my knowledge primarily christian and fundamental and ultra orhodox Jews.

        But once more, you are not producing any evidence for you r argument.
        if it is there and you are so confident you should have mountains of it.

        And while you are at it, John, produce the evidence for Noah’s Ark and the Flood.
        if we are to be honest let’s be as open as we possibly can without hiding behind sacred cows.

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      30. If, Ark,

        All one has to do is look for all the evidence of a mass immigration into ancient Canaan[?]

        Why do you keep resurrecting Kadesh Barnea when you were disabused of its relevance quite some time ago?
        I hated it when Ronald Regan said, ‘There you go again.’ to Jimmy Carter, but it’s the appropriate rejoinder here.
        When are you going to learn not to ruin your argument by exaggeration?
        You on the said evidence:

        it simply is not there.

        but that after

        you should actually fact check how many subsequent (modern) datings have been done since.

        Really! I’d say that if there are more than two or three (modern) datings it is either a very sad reflection on the ability of ‘experts’ to handle the evidence at all or it indicates a volatility in the subject that allows for no firm conclusion. You’re telling Kevin that that’s what he should be doing but you have given us precious little evidence that you could find that out for yourself.

        Do you have a case about a paucity of evidence? Well perhaps, but you can’t resist overstating your supposed case:

        there is nothing comparable for the supposed fleeing Israelites.
        No[t] a single scrap.

        Then you summon up the chutzah to berate me (again):

        But once more, you are not producing any evidence for your argument.
        if it is there and you are so confident you should have mountains of it.

        Since my argument has been that the Bible is a veritable mountain of evidence, that’s a bit rich.
        Moreover, I did provide a molehill of peer-reviewery for Jonathan, to spare him having to do too much work. At your request, here is a mountain for you to peruse at your leisure https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=Kenneth+Kitchen&btnG=

        I think you will find some of your objections explained away in all that but since you have not been prepared to accept Kitchen as a legitimate scholar, you have thus far prevented me from doing the grunt work for you.
        Yours,
        John/.

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      31. Since my argument has been that the Bible is a veritable mountain of evidence, that’s a bit rich.

        And this is why you have no credibility.
        Now perhaps might be a good time to rethink why your comment about humans and dinosaurs co existing is really so very silly.

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      32. Why do you mention Kitchen again? He is an Egyptologist and an expert on the third intermediate period if memory serves. but has no support from mainstream biblical scholars or secular archaeologists for his views on the Exodus and no peer reviewed papers or other material on this topic. He is an evangelical christian with innerantist leanings I believe.

        Now we have got this out the way … again, you mentioned the Flood and Noah. Still waiting for evidence for this, please.

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      33. I told you why I have mentioned Kitchen again, Ark:
        because if you look you will find your big numbers objection, your late composition objection, your no Conquest objection, and your up-to-date scholarship objection, all answered Biblically with some solutions that will surprise you.
        However, it seems that someone needs to tell you how cross-discipline scholarship works because your analysis is wrong:

        [Kitchen] has no support from mainstream biblical scholars or secular archaeologists for his views on the Exodus and no peer reviewed papers or other material on this topic.

        (Pity I have no credibility, I could have helped.)

        Anyway, you are forgetting that we have already seen that Kitchen’s (honoured) place in scholarship is underwritten, as it were, by William G. Dever himself. To add, as you do, ‘He is an evangelical christian with ine[r]rantist leanings’ as though that was some sort of disqualification is a dead give away. (So is accusing me of having made a silly comment about dinosaurs without a link for others to judge for themselves, but that by the way.)

        Yours,
        John/.

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      34. I told you why I have mentioned Kitchen again, Ark:
        because if you look you will find your big numbers objection, your late composition objection, your no Conquest objection, and your up-to-date scholarship objection, all answered Biblically with some solutions that will surprise you.

        Is has never surprised archaeologists or scientists so why on earth would you imagine it would surprise me, John?

        Biblical is not scientific, nor is it archaeological.
        Meaning: There is no evidence to support the biblical tale. It is simply a geopolitical foundation myth and has been regarded as such for several generations.
        And there is evidence showing how the Israelites emerged within and separated from main Canaanite society.
        I simply cannot understand why you refuse to acknowledge this.

        I expect it is for the same reason citing the bible as the authority when claiming humans and dinosaurs ran around together.
        And why should I provide a link to disqualify such a ridiculous notion?
        You know the truth of this issue already but refuse to accept the scientific findings on this matter.
        It is there on the Internet for anyone to quickly Google.
        So just Google: Soft Tissue in Dinosaur Bones. That way I won’t be vilified for my ”obvious” bias as usual.
        Even the Christian woman who first discovered the soft tissue refuted any such YEC nonsense and distanced herself from YEC people such as you.
        People here might be evangelical but I would hope that David at least isn’t completely doolally.
        And as for your allusions that you accept that the entire earth was flooded and a man called Noah Saved The Day.
        My goodness!
        It is utterly ridiculous. and nothing but anti-scientific Young Earth Creationist bumpf.
        If we are to accept this view we might as well all sign up for Ken Ham’s fan club.
        It is just plain silly.

        To clarify:
        I have never questioned Kitchen’s credentials regarding his specialist field. He is an acknowledged expert and regarded as such by his peers, I understand
        As far as I am aware he has no such regard from his peers when it comes to his evangelical christian views concerning the Exodus and Conquest.

        Please stop trying to be disingenuous.

        regards
        Ark.

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      35. I have no doubts about Kadesh, Ark:
        the Bible says nothing about the Israelites staying there for forty years and archaeology has confirmed that they didn’t. Yes I know that lots of people who should have known better have said that they must have but you simply cannot insist that if they were wrong then the Bible must be. It does not follow.

        I’m looking through the Book you linked to:
        p. 7 Suitability of Kadesh for a settlement
        p.33 Fortress in Kingdom Period
        p. 60 Exodus Period but no Bible reference
        p. 67 Dispute over two possible sites for Kadesh
        p. 68 Map.
        p. 77 Says archaeological record does not accord with what we expect from Exodus but does not give any reference to a Bible verse.

        It’s time for me now to apologise to you for my part in the worsening of your condition. On your own blog one of your friends told you to stop doing this — he called it ‘staring into the abyss’ and cited Nietzche — but you have continued to the point of making yourself ill. I confess too that I’ve ignored the signs because I’ve found you to be a very useful source of what I’m going to call secularist delusions. I’ve been deluding myself, however, that your wild exaggerations — e.g. ‘Not a shred of evidence’ — were just the accepted way of talking among your circle of online friends, but it seems you can do no else, even when your argument would be greatly strengthened by taking a more nuanced view. I have been holding it as a possibility that your continual humiliation here was due to the moth-drawn-to-the-flame-effect but ‘megalomania’ seems more like it.

        Sorry I have not helped. This is goodbye. Kadesh has been the last straw for me.

        Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.

        [Prov. 26:11]

        (apparently not) Yours,
        John/. 😦

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      36. I have no doubts about Kadesh, Ark:
        the Bible says nothing about the Israelites staying there for forty years and archaeology has confirmed that they didn’t

        Then you must be reading a different bible, John

        Joshua 14:6-7
        Deuteronomy 2-14
        Deuteronomy 9-23
        Numbers 20; 1-29

        I have my KJV open in front of me as I type
        Would you like me to post a photograph to confirm the verses I have listed above?

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      37. Ark.

        I must be missing a trick. What is it about Kadesh ? None of those passages state that the Israelites stopped there for 40 years, just used it as a kind of temporary transit camp.

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      38. “Now the time that it took for us to come from Kadesh-barnea until we crossed over the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war perished from within the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them.” (Deuteronomy 2:14)

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      39. Come on, Ark. Don’t just seize on one verse – read it in context. Here’s the background narrative in Numbers 32, where Moses is explaining the bigger picture, starting at v6:

        “But Moses said to the people of Gad and to the people of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here? 7 Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the LORD has given them? 8 Your fathers did this, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. 9 For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the people of Israel from going into the land that the LORD had given them. 10 And the LORD’s anger was kindled on that day, and he swore, saying, 11 ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, cfrom twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give dto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me, 12 none except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the LORD.’ 13 And the LORD’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until hall the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone. 14 And behold, you have risen in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the LORD against Israel! 15 For if you iturn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all this people.” (ESV translation)

        It is quite clear that the 40 years is not spent AT Kadesh-Barnea, but rather wandering in the wilderness between two temporary spells at the place. The first time is characterised by unbelief and disobedience, so God causes them to turn back from the borders of Canaan. In Deut. 2:14, we read about them returning to Kadesh-Barnea after this lengthy interregnum, and they are presented with a second opportunity to enter Canaan. The key bit is verse 13.

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      40. [Numbers 20:1] And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. And Miriam died there and was buried there.
        [Numbers 20:14-16] Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the hardship that we have met: how our fathers went down to Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time. And the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our fathers. And when we cried to the LORD, he heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory.”
        [Numbers 20:22] And they journeyed from Kadesh, and the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor.
        [Deuteronomy 2:14] And the time from our leaving Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation, that is, the men of war, had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them.
        [Deuteronomy 9:23] And when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barea, saying, ‘Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God and did not believe him or obey his voice.
        [Joshua 14:6-7] Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart.

        Thanks again, Kevin,
        Yours,
        John/.

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      41. @John Kilpatrick

        Hi John, just reading through the comments and I’m curious. You seem to dismiss the work and conclusions of the overwhelming majority of archaeologists (mostly Israeli), bible scholars, and even Jewish rabbis, which of course you can, but do you do so because you think there’s some broad conspiracy in play here? If so, what, in your opinion, would rabbis, for instance, have to gain by admitting the Jewish origin tale is a myth?

        I’m also curious about Kitchen. He’s written many books presenting his ideas, books that sell well among evangelicals, but he has never published an actual peer-reviewed paper on the Exodus in JSTOR. Does this seem odd to you?

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      42. Hi, John,
        good to hear from you and thanks for the questions.

        what, in your opinion, would rabbis, for instance, have to gain by admitting the Jewish origin tale is a myth?

        Excuse my pedantry but I’m taking it that you mean ‘mythical’ as in ‘made-up story’ rather than ‘Myth’ as in the Literary form. Also, I’d quibble over ‘admit’ — which would imply honesty on their part but dishonesty on mine, if you see what I mean 🙂 — which leaves us with the question: What would a rabbi gain by claiming that the Israel aetiology is not what actually happened? Well, mistakenly or otherwise, the application of the Torah has become mixed up with the politics of present day Israel. Since Jews worldwide are divided over what is termed either ‘The resettlement of Judea and Samaria’ or ‘The illegal occupation of the West Bank’ you can see how not only secular Jews might want ‘Peace’ preached even when there is no peace.
        My ‘Conspiracy Theory’ is that someone always blabs so, no I don’t think that there is a conspiracy, but, then I’m having a hard time believing that there is actually a consensus in any meaningful sense of the term. However, inasmuch as there is a ‘consensus’ opinion against some or other received interpretation of a Biblical text, as often as not I find myself protesting that the ‘consensus’ is closer to what the text most logically means than what-everybody-knows it means. For example, the consensus is that there was no thirty-eight year long settlement at Kadesh Barnea but it still comes as a surprise to many people that reading such a permanent settlement into the Bible requires some very strained exegesis. The intent of the Bible verses seems to be to say that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness during these years, between visits to Kadesh. Similarly, the consensus says that there was no complete expulsion of the Canaanites from the land and, of course, that is what Judges 1:1-2:5 says in unambiguous terms. Sometimes, the consensus in one discipline nuances the consensus in another so as to rob those who depend upon it of any certainty. So, instead of saying that the Bible writers are unreliable — on the basis of the textual criticism ‘consensus’ — the archaeologists tell us that ‘the biblical writers knew a lot, and they knew it early on.’ [William G. Dever, Who were the Early Israelites and Where did they come from?] I have to say that some of the claims that there is a consensus view sound more like academic posing than anything else.
        Taking your Kitchen question at face value if I may, No, it does not seem odd to me if nothing he has written on the Exodus is available through JSTOR (forgive me the ‘if’, I’m not going to check.) I was present once when another of these evangelicals who buy his popular books asked him for more. Prof. Kitchen, at the point of retiring when the conversation took place, said that he had eighty books in the pipeline many of which would, quite literally, be hieroglyphics. Now due to my particular idiocy I’m unlikely to have remembered the number correctly, though it was big. On the same occasion he told me that Liverpool University wouldn’t let him retire at the end of the academic year because they would have lost the government funding derived from his list of publications; he in turn insisted on staying on after his due retirement date because leaving in the middle of the year would be unfair to his students. Other reasons for my lack of surprise are not personal to him but from my own point of view, it’s covering all the academic bases that would make me less likely to share my theological ideas through Journals. I crave scholarly interaction but trying to publish without immediate access to a decent library — even with a JSTOR subscription — is not a path I choose for myself.

        Yours,
        John/.

        Liked by 1 person

      43. Thanks, John. I think that’s a fair and reasonable kind of response. I would wish that folks would not keep attempting to force reasons upon Prof. Kitchen for whatever approach he took in respect of his academic work and publishing. It seems unfair to berate a much better man than the rest of us simply because certain kinds of priority seemed to make more sense to him. And I like the fact that he was more committed to teaching his students than he was in becoming a slave to the peer review autocracy – I wish more academics had that kind of focus.

        Like

      44. @ Kevin.

        Nobody is berating Kitchen regarding his proven academic track record.
        The only issue, ( here) as far as I can ascertain, is his Evangelical stance regarding the Captivity, Exodus and Conquest, for which, it appears, he takes all his cues from the bible. He has not produced a single peer-reviewed paper( or identified any solid evidence) on this subject and thus, is not regarded in this particular archaeological field.

        Like

      45. Hi, John,
        I’m in no position to delete any posts from you, it’s not my blog. (I’m scarcely in a position to receive any, since I’m on a camping holiday.) However, I did wake up at two in the morning, in the middle of a field, thinking how one should deal in the long run with your Kitchen-afraid hypothesis, indeed, thinking through what one would have to do to write a review article for a peer-reviewed journal or even just an essay for credit at M.A. level.

        It would involve an awful lot of work and which of your colleagues would ever trust you again? For a start, not all peer-reviewed journals are available on JSTOR.

        Then it dawned on me that you’d listed a tiny number of Kitchen’s published works in a reply to Kevin but even there, one of the papers — ‘THE TABERNACLE — A BRONZE AGE ARTEFACT’ — is an ‘Exodus’ paper. No need to continue: Kitchen was not afraid to publish that and your whole peer-review position disappears in a puff of smoke.

        Yours,
        John/.

        Like

      46. Hi John

        there, one of the papers — ‘THE TABERNACLE — A BRONZE AGE ARTEFACT’ — is an ‘Exodus’ paper.

        Um, no, it’s not. That article simply identifies some similar construction methods used in Egypt, during the Bronze Age.

        As to my deleted comment, it must have been the blog host then who deleted it.

        I’m wonderting why, exactly, he deleted it.

        Like

      47. John, my apologies for the last comment. I didn’t mean to sound dismissive, and i think i might have come across as being, in fact, dismissive. Why I say it’s not an Exodus paper is because it has nothing actually to do with the Exodus narrative. You’re right, it does mention the Exodus, but finding some Egyptian boxes built in a similar (not identical) manner as the Tabernacle described in the narrative is really no more astonishing than Moses being an Egyptian name. The paper even says the design/construction is anything but complicated.

        Like

      48. @ John Kilpatrick

        Then it dawned on me that you’d listed a tiny number of Kitchen’s published works in a reply to Kevin but even there, one of the papers — ‘THE TABERNACLE — A BRONZE AGE ARTEFACT’ — is an ‘Exodus’ paper. No need to continue: Kitchen was not afraid to publish that and your whole peer-review position disappears in a puff of smoke.

        Bible and Spade is an evangelical theological publication

        An example from their about page: Statement of Faith.

        10. We believe the accounts found in Genesis 1-11 contain factual and real-time, chronology, historical events, places, and persons. This includes the accuracy and real historicity of the persons, ages, and events recorded in the genealogies of Genesis 5 ….</em
        This obviously include the Flood narrative.

        Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
        Volume: BSPADE 08:2 (Spring 1995)
        Article: The Tabernacle — A Bronze Age Artifact
        Author: Kenneth A. Kitchen

        http://www.galaxie.com/article/bspade08-2-01

        I would be interested to read a peer review of this article if there is one out there. I looked and couldn't find anything, but that doesn't necessarily mean there isn't one of course and maybe you or Kevin are more resourceful?

        Like

      49. Bible and Spade. I didn’t know that. I saw that the paper (25 years old now) was published *by* the Israel Exploration Society and assumed it appeared in their official publication, Israel Exploration Journal. Searching now, I can’t see it anywhere. So they handed it to Bible and Spade, the theological magazine.

        I read the paper right through last night. The conclusion reads: “We have not proved that the Tabernacle of Exodus 26/36 actually existed in (say) the 13th century BCE. nor have we sought to. But the overall evidence to hand does – in its own right – point clearly to an origin long before the supposed ‘pipe-dreams’ of the Neo-Babylonian Exile.”

        In other words, Kitchen believes he sees *some* similarities in a Bronze Age Egyptian prefabricated BEDROOM SUITE to the design of the Tabernacle described in the Exodus narrative.

        That’s it. A Queens bedroom suite pre-dating the date of the Exodus by some 1,300 years.

        Liked by 1 person

      50. So, John,
        the much-vaunted ‘peer-review’ dismissal of Kitchen’s work is brought crashing down by what amounts to a doll’s house. It was always a non-starter as a serious critique of the scholarly Evangelical contribution to archeology; finding a place in what we might call recreational atheism, but nowhere else.

        Throughout much of the twentieth century, terrible violence was inflicted in the service of secular faiths. In contrast, the organized atheism of the present century is mostly a media phenomenon and best appreciated as a type of entertainment.

        John Gray Seven Types of Atheism p.23.

        In effect, the false confidence expressed by some prominent ‘consensus’ scholars that no ‘serious scholar’ disagrees with them is proved to be hubristic at best and the anti-Christian trust in their pronouncements has been sadly misplaced. It seems that the foundation for this academic house of cards has been partly laid down by a turning away from public trust in history with a corresponding interest in archaeology which may or may not have become somewhat overheated by finds like Tutankhamun’s Tomb. No matter, the warnings from such ‘consensus’, anti-minimalist scholars as William G. Dever have been ignored so the absolutist secularist rejection of the documentary evidence has proven to be a house built on sand; which is truly ironic.

        It is the absolutist nature of the New Atheist appeal to evidences that produces its own downfall. Where in the real world is everything either conclusive proof or worthless irrelevance? The irony is that it is the very modesty of the claims Kitchen makes for his findings and assessments that fuels the secularist antipathy. To quote you quoting him:

        We have not proved that the Tabernacle of Exodus 26/36 actually existed in (say) the 13th century BCE. nor have we sought to. But the overall evidence to hand does – in its own right – point clearly to an origin long before the supposed ‘pipe-dreams’ of the Neo-Babylonian Exile.

        My advice would be that you view your questions about evidence — including the reasonable expectation of peer reviewed scrutiny — as a beaver dam rather than as the Hoover Dam. The first performs a very useful function just because it doesn’t try to hold back all the water. The other is fine until the tiniest of cracks appears, heralding the doom of the whole enterprise. Kitchen’s paper is only a tiny crack and I suppose it will be easy to be in denial about it but you ought to remember that you’ve tried to build a ‘Hoover Dam’ to hold back all the water,

        From my point of view the evidence from artifacts and buried buildings, etc. is never going to be conclusive so your beaver dam forms the useful function of turning the attention toward the documentary evidence which is where we ought all have been looking in the first place.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      51. Hi John

        Did you actually read the paper?

        I suspect you didn’t.

        The conclusion reads: “We have not proved that the Tabernacle of Exodus 26/36 actually existed in (say) the 13th century BCE. NOR HAVE WE SOUGHT TO. But the overall evidence to hand does – in its own right – point clearly to an origin long before the supposed ‘pipe-dreams’ of the Neo-Babylonian Exile.”

        And the paper, if you actually read it, is not about the Exodus at all. It is, instead, a paper detailing the reasons why Kitchen believes he sees *some* similarities in a Bronze Age Egyptian prefabricated BEDROOM SUITE to the design of the Tabernacle described in the Exodus narrative.

        That’s it. An Egyptian Queen’s bedroom suite.

        Just to repeat, the paper IS NOT about the Exodus. What it actually is, is a plea, and to paraphrase, that plea reads: “you can’t claim it’s all made-up because i *think* i see a vague similarity between the description of the Tabernacle and a Bronze Age Egyptian queen’s bedroom makeover.”

        Like

      52. John,
        It’s the paragraph that we’ve passed back and forth that shows Kitchen’s paper to be a cogent datum for Exodus studies. If that were not so why would he need to mention the 13th Century BCE? About reading the article: I took your word for it that the original was not readily available and I’ve had my fingers burnt before by assuming that everything from a PhD dissertation would be included in the popular reprint. I thought I could trust you to produce the relevant details and I think you have. If Kitchen does more than prove that the putative consensus view — i.e. that the description of the Tabernacle was concocted de novo during the Neo-Babylonian period — is flawed, then you’ve not given a fair report but I think the conclusion rules that out.

        I think you are missing two crucial points that make this find part of the Exodus story.

        1) The only time that someone could have invented the story about the Tabernacle in the wilderness was during the Exile in Babylon when the architectural evidence in Jerusalem was uncheckable. It beggars belief that a scribe in Babylon — however inventive — could have chosen as his exemplar for a late bronze age/early iron age shrine, a simple design of two rooms that was generally extant in Egypt at the time of the supposed Exodus but not known in Babylon at the time of the Exile. Even if, or perhaps especially if, an invented Tabernacle was reconstructed from memories of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, it is difficult to see what elaborations of the Temple that scribe would know to eliminate. (You have helpfully given us the title of another of Kitchen’s papers — TWO NOTES ON THE SUBSIDIARY ROOMS OF SOLOMON’S TEMPLE — which, whatever the notes say and I have not as far as I can recall read them, illustrates the unlikelihood that the story of the Tabernacle was conjured up to explain the structure of the Temple.)

        2) Such scraps of evidence are all that archaeologists generally get to work with so to decry Kitchen’s paper as a plea of desperation is to mistake the tone entirely. This is not a plea to the ‘Consensus’ but rather a warning to the ‘Copenhagen School’ minimalists. The relevance or otherwise of the paper is not really in our gift to decide, however. Google scholar lists 14 books and papers that cite the Paper — https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?cites=13192768235410465225&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5&hl=en — so there might be an assessment out there that matches yours. I doubt it, but only because it would be unprofessional for any detective to claim that the absence of a smoking gun amounts to no evidence whatsoever.

        In effect my stance is that you can’t just claim it’s all made-up because what Kenneth Kitchen thinks matters in all related fields, especially when it comes to such matters as ‘a Bronze Age Egyptian queen’s bedroom makeover.’

        Yours,
        John/.

        Liked by 1 person

      53. John, perhaps you should actually read the paper. It’s not *about* the Exodus, it’s not even about the Tabernacle. What it is, is Kitchen pleading for scholars to not close the door on the subject. And what he points to is this 2600 BCE Egyptian bedroom makeover as something not dissimilar, in his opinion, to the description of the Tabernacle.

        Now remember, this was published in 1993. By then the consensus was already sealed. Five years later, in 1998, the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), the primary American professional body for archaeologists working in the Middle East, changed the name of its magazine from Biblical Archaeologist to Near Eastern Archaeology simply because the bible had been determined to be (beyond all doubt) an entirely unreliable historical source to direct research into the early Jews, pre-Babylonian captivity.

        That is what the paper is about, John. It’s an appeal to keep the subject alive. That’s why Kitchen writes “supposed ‘pipe-dreams’ of the Neo-Babylonian Exile”.

        The truth is is, the Patriarchs, Egypt, Moses, Exodus and Conquest are dead subjects in the field of serious archaeology. They were dismissed as myth nearly two generations ago, and nothing has changed in that time to alter this consensus. As Israel’s oldest daily Newspaper, Hareetz, announced in 2014:

        Currently there is broad agreement among archaeologists and Bible scholars that there is no historical basis for the narratives of the Patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, and the conquest of Canaan, nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.

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      54. John,
        I have been wasting your time by trusting you. This paper not only cracks the peer review barrier you imagined ruled Ken Kitchen’s Exodus work out of consideration; it destroys it.
        It struck me that I might be better than you at finding where the paper was originally published — Eretz-Israel is the name of the Journal — but frustratingly, I’m not able to access it through Jstor. Nil desperandum I found a copy online which has no footnotes but apparently all the text:
        http://www.biblia.work/sermons/thetabernacle-a-bronze-age-artifact/

        I find it difficult to believe that your reading ability is so poor that you missed the references to all the other Egyptian artifacts and buildings besides the queen’s bedroom so the most likely explanation is that whatever version you have is greatly cut down from the original. Read this version and you will see that your Kitchen-afraid-and-pleading model is nonsense.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      55. John,
        that is a strange way of admitting that your reading is poor. I don’t have access to JSTOR and I haven’t (yet) checked the American Theological Library Association Serials [ATLAS] database which I do have access to. I thought that reading http://www.biblia.work/sermons/thetabernacle-a-bronze-age-artifact/ would be quite sufficient if I pointed out that there are no footnotes. So I have — sort of — read the article and, apparently I’ve read it a lot more carefully than you have, though JSTOR providing it backwards might explain a lot.
        (My guess would be that the JSTOR database has reproduced the article backwards because the journal’s title — ארץ-ישראל — is in Hebrew which, of course, reads from left to right.)

        Yours,
        John/.

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      56. Hi John

        Rather than debate what was settled decades ago, may I ask you one simple question:

        What would archaeologists, bible scholars, and Jewish rabbis have to gain by participating in what I’m guessing you think is some global conspiracy?

        That’s an honest question. I’d like to hear your answer.

        Thanks in advance.

        Like

      57. Global conspiracy zande? You and your pal ark are a laff a minute.

        Why would they lie or persist in perpetuating a fraud? I have told you both a dozen times, (and I’m not sure why the host has the patience of Job in dealing with people who have ZERO interest in sound answers which have withstood time) I have told you WHY, and the answer sails over your heads, as if it is not good enough to satisfy your alleged curiosity; but the WHY is demonstrably answered in the seventh of Acts, which is the only answer necessary.

        Of course you will cite Stephen as misinformed, and one who agrees not with your fictitious claims, and one who surely embellished the Old Testament narratives, but rest assured, there is no greater statesman than Stephen, and the current lying pseudo scholars who would challenge Stephen’s knowledge of facts and truth, SHOULD hang their heads in shame at his remarkable and God given wisdom which exposes cheat, liars, and infidels.

        But they will not, neither will you. That’s a fact, and also the pure truth. Acts 7 is your answer.

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      58. Wrong on two counts, John,
        If the debate was ‘settled’ in any meaningful way why are we still having it?
        You guess wrong; I don’t believe there is a conspiracy.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      59. John,
        that is a strange way of admitting that your reading is poor. I don’t have access to JSTOR and I haven’t (yet) checked the American Theological Library Association Serials [ATLAS] database which I do have access to. I thought that reading http://www.biblia.work/sermons/thetabernacle-a-bronze-age-artifact/ would be quite sufficient if I pointed out that there are no footnotes. So I have — sort of — read the article and, apparently I’ve read it a lot more carefully than you have, though JSTOR providing it backwards might explain a lot.
        (My guess would be that the JSTOR database has reproduced the article backwards because the journal’s title — ארץ-ישראל — is in Hebrew which, of course, reads from right to left.)

        Yours,
        John/.

        Like

      60. Hi John

        Rather than debate what was settled decades ago, may I ask you one simple question:

        What would archaeologists, bible scholars, and Jewish rabbis have to gain by participating in what I’m guessing you think is some global conspiracy?

        That’s an honest question. I’d like to hear your answer.

        Thanks in advance.

        Like

      61. Every one of these three categories is divided, John,
        so there is can be no conspiracy. I find it astonishing that you lump ‘Conquest-sceptic’ archaeologists like Dever along with outright ‘Bible-relevance-deniers’ like the Copenhagen School, for example. Similarly, when it comes to Rabbinical scholars, it suits both right and left to treat the foundation story of ancient Israel as Myth [‘Literary category’ rather than ‘untrue concoction.’] Given the importance of the West Bank Settlements there is tremendous pressure on all who have to speak to the crisis. As has been noted, the purpose of Ancient Near East archaeology has changed from its original focus on confirming (or denying) the Biblical records. That shift is what has been ‘settled’ decades ago but to assume from that some sort of final triumph for Exodus-denial is ludicrous.

        With Bible scholarship you can count me as a participant observer. What we are concerned with here is the use (and sometimes abuse) that ANE archaeology has made of Bible scholarship. I’ll make one observation: IMCO the vast majority of archaeological conflicts with Bible scholarship are caused by failure to deal with what the Bible text actually says. There is a world of a difference between disputes about which if any of the sackings of Jericho were carried out by the Israelites and conclusions drawn from failures to find evidence of a city in the desert that some Bible defenders think must have been there despite the Bible explicitly saying otherwise. The walls of Jericho might be a ‘cold case’ in your (imagined) final conclusion but the ‘evidence’ of the city that never was — Kadesh-barnea — is a mirage.

        When it comes down to it the only evidences that can be examined by everybody without ‘experts’ to tell us what to think, are the records of witnesses to the resurrection. These records, seemingly without any attempt to harmonise accounts, present us with a diverse group of people who saw the Risen Christ in a variety of circumstances and went on to hold that testimony steadfastly for the rest of their lives. Now these records — putatively verifiable at the time of writing — cannot be verified again now, except obviously by comparison with each other. But here’s the thing, they are still falsifiable, and the later in the day you want to imagine that the records were compiled, the easier it should be to find a genuine discrepancy.

        Now that is a task for a real sceptic but pseudosceptics give up as soon as they realise that facile ‘answers’ from wikipedia do not actually cut the mustard.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      62. The world’s most renowned biblical archeologist, Professor Ze’ev Herzog, Tel Aviv University:

        “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land. Those who take an interest have known these facts for years,”

        To repeat: “Those who take an interest have known these facts for years”

        Like

      63. Maybe, I’m a bit obtuse, John,
        but I’m not sure what point you want to make by quoting Herzog.
        He may be as you say ‘The world’s most renowned biblical archeologist’ — though I’m sure he would find the term ‘biblical archaeologist’ rather irritating — but I don’t understand how his view has a bearing what I said about differences between archaeologists.

        I found a copy of what I take to be his most iconoclastic work, Deconstructing the walls of Jerichohttp://www.umich.edu/~proflame/neh/arch.htm — which doesn’t meet your rather fastidious peer-review restriction but never mind. If I may say so, I think he comes to the wrong conclusion because he is far too eager to make the same rather parochial political claim as you’ve just repeated for us about those who ‘take an interest’ having ‘known’ these ‘facts’ for years.

        He claims, I believe rightly, that

        His [Albright’s] declared approach was that archaeology was the principal scientific means to refute the critical claims against the historical veracity of the Bible stories, particularly those of the Wellhausen school in Germany.

        and if he had drawn the conclusion that Albright was wrong and that archaeology has proven not to be the principal scientific means to refute Wellhausen he would have been more believable.

        Scince Herzog’s claim to fame seems to be totally tied up with his iconoclasm alone it is hard to know how many of his colleagues would fully subscribe to his minimalism. You may well discover that you have strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      64. If I may, John K?

        The alternatives to not accepting the biblical take on the Exodus and all the other aspects of this story is to either accept the the minimalist view – it simply did not happen and the Israelites broke away from within the general Canaanite population and simply established their own tribe, which is what the archaeological evidence is telling us.
        Or, the middle ground which some suggest there was an exodus of some sort, perhaps a gradual return of Israelites who then went on to establish separate tribes and developed their own religion.

        One thing that can be said with surety – the biblical tale is simply a work of geopolitical fiction that has no evidence whatsoever to support it.

        As you, John, are a fundamentalist/ evangelical Christian the onus is upon you to produce the evidence via historians and archaeologists who are of a similar view to support the biblical claims.
        So far not a single archaeologist who claims veracity for the biblical tale has ever produced any evidence.

        Like

      65. As I said, I really have no interest debating a subject that was settled decades ago. So, instead of wasting my time, I challenge you to present a single reputable archaeologist (preferably an Israeli, who holds tenure and has led digs in Israel and has published papers in recognised journals) and/or non-Orthodox Jewish Rabbi to categorically state, in writing: “The Patriarchs were real historical characters, the Israelites were in Egypt, Moses was an actual character, there was an exodus of some two-million people, followed by a triumphant conquest of Canaan.”

        If there was any strength to your claims then surely this will be a simple exercise, correct?

        Like

      66. Okay, John.
        Abraham Malamat.
        Since — as I think I’ve already pointed out — the Bible doesn’t teach what reasonable people would call a truly triumphant conquest of Canaan, I don’t think that you’ll find Prof Malamat making grandiose claims for one. But other than that I think you’ll find his writings on the subject satisfactory (or not depending on how sincere your ‘surely this will be a simple exercise’ admonition was.)
        As you know, I don’t have access (yet) to a really good library and ATLAS has a paltry number of Malamat references considering he wrote over 300 articles and books, etc. in four languages. If your request was not trivial I’d start looking at the writings of Abraham Malamat but to give you a taster on the level — almost — of the Herzog newspaper article, here’s
        http://cojs.org/let_my_people_go_and_go_and_go_and_go-_abraham_malamat-_bar_24-01-_jan-feb_1998/

        Yours,
        John/.

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      67. Hi John

        Curious, did you actually read the article you linked to?

        Nothing in the archaeological record of Egypt directly substantiates the Biblical story of the Exodus … we must first recognize that the Exodus story is a folktale …

        He even suggests that the storyline was borrowed, in part, from the Hyksos.

        So, no, sorry, but that is not someone stating in writing: “The Patriarchs were real historical characters, the Israelites were in Egypt, Moses was an actual character, there was an exodus of some two-million people, followed by a triumphant conquest of Canaan.”

        Liked by 1 person

      68. Isn’t it funny, John,
        that when you propose to waste my time (and David’s, sorry, David) you telegraph it by accusing me of trying to waste yours.

        Where do you get the chutzpah to attempt such a moving of goalposts as we’ve just witnessed?
        Let’s recap your argument:

        1). Kitchen on the Exodus can/must be ignored because he is (apparently) afraid to submit his views on the Exodus to peer review.
        2). Kitchen’s peer reviewed article — which you directed us toward! — is irrelevant because, despite having the word ‘Tabernacle’ in the title, it’s not about the Tabernacle.
        3). Anyway, despite Kitchen having written a peer-reviewed article about the Exodus (and studiously avoiding the logical conclusion that that lets in his other books that are only open to after-publication review: well done) his Tabernacle paper was written twenty-five years ago and since then the consensus against real historicity of any kind of Patriarchs, Exodus and Conquest has been sealed (Apparently a sealed consensus is a thing, who knew? Thanks for the heads up, John, I’ll use that one.)
        4). Last time, the peer-review ploy got us into deep water so we’ll avoid mentioning that again. We’ll go for prominence this time and quote Herzog who has buried anything to do with an Abrahamic right to Levantine soil in one article after another.
        5). Well, yes: Herzog does wear the political imperatives of his academic posturing a bit too obviously on his sleeve. And why, having started with such high-minded rhetoric about academic publishing, are we reduced to quoting the newspapers, even if it’s the oldest newspaper in Israel, left-leaning (anti-settlement, oops!) and progressive?
        6). So, despite not having just said that Kitchen’s work was out of date in the first place; time now (again) to refuse to debate on the grounds of the sealed consensus. But when all’s said and done, that would leave the peer-review defense exposed so let’s double down and offer a way back in. Only, let’s leave names out of it this time; If perchance an Israeli archaeologist who fits the bill in almost all regards can be found, there will be some way of wriggling out of acknowledging him or her. (Actually, I don’t think the last thought even crossed your mind, so great is your faith in the sealed consensus.)
        7). And now: Abraham Malamat. What!

        that is not someone stating in writing: “The Patriarchs were real historical characters, the Israelites were in Egypt, Moses was an actual character, there was an exodus of some two-million people, followed by a triumphant conquest of Canaan.”

        No, it’s not, but whatever gave you the idea I had to meet your demands in full to make my point?
        Malamat’s Exodus article — http://cojs.org/let_my_people_go_and_go_and_go_and_go-_abraham_malamat-_bar_24-01-_jan-feb_1998/ — with all the differences between his ideas and Kitchen’s, is incontrovertible evidence that there is no sealed consensus. To paraphrase the ironically apt ‘When you’re in a hole stop digging.’: when you really don’t want to debate, stop debating.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      69. @ John Kilpatrick
        Your apparent attempt at deflection regarding the Exodus tale still won’t get you past first base, I’m afraid.

        If you wish to smudge the archaeological lines then you have to at least explain why the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth considered both Moses and Noah genuine historical figures.
        And we know they were not.

        As for eyewitnesses to a resurrection ….
        We only have the accounts in the gospels, and we know how so much of the text is fallacious.

        So we are back to you providing solid evidence for the biblical tale of the Captivity, Exodus and Conquest. And as you are well aware, there is none.

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      70. Jesus thought that Moses and Noah were genuine historical figures because they were. Whereas you ‘know’ that they were not. Your omniscience never ceases to amaze me!

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      71. Evidence flatly refutes the Noachim Flood.
        Evidence shows that the Israelites emerged from within the Canaanite society.
        Evidence, David.
        Archaeological and Geological evidence.
        That you might dispute the Exodus true is marginally understandable, even though it displays a considerable amount of willful ignorance. But the fact that you accept the Biblical tale of the Flood in this day and age is simply unforgivable.

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      72. Arguing with you is like trying to pick up a wet fish in a storm….! You keep changing the subject. You had just said you know that Moses and Noah were not historical figures. Now you are arguing about the flood and the Exodus – both different subjects. Its strange that you keep accusing others of wilful ignorance yet struggle to provide evidence other than linking articles which prove your position. Again I simply ask what are your qualifications in this and where are your peer-reviewed research studies?

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      73. In effect my stance is that you can’t just claim it’s all made-up because what Kenneth Kitchen thinks matters in all related fields

        Exactly, THAT is what Kitchen’s paper is about. It’s not *about* the Exodus, it’s not even about the Tabernacle. As he even concedes, proving it was not his intention. What the paper actually is is a plea for scholars to not close the door on the subject. And what he points to is this 2600BCE Egyptian bedroom makeover as something not dissimilar, in his opinion, to the description of the Tabernacle.

        Now remember, this was published in 1993. By then the consensus was already sealed. Five years later, in 1998, the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), the primary American professional body for archaeologists working in the Middle East, changed the name of its magazine from Biblical Archaeologist to Near Eastern Archaeology simply because the bible had been determined to be (beyond all doubt) an entirely unreliable historical source to direct research into the early Jews, pre-Babylonian captivity.

        That is what the paper is about, John.

        The Patriarchs, Egypt, Moses, Exodus and Conquest are dead subjects in the field of serious archaeology. They were dismissed as myth nearly two generations ago, and nothing has changed in that time to alter this consensus. As Israel’s oldest daily Newspaper, Hareetz, announced in 2014:

        Currently there is broad agreement among archaeologists and Bible scholars that there is no historical basis for the narratives of the Patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, and the conquest of Canaan, nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

      74. There is nothing new under the sun, John.
        Are you seriously reduced to quoting a newspaper to seal your argument?

        I suppose I’m compelled to admonish you not to believe everything you read in the papers. But remember where this started. You were making the point that there is a consensus among archaeologists, which I said I doubted (after reading Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?) You went on to suggest that this consensus is so strong that papers suggesting that the consensus is wrong will just not be published in peer-reviewed journals.

        So you helpfully produced a few supposedly peer-reviewed papers of Kitchen’s to show that they had nothing to do with the Exodus, even although one of them had the word ‘Tabernacle’ right there in the title! You keep urging me to read the paper even after saying that you yourself couldn’t get hold of it online. I’m better placed to get hold of it than you since I actually live in Liverpool, although I don’t have reading rights at Liverpool University (maybe that could be arranged.) But I trust you, it’s about a funerary object supposedly depicting how a deified princess will be housed in the afterlife. Nothing to do with the Exodus, as you say, but, like it or not, the tabernacle is about the Exodus.

        By the way, have you investigated how many peer-reviewed archaeological journals there are? I doubt that the leader writer or whoever of הארץ is able to read all of them and although I am left-leaning myself in political terms, being left-leaning in Israel probably carries a distinct antipathy to a literal Biblical reading of ‘the Patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, and the conquest of Canaan’.

        With due respect, it’s time to make like Hans Brinker rather than King Cnut if you are to save anything of your dam.

        Yours,
        John/.

        Liked by 1 person

      75. Hi John

        Rather than debate what was settled decades ago, may I ask you one simple question:

        What would archaeologists, bible scholars, and Jewish rabbis have to gain by participating in what I’m guessing you think is some multi-generational global conspiracy?

        That’s an honest question. I’d like to hear your answer.

        Thanks in advance.

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      76. Thanks John, I certainly concur with a degree of skepticism about the nature of the processes which result in certain viewpoints floating to the top, and becoming promulgated as the dominant, prevailing perspective. And skepticism is good, right? Certainly Dawkins taught us that much!

        And I also tend to be wary of a certain style of question, a style which I now term the ‘Channel 4 Interviewer Style’, where one’s interlocutor asks for a ‘simple’ answer, but in a rather binary way. It is almost a foregone conclusion that the question is not being asked as a means of accessing information, but rather as a tool for pigeon-holing the responder. These are often ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ type questions, or ones which presuppose a narrow set of preconditions which you can be reasonably sure were (a) picked up on some atheist website, and (b) bear little relation to the main subject.

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      77. Jonathan,
        sorry for having touched a raw nerve, but you really ought to keep some of your powder dry. As it happens, I am not saying that unverifiable evidence should just be given the same level of credibility as verifiable evidence. For a start, if something is unverifiable, how is it evidence? In order for us to present documentary records as evidence, they must be falsifiable. The Bible is falsifiable — which, for the uninitiated doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily false — so, being a Bible scholar rather than a student of archeology, it was refreshing to be for once able to give ‘The Bible’ as a straightforward answer to the seemingly honest question that Jon asked.

        You expand on Jon’s question and ask:

        In light of the current knowledge in the field of history, archaeology, egyptology. I would ask for your evidence for the exodus

        but I am at a loss as to why you think that should make me change my answer.

        Again, as it happens, I’m getting to like being asked for peer reviewed journal articles that support the Exodus, etc. It is so much easier to find something now than it was, back in the day, before the Internet. But you’re right, I don’t like it when you all insist on verifiable evidence when verification would require a time machine.

        Is saying, ‘if no evidence in scholarship for the exodus can be provided’ a backhanded way of asking me to provide samples of scholars who believe that there are good grounds for thinking that there was an Exodus? I’ve always been impressed with the way Alan Millard handles evidences so why don’t you start from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Millard as a source of references?

        You claim overwhelming evidence that the Biblical account of the Exodus is wrong. I confess to being rather underwhelmed by what I’ve been directed to before. Let me repeat what I said to Jon: ‘Requests for evidence seem usually to come from those who have read a great deal more into what we might call scholarly posturing than they ought.’ Sounds like that cap fits you, but I’m open to correction. Perhaps I’ve been reading the wrong books.

        Yours,
        John/.

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    1. Ah, John Zande …the snake is back…attempting to cast a dark shadow on the pearls…to conceal them because he cannot steal them. His speech is as smooth as oil…. the presenting of his ‘curiosity’ is the setting of a trap . His questions are but a snare. The last question is a scorpion’s tail. ‘Does this seem odd to you?’ Prayer and fasting is needed to cast this one out.

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      1. Hi John
        It’s the goal of your questions – not that it bothers me – but I am guessing you are targeting John Kilpatrick – to draw him into a ‘conversation’, the conclusion of which you seem very sure of – which in my view makes it an attack rather than an invitation to an honest conversation.

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      2. Hi Martha,

        You didn’t actually address what you thought wrong about the questions.

        As John Kilpatrick appears to reject the consensus position, I think it only reasonable to enquire as to why. Wouldn’t you agree?

        Perhaps you don’t know this subject very well, which is fine. I, however, am pretty well versed in it and know just how strong the consensus position is, and why it is that strong. It’s for this reason I am genuinely curious to understand what has led John Kilpatrick to some other conclusion.

        Regarding Kenneth Kitchen, I am also genuinely interested to hear what John Kilpatrick thinks about the absence of published papers on the Exodus narrative. As noted, Kitchen has written a number books on this subject, in which he presents his ideas, but he’s never published a paper on the matter.

        I’m fortunate, through my work I am a full member of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), and hold subscriptions to many journals published through JSTOR. Kitchen has published a number of articles here, as he should, given his professional expertise, but none are on the Exodus. For example, these are Kitchens published (peer-reviewed) papers:

        FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS OF RAMESSES IX AND THE LATE TWENTIETH DYNASTY

        Pharaoh Sety II and Egyptian Political Relations with Canaan at the End of the Late Bronze Age

        An Egyptian Inscribed Fragment from Late Bronze Hazor

        THE TABERNACLE — A BRONZE AGE ARTEFACT

        TWO NOTES ON THE SUBSIDIARY ROOMS OF SOLOMON’S TEMPLE

        THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF EGYPTIAN CHRONOLOGY — A RECONSIDERATION

        This last article concerns only the period from 664 BCE to 1070 BCE, whereas of course the Exodus is said to have occurred some 400-500 years earlier, or according to Kitchen, perhaps as much as 700-800 years earlier.

        So, given this disconnect between Kitchen’s thoughts on the Exodus and the actual body of work he’s felt confident enough to have peer reviewed, my question to John Kilpatrick was, Does this seem odd?

        I hope, now, you can see the scaffolding around the questions, and why they’re perfectly reasonable.

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      3. John – if I might intrude into your conversation, my thought was that this is a question I would like to ask Prof. Kitchen himself. I looked him up, and he is now Prof. Emeritus at Liverpool, so no contact details are available.

        He is listed on the Egypt Exploration Society website: https://www.ees.ac.uk/faqs/kenneth-kitchen. He is now aged 85-86.

        My own background is biology and I am familiar with the now near impossibility of publishing papers which do not correlate with the neo-darwinian consensus. I have no idea whether the same game is playing out in archaeological circles, but given the professional and reputational risks, it is not entirely surprising that there is a lack of peer-reviewed papers. The ‘consensus’ is now a blunt-instrument for squeezing out dissent.

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      4. Hi Kevin

        I’m sorry, and with all due respect, but that’s pure nonsense. Have you ever heard of double blind peer reviews? If your background is indeed in science, then you should know that hypotheses perform on the strength of the evidence, not the personality types or fashion tastes of the researchers.

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      5. Thanks, John.

        That phrase ‘with all due respect’ means something quite different, doesn’t it?

        I did explain that my own background is the biological sciences, not archaeology, so I have no idea of how this kind of thing plays out – but my impression is that the underlying pagan presuppositions of naturalism are as potent a force for rigging consensus as in my own field.

        I have one good friend, a leading molecular biologist, whose own research indicates clear evidence of intelligent design at a molecular level. He has been told by his departmental head that he is tolerated only insofar as his published work does not reflect that kind of hypothesis.

        I have another friend, a well-established and published paleontologist, whose views on the science changed (based upon the data) over time, moving away from a neo-darwinian model. He made the mistake of sharing that change in perspective, and found himself frozen out of his own department, unable to access the equipment, without which he could not do his job. In the UK, the term is ‘constructive dismissal’ – not actually having his position terminated, but rather making it impossible to function.

        That’s just my immediate friends. I am well aware of a much wider circle of academics who find themselves in very similar situations. This is Orwellian. It has absolutely nothing to do with the objective testing of hypotheses based upon rigorous evidential work.

        But, as I said, I have no knowledge of Prof. Kitchen’s reasons. He is a very gifted and knowledgeable man – I suspect they are good ones.

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      6. Hi Kevin

        Well, Kitchen has published books on the subject, so he clearly doesn’t appear to feel shackled in any way. The disconnect seems to only be his willingness to submit his ideas to professional (peer) scrutiny.

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  10. May be of interest to some – “How to Judge Evidence for the Exodus” (written by a former lecturer of mine Rick Hess)

    https://mosaicmagazine.com/response/2015/03/how-to-judge-evidence-for-the-exodus/

    Richard S. Hess is Earl S. Kalland professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Denver Seminary in Littleton, Colorado. He is the author of Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey (2007) and co-editor, with Bill T. Arnold, of Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources (2014).

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  11. John Z
    I’m sure I can see the scaffolding around the questions. But I still question your intent. After many months, perhaps years of engaging with Arkenaten – being utterly polite, patient and erudite – taking great care in formulating and presenting his answers – John Kilpatrick has finally decided to call it a day and engage with him no more. Not before time I think. His patience has been astounding and I have learned an awful lot from John Kilpatrick’s posts and I’m sure many others have too. In fact Arkenaten’s childish methods of engaging – where he either has no capacity for reason or has thrown it away – has done nothing for his atheist position – it has just confirmed to many that there is an atheist position that is nasty, unreasonable and irrational and all he/they are interested in doing is ridiculing Christians and attempting to silence them. I believe David Robertson describes Arkenaten as an NFA troll – a new thing to me – but I can spot one now.

    So immediately after John K quits engaging with Arkenaten – up pops John Z to draw him in again. Your comment as to why John K rejects ‘consensus’ position implies that he is stupid. You don’t mention whose consensus? Your choice of the word ‘odd’ in reference to Kitchen’s apparent lack of peer reviewed papers on the Exodus – and your subsequent suggestion that he didn’t feel ‘confident’ enough to have his work peer reviewed – answers your own question. You are saying that Kitchen was not confident enough to have his work on the Exodus peer reviewed and the implication is obvious – that he knew his work would not stand up to peer scrutiny. If John K says he doesn’t think it is odd if Kitchen hasn’t had Exodus material peer reviewed – then he is guilty by association according to you and you would like to demonstrate that. I don’t believe you would think that John K would engage with you in this discussion and come to the conclusion that ” Hey John Z – I hadn’t thought of this before – I think you are onto something – it is odd that he hasn’t had a body of Exodus work peer reviewed – he must not feel confident it would stand up under scrutiny – I think I will give up my Christianity and become a NFA troll”.

    I think your intent John Z is thinly veiled. You have no intention of having a ‘reasonable’ discussion. Your aim is to ridicule and silence Christians as part of your secular humanist agenda. If John K is reading, go and have a nice break John K because you deserve it and don’t answer John Z. After all this time of people humouring Arkenaten, maybe it would be better to not give him any more attention, nor you either John Z. What you wrote to John K was a trap – to expose his (apparent) stupidity. Remember “If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will crush you instead”. You cannot defeat God and His Word stands forever.
    I notice your own book is highly praised by the Satanic Chapel – enough said.

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    1. I think your intent John Z is thinly veiled. You have no intention of having a ‘reasonable’ discussion.

      How can it be thinly veiled if I’ve explained the background of the question?

      But you are correct about there being no intention of having a “reasonable” discussion, although you have it backwards. Any person who flatly rejects the consensus position of archaeologists, bible scholars, and Jewish rabbis has abandoned reason. Understanding this, I genuinely see no need to debate the subject as that person has made it perfectly clear that they’re simply not concerned with facts. Denying it is like denying Evolution. It’s that solid, and any effort to lead the person through the evidence is simply a waste of time. So instead I usually just want to understand why a person rejects those facts, what their motivation is, and leave it at that.

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      1. John Zande, I was going to reply to your comment re Abraham Malamat but I waited first to read what John K had to say. It is all getting a bit pointless – isn’t it! Presumably you quoted Abraham Malamat deliberately out of context – being disingenuous – because I don’t think you will admit to being plain thick. From your first comment – I suspected that you had an agenda – and this is all I see with you – no real interest in engaging in serious debate. Please read the following by Hershel Shanks:

        “That the minimalists are motivated by interests other than pure scholarship is widely acknowledged. Again, they differ somewhat from one another. Almost all, like Herzog and Finkelstein, are serious scholars. But most of them also have a political agenda. Professor Avraham Malamat of Hebrew University publicly described one of them as both “anti-Israel and anti-Bible.” At the extreme, they can even be viewed as anti-Semitic. One of their number has written a book entitled, The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History. That about says it all……..

        In short, just as Herzog accurately tells us that “the archaeology of Palestine … sprang from religious motives,” so the position of the minimalists often takes on a conscious anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian cast………….

        ……In this, it resonates with some of the recent revisionist histories of modern Israel. It also connects with a certain current faddish lack of pride in Israel’s history, both modern and ancient, as well as a certain embarrassment at placing any great value, for whatever purposes, in the Bible. In Israel as well as elsewhere in the world, the Bible has somehow become associated with the literalists, the fundamentalists and evangelical Christians, not with sophisticated academic scholars………………….On the merits, Herzog’s argument is simplistic and flawed. But it is also very clever and, as one might expect from such a distinguished archaeologist, based on an intimate knowledge of the facts on the ground. But the arguments are much more subtle than Herzog’s quick-and-easy analysis recognizes…………. It begins to seem that he has another agenda—simply to destroy the credibility of the Bible, as is so fashionable among academic sophisticates these days ”

        Last sentence sounds just like yourself John Z!

        I’ve gotten very bored of this conversation. My faith rests on evidence – absolutely! It never rested on the strength of winning a shoddy argument. None of us want there to be a God – nobody. Because we all want ‘freedom’ – freedom to do whatever we want without having to answer to any God. But remember – the truth that there is a God – is ‘good news’ – not bad news. That is the point at which we are all most deceived. God is good and has made my life better than I could ever have imagined it could be. Thankfully, He is also sovereign – so we need not be afraid of the agenda of people like yourself – we can only feel truly sorry for you. I will pray for you though – because where there is life there is hope.

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      2. Thank you, Martha,
        for your confirmation that Malamat was the right scholar to cite in demonstration that there is no ‘sealed consensus’. John Zande either knows or doesn’t know the difficulty of finding a list of affirmations even in the searchable works of someone who undoubtedly believed what these affirmations would confirm. ( Been there; done that; got the teeshirt regalia, degree, certificate, and thesis to prove it.) Even after an affirmation or denial has been found there are editorial ‘corrections’ to watch out for and instances of the proverbial Homer nodded. Whether John knew it or not his request — after a little rewording — would be a good task for a Library search module at PhD. level; here it was patently unfair. I believe God meant it for good because of the opportunity it gave.

        I had no list of Israeli archaeologists from which to select Abraham Malamat; all I had was Ken Kitchen’s praise for him at the end of his (now infamous) Tabernacle peer-reviewed paper. However, recently I was scoffingly told by a wise man — though maybe ‘wise guy’ would be the better expression given the scoffing — that all I had to do was pray for incontrovertible evidence and surely it would come. I admit I was a little bit peeved because I knew that the sort of ‘evidence’ envisaged would be something like a huge hulk of ancient wood suddenly manifested on Salisbury Plain with ‘Noah and Sons’ inscribed on the stern. (Not to mention that I have repeatedly directed said gentleman to the records of the Resurrection testimonies as incontrovertible evidence: never mind I’m afraid that his extreme misimprovement of his learning is making him ill so I don’t respond to him any more.) Then I saw that the evidence that was being presented to me before I even asked was of the minimal sort but quite incontrovertible just the same. Boring this exchange might have been but next time you come across someone suffering from the defeater belief that there is a sealed consensus against these things you will be able to both give her back both her argument more clearly stated than she is able to formulate it; and then a refutation. (I think you were possibly already able to do that but I wasn’t.)

        I was going to add what I believe is sufficient evidence that the Bible accounts can be trusted but this post has grown long enough, already.

        Yours,
        John/.

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      3. Not sure what you’re referring to, but in the article you linked to, Malamat DOES NOT throw his weight behind the biblical narrative. In fact, he creates an entirely different narrative, while never once addressing established facts like the *actual* settlement period, which began in 1050 CE.

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      4. Thanks for coming back at me, John,
        I think I understand the problem. You have been assuming that I should think that everyone who is not for us is against us, whereas I am very much of the view that everyone who is not against us is for us. A subtle difference perhaps but a real one. I’m not saying that all seeming differences between Bible readings and archaeological finds are reconcilable — though I expect that they are — but it is irritating to be constantly told that I must believe something ‘because it’s in the Bible’ when it just isn’t.
        Yours,
        John/.

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  12. John Z, and Arkenaten while I’m at it, – if I were to produce evidence for the Exodus including archaeological, non-biblical historical accounts and proof of the exact numbers which left Egypt, where they settled/wandered – you would just cover your ears and eyes move onto something else – because it is not ‘truth’ you are looking for. You wish to remove religion from the public space. It may be that the majority of Rabbis, biblical scholars and archaeologists agree with your position or you with theirs – but majority opinion is not the basis for truth – we have learned this time and time again. The claim to ‘facts’ is always debatable.
    The God of the Jews is the God who brought them out of slavery in Egypt – perhaps some Jews like to call that a fairy tale but I’m sure some don’t – and Christians believe in that God too (and some calling themselves Christians don’t believe the Bible, or much of it) – so if you can remove the premise for believing in the God of the Bible- then you can do a lot of damage to the Jews, their claim to the promised land, to the Bible and to Christians – to those who believe the Bible. Is that your agenda?
    By the way, I don’t believe in Evolution (micro evoluton, adaptation is fine).
    My faith in God started with Him – a little revelation followed by more revelation and yet more and more – a journey – which I discovered I shared with others – an undeniable experience of God – the God of the Bible – . I could never deny Him. Not for one second.
    You might say – that’s fine in the privacy of your own home – but part of Biblical faith is to evangelise and to seek to be salt and light. You cannot shut up the Holy Spirit – it is not possible.

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      1. Ark, you misunderstand my statement above – please read it again

        ” if I were to produce evidence for the Exodus including archaeological, non-biblical historical accounts and proof of the exact numbers which left Egypt, where they settled/wandered – you would just cover your ears and eyes move onto something else – because it is not ‘truth’ you are looking for. ”

        I didn’t say I was privy to any extra evidence you haven’t already seen. Why would I bother trying to persuade you of the biblical account of the Exodus? I engaged in conversation with you quite a while ago Ark, against David Robertson’s advice that you were a waste of time – I have since discovered that he was right.

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      2. If you were to produce evidence I would most certainly NOT cover my ears and eyes, Of that you have my word, and I do not tell lies.

        I suspect the reason why you consider engaging with me a waste of time is simply because I do not accept statements based solely on faith, especially where such beliefs are indoctrinated into children.

        This is why people such as Ken Hamm should not be allowed to peddle the nonsense he does about the ark and Noah as historical fact, simply because scientific evidence flatly refutes every single claim he makes in this regard.

        This is why I would accord any verified evidence you were able to produce with genuine respect, as would anyone who was sincere about such things.

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    1. You don’t believe in evolution for which the evidence is indisputable but you apparently believe in the truth of the biblical account of exodus for which the evidence is non-existent.

      Oh dear.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. By the way John – I must challenge you on both accounts: –

    1) The evidence for evolution is not indisputable – I dispute it
    2) There is evidence for the Exodus – the Biblical account is evidence

    Maybe that’s enough for now…….

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  14. @ Ark “I suspect the reason why you consider engaging with me a waste of time is simply because I do not accept statements based solely on faith, especially where such beliefs are indoctrinated into children.”

    Everybody accepts statements based solely on faith every day. When you buy minced beef from the supermarket (presuming you are not vegetarian) you trust that it is beef and not horse meat that is in the packet; when you get water from the tap you trust the water is drinkable and not laced with poison; when you get surgery done at the hospital you trust that the surgeon isn’t a psychopath who is going to harm you. When you read that scientists say evolution is indisputable – you trust what they say – presumably without seeing and testing the evidence yourself. You trust the ‘word’ of men.

    It may be that you were indoctrinated as a child and trusted that what you were taught was true – but you cannot have known God – otherwise your ‘faith’ would not have been obliterated when you did not find the historical Moses as you expected to find him. But that does not mean that what you were taught was untrue. Is it any better to indoctrinate children with evolution? Trans theory? A child’s worldview is extremely important and every child has a worldview – even if they are not able to articulate it.

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    1. Everybody accepts statements based solely on faith every day.

      In fact I accept nothing based on faith, ( and certainly not in the manner in which you ascribe to the word where it pertains to religious belief) but rather I trust certain things based on positive previous experience.

      When you buy minced beef from the supermarket (presuming you are not vegetarian

      Actually I am vegetarian and have been for a number of years. I think it completely unethical to eat other animals.
      Produce that is sold to the general public generally has to meet very strict standards, as do all goods destined for sale.

      When you read that scientists say evolution is indisputable – you trust what they say – presumably without seeing and testing the evidence yourself. You trust the ‘word’ of men.

      Trust , yes. Most certainly. And the fact of evolution is all based on evidence. No faith at all. This is why I have no trust in the likes of Ken Hamm when he tries to tell the world that Noah and the Flood is an historical fact. The evidence flatly refutes him.

      Using the word ”indoctrinate” as you do when applied to evolution comes across as a pejorative, and therefore as somewhat disingenuous, I’m afraid.
      A child is educated with regard evolution much the same as a child is educated in math, English, calculus, geography or art.

      To my original point: My offer still stands regarding the Exodus. If you have any evidence then please present it and we can examine it.

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      1. @ Ark “To my original point: My offer still stands regarding the Exodus. If you have any evidence then please present it and we can examine it.”
        I already said more than once, I have no evidence you are not privy to already – which you have swept aside for your own reasons.
        As for the rest of the crap posted above that comment – I really do not want to waste my time on it – either you are being disingenuous or just plain stupid.

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  15. The following from Richard Hess: (Richard S. Hess is Earl S. Kalland professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Denver Seminary in Littleton, Colorado. ) “It is true that no explicit evidence exists for Abraham or Moses outside the Bible; but there is no logic to conclude that they did not exist. There are many historical works of the ancient world that attest characters otherwise not mentioned. That does not mean such characters don’t exist; only that their attestation rests on the reliability of the text in which they do appear.

    As for the exodus, one would not expect a country like Egypt to report such a humiliating defeat. They did not report other such defeats. Exodus 1:11 mentions the city of Ramsses which is also mentioned in 13th century BC documents as Pi-Ramsses. Such a store city which both Egyptian and biblical texts record as being built in the 13th century BC comports well with the re-emergence of the huge city of Tell ed-Dab’a in the Eastern Delta and preserving an archaeological culture for about a century or 2 (before it disappeared forever) similar to the West Semites (of whom the Israelites were) and not similar to the Egyptians. There are many pieces of evidence for the reliability of the Exodus and of the Conquest but these are ignored or downplayed by those who wish to criticize faith in the Bible. It is best to review the evidence yourself. You may want to read the appropriate chapters in the volume that I and Bill Arnold co-edited, Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources (Baker 2014).”

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    1. If one accepts the story of the Captivity, Exodus and Conquest, as written in the bible then one must also accept everything that goes with it, including all the miracles, and not least the numbers of fleeing slaves involved (which in itself would have completely collapsed the Egyptian economy) the genocides carried out along the way ( for which there is no recorded evidence)the Red Sea crossing, which is erroneous and included the death of the Pharaoh( who is famously not named and whose death is not recorded either.
      One also has to bear in mind that the region was firmly under the control of the Egyptians at the time -see the Armana letters – and for over 2 million people to arrive in Canaan
      after a 40 year sojourn, 38 years of which were spent at Kadesh – there would be some major evidence, not least graves, and other evidence of infrastructure as the entire generation had to die out before they could enter Canaan.
      There is not a single piece of evidence to suggest any of this.

      And this is why the Egyptians recorded no such event – because it didn’t happen!

      Tell ed-Dab’a was Hyskos.

      As for Hess, as qualified an individual as he is there are his religious beliefs to consider which must surely colour any conclusions he draws.

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      1. I’m not qualified to discuss the exodus – Richard Hess is an incredibly intelligent man – very learned and very humble and amicable. He would probably answer any questions you have and is contactable at the Denver Seminary – although he is very busy and is so not deserving of ridicule or harassment, so please do not so so. I don’t have my OT notes to hand – and I don’t have his 2014 book but I believe the exodus account. Also, a very good article by Joshua Berman https://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2015/03/was-there-an-exodus/
        But Ark, some people have faith and some don’t – even if you believed the bible in its entirety – it wouldn’t make you spiritually alive.
        Genuinely hope and pray you come to faith.

        All the best

        Martha

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      2. Hess is qualified to discus the Exodus which is why I mentioned that his religious convictions will inevitable colour his interpretation.

        Those archaeologists who have no religious leanings have no need to read anything into the story over and above what the evidence tells them.
        One reason archaeologist, William Dever eventually gave up his faith – he could not in good conscience continue to believe in a lie.

        Hess is still prepared to do so.

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  16. You are basically saying Ark – that Richard Hess is prepared to believe a lie despite the evidence. You frequently give other people’s testimony on their behalf – what a cheek!
    Richard Hess has integrity far above what I have seen you display on this blog – basically I have seen you swerve the evidence presented to you and return to the same old demands for evidence – you demand that people prove their faith to your satisfaction. Neither possible nor reasonable. I have simply had enough of you Ark. You go around in the same old circles all the time – and refuse to use reason – probably because your own ideology is a greater cause than respecting the individual person and engaging in a reasonable debate. Childish. You let your own side down.

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    1. Compartmentalism is a feature of those steeped in faith.
      Francis Collins is another who displays such tendencies.
      Sincere belief in the veracity of the biblical text will allow people to accept – or even forgive – almost anything and adopt an attitude along the lines of: The fault lies with me, or, We just haven’t found the evidence yet. Something along these line.
      Albright had similar issues.
      But as I already mentioned, and Hes is well aware of this, I am sure, the mountains of evidence that one would expect to find when we are talking of such a huge amount of people on the move for 40 years, and the settlements and the devastation to the Egyptian economy/society, the massive impact on regional tribes after the genocides and the impact of so many millions suddenly showing up in Canaan are simply not there, Martha.
      One has to look at the entire story and be honest enough to think it through, and ask, what would I expect to see if several million people traversed a country?

      And if at any point in the story you are to deviate from the narrative then we can say the biblical tale is simply false.

      An extreme example would be someone such as Ken Ham and his almost obscene expenditure on the ridiculous Noah’s Ark theme park.
      Dioramas with humans and dinosaurs together! Only poor indoctrinated fools accept such nonsense.
      Geology has shown that the flood as per the bible did not happen, but he continues to corrupt children telling them it did.

      While Hess is by no means in the same league as Ham he gives the impression that the evidence cannot possibly disprove the story in the bible.
      However, I am afraid it does.

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      1. You attack people of faith as ‘poor indoctrinated fools’ – what condescending sneering!! What’s next – put them to death – where have we heard that before!!?

        There is evidence produced and ‘interpreted’ by those who believe in evolution – and evidence produced and ‘interpreted’ by those who don’t. You personally have no more access to the ‘evidence’ than anybody else. You clearly have your own bias.

        You haven’t read Hess, or listened to him on ‘genocide’ – the Hebrew language and culture (of which he is a scholar) – archaeology and ANE – the exodus – Jericho – so you cannot judge him or speak for him and announce he compartmentalises evidence and faith. How could you possibly know that about a person? That is ignorant, malicious prejudice. A person who is far more intelligent and educated than most and who is a mature well integrated person.?!! Stick to what you ‘know’ which judging by your comments is sadly – very little!

        It’s not nice when your faith is attacked – but it could be worse – I could be on your side of the fence – which judging by your constant daily attack on people of faith – sounds like a tragic waste of a life! I need to pray for you – against my will I might add.

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  17. There is evidence produced and ‘interpreted’ by those who believe in evolution – and evidence produced and ‘interpreted’ by those who don’t. You personally have no more access to the ‘evidence’ than anybody else.

    You are correct. The evidence is the same for everyone. Interpreting the evidence of evolution is fine. (Fossils is always a good place to start.)

    But denying evolution is another matter altogether.

    However, as long as we agree that evolution happened.

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      1. Of course it makes sense.
        The evidence is the same for all of us.

        Some interpret it as Creation, some interpret it as Evolution.

        Now, the question is, Martha …. which of those two conclusions is the correct interpretation?

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  18. Fair question Ark – this time. Correct = truth. But I don’t wish to start with fossils. I haven’t seen the fossils – analysed the fossils – and therefore come to any conclusions. Neither have you. You only have the word of someone else. If the presupposition is that ‘there is definitely no god/God – then the conclusion will be different to a scientist who is open to the possibility of a god/God or indeed a scientist who believes in a god/God.

    To go back to the beginnings – the possibility of a simple life form simply springing into existence – the chances of the environment to sustain that life being simultaneously present – and further, the chances of that life form surviving let alone REPRODUCING – then further the chances of the reproduced life forms surviving and reproducing – and further the chances of those life forms using natural selection to change into more complex life forms while still surviving, thriving and reproducing –

    ….the chances of food sources being simply there for all life forms to thrive – the complex environment needed to sustain life – and after all that we need a male and a female to reproduce now and have never known people to reproduce in any other way – the chances of all that – simply as I have put it and not even getting into the complexity of it all – that is not science – that is the belief of ‘poor ignorant fools’

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  19. Oh John Kilpatrick – thanks for the introduction to Kurt Wise – I’m currently watching a lecture on ‘The study of sediment’ – it’s quite long so I’ll break it up over few days. I can’t believe that such a study could be so interesting!! I’ve gained a new interest – in geology – I’ll never look at rocks the same way again.
    By the way, what do you think of the idea that the word ‘eleph’ as used in Numbers could just as easily be translated ‘clan’ as ‘thousand’ ? Joshua Berman seems to think it is better translated ‘clan’ or maybe ‘chief’ – I can’t remember – but it is an interesting translation – as it changes the look of the Exodus. I have also been told that numbers didn’t have the same type of significance that we give them today. Whatcha think?

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    1. Hi Martha. Both James Hoffmeir and Colin Humphreys have shown that this is exactly the case. The problem of ‘eleph’ was always about linguistics rather than logistics. This has been a typical straw man for people to attack, not that an awareness of the meaning of the word will make any difference to their approach.

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    2. You see, Martha‽
      What we might think of as the Dawkins model — actually, it’s the Andrew Dickson White model — of a Science v. Religion battle to the death has never been an accurate picture of what’s going on on the ground. There is a contrarian streak in all of us that reacts to both real attacks and perceived attacks by seeking out or manufacturing lines of defence and means of attack. In spite of this, Kurt Wise has found a way of being a paleontologist just at the time when the need for a Laplacean god-of-the-gaps explanation was being banished from biology. During that time, believers in the uncreated God who is God of the known and the unknown have been increasingly lampooned as believers in gods, hypothesised to fill gaps and explain anomalies. Thankfully, not everyone abandoned common sense and decided that if they were against us believing in a god-of-the-gaps then that is exactly whom we ought to believe in. JOHN LENNOX:

      The god you don’t believe in is a god I don’t believe in either.

      The caveat is that for sediments to be really interesting they also have to be thoroughly boring (pun unavoidable) and the evidential value of them, which sustains the interest, can swell out of all proportion, because evidentialism can be insidious. Instead, we believe because the Bible tells us so and the evidences help us to read the Bible aright.

      Which brings us to the big numbers in Numbers 1 and 26. You are absolutely right that a more nuanced reading of the numbers ‘changes the look of the Exodus’ because all the problems relate to those numbers. The two totals — 603,550 [Num. 1:46] & 601,730 [Num. 26: 51] — indicate two different things: 1). the projected fighting capacity of the Israelite army. 2). the projected land requirements for a people with a pastoral culture. The two figures are remarkably similar considering all the things that had gone on in the intervening years, however that similarity is achieved because the drastic drop in Simeon’s numbers — 59,300 [Num. 1:23] to 22,200 [Num. 26:14] — is reflected in a dramatic increase in those of Manasseh: 32,200 [Num. 1:35] to 52,700 [Num. 26:34].
      Since the ‘chief’ equivalence reading is well established, we can see how it might correspond with the changes. One of the things that happened between the two censuses was the defeat of the Canaanites in Transjordan and the decision of two and a half tribes to settle there. The tribe thus split was Manasseh which would consequently require nearly twice as many leaders to administer and defend their two territories. Similarly, the rebellion that preceded the second census was epitomised by the action of a ‘chief of a father’s house belonging to the Simeonites.’ [Num. 25:14.]
      Genealogy is another thing that needs to be boring before it becomes very interesting.

      Yours,
      John/.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks John.

        The reference I would cite here would be James Hoffmeir, Ancient Israel in Sinai (OUP, 2005), Chapter 7 (‘From Egypt to Mount Sinai’). He deals excellently with the issue of ‘aleph’, and he also cites the academic literature at some length regarding the preservation of nomadic artefacts.

        This is a perfect decent, respected academic text on the subject, not some piece of fundamentalist buffoonery, much beloved of the sceptics.

        Sir Colin Humphreys’ treatment of the same topic is to be found in ‘The Miracles of Exodus’ (HarperCollins, 2003), Chapter 8 (‘How many people were in the Exodus?’) and he follows a similar textual path to Hoffmeir. The book may suffer a little from its imprint, but knowing the author a little bit, the academic rigour is clear for all to see.

        At a stroke, this perfectly viable treatment of the text entirely eliminates this main objection to the narrative, which one hears repeated, ad nauseam, by sceptics.

        Bests,

        Kevin

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