Skip to comments.'Exodus Decoded' seeks 'plausible explanation' for Biblical events
Posted on 08/19/2006 6:32:10 AM PDT by NYer
Did Moses really part the Red Sea like it says in the Old Testament? What about the Nile turning blood red or the plagues that finally compelled Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery? Did those things actually happen?
These are among the questions Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici attempts to answer in "The Exodus Decoded" which premieres Aug. 20, 8-9:30 p.m. (check local listings) on cable's History Channel.
Challenging opinions that dismiss those events as myth, the thought-provoking documentary uses investigative journalism aided by modern science to examine archaeological and geological evidence in separating historical fact from fiction.
Jacobovici believes that archaeology does support the Bible, though his arguments are based on a rethinking of the events and some chronological tinkering.
First, he sets the Exodus some 300 years earlier than the traditional timeline --- to around 1500 B.C. --- and identifies the ancient Israelites with the Hyksos, a Semitic people living in Egypt at that time who, according to the program, suddenly fled the country en masse.
The earlier date of the Exodus proves key to Jacobovici's thesis, as it places it at the time of the cataclysmic eruption of the volcano on the Greek island of Santorini, the linchpin to many of the theories proposed. Citing documented modern parallels such as the 1986 Lake Nyos disaster in Cameroon, he believes that much of what the Book of Exodus describes can be explained by a chain reaction of natural phenomena, triggered by the Santorini eruption and a related earthquake.
He even has a ready answer for the slaughter of the firstborn by the angel of death: It was a lethal cloud of poisonous carbon monoxide gas released by the geological upheaval.
Of course, the most dramatic event recorded in Exodus is the parting of the Red Sea, a scene immortalized by Cecil B. DeMille. But while revealing ancient carvings and hieroglyphics that he argues support the Old Testament account, Jacobovici again offers a scientific explanation. Suggesting that the biblical reference to the "Red Sea" is actually a mistranslation of an ancient Hebrew word which meant "Reed Sea" --- a now-dried body of water --- he hypothesizes that the seismic activity caused by the earthquake may have temporarily raised a land bridge for safe passage and the pursuing Egyptians were the unfortunate victims of perfectly-timed tsunamis approaching from the Mediterranean.
Jacobovici also speculates on the true location of Mount Sinai and uncovers a gold trinket overlooked among other ancient artifacts in an Athens museum which he believes depicts the legendary Ark of the Covenant.
While many of the theories are intriguing, the film raises some questions. First, if the clues are out there in plain sight it seems suspicious that Jacobovici is the only guy smart enough to piece the puzzle together. Why isn't it all over the news? Also, regarding the experts interviewed, the deck is pretty unevenly stacked in favor of Jacobovici, with a noticeable absence of critical voices.
Executive produced by Oscar-winning director James Cameron, the program combines the treasure-hunt elements of a real life "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with 3D computer graphics, including a flashy virtual-reality home-base set.
The filmmaker does not try to take "God out of the equation" but merely makes the case that in miraculously intervening in human history God chose to use, rather than suspend, his laws of nature to achieve his divine plan. Jacobovici leaves his guesswork at the foot of the mountain he believes to be Sinai, as his tone turns reverential and he recites the Ten Commandments.
In trying to find a "plausible scientific explanation" for Biblical events, the film misses a very important point: The Bible is a testament of faith, not a history or science book, written by authors who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, were trying to discern and understand God's hand in the drama of salvation.
David DiCerto is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. More reviews are available online at www.usccb.org/movies.
Then why are people trying to use it to teach Intelligent Design if it isn't a science book?
That causes them to go through all sorts of contortions to come up with outlandish alternative explanations.
"Scientists" who bring their conclusion to the table ahead of time are doomed before they start.
And that guy will Never get this one:
Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
There's a sea up there...And it's a big one...And it's going to divide just like the Red Sea did to provide safe passage for God's Bride...
Because he isn't the first. A lot of these ideas, the Santorini eruption in particular, have been around long enough that I was familiar with them, certainly by when I went to college (1984).
The cantor who taught Hebrew school, when my age was in single digits, once went through each of the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea and gave possible scientific explanations for each of them (I forget the details -- it's been a long time). He then paused and said that the miracle was not that these events occurred, but that they happened at the right time.
I have always believed, since then, that God has chosen to play within the rules of the universe He created and that miracles are not impossible events happening, but God skewing the odds in favor of highly unlikely events.
So true... once that's a 'given'... then any jackasses explanation is as good as anothers.
My thinking at that time is that you don't want to go down that road, because then you would have to completely eliminate most of the ministry of Christ, and the miracles that occurred in the Old Testament.
Faith is a gift.
Geniuses and idiots have and don't have that gift.
So, in the end, trying to prove/disprove faith is a waste of time.
When I see/hear men like Pope Benedict XVI with all the faith in the world, my mind is at rest. I would worry if Sleazywood started having faith. I would wonder at my faith. Lol. OR, I would have to admit, yet again, to another of God's miracles.
We all know that carbon monoxide kills only first-born, don't we? (Sarcasm)
But I would like to hear an explanation why a God who is not partial, a God who is the source of life, personally kills (according to Exodus) and wants to be remembered for that? Sin came into this world through one man, and through his sin death. God is not the source of death or else He must be the source of sin as well.
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Director posits proof of biblical Exodus
The Globe and Mail | 14 April 2006 | Michael Posner
Posted on 04/14/2006 8:58:16 AM EDT by timsbella
Documentary Sets New Date For Exodus
Jerusalem Post | 7-3-2006 | Etgar Lefkovits
Posted on 07/03/2006 5:26:25 PM EDT by blam
You're among friends who feel as you do!
What a miracle? The Egyptian soldiers drowned on a land bridge.
I also think the reviewer did not make his last point very clearly. The Bible is not a history book in the modern sense of historical writing where events are precisely chronologed in order. But it does contain history, especially salvation history. The reviewer but his unclear statement seems to dismiss the miracles mentioned in the first place by dismissing it as not being history. Bad enough when skeptical film producers do this, another thing with a film reviewer for the USCCB does it.
Lol .... especially when there aren't any siblings :-)
just a bump...as the show is about to air (8PM Eastern; Sunday 8-20-06)
I'm not sure what your point is. It is by no means clear that the Biblical Hittites are related to the Anatolian Hittites.
The idea of the non-existence of the (Anatolian) Hittites is, so far as I know, an idea suggested by Imanual Velikovsky in his book Ages in Chaos. This same book presents a discussion of evidence from Egypt for the some of the events related in Exodus.
What a lucky guy!
Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, poison clouds!
Did someone say, "Lucky?"!
And Moses got Pharoah to believe it was an invisible God doing it all!
The one about the bridge rising from the "Reed Sea" at precisely the time the Jews were in need of it was an especially nice touch.
Oh, and the resulting tsunamis that wiped out Pharoah's army and chariots was much better than an earlier version that would have required thousands of grown men in chariots drowning in a foot of water that closed in on them.
Can't wait for the next explanantion of how to make clothes and sandals last for 40 years. Better yet, in a manna of speaking, how to get people to fit in the same clothes for 40 years.
Thanks for the bump. I did watch the program and like N.Theknow, was surprised (not!) at the coincidence that so many series of extraordinary events just happened to take place at precisely the moment when they were needed.
As my pastor commented this morning ....
"For those with faith, no explanation is needed; for those without faith, no explanation is sufficient.
Actually-- he says it was carbon dioxide, which is not poisonous. It is heavier than other components of air and can, in the rare event of its being released in concentrated form, displace the oxygen in the air thus causing suffocation. It happened at Lake Nyo in the Cameroons recently and, to my own knowledge, happened in the United States near a lake I once camped at-- Horseshoe lake near Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada mountains-- I don't think anyone was killed in Mammoth Lakes but a geologist lost consciousness because the carbon dioxide, which was being emitted from the mountain was concentrated and cut down the oxygen content of the air-- as to why it was the first born only who were killed, the film's thesis is that in Egyptian culture first born males were given favored treatment and one aspect of that was being allowed to sleep on beds on the first floor while others slept on roofs. Because the carbon dioxide is heavy it only kills those animals and persons closer to the ground. Those sleeping higher up are spared. Far from being a challenge to faith, this program is meant to prove that bibilically described events really did happen. How often has something perfectly explainable in natural terms occurred at a time that was so propitious that you have exclaimed, It's like a miracle-- it has happened to me, more than once. Do you not see the hand of God in such events? I do. On the deepest level. That level that says , without thinking, Thank God.
See my review, headed "Reporter from the Apocalypse?" Thanks to CD universe for the cover art.
Quest For The Lost Tribes
Simcha Jacobovici, director
I'm a Bible believing ger tzedek. Though the lack of artifacts that would have sustained such a large population in the Sinai, wasn't even touched on.
Agreed. Are naysayers implying that God is incapable of using natural occurring events and scientific principles to create miracles?
Is a child’s birth any less of a miracle now that we know details of reproduction?
Is a rainbow any less of a miracle now that we understand that raindrops act as tiny prisms?
Is a solar eclipse any less of a miracle if we understand orbital mechanics and optical physics?
Science is not a threat to God, and God is not a threat to science. But there are those who use this false divide to keep people ignorant of the true nature of both.
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.
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