The Parting of the Sea: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plagues Shaped the Story of Exodus

The Parting of the Sea: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plagues Shaped the Story of Exodus

by Barbara J. Sivertsen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691137706

ISBN-13: 9780691137704

Pub. Date: 02/17/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

For more than four decades, biblical experts have tried to place the story of Exodus into historical context—without success. What could explain the Nile turning to blood, insects swarming the land, and the sky falling to darkness? Integrating biblical accounts with substantive archaeological evidence, The Parting of the Sea looks at how natural phenomena…  See more details below

Overview

For more than four decades, biblical experts have tried to place the story of Exodus into historical context—without success. What could explain the Nile turning to blood, insects swarming the land, and the sky falling to darkness? Integrating biblical accounts with substantive archaeological evidence, The Parting of the Sea looks at how natural phenomena shaped the stories of Exodus, the Sojourn in the Wilderness, and the Israelite conquest of Canaan. Barbara Sivertsen demonstrates that the Exodus was in fact two separate exoduses both triggered by volcanic eruptions—and provides scientific explanations for the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. Over time, Israelite oral tradition combined these events into the Exodus narrative known today.

Skillfully unifying textual and archaeological records with details of ancient geological events, Sivertsen shows how the first exodus followed a 1628 B.C.E Minoan eruption that produced all but one of the first nine plagues. The second exodus followed an eruption of a volcano off the Aegean island of Yali almost two centuries later, creating the tenth plague of darkness and a series of tsunamis that "parted the sea" and drowned the pursuing Egyptian army. Sivertsen's brilliant account explains inconsistencies in the biblical story, fits chronologically with the conquest of Jericho, and confirms that the Israelites were in Canaan before the end of the sixteenth century B.C.E.

In examining oral traditions and how these practices absorb and process geological details through storytelling, The Parting of the Sea reveals how powerful historical narratives are transformed into myth.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691137704
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/17/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
262
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Figures and Tables ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: The Exodus, Oral Tradition, and Natural History xiii

Chapter One: Dating the Exodus 1

Chapter Two: The Coming of the Hyksos 10

Chapter Three: The Minoan Eruption 23

Chapter Four: The Plagues, the Exodus, and Historical Reality 35

Chapter Five: Moses and the Mountain of God 46

Chapter Six: The Sojourn in the Wilderness 68

Chapter Seven: Meanwhile, Back in Civilization 83

Chapter Eight: The Destruction of Jericho 93

Chapter Nine: The Conquest and Settlement of Canaan 102

Chapter Ten: Back to Egypt 120

Chapter Eleven: The Formation of the Exodus Tradition 140

Appendix: Oral Transmission, Memory and Recall, and Oral History 152

Abbreviations 157

Notes 159

Glossary of Geological and Technical Terms 199

Bibliography 205

Index 229

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