Notes On Egyptology. —New Theory Of The Exodus By Pasha Brugsch -- By: Joseph P. Thompson
BSac 32:125 (Jan 1875) p. 185
Notes On Egyptology. —New Theory Of The Exodus By Pasha
Believers in the divine authority of the Hebrew scriptures should not be over eager in accepting the seeming confirmations of their story which from time to time are brought forward from Assyrian and Egyptian monuments, and from other collateral sources. Such confirmations undoubtedly exist, and in the progress of archaeological research we may confidently look for more. They are valuable chiefly as side-lights, illuminating certain incidental points in the biblical narrative, and by throwing these into clearer relief, giving an extraneous confirmation to the whole story with which these stand connected; but they should never be magnified as the central light of the story itself, the conclusive evidence of its authenticity. The trepidation of some biblical critics at the alleged antiquity of the zodiac of Denderah, and their subsequent exultation over its comparatively modern data and significance, were alike unseemly, and betrayed an undue sensitiveness to the value of such testimony upon either side. That the Pentateuch is steeped in the atmosphere of Egypt and of the desert, that its narratives breathe the air of Oriental life, and its laws and customs reflect, now the stable civilization of Egyptian society, and now the rude freedom and simplicity of the wilderness, are strong internal proofs of the historical truth of the
BSac 32:125 (Jan 1875) p. 186
books of Moses; but when some single discovery, or chain of discoveries, in Egyptian archaeology is vaunted as settling the fact that the Hebrews were in Egypt, and made their exodus to Canaan by way of the desert, the exaggeration of such extraneous evidence seems to imply the previous dubiousness of the biblical narrative, and, moreover, rests its support upon what may prove to be a fancied analogy or the theory of an enthusiastic explorer. Thus the view of the Hebrew exodus lately propounded by Dr. Brugsch — formerly a Bey, now a Pasha of the Khedive — from Egyptian monuments, has been received by a portion of the religious press as if it were a new revelation accrediting the old; and yet this theory can be maintained only by discrediting a portion of the narrative which it is adduced to confirm.
Whatever Dr. Brugsch may have to say upon such a question is deserving of most serious consideration. His Geographische Inschriften Altägyptischer Denkmäler, his Recueil de Monuments Égyptiens. his Histoire d’ Égypte, and his translation of the Book of the Dead, Das Todtenbuch der alten Aegypter — the last two yet unfinished—have contributed indirectly to the elucidation of the Pentateuch, and have a...
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