The Date Of The Exodus-Conquest Is Still An Open Question: A Response To Rodger Young And Bryant Wood -- By: Ralph K. Hawkins

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 51:2 (Jun 2008)
Article: The Date Of The Exodus-Conquest Is Still An Open Question: A Response To Rodger Young And Bryant Wood
Author: Ralph K. Hawkins


The Date Of The Exodus-Conquest Is Still An Open Question: A Response To Rodger Young And Bryant Wood

Ralph K. Hawkins*

* Ralph K. Hawkins is a research associate with the Horn Archaeological Museum, Andrews University, and an adjunct professor of Bible at Bethel College, 1001 W. McKinley Ave., Mishawaka, IN 46545.

In my 2007 article,1 I sought to simply set forth two lines of evidence— one biblical and the other archaeological—for considering the possibility of a late-date exodus-conquest. Young and Wood appear to believe that my short article was a response to Wood’s article of 2006,2 based on their notations of my failure to comprehensively respond to it. My article, however, had been accepted for publication prior to the appearance of Wood’s 2006 article, and was therefore not written as a response to it. In any case, Young and Wood’s critical response to my article has provided me with an opportunity to elaborate further on these matters. Since I have been invited to respond to Young and Wood’s article rather than to write a full-fledged one of my own, I will limit my treatment to the topics outlined in their paper.

At the outset, I would like to clarify my intentions regarding the quest to zero in on a date for the exodus-conquest and reconstruct the Israelite settlement. Young and Wood repeatedly charge me with seeking to “discredit” the Bible, to negate its credibility, of “seeking ways to show that the Bible is not to be trusted in historical matters,” and of either supporting or directly advancing “radical revisionism.” These accusations about my intentions are untrue. I believe in the inspiration and authority of Scripture, and my efforts to reconstruct the background and history of the Israelite settlement are motivated by a belief that the biblical accounts reflect real events that occurred in real time, which means that historical and archaeological contexts do exist for them. The challenge for contemporary scholars is determining what those historical and archaeological contexts are. Evangelical scholars may not always reach the same conclusions regarding various historical reconstructions, but unless the methodologies or conclusions of those with whom we disagree are in direct contradiction to Scripture, we should use caution in our criticism. I will seek to show here that my methodologies and conclusions remain within the realm of possibility, despite the criticisms of Young and Wood.

I. Textual Arguments

1. The 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 and the chronology of Judges. ...

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