An Open Letter to Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein

rabbi-yy-pic

http://www.rabbiyy.com/

yy@rabbiyy.com

manicstreetpreacher enquires of a former recent debating opponent on a few points.  Such as whether there is any evidence outside the texts themselves for a group of half a million people being dragged around the desert for decades to the only place in the Middle East that has no oil.  And how could the scribes of the King James Version have botched up so badly that Yahweh has been transformed into a moral abomination…

Dear Rabbi Rubinstein

Follow My Way – 12 March 2009, Liverpool University

I very much enjoyed debating you at Liverpool University’s Follow My Way event on 12 March 2009.  It was a shame you had to leave early.  I have a few clean-up points which we didn’t have chance to address.

Archaeology and the Old Testament

As I was attempting to say in the debate before you questioned my bibliography, the stories of the Exodus, the wandering and the conquest of Canaan have long been dismissed by the “serious” school of Jewish archaeology as myths with no more basis in historical fact than King Arthur plucking Excalibur from the grasp of The Lady of The Lake.

I suggest you read The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman upon which I have based some of my arguments in this area.  Finkelstein and Silberman are biblical “minimalists” in that they view the events portrayed in the Old Testament as having little basis in reality, as opposed to “maximalists” who see the OT as an accurate historical record.

In respect of the Exodus, there is no way that a mass of half a million plus Jews escaping from Egypt would have passed Egyptian military outposts without being stopped in their tracks.  There is no mention of Moses outside the Bible and the episode is not mentioned at all in contemporary Egyptian and Mesopotamian texts.  Not a single campsite or sign of occupation from the time of Ramesses II and his immediate predecessors has ever been identified in Sinai.  And it has not been from lack of trying.  We are talking about one of the most heavily excavated areas in the World.

It gets better.  Archaeological excavations show that Jericho was a tiny hillside settlement c. 1,300BC and therefore had no walls to bring down whether by the sound of Joshua’s horns or more conventional military methods.

Maximalists such as Kenneth Kitchen clutch at straws, in particular the Tel Dan seal which alludes to “The House of David”.  Whilst Finkelstein and Silberman concede that David and Solomon probably did exist, population levels at that time could only have rendered them as minor tribal chieftains.   Again, there is no mention of either king in contemporary Mesopotamia texts even though we have good records of other Middle Eastern rulers from the same period.

Kitchen and Tudor Parfitt, with the latter’s ludicrous confection of fabrication and assertion, The Lost Ark of the Covenant, desperately spin the archaeological evidence further than it could ever reasonably be expected to go in non-religious history.

One highly respected scholar, William Dever, has tried to straddle both minimalist and maximalist positions in his book, Recent Archaeological Discoveries and Biblical Research (1993).  However, even Dever concedes:

Absolutely no trace of Moses, or indeed any Israelite presence in Egypt, has ever turned up.  Of the Exodus, and the wandering in the wilderness – events so crucial in the Biblical recitation of the “mighty acts of God” – we have no evidence whatsoever…  Recent Israeli excavations at Kadesh-Barnea, the Sinai oasis where the Israelites are said to have encamped for forty years, have revealed an extensive settlement, but not so much as a potsherd earlier than tenth century BC.

Even the location of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem remains a mystery, despite impressive finds having been made which pre-date the period.

As for Mount Sinai, the geographical location is entirely separate from biblical one and so far, has proved surprisingly illusive for what one would think would surely be a vast feature on any landscape.

As I contended in the debate, our earliest written sources for the likes of Alexander The Great and Ramesses II may be dated hundreds of years after their deaths, but we at least know they existed and can be sure of many of the details of their lives because we have their tombs, coins with their faces on and have unearthed the sites of their battles.

I think this admission by the entire “serious” school of Jewish archaeology, who had every motive to go into the desert and dig up what David Ben-Gorian called “the title deeds” to prove the Israelis’ claim to the Holy Land, is a shining example of what Bertrand Russell termed “evidence over interest” and is far more noble, far more admirable and far more Socratic than any of the nonsense that clergymen attempt to foist upon their flocks.

Nevertheless, you could prove your case very easily by pointing out where Moses and Solomon are buried.

But, we could argue all day about scant archaeological which could imply the historicity of the narrative.  If we just take a step back, the story is falsified by looking at matters more philosophically:

Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses.  He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!

- Golda Meir, Israeli Prime Minister 1969 – 1974

My mother’s Jewish ancestors are told that until they got to Sinai, they’d been dragging themselves around the desert under the impression that adultery, murder, theft and perjury were all fine, and got to Mount Sinai only to be told it’s not kosher after all.

- Christopher Hitchens

Even taken as a metaphor, the story is an insult; not only to humanity’s moral sense, but also its intelligence.  What society would have even got that far thinking that the above acts were permissible?  And why would the creator of the universe reward his chosen with the right to ethically cleanse their way to gaining such a worthless piece of land?

The Torah as a moral guide

Having debated seasoned apologists for a while now, I know that terms such as “translation” and “context” seem to cover a multitude of sins.  Since I’m feeling charitable, I’ll let go the repeated endorsements of slavery that litter the Jewish Bible (even rather bizarre pronouncements such as not beating your slaves so hard that they die on the spot, but if they live for one or two days afterwards, that’s all fine and dandy – Exodus 21: 20-21), as mistranslations, distortions and misinterpretations by those hacks who penned the King James Version.

However, I don’t think following pronouncements survived the journey into Hebrew:

Thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them, thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them.  And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them…  For they will turn away thy son from following me… so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly… the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are on the face of the earth.

- Deuteronomy 7

And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?  Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.  Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.  But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

- Numbers 31: 15 – 18

Are these ethical preachments?  Is Moses a man we should look up to as a great moral teacher?  Can you with a straight face explain away as a mistranslation the fact that rabbis in the Israeli army to this very day solemnly debate whether the Palestinians are the Amalekites and therefore the biblical warrant to exterminate them still remains?

I have to put it in these terms because I can scarcely believe that an otherwise noble and intelligent people can be guilty of such bovine stupidity and flat-out racism.

And don’t even get me started on the millennia-long, fine Jewish tradition of mutilating the genitalia of infant boys without their consent… (Genesis 17, Leviticus 12: 3).

Atheism and the greatest crimes of the twentieth century

Before you trot out this well-worn, bogus argument again, can you at least reveal what the secular roots of fascism and anti-Semitism actually were in Europe in the 1930s?

The links below are some excellent articles first published in Free Inquiry magazine which give a more definite answer to Hitler’s religious views and set out the Church’s complicity in the rise of European totalitarianism:

“Hitler was not an atheist” – John Patrick Michael Murphy

“The Great Scandal: Christianity’s Role in the Rise of the Nazis” – Gregory S Paul

Sidebars to “The Great Scandal” by Gregory Paul

I managed to track down Part II of Gregory Paul’s article in an online database, which I can forward to you if you wish.  The articles also refer to excellent works for further reading if you want to find out what really motivated this man as opposed to his alleged non-belief in Yahweh/ Jesus/ Zeus.  I would particularly recommend Ian Kershaw’s work.  His two-volume biography was condensed only last year into a more manageable thousand-page volume, which I’m sure my father would be happy to lend to you.

I won’t go into Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Kim Jung Il any further now, but just because I don’t believe in your god does not make a supporter of their regimes, any more than someone with a moustache ought to be likened to Saddam Hussein.

And finally… the last word on miracles

Below is a link to the website that I alluded to in my opening address, the title, if not the contents of which you ought to ponder before giving that lecture on miracles with guaranteed results:

www.whywontgodhealamputees.com

Best regards

manicstreetpreacher

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9 Responses to “An Open Letter to Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein”

  1. More than I could chew? « manicstreetpreacher’s Blog Says:

    [...] manicstreetpreacher’s Blog Just another WordPress.com weblog « An Open Letter to Rabbi Y Y Rubenstein [...]

  2. manicstreetpreacher Says:

    Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein replied on “A Coda In A Student Bar” as follows:

    Dear Ed,

    Well I read your open letter. Honestly…you are so angry that I don’t see much point debating you.

    Your Blog fairly seethes and then the point about Genital mutilation just smells a little bit of anti Semitism.

    Your Biblical quotes, as I told you on the night, miss the point.

    Judaism is not the Pentateuch let alone the so called “Old Testament.” You cannot take a fraction of anything and claim that is the whole. You could teel someone who has never heard of this country that the UK state takes money from it’s citizens without pointing out that the tax money funds roads, police and the NHS and convince your listener that UK citizens are robbed by their government.

    Your understanding misses out the Talmud and Medrash all of which amplify and clarify the stories you quote. Through them, Judaism makes a statement, not through the simple text.

    I think that applies to all three religions although I do not claim to speak for them all. If you investigate these faiths in their own terms you will probably or may still reject at least three ( I have done and reject two) but at least let your rejection be based on what the religion actually says not what you think it does.

    There are two bits of Archaeology to investigate for the moment.

    One is the Shrine at El Arish. Now if you Google it you will find lots of engorgements about it endorsing the exodus both ways. Honestly, you will need a wee bit of Semitic language skill to take a view, but if you keep an open mind it can easily seen as pointing at the exodus.

    Then try the Ipuwer Papyrus in the Liden Museum. The same holds true for it.

    Consider that people of faith are not simpletons and some are extremely accomplished in areas that are assumed to preclude belief. Indeed a front page of Time magazine a few yeas go declared “Scientists prove existence of G-d.”
    They were not religious per say but felt that the evidence points to an act of creation, a “Big bang” and ergo a creator. Things like the universality of Pi etc forced some to that conclusion.

    You may like to go to the web site of a friend of mine Rabbi Dr David Gottlieb. He was professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins university specialising in the philosophy of science. You can download for free several lectures addressing the points you are convinced make your case. I have more friends who are professors of science than I care to count and not just ex students of mine who see no contradiction to Belief in G-d.

    You know, when religious people point to religious leader who committed terrible crimes and say “they were not real Christians, Muslim, Jews or whatever” I find that embarrassingly silly. Osama Bin Laden does massacre in the name and inspired by Islam wrongly or rightly.

    When I pointed out that more human beings were killed last century by atheists like Hitler (although he may indeed have believed in Norse gods) Stalin (who certainly did not) and that most wars were fought for secular reasons like China’s invasion of Vietnam your argument was just as silly.

    Do you recall saying that The North Korean Kim dynasty see themselves as gods and therefore there behaviour is not atheist based but really after all quasi religious based…. Wow!

    If you can stretch truth to that level of credulity… then maybe you too could consider Norse gods, druidism or Hogwarts.

    If you want to see what Judaism actually says then try “This is My G-d” by Herman Wouk. I will debate you on that.

    Only though, if you can let go of some of your fierce anger so that I can believe that you might listen to another view.

    That by the way is the only reason I did not e-mail you as you invited me to. When you are willing to consider other views I am happy to talk..

    Oh! And I promise to listen to you too.

  3. manicstreetpreacher Says:

    Dear Rabbi Rubinstein

    Thank you for your reply. I’ll take your points in order.

    Militant atheism

    I cannot deny that I am angered by the effects of religion on the world. However, I think that you and the other members of the panel refused to accept my points of view and resorted to demagogic pandering to the audience. If you read my piece “More than I could chew?” I recognise full well that I probably sounded as ranting and intolerant as the religions I was seeking to condemn.

    The onus was entirely on me to disprove the unsubstantial, ridiculous, moral, spiritual and historical claims of the rest of the panel – claims which would have carried no credence if they were not dressed in the cloak of faith. I’m sure you’ve heard of Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot and The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    However, my weapons are words, logic and reason. I will leave it to the faithful to blow up each others’ churches, synagogues and mosques as they can always be relied upon to do.

    Circumcision

    Your accusation of anti-Semitism with regard to my views on circumcision is yet another cheap shot in an attempt to get out of actually addressing my point. Rather like the recently-coined term “Islamophobia”, it is used to imply that an attack on a person’s religion is an attack on their race and ethnicity. This is a very nasty insinuation which I will meet head on.

    I have no quarrel with any race of people whatsoever. My attacks on religion are limited to the ideas and practices, not the people. I hold Islam responsible for the likes of John Walker Lindh and Adam Gadahn, both white middle class American men, who became involved with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban post-9/11 as much as what the religion does to an Indonesian or a Pakistani. Perhaps even more so; Gadahn and Walker Lindh didn’t even have the “alibi” of being brain washed from infancy by their parents.

    Circumcision is an intimate surgical procedure that would otherwise require the informed consent of the subject in all other circumstances. Male circumcision is a relatively quick and simple procedure, although this of course is no argument for its justification. In case you are unaware, the procedure is also carried out on young Muslim girls, particularly in Africa. Female genital cutting involves removing the clitoris and labia and sewing up the vaginal opening with strong twine leaving a small gap for the egress of menstrual blood. In reality, this gap is insufficient and the blood clots in the vagina causing great pain, unbearable stench, infertility, humiliation, infertility and sometimes even death. The stitching is to be broken only on the woman’s wedding night by her new husband.

    Many people – whether religious or not – blindly accept it as part of the Jewish and Islamic traditions with the kind of automatic respect for other religious customs which Daniel Dennett shrewdly describes as “belief in belief”.

    It has to say something that organisations are set up dedicated to opposing and discouraging the practice:

    http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/

    http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

    Having said that, if a grown adult wishes to hack away at their own genitals if they think this is the best way to please their god, I have no issue with them performing this act of free will; I just think it is only decent and humane to let the child decide for him or herself.

    Science and religion compliment each other

    I’m glad you’ve bought this up again. I remember in the debate you wheeled out the somewhat over-used tale of when a group of scientists conquer a peak of ignorance after struggling for decades to scale it, only to find that the theologians have been at the summit all along.

    What exactly are the great theological achievements of history? Which would you prefer; that all scientific knowledge disappeared tomorrow or all theological writings were be dispensed with? I think I’ll go firmly for Option B.

    Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics, and a mainstay of science lessons and peer-review journal articles was in fact a devotedly religious man, as were most people of his day. Indeed, he actually wrote more on theology than physics, but his religious writings are of historical-autobiographical interest only.

    In the summer of 1665 Newton went into solitude to escape the plague which was laying waste to the pious men and women of London. When he emerged, he had invented the integral and differential calculus, discovered the laws of universal gravitation and motion, and set the field of optics on its foundation. This was quite possibly the most awesome accomplishment of a single human mind. Yet there was no suggestion that this was the result of divine agency. Newton himself was a very unpleasant man to put it mildly.

    However, it took over 200 years of work by some of the cleverest minds in the word to hold a candle to Newton’s work. We could improve the scriptures scientifically, historically, ethically, morally, spiritually in five seconds.

    Regarding this bizarre partition of the human mind between scientific rationalism and flat-out superstition, Sam Harris says it better than I ever could in his review of Human Genome Project leader/ Christian evangelist Francis Collins’ book, The Language of God.

    In fact, the peaks of ignorance that scientists are attempting to scale are those imposed by theology. It’s not all that long ago that people thought that disease and earthquakes were divine retribution for sin. Thanks to science, we now have germ theory and seismology.

    Secular atrocities

    I do not dispute that atheists have done terrible deeds. Then again, unlike religion, atheism makes no claim that simply rejecting the idea of a personal god will lead to righteousness, morality and fulfilment. However, no wars have been fought and no atrocities have been carried out by people determined to spread the ideas of rationality, scepticism and honest discourse. If there has been a terrorist act carried out by a suicide bomber whose home was found to be teaming with books by Dawkins, Hitchens, Russell, Spinoza, Paine, Hume, Jefferson and Dolbach alongside boxes of detonators and plastic explosives, I have not heard about it. But there have been untold atrocities carried out but believers who dogmatically hold the idea that they are just right. You cannot deny that the scriptures mandate many immoral acts. If Moses carried out his extermination the Midionites today, he would be carted off to The Hague to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Perpetrators of religious violence have adhered rather too closely to their scriptures in carrying out and justify their acts.

    The “Hitler and Stalin were atheists” card is blindly trotted out by believers as evidence that atheists are immoral people and secular regimes are tyrannies. You did not offer any evidence or arguments in support of whether they did their terrible deeds as a direct result of their atheism. Hitler was also a vegetarian, but that’s hardly a reason to tar all vegetarians with the same brush.

    I hope the articles that I linked will at least encourage you to amend your views on whether Hitler was definitely an atheist and Fascism and National Socialism were secular movements.

    The origins of totalitarianism are entirely religious. It is the desire of the human species to refer their problems upwards to an unalterable, unchallengeable dictatorship. Whether this dictator is celestial or earth-bound matters little. According to Christopher Hitchens, North Korea under the Kim dynasty in is the most religious country he has ever been to in a similar way that the people of 1940s Japan were made to worship Emperor Hirohito as a god.

    Going by body-count alone, then yes, non-religious wars have probably produced far more deaths than religious wars. Having said that, whilst the First World War was not a religious war, it was still waged by imperial theocratic regimes whose leaders all believed they had God on their side. The Tsarist regime under the Romanovs before Lenin and Stalin was hardly a land of milk and honey where no one experienced oppression.

    However, the point is that we are unrestrained in everyday discourse to attack bad political ideologies, whereas religion enjoys a weird form of respect that makes it immune to criticism. No one in the 1930’s would have defended Nazism from the “extremist Nazis” like Hitler and Goebbels, obsessing about the purity of Aryan blood and the extermination of the Jews, who were tarring the good name of normal everyday Nazis who just enjoyed going to rallies and seeing their children in Hitler Youth outfits. No one would have argued “Nazism is not to blame for the Holocaust. It’s man’s heart of darkness.”

    Scriptural interpretation

    George Bernard Shaw once said that “No man ever thinks that the Bible means what it says. He always thinks it says what he means.” The theologians have been gainlessly employed for millennia trying to figure out what the prophets meant and are still no closer to reaching a consensus, so what chance does a heretic like me have?

    It is a relief to hear that moderates do not take these “difficult” passages literally, but there can be little doubt that other people do take the passages at face value. Hand waving gestures about “context” and “interpretation” are no answer to my original question about today’s rabbis in Israel debating whether the Palestinians should be treated in the same way as the Amalekites.

    Israeli archaeology

    I have viewed the items you suggested and I am not persuaded by them at all. The Ipuwer Papyrus refers to ancient myths preceding the fabrication of the Pentateuch upon which the stories of the Exodus were based. The origins of nearly all biblical stories can be traced back to religions preceding monotheism. The story of Noah’s Ark was borrowed from Babylonian myth of Uta-Napisthim was known from the older mythologies of several cultures. The character of Jesus Christ is so similar to pagan sky gods that Thomas Paine once wrote that Christianity was a parody of sun worship, where the sun had been replaced by a man.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. You have not even attempted to counter my charges of the lack of archaeological evidence for any like such a large movement of people or the lack of extra-biblical documentation for the events. The findings of modern Israeli archaeology have revealed nothing like the epic population and political geographical scales as described in the books of Moses.

    This Is My God by Herman Wouk

    This is yet another variation on the argument from “That’s not my God or my religion you’re attacking.” Herein lies the definition of “a personal god”. There are 2.1 billion Christians in the World; therefore there are 2.1 billion Christian Gods. There are 1.4 billion Muslims in the World; therefore there are 1.4 billion Muslim Gods. There are 12 million Jews in the World; therefore there are 12 million Jewish Gods.

    And it looks like Mr Wouk has just invented yet another God/ religion. Guess what? I don’t believe in them either.

    Regards

    manicstreetpreacher

  4. rabbi y y rubinstein Says:

    Ed… your quote “And it looks like Mr Wouk has just invented yet another God/ religion. Guess what? I don’t believe in them either”

    How do you know? you admit you haven’t read the book.

    IT has been the standard book suggested by the Rabbinic Courts of this country for anyone seeking to covert for the last fifty years so that gives at much greater status than just one man’s opinion.

    Neither of my two books sadly has reached such an endorsment and I would accept that you could categorise them as my opinion of Judaism, you would I hope be be wrong but you could.

    This is my G-d though is what Orthodox Jews who are 80% of those in the UK would accept as making and explaining their beliefs.

    Once again if you try reading that and then want to criticise…and can have an open mind…lets talk.

  5. manicstreetpreacher Says:

    Dear Rabbi Y Y

    I’ll take a wild guess here. Would I be right in saying that Mr Wouk’s book is all about how belief in God has brought meaning and purpose to his life? That whilst he was an atheist he was without hope and direction? That maybe he drank a lot, that he mistreated people close to him, that he had many material possessions yet still had this yearning sense that there must be something more?

    And that it was only when he had a life-changing experience and found God that started being nice to people? That he found a great sense purpose and direction? That he was part of the human race? That finally he had found something more?

    This is all very well and good and I have problem with it whatsoever. In fact, I wish that every religious person was like the good Mr Wauk. Yet it is for precisely this reason that religious faith is so harmful and why it receives my special criticism, because it starts from the purest and most well-meaning of intentions: to try to make sense of it all, to try to provide hope, purpose and morality to the lives of ordinary people.

    But apart from helping people to come off drugs and into work, there is a somewhat darker, more sinister side to it all:

    Possibly you remember Dr Baruch Goldstein, the man who in February 1994 unslung his weapon and killed more than two dozen worshippers at the mosque in Hebron. He had been a physician in the Israeli army and had first attracted attention by saying that he would refuse to treat non-Jews on the Sabbath. Now read Ethan Bronner’s report in the March 22 New York Times about the preachments of the Israeli army’s latest chief rabbi, a West Bank settler named Avichai Rontzski who also holds the rank of brigadier general. He has “said that the main reason for a Jewish doctor to treat a non-Jew on the Sabbath … is to avoid exposing Diaspora Jews to hatred.” Those of us who follow these things recognize that statement as one of the leading indicators of a truly determined racist and fundamentalist. Yet it comes not this time in the garb of a homicidal lone-wolf nut bag but in the full uniform and accoutrement of a general and a high priest: Moses and Eleazar combined. The latest news, according to Bronner, is that the Israeli Defense Ministry has felt compelled to reprimand Rontzski for “a rabbinal edict against showing the enemy mercy” that was distributed in booklet form to men and women in uniform (see Numbers 31:13-18).

    This may not be the God of your good self and Mr Wouk, but on what basis can either of you say absolutely that these people are not carrying out the will of the creator of the universe? What is your authority by which these people can safely be filed in the drawer labelled “mind-torched whack-job”?

    Once you grant this stuff, once the notion that certain individuals have a one-to-one with the maker of all things – a relationship which is denied to many of the rest of us – once this baseless notion is tolerated and encouraged and once it becomes the recipient of special respect and protection from criticism in human conversation, then the road to divinely inspired mass-murder becomes all too easy.

    If you allow it for one, you concede it for all. I prefer to deny it a capite ad calcem, even if it means robbing people of their precious fairytales.

    But at least the radicals are staying true to their scriptures. Extremists only betray reason. Moderates betray both faith and reason.

    manicstreetpreacher

  6. manicstreetpreacher Says:

    Not for the first time, Steven Carr backs me up:

    ‘Now if you Google it you will find lots of engorgements about it endorsing the exodus both ways.’

    Nope. There is no evidence for the Exodus, let alone for Yahweh killing thousands and thousands of Jews because they had made a golden calf.

    And this shrine of el-arish certainly is not evidence for Yahweh.

    2500 years of myths and lies, based on silly books where the creator of the universe spends 11 chapters explaining how to make soft furnishings for a tent….

  7. manicstreetpreacher Says:

    Again from Steven Carr:

    http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2006/09/debunking-the-exodus-decoded.aspx

    ‘Exhibit K: el Arish Inscription. The el-Arish Inscription is a text from the Ptolemaic period (305–31 BC) written on a shrine found at el-Arish on the Mediterranean coast in northern Sinai. It is a legendary text concerning the gods Shu, god of air and sunlight, and his son Geb, god of the earth, and has nothing to do with the Exodus. Immanuel Velikovsky related the inscription to the crossing of the sea in his books Worlds in Collision and Ages in Chaos. Jacobovici follows Velikovsky’s interpretations, claiming the text “tells the entire story of the Exodus from Pharaoh’s point of view,” even giving the precise location of the crossing. Velikovsky’s understanding of this text has been thoroughly refuted. Mewhinney writes, “His interpretations of the el-Arish inscription are so obviously, blatantly wrong in so many particulars that it is hard to see why there should have been any controversy over the facts of the case, excepting only minor details. We find names altered and combined, words mistranslated, characters confused with one another or split in two, and events set in the wrong time and place. To permit Velikovsky to make the associations he does, one would have to take a sledgehammer to the shrine, smash it to bits, and reassemble the pieces in a different order…the methoda sort of ‘free association’ in which a whole complex of ideas is summoned up by an isolated word or phrasemust be rejected as well” (2006).’

    The only people fooled by this shrine are people dumb enough to believe Noah built an ark where animals went in two by two, or possibly seven by seven…

  8. RYAN Says:

    I think it would really help you to look into a book called ” The coming Revelation” by Zamir Cohen” Science discovers the truth of the bible.

    Look into it. It might help you.

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      Thank you for the recommendation, but I doubt the book would change my mind.

      I’ve read these holy books in their English translations that there is nothing in them that could not have been known, imagined and written by someone living at the time.

      Perhaps if these books contained some truly remarkable knowledge that could only be explained by the guidance of a supernatural entity such as DNA or electricity and rather less lurid descriptions about animal sacrifice, then I would re-think my position.

      MSP

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