The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Jun 23, 2022

James K. Hoffmeier's recent article on the Exodus route

[Update, June 27th: As a point of clarification, Dr. Hoffmeier clearly believes in a miraculous crossing. In an early article for the very conservative but less technical journal Bible and Spade (vol. 1, no. 2, Spring  1988), he notes that it is somewhat of a mystery how "reed sea" in the OT Hebrew became "Red Sea" in the Septuagint, but that ". . . it does not really matter what  it  is translated. It obviously was plenty deep enough to require a tremendous miracle for Israel to pass through while drowning Pharaoh's army." (Emphasis added)]

Though I teach both Hebrew History and Biblical Hebrew at my school, I am most definitely not an expert in the field (my terminal degree was in New Testament, not Old Testament). Nonetheless, even I can sometimes recognize a significant work when it comes out, which is why I wish to recommend James K. Hoffmeier's recent  article, "The Hebrew Exodus from and Jeremiah's Eisodus into Egypt in the Light of Recent Archaeological and Geological Developments," Tyndale Bulletin 72, no. 2 (2021): 73-95.

Kudos to TynB for switching to a fully open-access model, and Hoffmeier's article can be accessed for free here here.

A few things make this article noteworthy. First, the article is based off of Hoffmeier's own archaeological work in Egypt. Second, it emphasizes the fact of just how much geography can change over the span of centuries, a point that is frequently neglected in teaching the Old Testament. Third, Hoffmeier makes it clear that if his data is correct, and the yom sooph identified in the article "was the sea traversed by the escaping Hebrews," then consequently "it was a large lake with deep waters, surrounded by wetlands consisting of reeds and  rushes" (page 91, emphasis added), in contrast to those scholars who accuse the Bible of "embellishing" a marsh into a lake (page 81). Also,  the article contains many detailed maps, which will help the non-specialists among us. It will be interesting to see to what degree Hoffmeier's detailed work influences future evangelical commentaries on Exodus.