General Question

Stanley's avatar

Can you show me any credible evidence that Moses actually existed?

Asked by Stanley (189points) May 5th, 2009

Besides the Bible, which I don’t see as a credible historical reference.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

29 Answers

MrKnowItAll's avatar

The Bible is primarily a history book, and is surprisingly accurate.

Except for the fairy tales.

oratio's avatar

What evidence would be credible in your opinion? It’s prehistory. Not much to go on.

Qingu's avatar

There isn’t any. But the same can be said about Sargon of Akkad.

Incidentally, Sargon of Akkad—according to legend—was also floated down a river in a reed basket as a baby. So was Karna of the Mahabharata Indian epic.

Clearly a lot of Moses’ story is legend, but I tend to believe legends are often based on a “kernel of truth.” It’s interesting that this guy with an Egyptian name plays such an important role in the Hebrew religion. There may well have been an Egyptian exile named Moses or something similar who went to Mesopotamia and started a cult—possibly by bringing along his monotheistic beliefs from Egypt. (The cult of Aten was the first monotheistic religion, predating Judaism by a hundred or so years, at least.)

Stanley's avatar

@oratio For example, are there any Egyptian records that the Hebrews were really in Egypt, that they were slaves, and that they were freed by a man named Moses?

Stanley's avatar

@Qingu Thanks. That’s a great answer. I hadn’t heard of the story of Sargon of Akkad.

I agree that a legend often has a kernel of truth. I’m wondering what the truth is. I see so many people who cite the Israeli’s slavery and subsequent freedom from Egypt as accepted historical fact when it’s nothing of the sort.

oratio's avatar

@Stanley Well, there are egyptian records of a people called the Habiru, which might have been the hebrews.

oratio's avatar

Also, Mose means son in ancient egyptian, found in royal names such as Thutmose.

Moses's avatar

Hi. ‘Sup?

oratio's avatar

@Qingu I agree that it could be so, but Akhenaten predating Mose and Judaism is merely speculation. There is no fix in what time Mose and the exodus would have been. Only educated guesses, and several of them. Pity, since I suspect the same thing you do. But just as likely the Jews could have brought monotheism to egypt.

oratio's avatar

@Moses Hehe, Moses. Go back to the desert, you tablet crusher you..

seVen's avatar

Egypt should have some archives since Pharao’s daughter claimed him as an adopted child from the river Nile .

Qingu's avatar

@oratio, there are no such records dating from the time of Ramses or any of the Pharaohs associated with the Exodus story.

The earliest Egyptian mention of the Hebrews—in fact, the earliest mention of the Hebrews anywhere in the archaeological record—is a stele from around 1200 B.C. bragging about how the Egyptian army wiped out a bunch of tribes, including the Hebrews.

I also disagree that it’s just as likely that the Hebrews brought monotheism to Egypt. There is no evidence that the early Hebrews were monotheistic, and plenty of evidence that they were polytheistic. Polytheism is actually preserved in the Bible: Yahweh talks to a heavenly council like Marduk does (he speaks in first-person plural in Genesis, but Hebrew has no royal We). The psalms preserve these battle stories where Yahweh fights the ocean and Rahab and Leviathan. Yahweh says “you shall have no other gods before me”—not “no other gods exist.” Even the idea of a covenant only makes sense in a polytheistic context, since you’re making a deal with a single god to take on the roles of a bunch of gods.

And it’s also telling that Moses (an Egyptian) is cast as the instigator of Hebrew theology in the Hebrew religion itself. Whereas the records we have of Akhenaten say absolutely nothing about Hebrews or any foreign influence whatsoever.

It’s possible — anything is possible — but there’s much more circumstantial evidence pointing the other way.

oratio's avatar

@Qingu Ok. This is the Habiru. You are probably right about the monotheism. As a pastoral people they seem to have soaked up this and that from all over. True about the covenant. The covenant is the ten commandments, of which three of ten concerns faith to one god.

I know too little about it, but this has been my hypothesis as well. It is fascinating.

However, to connect to the question, I see the child in the basket story repeated in different cultures. If Moses has existed this part is probably not true.

Stanley's avatar

@oratio @Qingu Interesting answers, thanks.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

There is apparently historical record, although I’m not sure what it is. Regardless, why is it a big deal if he existed? I believe Jesus existed. The question is whether Jesus was the son of God and whether Moses was a prophet. Moses is simply considered a historical figure of dubious factuality.

moshe's avatar

@Moses You’re an imposter. Everyone knows that I am the real deal. Don’t make me beat you with my staff (ahem).

Stanley's avatar

@quarkquarkquark “Why is it a big deal if he existed”? It’s a big deal because if he did NOT exist, and it’s written in the Bible, then the Bible isn’t true. But I didn’t ask the question because of that. I asked the question because I’m interested in any corroborating historical evidence. I have never found any.

Harp's avatar

This strange relic was recently unearthed on Mt. Sinai and appears to lend credence to one episode of the Exodus account.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

I’m not sure there is any historical evidence… from what I’ve read, there is at least a basis for the person Moses, not the prophet Moses.

gailcalled's avatar

Isn’t his dress robe of sackcloth in the permanent fashion collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Moses – Do you supposes your toeses are roses? Because you supposes erroneously. Just FYI.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Moses was named “son” because Pharoah’s daughter found him and brought him up like her own son.
There is also some evidence that part of what is today the Red Sea and what might have been interpreted as the Red Sea back then turned swampy and shallow at some times, which could have accounted for the passage of the “Red Sea”.
You may also bring up the point that the Israelites did not build the pyramids. They did not. It was actually on a volunteer basis while the Nile was not flooding and there were no crops. The pyramids were too sacred to be built by slaves. However, the Hagaddah states that the Israelites in fact built two cities, Ramses and Pithom, which were real cities and were possibly built by slaves.

Stanley's avatar

@quarkquarkquark What have you read that makes you believe that there was a person Moses?

quarkquarkquark's avatar

…..wikipedia. And I remember learning vague shit as a kid, but that doesn’t count.

Stanley's avatar

@quarkquarkquark Can you site a direct link with sources? Wikipedia isn’t a direct source link. Wikipedia has articles on astrology, Zeus, and the Tooth Fairy but that doesn’t make them true.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

Yeah, no, I can’t. I don’t see why it’s a big deal if he existed. It doesn’t make the Bible true if Moses or some variation thereof was actually a real person.

Alessandra's avatar

While you all are at it. How about finding some stuff on Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy. Those three always boggled my mind.

oratio's avatar

@Alessandra True in a way, but mr. Kringle can easily be disproven since he is supposed to show up on Christmas. Tooth fairy too in the same manner. The Bunny is a bit trickier, since the bastard is long gone after he(?!) lays the eggs.

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