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Book of Exodus
The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Old Testament.
Modern scholarship regards Exodus as having been composed during the exilic period, alongside Genesis around the 6th century BC (Johnstone, 2003). No archaeological evidence has come to light to support the narrated events in Egypt; the story of Joseph for example rising to power in Egypt (see Genesis), is regarded by most as a literary composition, in the genre of fictional romance (Bruce, 2011). Exodus describes the bones of Joseph having been taken by Moses. However, it may be that the authors of the Book of Exodus had based their legends on historical Mesopotamian figures. Scholars have pointed out the similarities of Moses birth to Sargon's, which both include a river and ark motif (Loewenstamm, 1992). A "Mopsus" or "Mukšuš" also appears named on a 13th century BC Hittite inscription.
The story of the exodus itself and the Israelites in Egypt may have been based on the historical Hyksos, an Asiatic people who moved into Egypt from the 2nd millenium BC (an identification first made by the historian Josephus in the 1st century AD). A fringe theory also identifies Joseph with the ancient egyptian architect Imhotep.
- Johnstone, William D. (2003). "Exodus". Eerdmans Bible Commentary. Eerdmans.
- Louden, Bruce. (2011). Homer's Odyssey and the Near East. Chapter: " "The Odyssey and the myth of Joseph". Cambridge University Press.
- Loewenstamm, S. (1992). "The Story of Moses" Birth," in From Babylon to Canaan. (eds. Y. Avishur and J. Blau). Jerusalem: Magnes. pp. 201-221.