Thread: Pillar of Fire Board: Kerygmania / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Gramps49 (# 16378) on :
 
If you can't tell by now, I have been looking at the Narrative of the Exodus story.

Now I know that while the book of Exodus tells of how the Hebrews left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness for forty years, there is little, if nil, outside corroboration of the story in the Egyptian Chronicles or archeological evidence.

But there is possibly a geological event that happened around the time--a volcanic eruption around 1800 BCE give or take a couple of hundred years Exodus 13:20-22

quote:
20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
This event could also explain the reason why the Reed Sea drained of the water to allow the Hebrews to escape because of a tsunami which resulted from the volcano eruption.

There are a couple of volcanoes that erupted around 1650 BCE, Santorini and Thela. Could one of these eruptions got mixed into the myth?
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
No!
 
Posted by Pangolin Guerre (# 18686) on :
 
Could you expand?
 
Posted by Gramps49 (# 16378) on :
 
Okay, if not the volcanoes of the Mediterranean, could it be that Mt Sinai is not in the Sinai Peninsula, but elsewhere in the Arabian Desert? Such as Mt Bedr.

[ 03. October 2017, 23:47: Message edited by: Gramps49 ]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
It's a possibility. I'd really like to hear from someone with real expertise in the area. From the article itself, the author does not seem to have any. It's now well over a dozen years since that article appeared and I'd be surprised if there has not been any comments since.

My recollection is that the idea itself is not new, and that various other sites have been suggested over the years.
 
Posted by Kwesi (# 10274) on :
 
Kwesi
quote:
No!
Pangolin Guerre
quote:
Could you expand?
I find the explanation too speculative, imprecise and convoluted to be convincing, rather like rationalistic explanations for the plagues of Egypt, to be credibly entertained.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Poked around online, and came across someone's suggestion that the pillar of fire was a fire tornado (Pinterest).
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Yes, well..... Does anyone with any knowledge of the topic support that hypothesis?
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
I'm certain that someone somewhere has written this up, either in some cranky religious book or (more likely) in a novel. I have a friend who wrote a novel about how Akenaten (the monotheist Pharaoh) didn't die but simply went off into the desert for thirty years or so and then came back under the name of Moses.

The study of volcanoes is pretty solid, and if there was one in the Sinai area I think scientists would know about it.
 
Posted by Gramps49 (# 16378) on :
 
Golden Key, I have heard speculation that the burning bush may have been something like a fire tornado. I have seen fire tornadoes, they are usually short-lived. The pillar of fire was said to appear every night in the same location.

The Jewish Virtual Library has a much simpler explanation, I grant you. They say that it is talking about the fire at the tabernacle.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Brenda--

quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I'm certain that someone somewhere has written this up, either in some cranky religious book or (more likely) in a novel. I have a friend who wrote a novel about how Akenaten (the monotheist Pharaoh) didn't die but simply went off into the desert for thirty years or so and then came back under the name of Moses.

May I have the title and author, please? Sounds intriguing! And would bring interesting layers to Moses' interactions with the pharaoh.

Thx.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Isaac Asimov's "Guide To The Bible--Old Testament" might be useful. The text is online in a couple of places (like archive.org); but you have to sign up for the site (free). I also had some trouble navigating the sites, but that might just be my computer.

From what I saw, while poking around, he was raised Orthodox Jewish, avoided his Bar Mitzveh, was an atheist, then humanist. There's also a quote from him to the effect that the Bible can drive you to atheism.

I think, from what I read tonight and from skimming a bit of the book long ago, that you'll probably find both a scientific view and dismissiveness.

FWIW, YMMV.
 
Posted by Mamacita (# 3659) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Golden Key, I have heard speculation that the burning bush may have been something like a fire tornado. I have seen fire tornadoes, they are usually short-lived. The pillar of fire was said to appear every night in the same location.
The Jewish Virtual Library has a much simpler explanation, I grant you. They say that it is talking about the fire at the tabernacle.

Actually, they say it could have been a number of things, but (as I read it) attempting to identify a specific reason for the imagery isn't the point. From the link (my bold):

quote:
Attempts to provide a natural basis for this narrative have pointed to the possible existence of volcanic action in the vicinity of Sinai – which is highly unlikely – or to the sudden outbreak of a raging desert storm. In any event, there can be little doubt that the imagery is as old as the time of Moses, and that the cloud, and, in a lesser degree, the fire symbolism proved effective in communicating the presence of God to the people.
I think we can tie ourselves in knots trying to identify "real" causes for biblical imagery. The story was handed down, over time, with evocative language to communicate God's presence and power. Understanding the meaning of the imagery doesn't require trying to dissect it.

[ 05. October 2017, 16:10: Message edited by: Mamacita ]
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Brenda--

quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I'm certain that someone somewhere has written this up, either in some cranky religious book or (more likely) in a novel. I have a friend who wrote a novel about how Akenaten (the monotheist Pharaoh) didn't die but simply went off into the desert for thirty years or so and then came back under the name of Moses.

May I have the title and author, please? Sounds intriguing! And would bring interesting layers to Moses' interactions with the pharaoh.

Thx.

Judith Tarr, a well-known historical fantasy author. The work is Pillar of Fire. It's available in e-book and also probably at your local library. I believe she did have to do some creative things with the time line to get it all to work out, but the Egyptian dynasties have some wiggle room and the notion was just too cool to resist.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Thanks, Brenda! [Smile]
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
Mamacita: I agree. I think if a rabbi joined this discussion, s/he'd be amused/ bemused by the need to find some scientific explanation for the pillar of fire.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Brenda--

quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I'm certain that someone somewhere has written this up, either in some cranky religious book or (more likely) in a novel. I have a friend who wrote a novel about how Akenaten (the monotheist Pharaoh) didn't die but simply went off into the desert for thirty years or so and then came back under the name of Moses.

May I have the title and author, please? Sounds intriguing! And would bring interesting layers to Moses' interactions with the pharaoh.

Thx.

Judith Tarr, a well-known historical fantasy author. The work is Pillar of Fire. It's available in e-book and also probably at your local library. I believe she did have to do some creative things with the time line to get it all to work out, but the Egyptian dynasties have some wiggle room and the notion was just too cool to resist.
I think the broad outline of Tarr's book was taken from Moses And Monotheism, by Freud.
 
Posted by HCH (# 14313) on :
 
As regards Asimov: he may have rejected his Orthodox Jewish background, but I don't think he got entirely away from it. He devised his "3 laws of robotics" and engaged in more or less Talmudic reasoning (or Jesuitical reasoning) about them.
 


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