Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition

December 1, 2020
Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition

In his pathbreaking Israel in Egypt James K. Hoffmeiersought to refute the claims of scholars who doubt the historicalaccuracy of the biblical account of the Israelite sojourn in Egypt.Analyzing a wealth of textual, archaeological, and geographicalevidence, he put forth a thorough defense of the biblicaltradition. Hoffmeier now turns his attention to the Wildernessnarratives of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. As director of theNorth Sinai Archaeological Project, Hoffmeier has led severalexcavations that have uncovered important new evidence supportingthe Wilderness narratives, including a major New Kingdom fort atTell el-Borg that was occupied during the Israelite exodus.Hoffmeier employs these archaeological findings to shed new lighton the route of the exodus from Egypt. He also investigates thelocation of Mount Sinai, and offers a rebuttal to those who havesought to locate it in northern Arabia and not in the Sinaipeninsula as traditionally thought. Hoffmeier addresses how andwhen the Israelites could have lived in Sinai, as well as whetherit would have been possible for Moses to write down the lawreceived at Mount Sinai. Building on the new evidence for theIsraelite sojourn in Egypt, Hoffmeier explores the Egyptianinfluence on the Wilderness tradition. For example, he findsEgyptian elements in Israelite religious practices, including theuse of the tabernacle, and points to a significant number ofEgyptian personal names among the generation of the exodus. Theorigin of Israel is a subject of much debate and the wildernesstradition has been marginalized by those who challenge itscredibility. In Ancient Israel in Sinai, Hoffmeier bringsthe Wilderness tradition to the forefront and makes a case for itsauthenticity based on solid evidence and intelligent analysis.