[NOTE: When I first published this article in January 2015, it was with the hope of interesting as many people as possible in seeing a then-new film, which was showing in theaters nationwide the next night. The film is no longer in release, but its DVD is now available, so I have modified the content here to reflect that.]
2018 Update: There is a new and expanded feature, added at the bottom of this article. It is a video of two exciting and informative video presentations about the question of the historical accuracy of the Bible’s story of the Exodus, given by highly respected Egyptologist and Historian David Rohl. I strongly urge you to go down there before leaving this site.
There is a new Biblically based documentary film that I recommend to you in the strongest terms, available now on DVD and Blu-ray. The film is Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, and it is director Timothy Mahoney’s journey to answer his personal question, “Is there any archaeological evidence for the story of the Exodus?” It becomes clear right away that Mahoney is not using the film to advance some pet theory of his own, but is indeed letting us watch the unfolding of his process in gaining an answer to his question. And even at the end, when the audience has been made aware of Mahoney’s findings, he doesn’t beat us over the head with them, or vilify or demean those who disagree with them.
The film’s fairness, openness, and honesty are the underpinnings of its ethical as well as its scientific approach to the truth. And perhaps as a result of that, the tone never becomes preachy, sanctimonious, or self-righteous. We’re not talked down to, nor is there any nasty sense of “I know something you don’t know.” In addition to all that, it’s a beautifully shot, well-written and -edited movie that has received, at latest count, 13 showings in and awards from international film festivals.
Mahoney is quite honest in saying that when he, a Christian, asked some of the world’s leading archaeologists and Egyptologists his central question, their response — a flat and unequivocal “no, there is absolutely no evidence of an Exodus event” — it drove him to a crisis of faith. Nevertheless, the film presents these scholars’ views fairly and fully. Even when an alternative approach is provided by other scholars, which suggests that the answer could indeed be “yes,” the film’s innate fair and balanced approach still provides an equal voice to both sides of the issue. Even the 4-minute trailer, which you may watch below, shows that balance. The responses of some of these original naysayers to the suggested new approach to evidence of the Exodus made me think of this quote from Dr. Thomas Sowell: “Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.”
I won’t spoil the film’s search route toward an answer, nor reveal what its revelations are, but suffice it to say that it has the capacity to stimulate your mind and feed your spirit simultaneously. My wife and I left the film event invigorated, excited, worshipful, and eager to learn more. How much more could one ask?
The film has now been released on DVD and Blu-ray, complete with several interesting “Bonus Features” — perfect for after viewing the film when you want still more. A companion book to the film by Timothy Mahoney, titled Patterns of Evidence: Exodus — A Filmmaker’s Journey, has been published. It is chock full of “valuable insights and additional interviews not seen in the film, giving the reader a chance to get know the scholars and their positions better. Filled with beautiful photography of Egypt and Israel, scenes from the biblical re-creations, maps, charts, and diagrams.“
As of the most recent updating of this article,
Patterns of Evidence: Exodus is available on Netflix
and for rent or puchase on Youtube.
Mahoney’s organization, Thinking Man Films, is currently in production for a sequel to the film. Here is their teaser for the new film, as found on their website: “After Moses and the Israelites left Egypt, the Bible records they miraculously crossed a mighty sea and traveled on to Mount Sinai where they received revelation from God. Many believe these events changed the history of the world. But, after decades of searching, archaeologists have found no trace of this story. If the Israelites really did journey out of Egypt to a holy mountain, could there still exist a pattern of evidence just waiting to be found?”
After viewing Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, you will (I predict) want to learn more from and about Egyptologist and historian David Rohl, the expert most important to the overall conclusions drawn by the film. His newest book, timed to coincide with the release of the film, is called Exodus — Myth or History?. It is described as “a book for those who want to examine the evidence in detail, but it is also an absorbing and captivating read.” Rohl was once described by the Archaeology Correspondent for British newspaper The Daily Mail as “one of the most brilliant and original minds now engaged in writing ancient history. If he hadn’t been a historian he would have been a terrific mystery writer.”
And if you still can’t get enough David Rohl, see the short video at the bottom of this article concerning four totally absorbing lectures by Rohl on the subject of the Exodus and early Israelite history (totaling 4 hours 29 min). The subjects are:
- The Bible — Myth or History?
- Moses and the Exodus — Fact or Fiction?
- Who Plundered Solomon’s Temple?
- Legendary Kings and Chronicles
I’ve watched all four lectures twice, and still can’t get enough.
THE OFFICIAL TRAILER:
INFORMATION ON THE DAVID ROHL LECTURES:
For those of you have not seen the film Patterns of Evidence: Exodus yet and especially for those who have, I have added a video below that will provide you with amazing additional insights, facts, and theories about the historical accuracy of the Biblical story of the Exodus.
Dr. David Rohl (see above) has become quite well known as the Egyptologist and Historian who has made a major contribution to those fields by creating and proposing a New Chronology for the history of Egypt. Because all dating of other nations and civilizations (including Biblical Israel) is linked to and based on that of Egypt, Rohl’s theories could have a major impact on how we understand all of Biblical history.
Thanks in part to the Patterns of Evidence project, and Rohl’s major participation in finding the right time in Egyptian history into which the Exodus can be seen to fit, Rohl’s theories are being examined very carefully by scholars and the public to see where they take us.
In the video I have posted below, Rohl makes two hour-long presentations for Michael Rood’s “A Rood Awakening” Ministry in Charlotte, North Carolina. In them, Rohl adds credibility and historicity to Israelite history, from Jacob and Joseph all the way down to the post-Solomonic kingdoms. He does this by explaining how, in the various aspects of his New Chronology and other historical formulations he has put forward, they have relevance to Israelite history.
Here is what you will find in the two presentations:
Program 1: “Shoshenk Not Shishak” (begins at 00:12 on the video)
(Program 1 is truly fascinating stuff, but even David Rohl admits it might be a bigger plateful than you want to chew on right now. But keep reading here, as you will almost certainly want to view Program 2, even if you decide to skip this one.) A little background is important before you undertake either or both of these programs. David Rohl is an agnostic, not a God-believer. However, he does believe that the Bible is as valuable an ancient historical document as any other, and he feels its information should be taken very seriously. In Program 1, “Shoshenk Not Shishak,” Rohl puts forth the case that one major, seminal historical misidentification in the 19th century has completely rendered our dating of ancient Near Eastern history totally inaccurate. As a result of this major chronological misunderstanding, Rohl makes the point that Egyptologists who do not believe the Exodus ever took place (and that’s most of them!) are looking in the right place but in the wrong time period. I will admit that the subject matter in Program 1 is a little technical, and may put you off a bit. However, let me assure you that, if you let him, Rohl has the uncanny ability to bring all of this information down to the level of us mere mortals. This really is a great historical who-dun-it — or perhaps who-misdated-it.
Program 2: “Exodus: Myth or History?” (begins at 55:05 on the video)
At the beginning of this program, David Rohl candidly states, “You’ll be pleased to know that Round 2 is a lot easier to take on!” If this program doesn’t grab your attention and amaze your mind, I will be very surprised. Here are the questions he takes on in Program 2:
- Why have scholars almost universally come to believe that the Exodus, the conquest of Jericho, and much of the Bible’s historical accounts are myth, and not fact?
- Was Ramesses II (“the Great”) the Pharaoh of the Exodus?
- Is there historical evidence that Joseph existed and rose to high levels of power in Egypt? Is there evidence of 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine?
- Is there evidence that a group of Semitic people came to live in Egypt at the invitation of Pharaoh? Is there evidence they were affiliated with Joseph?
- Is there any evidence that would show that Moses could have written the first five books of the Bible in early Hebrew?
- Who was the Pharoah ruling at the time of Joseph? Later, if it wasn’t Ramesses II, who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?
- Is there any historical evidence of Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land?
Don’t you want to know the answer to all of these?
TWO PRESENTATIONS ON THE EXODUS BY DAVID ROHL
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