An ‘Exodus’ You Simply Mustn’t Miss

28 Jan
Statue of Joseph

Is this a statue of Joseph? See the film.

[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.]

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 it, 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 may make you think (as it did me) 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.”

Egypt destroyedI won’t spoil the film’s search route toward an answer, nor 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?

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, the bookThe 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.”

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?”

Exodus: Myth or History? the bookAfter 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.

I would love to know your thoughts, whether or not you see the film.




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