I think he should, if he wants to stay (or become) Catholic:
Did the Exodus Happen?
by Jimmy Akin
General intro is good and conclusion as summarised by Mark Shea is good, but look at this:
If accounts of the Exodus were circulating in Israel by 850 B.C. and if the event itself would have taken place around 1250 B.C., that’s only a gap of 400 years.
Four centuries is not a long time when it comes to national origin stories.
Even in purely oral (illiterate) societies that depend entirely on tradition for knowledge of the past, collective memory can preserve the core facts regarding where a people came from for that length of time.
Here is why this is problematic:
- 1) It is the same amount of time as between Trojan War and Homer (in fact, it is the same time as these, the modern scholarship Akin is copying onto his post is probably copying as in plagarising traditional distance between Iliad's Content and Iliad, Odyssey's content and Odyssey.
- 2) It is a time which sufficed to not only forget how chariots were used in battle, perhaps that Linear B was not used in letters carried by messengers as far as we know (the semata lygra carried by Bellerophon), but also to obfuscate existence of Hittites, Hattusha beyon abandoned about one of the times which could fit traditional destruction of Troy.
- 3) It is a time in which according to much modern scholarship the Odyssey was made up from basically nothing at all - except geography of Ithaca, either Santa Mavra or Thiaki or a blend of the two ("Athena's" words to Odysseus suggest Santa Mavra insofar as with a ditch separating it from mainland, it is difficult to classify it as either island or cape, but some geography on Thiaki is shown as fitting Odyssey).
My own take about Homer is this : the tradition forgot technical detail, the Bellerophon story could be made up (I have some trouble digesting a historic counterpart to Fledge), several exploit stories were preserved by aristocrats of ancestral names, but transferred from, for instance, Battle of Kadesh, since Hittites were to be forgotten, above all, Hittites were forgotten on purpose. The Iliad is given without its political context, only personal stories (which may be genuine) are given, it is as if you made an epic about Stalingrad in which Duke Adolf and Duke Joseph (yes, Vozhd, like Duce and Führer means leader) were sending their men to fight each other, but Communism and National Socialism were not mentioned at all, and exploits which had taken place in Spanish War were transferred, because of a similar refusal to recall how Communism was involved in International Brigades. Yes, one could attach "International Brigades" as one of Duke Joseph's helpers at Stalingrad ... and Homer came along to codify it at a time when the voluntary forgetfulness about 'Ittites and their tax collecting Hethos made it possible for him to tell solely what tradition had brought him - bona fide.
He was also descended from Ulysses, Penelope and Telemach, which accounts for his knowledge in personal detail of that story, fairly unfaked, except for how much witches and warlocks and makeup artists are passed off as "Athena" and possibly also except for what really happened between Ulysses crew and his arrival at Phaeacians, sth he could have faked himself (he is not known for total truthfulness, and one part of the story involves him saying himself he had lied to the Cyclops).
As composition was oral, his blindness was no handicap, and even an asset as giving him time for oral composition : he first made Odyssey, where he was well documented, then Iliad, where he had to piece things together, and he involved false theology in the explanations (Athena and Zeus are holding a conference on Olympus which as Christians we know never took place in that form). He also involved true memories, including of demonic activity and of guardian angels admonishing through dreams : Apollo in Iliad A is arguably Apollyon, and Hermes coming to Aegistus (see Conference on Olympus, Odyssey α, was probably his guardian angel.
In other words, the 400 years served to forget what one wanted to forget and fix inconsistencies arising therefrom as best they could.
But ordinary scholarship as it is today considers, mainly, nearly all of Odyssey and much of Iliad (including fair Helen and therefore personal motive) is mythical. That is the kind of guys who won't allow Exodus to be in traditionally 1510 BC (Roman Martyrology for December 25!) or even before (Syncellus and Byzantine martyrology).
As for stories of a people being autochthonous, I take the Theban story as exceptionally close to actual origins. The devil obviously can't make people from dragon teeth, and God won't. Similarily, the devil can't even transform a human body into an animal one : but he can make it seem to others and to the person him or herself it happened through this or that visible magician or theophany or magic. In some cases, he could perhaps even cause a very severe amnesia. He can also, and even fairly quickly, transport human bodies.
So, Theban story could basically be as correct a memory as possible, considering how sinful men had had their free access to memories tampered with by a devil also staging a scenario of each fighting a non-extant double (demons acting) and all coming from dragon teeth.
Egyptian story of autochthony, well, I take it that like Indian one, it is a cutting off of inconvenient history. In the Egyptian case, Egypt arising after Babel, and Pharaos' direct ancestry perhaps even taking some stay in Stonehenge and Newgrange before getting beaten by Miledians and remaining in a memory like "people of Dana" while being exiled ... well, one can imagine how they would excise Flood, Babel and their Irish misadventure from memory, and go directly back to a remake of Genesis 2, one in which, like in Sumer, the human race were created as a collective. This could already have been part of what Nimrod preached as errors, though in his day the Flood was not forgotten.
Indian one, as they have a kind of Adam like story, I take it they were after Babel more anti-Nimrodian than Nimrodian (also, they have no Marduk-defeats-monster as prequel of creation of Earth), so, they would be attaching pre-Flood memories, Mahabharata style, to their own post-Flood situation, excising both Flood and Babel and obviously Nimrod's tyranny at Babel. Inconveniently, they did want to recall their post-Flood arrival in India too, in Ramayana (Rama is a son of Kush and a brother of Nimrod, and Hanuman could be Nimrod in his youth, as Josephus recalls him as not yet evil, but protective of his brothers). Solution : transfer Ramayana material back to even earlier than Mahabharata material. But the probably Cainite pre-Flood man of renown recalled as Krishna (probably a relative of the Biblical Kush : both names mean swarty, and if Krishna was called swarty before Babel and Flood, it was in Hebrew, not sanscrit, so Cham's son is probably named after Krishna).
And the hero Bharat, eponym for India, is probably a mix of both Henochs : the Cainite city builder (or city name giver) and the Sethite just man beloved by God.
I do not know the exact reason why Zuni and Hopi claim autochthony. But it is such a bland cop out in general, that this is not a reason against more detailed origin stories.
The detail of Sipapuni probably shows some historical moment, probably with more distortion than I credit Theban story with, but lots less than modern scholarship credits it with.
If Jimmy Akin wants to side with Exodus historicity, as I think he should, I think he should start defending Iliad and Odyssey too, about on my lines.
Which means, obviously, relying less on modern scholarship.
Japan can very well have been "created" by angels and demons or one of them allowed by God to play around with volcanic eruptions. Jimmu can very well descend from, not indeed a goddess of the Sun (any more than our very useful Mister Brother Sun was grudging Ulysses' men the feast on beef), but a priestess of such a goddess, like Aeneas cannot be son of a literal love deity, but very well of a priestess of such a one : Puduhepa was priestess of both, before being Hittite queen, and Hittites seem to have agreed on auto-oblivion, if the story about abanding Hattusha, given in "Dark Lords of Hattusha" is the real cause of démise of that empire. This means that descending from Puduhepa would have needed to be reformulated - precisely as for very different theological difficulties, Greeks could not stomach the literal account of three angels visiting Abraham, promising him and his long infertile wife a mircaulous old age fertility, two of them saving Lot from both Sodomites and their destruction : so Abraham and Lot became Deucalion, twisting details of Noah's story to fit in more Biblical facts with less Biblical truth, and similarily, a Hittite priestess of love and sun became first ritually involved in sex and pregnancy on behalf of her goddess (she identified them), then branches of her family were forgetting all about the Hittite part and recalling only one of the goddesses, and the present Tenno is a cousin several removed of Julius Caesar.
In other words, Japanese origin history, apart from Pagan notions confusing what truth was known by Genesis 11, and "three first kamis" perhaps borrowed from very early Christians speaking of the Trinity (would not be last time Japs forgot about having been nearly Catholic, would it!) coming in not as creating but as procreating persons, is very close to actual origins of their imperial family and their islands.
But Zuni and Hopi, I'll have to check.
Exodus not only happened as written, but was also written by Moses. However, Moses also wrote Genesis, to which he was more of a Homer than of a Julius Caesar writing Bellum Gallicum in third person. This means a Catholic who, with Church Fathers and Trent, wants to believe literal truth of Genesis, could have at least potentially an interest in upgrading other stories long transmitted orally.
This is why he should ditch modern scholarship, ditch its pretence tradition by itself tends to distortion. Modern historiography would come with men like Humboldt in Prussia and Weibull in Sweden, in a Protestant culture - the kind of men who can't believe St George even lived, let alone St Christopher.
Oral tradition, when organised, gives little room for distortion, except misunderstanding or non-understanding of outmoded detail, and when it distorts it does so for a reason. If ever a Stalingrad Epic without National Socialism or Communism is written, it will be because one decided to forget about Communism and its Ethos. Or possibly Hethos. If Ulysses meeting the cyclops is fake, he was the one with best motives to change the story - not the tradition after him.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Sts Evagrius, Priscian and Companions, Martyrs