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Did Moses really part the Red Sea ?


Posted on Tuesday, 9 December, 2014 | Comment icon 256 comments

Moses and the parting of the Red Sea. Image Credit: Ivan Aivazovsky
A new study has indicated that there is a scientific basis for the parting of a large body of water.
The miraculous parting of the Red Sea that enabled the Israelites to escape from Egypt is one of the best known biblical stories, a tale that has even made its way on to the silver screen both in the Charlton Heston classic The Ten Commandments and more recently in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings.

But did these events actually occur - did Moses really part the waters of the Red Sea ? As it turns out there is a scientific basis to support the idea that something like this could happen.

In a recent study, software engineer Carl Drews created a computer model to demonstrate that a phenomenon known as "wind setdown" might be the key to explaining what happened.
Under certain conditions it is possible for strong winds to produce a significant enough storm surge in one area of a lake for another part to be completely emptied of water. This peculiar occurance has actually happened quite recently both in Lake Erie and in the Nile Delta.

Drews maintains that, based on archaeological evidence, the events described in the story actually took place at the Lake of Tanis in the Eastern Nile Delta, not the Red Sea as is commonly told.

Using the model he was able to show that the conditions at the time were favorable and that the lake could have parted in this way at the time Moses and the Israelites were escaping Egypt.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (256)

Tags: Moses, Red Sea

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #247 Posted by Hammerclaw on 18 February, 2015, 0:24
The use of the words leprosy and leper is a mistranslation that occurred in antiquity when the ures were translated into Greek. The masoretic Torah text introduce three variations of skin Tzaraath: (Se'eth, Sapachath and Bahereth). The Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible originally used by Greek speaking Jews and Gentile proselytes, translates the term Tzaraath with Greek lepra, from which the cognate "leprosy" was traditionally used in English Bibles. The classical Greek term lepra is primarily used only of skin discoloration and not rot and mildew. The JPS Tanakh translates it as a... [More]
Comment icon #248 Posted by Ben Masada on 18 February, 2015, 23:03
The information in Josephus about lepers comes from his supposed quotes from Manetho, the Egyptian priest-historian. No one knows to what degree Josephus might have misquoted or misinterpreted Manetho, but it is actually Manetho who writes of Moses as originally a leprous Egyptian priest cast off with other lepers who subsequently leads them in revolt against the pharaoh. It's a colorful tale but apparently with no real historicity behind it. Yes, I have read Manetho too. That's from him that all the Israelites were composed of a group of lepers. That SOB was a famous anti-Semite.
Comment icon #249 Posted by Ben Masada on 18 February, 2015, 23:16
The use of the words leprosy and leper is a mistranslation that occurred in antiquity when the ures were translated into Greek. The masoretic Torah text introduce three variations of skin Tzaraath: (Se'eth, Sapachath and Bahereth). The Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible originally used by Greek speaking Jews and Gentile proselytes, translates the term Tzaraath with Greek lepra, from which the cognate "leprosy" was traditionally used in English Bibles. The classical Greek term lepra is primarily used only of skin discoloration and not rot and mildew. The JPS Tanakh translates it as a... [More]
Comment icon #250 Posted by Doug1029 on 20 February, 2015, 14:32
There are indeed some legends in the Bible but usually they are used as allegories to be interpreted with the purpose to teach a moral lesson. There are parables attributed to Jesus and the Book of Job may be a parable. These are literary devices, included to illustrate a point, and should not be considered mistakes or attempts to deceive. But there are numerous just plain mistakes, like miscounting the number of cities in a list, or the differences in the Ten Commandments as listed in Numbers 34 versus the versions listed in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. And there are numerous verses whose mea... [More]
Comment icon #251 Posted by Doug1029 on 20 February, 2015, 14:57
The information in Josephus about lepers comes from his supposed quotes from Manetho, the Egyptian priest-historian. No one knows to what degree Josephus might have misquoted or misinterpreted Manetho, but it is actually Manetho who writes of Moses as originally a leprous Egyptian priest cast off with other lepers who subsequently leads them in revolt against the pharaoh. It's a colorful tale but apparently with no real historicity behind it. Maybe. But it fits into history if the events described occurred late in the reign of Horemheb. Piramesse, one of Horemheb's generals, was being groomed ... [More]
Comment icon #252 Posted by Doug1029 on 20 February, 2015, 15:01
The use of the words leprosy and leper is a mistranslation that occurred in antiquity when the ures were translated into Greek. The masoretic Torah text introduce three variations of skin Tzaraath: (Se'eth, Sapachath and Bahereth). The Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible originally used by Greek speaking Jews and Gentile proselytes, translates the term Tzaraath with Greek lepra, from which the cognate "leprosy" was traditionally used in English Bibles. The classical Greek term lepra is primarily used only of skin discoloration and not rot and mildew. The JPS Tanakh translates it as a... [More]
Comment icon #253 Posted by Hammerclaw on 20 February, 2015, 15:37
I get the impression that the Bible uses the term "leprosy" to mean any skin disease or infection. Doug Of course it does. The point is that people read the world leprosy and think of the contemporary affliction by that name. It's biblical meaning is for different diseases or conditions and also means outcast, or unclean.
Comment icon #254 Posted by Ben Masada on 20 February, 2015, 20:47
There are parables attributed to Jesus and the Book of Job may be a parable. These are literary devices, included to illustrate a point, and should not be considered mistakes or attempts to deceive. But there are numerous just plain mistakes, like miscounting the number of cities in a list, or the differences in the Ten Commandments as listed in Numbers 34 versus the versions listed in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. And there are numerous verses whose meanings are diametrically opposed to each other. Some errors disappear upon closer inspection - they turn out to be plausible. The Bible authors ... [More]
Comment icon #255 Posted by Doug1029 on 22 February, 2015, 16:53
Well Doug, all I can say this time is to commend you for your brilliant research. That's a beautiful piece of History. Ah! I have something to say about you reporting that Abraham was also referred to as a Syrian. This might be a reference to his extended family who left Ur of the Chaldeans and decided to remain in Padan Aram of Syria while Abraham with his nephew Lot continued the voyage to Canaan where they parted from each other; Lot to Sodom and Abraham to Beersheba. The source for the "Syrian" info is the King James Version - maybe not the best source, in this case. Not really on the subj... [More]
Comment icon #256 Posted by Shibolet on 16 May, 2015, 20:38
Non-believers typically dismiss the miracles described in the Bible as fiction or metaphor. But according to research, at least one of those supposed impossibilities - the parting of the Red Sea to make way for Moses and the fleeing Israelites - perhaps could have happened. http://www.smithsoni...ting-180953553/ It did happened no doubt but, since God never operates a miracle without the participation of the one who needs the miracle. It has come to my mind that, when Prophet Isaiah was prophesying about the return of the Jews from Babylon, he faced the problem that most the People had lost th... [More]


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