My Christian critics complain that I have not read enough “scholarship” to credibly criticize the Christian supernatural claims, specifically in this case, the supernatural claims made in the Exodus story of the Bible. I have therefore decided to demonstrate my willingness to read “both sides” of scholarship on this issue. I have previously read the premier work from the “minimalist” camp (the position held by most liberal Jews, liberal Christians, and secular scholars) on the Exodus, Finkelstein and Silberman’s work, “The Bible Unearthed”. I now intend to read the premier work on this issue from the “maximalist” camp (the position supported by most fundamentalist Jews and Christians), by evangelical Christian and Egyptologist, James Hoffmeier’s, “Israel in Egypt”.
I will review Dr. Hoffmeier’s book chapter by chapter, even reviewing the Preface. However, I first want to offer my readers this lecture video by Dr. Hoffmeier. In it, Dr. Hoffmeier makes this shocking admission: He has an agenda. His research has an agenda—to prove the story of the Exodus of the ancient Hebrews from Egypt, as told in the Bible, as historical fact. To me, this is a shocking admission for someone who claims to be a professional researcher. Most researchers follow the evidence to then form a conclusion. Dr. Hoffmeier, it seems, has started with a conclusion, and has gone in search of evidence to support it.
Dr. Hoffmeier goes on to say that the minimalists (Finkelstein, Silberman, et. al) also have an agenda: to destroy the credibility of the Bible. To me, this rings of fundamentalist Christian paranoia and the fundamentalist propensity for conspiracy theories. To hear Dr. Hoffmeier’s statements regarding an “agenda” in this video, advance to time mark: one hour, seventeen minutes.