“Patterns of Evidence: Exodus” is a thought-provoking and relevant movie! Filmmaker Timothy Mahoney takes on the hot potato of Biblical history—the Exodus—and matches it up against what archaeologists, historians and naysayers have to say about the Bible’s accuracy.
Kevin Sorbo narrates this documentary that focuses on digging for the truth (no pun intended). Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, comments that the Bible has held the imaginations of people for thousands of years and that is a remarkable thing. Other political and religious leaders and archaeologists are featured, including Shimon Peres, former president of Israel, who says the Bible is “the greatest legislator of our time.”
Mahoney finds that there is little archaeological evidence of the Exodus during the time of Ramesses, who most historians believe was the Pharaoh who spoke with Moses and initially refused to let God’s people go. Yet when Mahoney backtracks to the Middle Kingdom, some 200 years earlier, the evidence is pretty impressive. Do the other scholars have the time frame wrong? There is controversy in the documentary for sure. Different leaders disagree with each other. Rabbi David Wolpe frankly states the Exodus didn’t happen as the Bible depicts it, and archaeologist Norma Franklin from the University of Haifa doesn’t believe it happened at all. Yet there are many who believe it did happen; there are also diggings that some believe prove the walls of Jericho fell, and that Rahab’s quarters did not fall. There is evidence Jericho was burned as the Bible says it was. Professor Rosalie David from the University of Manchester speaks of the sudden abandonment of a people that would resemble the Hebrews and their Exodus. In one place a tablet with the name “Jabin” is found; he was the king that Joshua killed.
The documentary features art work, several historians and archaeologists, religious leaders, and scenes featuring views of tablets and various ruins in Egypt. “I just wanted to know the truth,” says Mahoney, and he went to a lot of trouble trying to find it. This documentary chronicles his travels from the U.S. to Egypt, to Israel and to England. The movie finishes with Mahoney reading a rare book written by Alan Gardiner, who concludes that not enough evidence has been found to pin down certain Biblical events to definite time frames. This could support the possibility that the Middle Kingdom is the age of the Exodus, rather than the later time of Ramesses.
At any rate, this film attempts to navigate the sometimes murky waters of history. We are happy to award this documentary, “Patterns of Exodus: Exodus,” our “Faith-Friendly” Seal for all ages, although it is not intended for the very young who would have a hard time understanding it. For everyone else, it will be a fascinating look into a great moment in history and in archaeology: the exodus of Moses and the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage.