Raamses, Pithom, and the Exodus: A Critical Evaluation of Ex 1:11

In: Vetus Testamentum
Bernd Ulrich Schipper Department of Old Testament, Humboldt University Berlin

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Up to the present, the brief notice on the storage cities of “Pithom” and “Raamses” and the forced labour of the Israelites in Ex 1:11 has been taken as the historical nucleus of a possible exodus scenario under Ramesses ii.

This article presents a critical evaluation of the classical theory, taking into account recent insights in Archaeology, Egyptology, and Philology. Since a number of arguments call the classical theory into question, a historical background of Ex 1:11 in the late 7th century bce becomes more likely, when Judahites had to perform forced labour for the Egyptian hegemon in the Southern Levant.

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