Are the jaw-dropping accounts in the Bible real history or only myths?
Does it matter whether accounts like the Exodus plagues and crossing the Red Sea are true records or simply inspiring stories that never actually happened?
Reports of Red Sea divers finding chariot wheels encrusted in coral intrigued filmmaker Timothy Mahoney. He was curious about where Moses and the Israelites might have crossed the Red Sea. He began his research by looking for the route of the Exodus, starting in Egypt where the Hebrews started.
Mahoney says, “When I got to Egypt, people said, ‘Wait a minute, why search for the route of the Exodus, when these stories never really happened in the first place?’ That was sort of the shocker. I went to the actual location where the Bible says the Israelites lived, and the archaeologists there said there really wasn’t any evidence for it. I came back to my home, and that seed of doubt sort of grew in me. So, eventually, I heard there was another Egyptologist that interpreted that information in a completely different way, and that began this 12-year journey of my own, finding people like that who have incredible insights into the information, and started to reveal evidence. That’s how it all got started.” (From Gallagher’s Mahoney Interview)
Mahoney wondered whether the Exodus really happened or whether it was only an uplifting story. He said, “What started out as a crisis of my own faith led me on an incredible journey of discovery” as he sought physical evidence to corroborate the Bible’s Exodus account.
Mahoney tells the story of his research journey in the award-winning documentary Patterns of Evidence: Exodus from Thinking Man Films. The documentary has won 13 awards at film festivals worldwide.
Executive producer David Wessner said of Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, “What we’ve done with this film is to present the evidence, as we’ve uncovered it over these past twelve years, and let viewers draw their own conclusions. It’s not a puffy documentary; it’s an entertaining presentation of a boat-load of scientific and historical facts which shed new, important light on this ancient but most important story.”
This feature documentary was shown in 650 theaters nationwide on Monday night January 19, 2015. A 20-minute preview explained the story behind the film and introduced the experts appearing in the documentary (click List of Experts).
Following the movie, journalist Gretchen Carlson moderated a panel discussion by Dennis Prager, Eric Metaxas, Anne Graham Lotz, and Jonathan Morris.
The documentary Patterns of Evidence: Exodus chronicles 12 years of in-depth archaeological research in Egypt and Israel. Mahoney interviews over a dozen archaeologists and professors with expertise in Egyptian and Israeli archaeology on both sides of the Exodus issue: those who do not believe it happened and those who believe it did. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Israeli Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres are both interviewed in the film.
Among archaeologists, Egyptologists, and scholars, the general consensus of opinion is that the Exodus as described in the Bible never happened. Most say if it did happen, then it occurred around 1250 BC under Ramses the Great, but they say there’s absolutely no archaeological evidence for it then.
The Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary asked the fundamental question:
At any time during Egyptian history is there any physical evidence that the Exodus actually happened?
The movie unfolds an abundant pattern of archaeological evidence from much earlier in Egyptian history than 1250 BC and not under Ramses the Great. The movie argues that the reason archaeologists haven’t found any evidence is that they are looking in the wrong time period. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus builds a strong case that the Exodus actually happened around 1450 BC, just as the Bible’s timeline indicates. The movie is packed with valuable apologetics arguments on this issue.
What Did I Think?
My wife and I saw this movie Monday night January 19. We loved it!!! Patterns of Evidence: Exodus presents abundant archaeological evidence to support the Bible’s historical record of the Exodus. I was impressed with the depth of the research, the balanced presentation, and the plethora of archaeological evidence revealing Israel’s footprint in Egyptian and Canaanite history. While I have always believed in the Exodus and have long believed it occurred in 1446 BC, the film presented corroborating evidence that was new to me (which I will discuss in subsequent blog articles).
The audio quality of the movie was superb. Interviews, commentary, and narration (by Jewish skeptic Michael Medved and Christian actor Kevin Sorbo who played the professor in the movie God’s Not Dead) were all clear and understandable, contrary to many movie soundtracks. The accompanying music was by the Budapest Film Orchestra using Hungary’s best musicians playing instruments from the Balkans and the Middle East. Visually the movie was beautiful and very effective in illustrating the concepts.
I rate the documentary 5 stars out of 5. I found it just as fascinating as Indiana Jones movies, but a person who is not interested in Biblical history and archaeology might find it less gripping.
I strongly encourage people to see this documentary. Many churches will likely show the DVD, and it will probably be shown in theaters again. The book, movie DVD, and soundtrack are all available for pre-order at the documentary web site: Patterns of Evidence: Exodus.
Subsequent blog articles will discuss more ideas from this outstanding documentary film.
Questions to Ponder
- If you saw the film, what was your reaction?
- Do you think it’s possible for the vast majority of professional archaeologists and Egyptologists to be wrong about the Exodus?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Read the sequels reviewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary:
2. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Facing the Facts (with video)
3. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – The Debate
4. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – What Did Jesus Think?
5. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Does It Matter?
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Soli Deo Gloria.
Read my other articles on Biblical Archaeology:
1. The Mystery of Tsinnur
2. Copper Country
3. One Night of Sin Spawns Centuries of Havoc
4. Blown to Pieces
5. Joseph’s Grain Silos Found in Egypt?
6. Archaeological Study Bible
7. Lost Treasures of the Bible
1. Eyewitness to Jesus
2. Early Date for Matthew
3. Forensic Evidence
4. Significance of the Magdalen Papyrus (w/ video)
Noah’s Ark Found? (with video)
1. Rebuilding Noah’s Ark – Intro
8. Hike the Bible – Roman Road
9. Hike the Bible – Via Maris
21. Hike the Bible – Jesus Boat
23. Hike the Bible – Capernaum Archaeology
25. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 2
26. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 3
Read my other Movie Reviews:
The Genesis Code (with video)
Marilyn Monroe and the Age of the Earth
Mystery of Noah’s Flood (with videos)
God’s Not Dead, the Movie (with videos)
Noah, the Movie (with videos)
Exodus, the Movie (with video)
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday January 21, 2015 A.D.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the first-born might not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.