What is the historical core behind the Exodus?

I quite frankly am not convinced by Richard E. Friedman’s case for a historical Exodus. Whilst certainly interesting, I find Friedman is too reliant on the somewhat flimsy JEDP hypothesis, his reading of the Song of Deborah is also, problematic, since it does not mention all tribes except Levi, contra his claim. I also doubt that a historical Exodus is essential for Judaism or Christianity. What is really important, at least for the former religion is the revelation at Sinai. I have ‘faith’ that this happened, but alongside this, it is not unreasonable that it may have happened in history, even without a historical Exodus. Even critical scholars accept that there is a strong link with YHWH to the deserts around Mount Sinai, found in Exodus 3, Deuteronomy 33:2, and other verses, and many scholars suggest that YHWH worship originated amongst the tribal people (Qenites) of that area. I’d be in agreement with them, as I have stated elsewhere (largely due to the possible Arabic etymology of YHWH, and the fact that Cain, who seems to be linked to the Qenites was seen as one of the first to worship YHWH).

So I think we have a historical Sinai event, with the tribes around Sinai being the first to experience the Biblical God.

In my view the Exodus account is two parts, historical national foundation and religious foundation that follows up into Leviticus. The national one continues where we left off with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What we left off as a small family has become a large tribal people group, basically nomads living in the lands of Egypt. They get taken into slavery, Moses is made to be their prophet and liberator from pharaoh and he leads them out into the wilderness in where the nation of Israel starts to form. The religious part is that the national god of Israel, Yahweh, reveals Himself and desires to be their god. They form a covenant on Mt. Sinai and later the Law is developed in Leviticus. While I take a conservative view in that the Exodus event did happen, I do believe that the stories of the events were made to be a blow by blow cut for it to fit into a story narrative in how we have it and it was probably more complex and complicated to the events that really historically happened. Just my take on the whole deal.

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I am generally a conservative, I accept the existence of the patriarchal age for example, and also see no reason to doubt the biblical account of the originally monotheistic Yahwists falling into apostasy, rather than the critical view of Israelite monotheism evolving from polytheism. I think the apostasy probably occured because the Israelites, not understanding the Qenite language (Proto-Arabic?) didn’t understand the meaning of YHWH’s name, which, as Israel Knohl suggested, meant ‘Impassioned’, in the sense of wanting sole love.

Of course, I am not an inerrantist, the Exodus certainly did not happen as the Bible said so, the Book of Daniel is clearly Maccabean in origin, and it would seem as though the Biblical Authors themselves were not immune to polytheistic corruption.