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Moses, the exodus, and comparative chronology

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Chapter Summary

Proving the antiquity of Moses and Exodus would put to rest the charge that the Jews were a people lacking credentials of antiquity. Eusebius?s Praeparatio Evangelica is a sprawling work of apologetic, purporting to reassure pagan readers of early fourth century that Christians were a people with primordial roots, older in fact than Jews and certainly the Greeks. When later Jewish writers did take up this project, the first challenge they faced was to authenticate the date of Moses through chronological conventions recognizable to Greek readers. To demonstrate the antiquity of Moses, it made sense to reckon his dates in relationship to a Greek kingdom with a continuous recorded past and recognized antiquity. There is no attempt to establish a continuous comparative chronology of biblical and Greek history. Josephus and Tatian mainly piggyback on witness of Egyptian authorities, which were understandably better for Egyptian than they were for Greek chronology.

Keywords: antiquity; biblical history; comparative chronology; Eusebius; Exodus; Greek history; Jews; Moses; Praeparatio Evangelica



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