Sunday, December 14, 2014

Exodus : Gods and Kings. A cliquier.

Moses in the Scott film leads his Egyptian warriors to
battle dressed as Mongols .
There are good films that have been made in the past that are about the Bible . I have to do a review of the biblical narrative that  Ridley Scott tried so hard to re-imagine : Exodus: Gods and Kings.  If you are a fan of DeMille's The Ten Commandments  (1956) , or John Huston's The Bible : In the Beginning (1963) , and you grew up  watching those faith inspiring movies . You are likely to find this new adaption of the story of Moses a bit difficult. Scott's movie is a mish-mash — part half-committed melodrama, part half-thought-out political provocation. The good news is that strengths of this film eventually win out; the bad news is all the awkward storytelling and botched character interactions we have to wade through to get to the good stuff. The worst part is that no one who was counseled on Egyptian history in regards to costumes in film did not in detail study Egyptian art , most of the costumes seem to be a mix of periods of history of different cultures other than ancient Egyptian , with special attention during some battle scenes in Scott's film .  There was a  film if you remember that has some similarity to the new Moses film , it was called the  13th Warrior,  that was made over a decade ago , some critics of that film have  noted that the 13 Viking warrior's were fitted with 13 to 16th century armor . Remember the film  The 13th Warrior was supposed to be set in the 9th century AD .
Some "costumes" are accurate, but this
film can't convince me. 
So Ridley Scott's film falls to the same pitfall in regrades to this , but the average movie goers are not so well versed in this . So this new story of Moses is supposed to take place in the 19th Egyptian Dynasty  which is about 
 (1292–1190 BCE ) we see the same problem of trying to recreate a setting the ancient past . I have to agree that doing period films can be difficult , with most specialty ancient Egypt  which is in Africa . The Scott film suffers from another problem , its so Whitewashed that some would call racist . We've known since the moment the full cast was announced: nearly every major role in the movie is played by a white actor.What makes it worse for many observers is that, on the flip side, virtually every black actor in the movie is playing a part called "Egyptian thief" or "assassin" or "royal servant" or "Egyptian lower class civilian." The movie can be vary insulating since most of the actors are white , blue eyed and have British accents . Another equally disturbing thing about the film is how theologically wrong it is . It seems that that movie was made for people who don't know their bible as much as the non-religious , it caters to secular views . I am assuming that it is the vary reason that the film is more of a sword and sandal special with vary little regard to accuracy . I find it strange that this film was not so well patched as  Gladiator which was Scott's best work . The Moses tale is familiar to pretty much everybody, but leave it to Scott, who has always favored mood and imagery over narrative and character, to mess up the initial story beats. We begin with Moses (Christian Bale) and his adoptive brother Ramses (Joel Edgerton) preparing to attack the army of the Hittites. On the eve of battle, their father, the current pharaoh (John Turturro, ), learns of a prophecy that says that someone will save someone’s life, and that the person who did the saving will become king. That’s about as vague as a prophecy can get, but it’s enough to send Ramses spiraling into paranoia as soon as Moses saves him during the bloody melee with the Hittites. The theology problem of the film is the introduction of God as a "creepy child" to Moses, this one might remind you of horror films  like The Ring . There is no BURNING BUSH in This film .Here he (God) comes to Moses in the form of a young boy, Malak (Isaac Andrews). Their interactions are curious, almost hostile, as Malak pushes Moses toward greater extremism in his effort to free the Jews from enslavement. Moses stands up to Malak and even expresses disagreement with the deity’s ruthless tactics. Their exchanges at times feel like a debate between equals, and God even suggests that Moses is free to leave whenever he wants.It's not theologically unsound, but it is an odd idea that the film can't quite develop. Is the casting meant to suggest a God full of a child's openness and idealism? Or of a small boy's willfulness and violence? (Mostly the latter, it seems; Scott's deity comes off as a bit of a brat.) This is again because of secularism , which is reinventing the biblical story to suit modern tastes , it fails much like the film Noah directed by   Darren Aronofsky, where Despite references to "The Creator", some still disliked the movie because God is not mentioned by name. Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, did not like the director’s description of Noah as the “first environmentalist”. Johnson called the film’s “insertion of the extremist environmental agenda” a major concern. The movie is 150 minutes and at times you feel every single one. The film starts off strong and includes one of the best battle scenes I’ve seen since “Gladiator,” another Ridley Scott film, but once the plagues hit Egypt things start to drag. Granted, some of the plagues are a sight to behold on the big screen, but they can become as tedious on the audience as the frogs were to the Egyptians.The deeper problem is one of conflating whiteness with heroism and power. Is it so hard to imagine our biblical heroes as being nonwhite? Is it beyond belief that one of the greatest empires in world history had authentically dark skin, rather than being white folks just wearing a ton of makeup?

The "real" Moses.
The Biblical Moses shares
a common name with this
Egyptian king
Ahmose I .
Could they  be
related ?
Archaeologists  have tried to identify who Moses may have been in the biblical narrative . I have often found the biblical movies out of place as far as history . First of all the "Exodus" is always placed during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II . Every Moses film ever made it's poor Ramses that oppressed the Israelite's ( I'll get to the Pharaoh later ) . Biblical Moses takes center stage throughout the whole Pentateuch. Who was Moses? A rather solitary leader, one with his people but set apart, even in his childhood, when he was raised by the pharaoh’s daughter as if he were an Egyptian prince. Set apart also in that he married an alien wife—Midianite or possibly Ethiopian. Even his physical characteristics—a speech defect—set him apart from others and is accommodated by God who arranges a leadership duo with Moses and his priestly brother Aaron. His role was unique—even to receiving the Law and seeing God, as evidenced by Moses’ blinding countenance. For starters the name Moses is an Egyptian name which has had several spellings through out Egyptian history . That's has been the curious overlooked item about Moses . In Egyptian Mo-SESES  means "One born of..." Who ever wrote the book of Exodus knew somewhat of  Egyptian names , he even misspelled in a way the name of the city Pi-Ramese one of the "treasure , store " cities that the Israelite slaves built . Note the spelling of Ramses in the Bible (KJV) :

“Therefore, they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.

Here the name Raamses. is not even close , but it's a linguistic twist that was done in the Middle-East with Egyptian words into Semitic languages . Yet , the Exodus writer was unfamiliar with some of the geography of the Nile Delta since the City of Pi-Ramese was built in the 19th Dynasty over an earlier city . When the book of Exodus was written has been debated , Jewish  tradition ascribes it to Moses . The "geography" of the text reflects the period of the 8th century BC as far as the setting , no where is near the the Time of the real Ramses the "Great" . I don't want to go in length as what I studied about Moses , or many books on archaeology I consumed about the story . I could go on and on my theory . Plain and simple , the Exodus story has many flaws , and problems regarding the period that we have assumed the Exodus taken place . Getting to the name of ## > Moses I think that it preserves some history that was somehow spun  around . I believe Moses was a real man he existed , and was probably a real "Egyptian" not a Hebrew . Since the writer of the Exodus story drew some interesting parallels with other middle-eastern myths about the birth of Moses . For the Modern Jews Moses was their own Lawgiver , and Messiah who led them out of Egypt , out of bondage as the story goes into the "promised land".

Who the "Pharaoh was ".
Several years ago I read a book called "TEST OF TIME" *** by Egyptologist David Rohl . Rohl advanced an Idea that the Chronology of Egypt was wrong , and that is why it never fit the Bible . I REALLY believed many ideas that David Rohl postulated . Some of the ideas that I embraced from him was that @ Ramses II was not the "pharaoh" of the Exodus story , that basis is that Ramses II was Shishak of the bible who sacked Jerusalem in the 8th year of his reign . (1 Kings 14:252 Chronicles 12:1-12). This case puts the chronology of the Exodus story in question . Turning aside from Rohl's theory , his own revised chronology is chaotic it places the Exodus in the 13 dynasty . Rohl's theory misses one crucial point in the investigation the name Moses . The name Mose is shared by several ancient Egyptians of the 17th and early 18th dynasty . Two Egyptian pharaoh's also were named 'Moses' , One of them was Ah-mose I who led revolution against the invaders called  Hyksos whose 'capital' city was the vary city Avaris by name that was later "rebuilt" in the 20 dynasty as Pi-Ramses of the bible .In his Against Apion, the 1st-century AD historian Josephus Flavius debates the synchronism between the Biblical account of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and two Exodus-like events that the Egyptian historian Manetho apparently mentions. It is difficult to distinguish between what Manetho himself recounted, and how Josephus or Apion  interpret him. Josephus identifies the Israelite Exodus with the first exodus mentioned by Manetho,  when some 480,000 Hyksos "shepherd kings" (also referred to as just 'shepherds', as 'kings' and as 'captive shepherds' in his discussion of Manetho) left Egypt for Jerusalem.[15] The mention of "Hyksos" identifies this first exodus with the Hyksos period (16th century BC).Josephus provides the earliest recoded instance of the much-repeated false etymology of the term Hyksos, as a Hellenised form of the Egyptian phrase Hekw Shasu meaning Shepherd Kings. Scholars have only recently shown that the term derives from heqa-khase, a phrase meaning "rulers of foreign lands".The Pharaoh of the Exodus appears pretty much at the start of the 18th dynasty , the royal family that adopted the baby Moses was the family of Kamose. The war of liberating the north from the Hyksos , and the final battle captured Avaris , and set the stage for the Israelite captivity sailed north from Thebes at the head of his army in his third regnal year. He surprised and overran the southernmost garrison of the Hyksos at Nefrusy, just north of Cusae [near modern Asyut], and Kamose then led his army as far north as the neighborhood of Avaris itself. Though the city was not taken, the fields around it were devastated by the Thebans. A second stele discovered at Thebes continues the account of the war broken off on the Carnarvon Tablet I, and mentions the interception and capture of a courier bearing a message from the Hyksos king Aawoserra Apophis at Avaris to his ally the ruler of Kush (modern Sudan), requesting the latter's urgent support against the threat posed by Kamose's activities against both their kingdoms. Kamose promptly ordered a detachment of his troops to occupy the Bahriya Oasis in the Western Desert to control and block the desert route to the south. Kamose, called "the Strong," then sailed back up the Nile to Thebes for a joyous victory celebration, after what was probably not much more than a surprise spoiling raid in force that caught the Hyksos off guard.[citation needed] His Year 3 is the only date attested for Kamose and he may have died shortly after the battle from wounds.[29]Ahmose I, who is regarded as the first king of the Eighteenth Dynasty may have been on the Theban throne for some time before he resumed the war against the Hyksos. Ahmose became the king who enslaved the Hebrews made Moses a prince and was the subject of countless legends  . The Exodus may not have been such a spectacle as we have seen in numerous Hollywood films that I love . The true "exodus" happed when the Hyksos was expelled from Egypt , and yes it did involve plagues . Around the time this happened   Egyptian pharaoh Ahmose ruled at a time closer to the Thera eruption than previously thought – a finding that could change scholars’ understanding of a critical juncture in human history as Bronze Age empires realigned.If the stela does describe the aftermath of the  (1)> Thera catastrophe, the correct dating of the stela itself and Ahmose’s reign, currently thought to be about 1550 BC, could actually be 30 to 50 years earlier. Some of the biblical plagues we read in Exodus look like after effects of a volcanic eruption . The Ahmose tempest  Stela, The stela’s text describes the ‘sky being in storm’ with ‘a tempest of rain’ for a period of days; the passages also describe bodies floating down the Nile like ‘skiffs of papyrus;’ importantly, the text refers to events affecting both the delta region and the area of Egypt further south along the Nile. (2)> From the Papyrus Ipuwer, "The river is blood....Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere" From Exodus (7:20) "All the waters that were in the river were turned to blood."Exodus(7:21) The blood was all throughout the land of Egypt....And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river." While the Bible says that 600,000 Israelite left Egypt led by Moses . What the truth is that only 6000 may have left on foot , all though not in the bible , the evidence shows that the Israelites were living in Caanaan ( the promised land ) long before Moses , and the mythical Joshua  supposedly conquered it  . There is another curious thing about the Moses story , why  it occupies only a few "chapters" in Exodus . Question here is , what was cut of the bible that has left scholars confused over the last 3000 years? 
Poor Ramses II always
gets a bad wrap .


##> Jewish Sources say that According to Chizkuni,1 it was actually Moses’ biological mother, Jochebed, who gave Moses (משה) his name. Jochebed later told Pharaoh’s daughter, Bithiah, the child’s Hebrew name, and so Bithiah also called him by this name, remarking that this name was indeed appropriate, since she had drawn2 him out of the water.Ibn Ezra3 says that Bithiah gave Moses the Egyptian name Munius, which theTorah translates into Hebrew as Moshe (Moses). Alternatively, Ibn Ezrasuggests the possibility that Bithiah actually had learnt to speak Hebrew, and it was she who gave Moses his Hebrew name. This latter explanation is also given by other commentators.Then, of course, there is the Hebrew verb משה (masha), which is identical to the name save for the Masoretic . HOWEVER the word Moses connection to Ah-Mose and Ka-Mose two kings and founders of the 18th Dynasty can be attested.  Theological Dictionary relates it to the Egyptian word mesmesu, meaning child, son. (Born of...) like This was usually combined with the name of a god (eg Thuth-moses or Ra-messes).The Evolution of the word Mose (Mes) to Mese over a 300 year period shows the Egyptian language changed over time from one Dynasty to another . (1)>There was a lot more than a simple volcanic eruption going on 3500 years ago.According to the writings of Hevelius, the Jewish Exodus took place 3506 years ago. This same time frame was given in 1602 works of Abraham Rockenbach, De cometis tractatus novus methodicus, "In the year of our world 2453 - as many trustworthy authors, on the basis of many conjectures, have determined - a comet appeared which Pliny also mentioned in his second book. It was fiery red, of irregular circular form, with a wrapped head; it was in the shape of a globe and was of terrible aspect. It is said that the King Typhon ruled at the time in Egypt. Certain authorities assert the comet was seen in Syria, Babylonia, India, in the sign of Capricorn, in the form of a disc, at the time when the children of Israel advanced from Egypt toward the Promised Land, led on their way by a pillar of cloud during the day and apillar of fire at night."(2)> A few days ago, Simcha Jacobovici made the claim that ‘there’s a dramatic scholarly breakthrough linking archeology to the Biblical Exodus.’ Jacobovici asserts that this new interpretation proves the biblical Exodus because the natural disaster that the ‘Tempest Stela’ describes matches up with the plague of darkness described in the Exodus narrative (Exod 10.21–29). Jacobovici claimed back in 2006 that this stela was a key piece of evidence for finding the Exodus in the archaeological records of Egypt.***The New Chronology is an unconventional revised Chronology of the ancient Near East created by Rohl. It involves a major revision of the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt, in particular by redating Egyptian kings of the 19th through 25th Dynasties. Rohl asserts that the New Chronology allows scholars to identify some of the main characters in the Old Testament with people whose names appear in archaeological finds. The New Chronology has not gained acceptance among Egyptologists. Rohl had previously remarked in A Test of Time (1995) that he "did not originally set out to challenge our current understanding of the Old Testament narratives. This has come about simply because of the need to explore the ramifications of my TIP [Egyptian Third Intermediate Period] research. I have no religious axe to grind – I am simply an historian in search of some historical truth."[7] @ King Shishak of the Bible. Ramses II (hypocoristicon = Shysha) with Shishaq in the Bible.Shishak (HebrewשישקShīʼshaḵGreekΣουσακείμSousakeīm), an Egyptian pharaoh mentioned in the Biblical books of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles and a contemporary of the Israelite kings Solomon and Rehoboam. Majority consensus of historical scholars and archaeologists identify Shishak with Pharaoh Shoshenq I, although more recently historian David Rohl has claimed Rameses II as Shishak, based on a variety of circumstantial evidence.

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