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Question

Did Moses exist?

did Moses exist
Answer


The idea that Moses was a real person is tied directly to the reliability of the Bible. Both the Old and New Testaments refer to him as an actual figure; he even appears during the transfiguration of Christ. The considerable evidence proving the Bible’s accuracy likewise reveals that Moses was a real person.

Attempts to cast doubt on Moses’ existence always start with some dismissal of the Bible. This view assumes that either the accounts in the Old Testament are entirely fictional or were heavily edited in order to create the character of Moses. Those who claim there are no ancient records explicitly referring to Moses must qualify the statement with “other than the Bible,” as if Scripture is automatically an invalid source of information. Critics typically admit there was almost certainly a “Moses-like figure,” since denying Moses’ existence entirely makes no sense of either history or archaeology.

While Moses is not mentioned in Egyptian historical records, archaeologists also note that Egyptian historians are notoriously self-contradictory and routinely ignored anything unflattering to their Pharaoh. It is hardly a surprise that Egypt’s official records did not make mention of a slave who returned after forty years in the desert to devastate their nation.

At the same time, there is archaeological evidence supporting the events of the Exodus. The evidence includes the Ipuwer Papyrus, which speaks of plagues such as famine, blood, fire, and insects. It includes archaeological findings in a town called Kahun of a large slave population and a rapid evacuation. Evidence connected to the Pharaohs and events of that time also harmonizes with the biblical account.

Demanding more proof for Moses’ existence would go well beyond reason. It would also far exceed the level of evidence that exists for other major historical figures. It is especially silly to expect firsthand evidence to survive from more than thirty centuries ago. The fact that we have evidence at all of someone like Moses is itself noteworthy. Since the evidence supports the events described in Exodus, in particular, and the Bible in general, there is every reason to believe Moses was a real, historical person.

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This page last updated: April 26, 2021