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What would an "African American" inherited with a significant Native American phenotype look like or be mistaken for?

Q. What would an "African American" inherited with a significant Native American phenotype look like or be mistaken for?A. Black Indians in the United States - WikipediaBlack Indians are people of mixed African-American and Native American heritage, who have strong ties to Native American culture.Many Indigenous peoples of the Eastern Woodlands, such as the Narragansett, Pequot, Lumbee and Cherokee, have a significant degree of African ancestry.Historically, certain Native American tribes have had close relations with African Americans, especially in regions where slavery was prevalent, or where free people of color have historically resided. Members of the Five Civilized Tribes also participated in enslaving Africans, and some Africans migrated with them to the West on the Trail of Tears in 1830 and later. In peace treaties with the US after the American Civil War, the slaveholding tribes, which had sided with the Confederacy, were required to emancipate slaves and give them full citizenship rights in their nations. The Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole have created controversy in recent decades as they tightened rules for membership in their nations and excluded Freedmen who did not have at least one Native American ancestor on the early 20th-century Dawes Rolls, but the exclusion was later appealed in the courts. The Chickasaw Nation never extended citizenship to Chickasaw Freedmen.Members of the Creek (Muscogee) Nation in Oklahoma around 1877. Note mixed European, African and Native American ancestry. L to R, Lochar Harjo, principal chief; unidentified man, John McGilvry, and Silas Jefferson or Hotulko micco (Chief of the Whirlwind). The latter two were interpreters and negotiators.Portal:Indigenous peoples of North America - Wikipedia5 Things to Know About Blacks and Native AmericansGorgeous black indian woman, Kiowa tribeHere are a few important things to know about the relationship between Blacks and Native Americans.1. How We First Hooked Up: The earliest recorded African and Native American contact occurred in April 1502, when the first enslaved Africans were taken to Hispanola; some Africans escaped to Santo Domingo. The first Black Native Americans emerged from these groups.2. Some Native American Tribes Held Slaves: Unfortunately, the relationship between Blacks and Natives prior to emancipation was often rocky, as some Native tribes sided with the Confederacy and owned slave plantations. While the dynamics between Native slave holders and enslaved Africans was often different than those that existed on European run plantations, this still complicated the Black/Native relationship in a way that challenges the narrative many of us have embraced regarding that connection, which brings us to…3. You Do Not Have “Indian Up In Your Family”: As Harvard University historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote in 2009, “Only 5 percent of all Black Americans have at least 12.5 percent Native American ancestry, the equivalent of at least one great-grandparent. Those ‘high cheek bones’ and ‘straight black hair’ your relatives brag about at every family reunion and holiday meal since you were 2 years old? Where did they come from? To paraphrase a well-known French saying, “Seek the White man.”Some 58 percent of African Americans possess at least 12.5 percent European blood. In other words, our variances in complexion and hair texture are more likely to be attributed to our White ancestry (which most of us have via slavery, even if we cannot trace it back on our family trees) than the “Cherokee” heritage so many of us have been claiming for so many years. Unless you have documented evidence, please stop telling people that Grandma Mary Louise Jenkins was “full-blood Indian” just because she rocked long, silky plaits her entire life. Oh, and don’t run out telling people you’re 12 percent White now and acting like that makes you mixed, either.4. Okay, Maybe You Do Have Some Native Blood: Some Seminole Natives of Florida did form communities with escaped Africans, creating what came to be known as Black Seminoles. Hundreds of Africans traveled with the Seminole nation when they were forced to relocate to Native American territory, while some remained with those who stayed in Florida. The 1835 Census showed that some 10% of the Cherokee people had African blood. Before the Civil War, the Africans living amongst Cherokee people were either enslaved by them or they were free, but lacking citizenship. In 1866, the Cherokee nation signed a treaty with the US government recognizing those people of African heritage as full citizens. If you are curious to learn if and how you might have Native American blood ties, try a genealogy expert or source that specializes in Black/Native relationships.5. The definitive book Black Indians by William Loren Katz is by far the most comprehensive book on the historical relationship between Blacks and Native Americans. It’s not a scholarly work, but it’s an amazing resource for those looking to learn more about our connection.American Red and Black: Stories of Afro-Native Identity by Alicia Woods, 2006. This intimate film follows six Afro-Native Americans from around the U.S., as they reflect upon the personal and complex issues of Native and African heritage, ethnic identity, and racism within communities of color.So Called Black People With Native AncestryOur struggle to reclaim our lost identity is a daily task. In our journey to take back our stolen heritage we are confronted with bigotry and hate from all sides. Our oppressors define us as negro, black and colored despite all the evidence to the contrary. The traditional Native American continuously sides with the narrative provided by our common enemy. We are accused of being ashamed of our African ancestry.AP Photo/Doug PizacMichael Jackson & Rosa Parks: 10 Black People With Native AncestryMichael Jackson with his sisters Rebbie, Janet and LaToya at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards on February 28, 1984.Michael won a record breaking 8 Grammys.Jackson, 50, died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 25, 2009.Vincent Schilling • February 26, 2014Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, speculates that a “vast majority” of African Americans today also share Native Ancestry.In appreciation of these notables who have contributed to society in some way or another, here are a list African Americans you may not have known have some Native ancestry.Jimi HendrixThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls him the greatest instrumentalist of all time, Jimi Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix on November 27, 1942. Hendrix was of African, European, Cherokee Indian and Mexican descent and spent many of his early years with his grandmother, a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. After a short career, Hendrix died in 1970 from barbiturate related asphyxia at the age of 27.Press Association via AP ImagesFile photo dated August 20, 1970 of Jimi Hendrix on stage.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (and his wife Coretta Scott King)In William Loren Katz’s book Black Indians, he cites that Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 had mobilized a Poor People’s March and had invited whites, African Americans, Native Americans and all other races. In his book Katz writes, “King whose own ancestors included Native Americans as well as Africans, was assassinated in Memphis before the March reached Washington.” It was also known that Coretta was of African American and Creek ancestry.AP Photo/Joe Holloway Jr.Coretta Scott King poses before a photo painting of her late husband, Martin Luther King Jr., January 1972. The painting hangs behind her office desk and is one of her favorites.Lena HorneKnown as an influential African American actress, dancer, singer and civil rights activist, Lena Horne was also Native American from both of her parents, Edwin Frank Horne Jr. and Edna Louise Scottron. Horne joined the famous Cotton Club chorus at age 16 and performed in the movie and performing industry for decades, born in 1917, Lena Horne passed away in 2010 at age 92.AP PhotoMiss Lena Horne, a 30-year-old singer, is seen rehearsing in London, England, October 30, 1947 for a performance at the London Casino.Michael Jackson (and all the Jacksons)In an interview with Joe Jackson in the book The Jacksons he tells the readers that he has Choctaw in his family history. There are also unconfirmed accounts that Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, has Blackfoot ancestry.James Earl JonesYes Luke, you might have had a Native American father—at least as far as the voice of Darth Vader is concerned. According to James Earl Jones in an interview with the BBC, he said his grandmother had Cherokee, Choctaw and African American roots.Rex Features via AP ImagesPhoto by Steve Meddle/Rex Features 1470594bf) James Earl Jones ‘The Alan Titchmarsh Show’ TV Programme, London, Britain. – 14 Oct 2011BeyoncéWell, some of you might know that Beyonce’ is part Native American after she did that L’Oréal commercial. According to Ms. Knowles the Native American comes from her mother’s Creole heritage, which includes Native American.RELATED: Beyonce’ Touts L’Oreal Cosmetics That ‘Match’ Your Native American ShadePhoto by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP ImagesSinger Beyonce performs on her “Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013”, on Saturday June 29, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada.Rosa ParksRosa Parks rocked the civil rights world when she refused to give up her seat to a white male passenger on a segregated bus. Called the “First Lady of Civil Rights” by the U.S. Congress, Rosa Parks was also of Cherokee and Creek descent.National Archives and Records Administration Records of the U.S. Information Agency Record Group 306/Wikimedia CommonsPhotograph of Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ca. 1955)Oprah WinfreyThough not necessarily conventional—or maybe too conventional, Oprah Winfrey went the DNA testing route on a documentary called African American Lives in 2006 and discovered she was part Native American along with Chris Tucker. During the program, Oprah said that to many African-Americans in her generation, being “a little Indian” was desirable.Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/APOprah Winfrey speaks on stage at the 45th NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Saturday, February 22, 2014, in Pasadena, California.James BrownThe Godfather of Soul, James Brown, with such blazing hits as “Sex Machine” and “I Feel Good” is Apache as well as African American. In a 2004 interview, Brown credited his Apache roots to living a healthier lifestyle without cigarettes and alcohol. He said, “I guess the Indian temper is there. That’s why I don’t drink liquor… I smoke very little. If I smoke, I smoke what the Indians smoke. Whatever that is, ha ha ha!”AP Photo/Eugene HoshikoJames Brown performs during a concert in Shanghai, China, in this February 22, 2006, file photo. The dynamic “Godfather of Soul,” whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died December 25, 2006 of heart failure brought on by pneumonia. He was 73.LL Cool J.Just as William Loren Katz proclaims on his website regarding Africans and Indians, “Though often unmentioned except in family circles, this biological legacy has been shared by such figures as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, Alice Walker, Jesse Jackson, Michael Jackson and LL Cool J.”In Katz’ book, LL Cool J. is holding a copy of Black Indians and claims Cherokee descent… enough said.Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/APLL Cool J arrives at the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, January 26, 2014, in Los Angeles.Follow Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) – ICMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wows and Sports Editor –Before He Was President: Abraham Lincoln And The Man Who Refused To Be Called ‘Negro’List of people of African-American and Native American ancestry - WikipediaFurther information: Black Indians in the United States, African American, Native Americans in the United States, and Multiracial AmericanNahshon Dion Anderson (b. 1978), award winning writer, actor and model of African American, Mexican, and Native American ancestryWilliam Apess's mother was part PequotHenry Armstrong's mother was IroquoisCrispus Attucks (Wampanoag and Natick) was the first casualty of the Boston MassacreK. D. Aubert is part Native AmericanAndre "Andre 3000" Benjamin is part Native American.Tyra Banks, in a DNA test, found that her ancestry was 79% African-American, 14% British, and 6% Native AmericanEstelle Bennett and Veronica Bennett (known as Ronnie Spector), of African-American and Cherokee ancestry through their motherTraci Bingham's father is Native AmericanChristopher "Ludacris" Bridges is part Native AmericanBizzy Bone (Bryon McCane) has some Native American descentGeorge Bonga (1802–1880), fur trader and interpreter in what is now Minnesota, son of trader and interpreter Pierre Bonga and an Ojibwe motherBilly Bowlegs III (Seminole) (1862–1965), Florida Seminole elder and historianJames Brown was part ApacheJesse L. Brown (Chickasaw and Choctaw), naval officer, first African-American to become a naval aviatorMonica is part Native AmericanOlivia Ward Bush (Montaukett) (1869–1944), African American author, poet, and journalistRadmilla Cody, enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, former Miss Navajo, and anti-domestic violence activistBessie Coleman, the first Native and African-American woman to get a pilot's license, was part CherokeeJoseph Louis Cook, a colonel in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary WarGeorge Crum (Huron), chef credited with inventing potato chipsPaul Cuffee (Wampanoag and Ashanti), Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionistYaYa DaCosta is part Native AmericanStacey Dash is of West Indian and Aztec descentMilt Davis is part Native AmericanRosario Dawson is part Native American through her fatherValena Broussard Dismukes (Choctaw), author of the Red-Black Connection and other books on African-Native American identityRamona Douglass is part Oglala LakotaGary Dourdan is part Native AmericanMaria Ewing (Sioux), opera singerMabel Fairbanks (Seminole), figure skater and coachRedd Foxx was part SeminoleVivica A. Fox is part Native AmericanMeagan Good is part Cherokee and TainoAngel Goodrich, enrolled member of the Cherokee nation and a WNBA athleteIllinois Jacquet's mother was Sioux and his father CreoleAlex Haley (1921-1992) had Cherokee ancestorsRebecca Hall is Sioux through her mother Maria EwingBen Harper is part CherokeeAaliyah "Aaliyah" Haughton was part OneidaDorris Henderson is part BlackfootJimi Hendrix was part CherokeeLeon Hendrix is part CherokeeLena Horne was part Native AmericanJohn Horse (Juan Caballo) (Black Seminole) (ca. 1812–1882), war leader in Florida, also leader of Black Seminoles in MexicoLangston Hughes was part Native AmericanEarle Hyman (Tuscarora, Haliwa-Saponi/Nottoway) (1926–2017), actorKyrie Irving, born to a Sioux mother, a NBA player that made the game winning shot in the 2016 NBA Finals.Michael Jackson had Choctaw ancestry on his father's side and Blackfoot ancestry on his mother'sShar Jackson is part Cherokee and Taino ArawakJames Earl Jones is part Cherokee and ChoctawJulia Jones is of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nationsLolo Jones is part Native AmericanSusannah Mushatt Jones was for a time the world's oldest living person and according to her family had some Native American ancestry.Alexis Jordan is part Native AmericanEartha Kitt was part CherokeeBeyoncé Knowles is part Native AmericanSolange Knowles is part Native AmericanSanaa Lathan is part Native AmericanBianca Lawson is part Native AmericanAnanda Lewis is part Creek and BlackfootEdmonia Lewis was of Mississauga Ojibwe-Haitian ancestryMance Lipscomb is part ChoctawAmber Littlejohn is part CherokeeChief Buffalo Child Long Lance (Lumbee), journalist and writer, adopted into the Kainai NationLaura Love is part Native AmericanRichard Mayhew is part Native American and a landscape painterAngela McGlowan is part Native AmericanJames Meredith (Choctaw), desegregation pioneerLeona Mitchell (Chickasaw), operatic sopranoScott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi is part Native AmericanMwalim (Mashpee Wampanoag), musician, writer, and educatorNicole Ari Parker is part CherokeeRosa Parks was descended from a Native American slave on recordAnn Plato (ca. 1824–unknown), tribe unknown, one of the first African American published women authorsCharlie Patton (1887–1934), Black Cherokee and founding father of the blues in the Mississippi DeltaOscar Pettiford's mother was Choctaw and his father part CherokeePhylicia Rashād's father was full-blooded CherokeeMartha Redbone, Native American Music Award-winning soul music artist of Shawnee-Choctaw-Cherokee ancestryDella Reese's mother was Cherokee and self-identified as suchSalli Richardson's mother is African-American and Cherokee.Marguerite Scypion (ca. 1770s–after 1836), an African-Natchez woman whose family successfully sued for their freedom in MissouriWill Smith is part Native AmericanWillie "The Lion" Smith (Mohawk), jazz pianistWoody Strode (Blackfoot, Cherokee, and Muscogee), decathlete, football player, and actorRozonda "Chilli" Thomas is part Native AmericanChris Tucker is part Native AmericanTina Turner identifies herself as Cherokee and NavajoTionne "T-Boz" Watkins is part Native AmericanKerry Washington is part Native AmericanFrance Winddance Twine (b. 1960), sociologist enrolled in the Muscogee (Creek) NationAmil "Amil" Whitehead is part CherokeeMykelti Williamson is part BlackfootOprah Winfrey is part Native AmericanKeke Wyatt is part CherokeeMelisa "Kid Sister" Young is part Native AmericanMichael Zinzun (1949–2006), former Black Panther and anti-police brutality activist of African and Apache descent

Why does ancestry matter for some medical decisions?

Short answer: Most often ancestry and environment together mould disease risk. Ancestry alone directly confers disease risk less often, specifically so in cases where single gene mutations have outsize effects. Tay–Sachs disease - Wikipedia, Sickle-cell disease - Wikipedia and Cystic fibrosis - Wikipedia are some well-known examples of the latter.Longer answer if interestedWhy It's So Difficult to Scientifically Tease Apart The Role Of Ancestry In Disease CausesHuman ancestry is the outcome of choice that liberally pockmarks both past and present with gratuitous violence and calamities since it's a choice contrived to mediate and enforce differential access to resources. This choice manifests itself as caste, class, ethnicity, linguistic group, race, sect, tribe, etc. They're social, i.e., explicitly political and cultural, not biological categories (1) but they end up influencing biology anyway. Here's how.Human societies tend to practice some form of social stratification or another. Over time, differential access to critical healthful life-sustaining resources such as quality education, health care and nutrition impact health, especially since social stratification-engendered privations tend to be experienced across generations.Thus, health disparity is the outcome of historical inequities a particular social category experiences at the hands of what usually tends to be a long-prevailing hegemony.Persistence of social stratifications across generations thus end up influencing biology by differentially influencing disease risk through the human-created construct of health disparity.The ethically unambiguous and appropriate place for ancestry in biomedicine lies in helping to try to tease apart the relative contributions of health disparity versus genetic predisposition to disease.However, it's well nigh impossible to disentangle genetic predisposition from the many environmental confounders health disparities impose on disease risk. This stymies the effort to accurately parse and pinpoint the role of ancestry in many disease causes.Problem is by tending to examine it devoid of its inherent sociological context, biomedicine artificially insulates ancestry. That leaves its role vulnerable to exploitation by the scientific flavor of the day, which these days is genomics.The genomic era is like the proverbial hammer primed to seek and find nails everywhere so it's become quite the fashion to privilege or attempt to privilege genetic predilection even in the case of multi-factorial diseases. This problem is also grounded in the fact that biomedicine has evolved an inherently siloed approach such that super-specialists, be they molecular biologists, geneticists, epidemiologists, public health researchers, etc., examine a given health issue through the lens of their training often without simultaneously attempting to look beyond, especially at the sociological context of disease. Thus, ancestry in the form of race/ethnicity has been and continues to be used as a proxy for genotype, albeit devoid of sociological context.Official guidelines add to the problem, being inadequate and/or inaccurate and/or too riddled with ambiguity. For example, in the US, when classifying their research subjects, NIH-funded scientists are required to adhere to the racial and ethnic categories specified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)'s Directive #15, the so-called NIH Inclusion Policy and Guidelines (see below from 2),'American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and White, Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino’At least one survey of 18 NIH-funded scientists (11 men, 7 women) (3) reports these guidelinesAre applied too unquestioningly regardless of their utility or accuracy.Are bureaucratic, one size fits all, catch all, inflexible, an example cited being Barack Obama. Categorize as Black or Caucasian?Are difficult to comply with in geographic areas with few minority residents.Force minority inclusion numbers that yield data lacking sufficient statistical power to provide meaningful results, i.e., difficult to generate representative and therefore generalizable data sets.A study from the UK (4) reports similar flawed approach to study of racial/ethnic contribution to health and disease.Genomic Approaches To Assess Ancestry Remain Inherently FlawedAncestry-informative marker - Wikipedia (AIMs) are inherently misleading and fraught with flawed assumptions (5, 6, 7, 8, 9). So what are AIMs? They're population-specific markers, typically Single-nucleotide polymorphism - Wikipedia (SNPs) that occur at different frequencies in different populations. Since they're shared by all humans, rather than presence or absence, analysis focuses on their frequency.These days TV ads about learning one's ancestry are plentiful. Just send a saliva sample in and get genetic genealogical results back. Too deceptively simple but also flawed to boot.Obviously a test sample is compared to reference samples of Africans, Asians, Europeans, Native Americans, etc.Who are the 'reference populations' for each race or ethnicity? To assign 'purity', ideally they should be groups that have remained immobile, isolated and endogamous for millennia till date since reference samples should represent 'pure' examples of different ethnic/racial categories, the standard against which the test sample would be compared.Obviously such reference populations are an impossibility for much of the world's population.Instead 'small groups of contemporary people' (9) are chosen as representative samples for a particular continent or region or ethnic, linguistic or tribal group.Who is chosen? What are the criteria used to choose one individual and not another to supply the reference sample?How many people from a given population (caste/ethnicity/linguistic group/race/sect/tribe) are sampled to develop a representative reference sample base?How many are necessary? How many sufficient? 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, …?How are thresholds set to determine how a given result is interpreted to include or exclude a particular population?The answers to these scientifically crucial questions lie hidden behind the legal iron curtain of proprietary information preventing even the bare minimum in terms of rigorous science, namely to independently replicate and thereby verify (9). Thus, the widely advertised genomic categorization of ancestry using AIM touted by various commercial entities is more or less the outcome of a technological Sleight of hand - Wikipedia or two or three or more.Diseases Found To Be More Prevalent in A Particular Race/Ethnicity Are Typically MonogenicTay–Sachs disease - Wikipedia & BRCA1 - Wikipedia mutationsAt least 2 disease-causing/associated genes are more prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews - Wikipedia, infantile form of Tay–Sachs disease - Wikipedia and BRCA1 - Wikipedia mutations associated with higher risk for breast cancer.Tay-Sachs is an autosomal recessive (Dominance (genetics) - Wikipedia) Genetic disorder - Wikipedia caused by a Mutation - Wikipedia in HEXA - Wikipedia gene on Chromosome 15 (human) - Wikipedia where children usually die by the age of 4. Disease is caused by the impaired function of lysosomal enzyme, Hex A.Higher prevalence in these two instances is presumed to owe to the fact that the Jewish population descended from a small number of founders and remained largely endogamous (10).Genetic counseling and prenatal screening are also advised for Cajuns - Wikipedia in Louisiana and French Canadians - Wikipedia since similar mutations have been identified among them.Sickle-cell disease - WikipediaAn adaptation to thwart malaria, sickle cell is more common among those with West African ancestry, specifically those with the globin S (betas) mutation (11).Cystic fibrosis - WikipediaAn autosomal recessive genetic disorder caused by mutations in Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator - Wikipedia (CFTR) gene, it's found to be more prevalent among people of European descent (12, 13).More Accurate To Envision Ancestry As A Continuum Rather Than Groups Of Independently Evolving Discrete UnitsAn additional challenge is the fact that ancestry as a social construct is fast becoming less categorical as populations meet and meld as perhaps never before, even while they may have remained geographically isolated for varying lengths of time here and there in previous millennia.Consider USA for example, a country that assesses race in its census.The category 'Other' was first listed in the US 1910 census. Now listed as 'Some Other Race', in the 2010 census it had become the 3rd largest category after 'White' and 'Black' (14, 15).In recent years, 15% of US marriages are between people of different ethnicities and races.One in seven US infants is today born into a ethnically and/or racially mixed family.A particular genomics example perfectly hints at the potentially vast complexity hidden underneath the surface of the race/ethnicity categories commonly used in our times. Complete genomic sequences of two famous European origin American scientists, James Watson - Wikipedia, Craig Venter - Wikipedia, and Seong-Jin Kim, an Asian-origin scientist, showed the former shared fewer (461000) SNPs with each other than they each shared with the Asian (569000 and 481000, respectively) (16, 17), something utterly unlikely to be discerned from physical appearance alone.A genomic analysis of self-identified European Americans (n = 326), African Americans (n = 324) and Hispanics (n = 327) in Manhattan, New York, revealed such substantial ancestral mix in both African Americans and Hispanics, the authors concluded (18, emphasis mine; see figure below from 19).'A pooled analysis of the African Americans and Hispanics from NY demonstrated a broad continuum of ancestral origin making classification by race/ethnicity uninformative’Needless to say, such melding happened or is happening faster in some countries and especially faster in large cosmopolitan cities. Largely the mix of Native American (Amerindian), European (mainly Portugal) and African, Brazil is a country that famously embodies more than anything else racial ambiguity (20).Finally, data also suggests higher genetic diversity within races (85%) rather than between races (15%) (21), which only further undermines the practical value of race/ethnicity in dissecting disease risks and causes at group level. This is especially the case for Africa, the continent with the greatest degree of genetic variation (see below from 22 quoted in 9).'For many regions of the human genome, there are more variants found among people of Africa than found among people in the rest of the world. This is probably because humans have resided in Africa for much longer than we have resided any place else in the world, so our species had time to accumulate genetic changes within the people in Africa.'In other words, race/ethnic categories such as African, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Latino, White poorly predict human biological similarity and diversity. As Cuban geneticist Dr. Beatriz Marcheco put it (23),'The classic mirror reflects skin color; but the DNA mirror reflects our common ancestors'Race/ethnicity are thus becoming less and less relevant as proxies for genotype or rather the discernible truth about ancestry lies more and more between rather than within these commonly accepted social categories.Some Examples Where Misapplication Of Ancestry Obfuscates Rather Than Clarifies Cause For Disease PredispositionHypertension - WikipediaHypertension and its clinical outcomes such as heart disease, stroke and renal failure are so much more prevalent among African Americans that a racial predisposition ascribed back in the 20th century still erroneously prevails as a dogma (19). Erroneous because large studies comparing West African, Caribbean and American Blacks show high prevalence of hypertension among African Americans is an outlier, being lower among other Blacks (24, also see figures below from 19).Low blood pressures in rural West Africa that change little with age.Similar average blood pressures to White North Americans among West Indian Blacks.Higher blood pressure among urban African Americans from Maywood in Chicago.Obesity, high sodium and low potassium intake, the lifestyle factors known to increase blood pressure matched blood pressure averages among these three groups of Blacks. In other words, abrupt diet and lifestyle changes better explain hypertension rates among African Americans.The specific example of hypertension reveals how difficult it is to assert which is more consequential, nature or environment, simply because it's practically impossible to observe the obverse, people from Africa leading a US lifestyle without experiencing either racial or class inequities.An even larger study of 85000 subjects including Whites from 8 surveys in the US, Canada and Europe, and 3 surveys among Blacks in Africa, the Caribbean and the US, showed preventable causes of hypertension overlap across races and ethnicities (25). Meantime a much smaller (n = 1056) US study (26) on African Americans served as the basis for the US FDA's approval of a hypertension drug, BiDil (Isosorbide dinitrate/hydralazine - Wikipedia), supposedly designed for African Americans (27, 28).Moral? Far from vaunted impartiality, an example of how economics (patents) and politics (tokenism) trump science.The issue of causality is further complicated by the fact that blood pressure regulation is extremely complex and thus unlikely to be explained by genes alone. One of the largest blood pressure GWAS (Genome-wide association study - Wikipedia) examined 200000 subjects and found the 29 genetic markers most strongly associated with blood pressure could only account for 23% of risk for hypertension (29). Since lifetime hypertension risk in the US is ~85%, this means genomics has so far provided little by way of predictive value. Cherry on the cake is blood pressure susceptibility variants are similar among subjects with African, Asian, European and South Asian ancestry (29).DiabetesJudenkrankheit or Jews' disease, as recently as 1904, this is how physicians in the US and Europe tended to perceive diabetes (see below from 30).'THERE IS NO RACE, WHICH is so subject to diabetes as the Jews,” wrote W. H. Thomas in 1904 in the eugenically obsessed language of his day. Thomas, a New York physician, was voicing an almost universally held belief in the United States that of all the “races,” Jews had the greatest likelihood of developing diabetes. At the same time, most members of the medical community considered the prevalence of diabetes among Blacks to be unusually low. In the words of a Johns Hopkins physician in 1898, “Diabetes is a rare disease in the colored race”.'Fast forward 100 or so years and in the US,Diabetes rates have sky-rocketed among African Americans to 2X those in Whites while they've declined among Jews.Today, Pima people - Wikipedia have the highest rate of Diabetes mellitus type 2 - Wikipedia in the world and of course, since they form a homogenous group, unsurprisingly, mapping their genetics has become an intense focus of research interest. Laughable weren't it so soul-crushingly tragic for the following reasons.Before the advent of European American encroachers on their land after the American Civil War, the Pima had a reputation for excellent farming and lived independent, autonomous lives along the Gila river on lands presently known as Arizona (31). They even called themselves Akimel O'Tham or the River People.White settlers directly competing for irrigation rights, the 1877 Desert Land Act which 'required bona fide application of water to the land to obtain title', new dams that re-directed water away from traditional Pima farms (9), all these human-made interventions forced Pima to abandon their age-old ways of life in a matter of a few decades.A health survey in 1902 found a single case of diabetes among the Pima. By the 1930s, this number had increased to >500.With the completed Coolidge Dam not sending enough water their way, their traditional farming essentially going bust, the Pima quickly sank into abject poverty and started dying early.Like a benighted god the US federal government rode to the rescue, providing Pima free government surplus food and what food it is! Refined white flour, processed cheese, lard, candy, chips, refined sugar, grape juice, macaroni when the Pima's original diet consisted of (32 quoted in 9).'...seeds, buds, fruits and joints of various cacti; seeds of the mesquite, ironwood, palo verde, amaranth, salt bush, lambsquarter, horsebean and squash; acorns and other wild nuts; . . . roots and bulbs of the sandroot (wild potato) . . . deer, antelope, ..rabbits, quail, dove, wild ducks, wild turkey.’By the mid-20th century, this ancient diet had been entirely supplanted by boxes and boxes of macaroni and cheese. Where Pima dietary fat intake was 15% in the 1890s, it had increased to an incredible 40% by the 1990s (33).And yet it apparently sounds eminently reasonable and soundly scientific to probe and probe Pima genetics to sincerely try to understand their sky-high rates of diabetes these days (34). An exercise in callousness, ignorance, stupidity or all three.At this point it becomes necessary to ask whether it is really reasonable to highlight ancestry as a mechanistic contributing factor to diabetes when rates can be evidently higher than the norm and drop to average in just 100 years in one group while they increase and increase in two other groups over the same period?A simpler explanation is how abrupt diet and lifestyle changes impact life trajectories and chronic disease risk in the short-term. Plausible proof? Traditional rural dwelling societies practicing 'traditional culture' have vanishingly low rates of diabetes compared to their counterparts newly adapted to 'westernized' diets and lifestyle (see below from 9).Attitudes ranging from the cavalier to sheer ineptitude suggest the prevailing culture of biomedical science is ill-equipped to deal with divisive political topics such as ancestry. Science exists within society, not outside of it and the prevalent untenable allegiance to the implausible notion of striving to be perceived as ahistorical and apolitical ill-serves biomedical science and society alike.And so we're back where we started, namely unable to parse environmental and genetic factors in assigning causes to many, especially multi-factorial diseases. Impasse largely owing to biomedical scientists ignoring sociology when probing the role of ancestry, specifically race/ethnicity, in diseases.Bibliography1. Schwartz, Robert S. "Racial profiling in medical research." New England Journal of Medicine 344.18 (2001): 1392-1393.2. Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity3. Knerr, Sarah, Dawn Wayman, and Vence L. Bonham. "Inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities in genetic research: advance the spirit by changing the rules?." The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 39.3 (2011): 502-512. Smart, Andrew, et al. "Social inclusivity vs analytical acuity? A qualitative study of UK researchers regarding the inclusion of minority ethnic groups in biobanks." Medical Law International 9.2 (2008): 169-190.5. Fullwiley, Duana. "The molecularization of race: institutionalizing human difference in pharmacogenetics practice." Science as Culture 16.1 (2007): 1-30.6. Fullwiley, Duana. "The Biologistical Construction Of RaceAdmixture'Technology And The New Genetic Medicine." Social studies of science 38.5 (2008): 695-735. TallBear, Kimberly. Native American DNA: Tribal belonging and the false promise of genetic science. 2013.8. Fujimura, Joan H., and Ramya Rajagopalan. "Different differences: The use of'genetic ancestry'versus race in biomedical human genetic research." Social Studies of Science (2010): 0306312710379170. Duster, Troy. "A post‐genomic surprise. The molecular reinscription of race in science, law and medicine." The British journal of sociology 66.1 (2015): 1-27. Burchard, Esteban González, et al. "The importance of race and ethnic background in biomedical research and clinical practice." New England Journal of Medicine 348.12 (2003): 1170-1175. Grosse, Scott D., et al. "Sickle cell disease in Africa: a neglected cause of early childhood mortality." American journal of preventive medicine 41.6 (2011): S398-S405. Cutting, Garry R., et al. "Analysis of four diverse population groups indicates that a subset of cystic fibrosis mutations occur in common among Caucasians." American journal of human genetics 50.6 (1992): 1185. Zvereff, Val V., et al. "Cystic fibrosis carrier screening in a North American population." Genetics in Medicine 16.7 (2013): 539-546.14. Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above. The New York Times, Susan Saulny, January 29, 2011. More Young Americans Identify as Mixed Race15. The Rise of the American 'Others'. The Atlantic, Sowmiya Ashok, August 27, 2016. More Americans Are Selecting "Some Other Race" on U.S. Census Forms16. Levy, Samuel, et al. "The diploid genome sequence of an individual human." PLoS Biol 5.10 (2007): e254. Ahn, Sung-Min, et al. "The first Korean genome sequence and analysis: full genome sequencing for a socio-ethnic group." Genome research 19.9 (2009): 1622-1629. Full genome sequencing for a socio-ethnic group18. Tayo, Bamidele O., et al. "Genetic background of patients from a university medical center in Manhattan: implications for personalized medicine." PLoS One 6.5 (2011): e19166. Cooper, Richard S. "Race in biological and biomedical research." Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine 3.11 (2013): a008573. Race in Biological and Biomedical Research20. Santos, Hadassa C., et al. "A minimum set of ancestry informative markers for determining admixture proportions in a mixed American population: the Brazilian set." European Journal of Human Genetics (2015). Mersha, Tesfaye B., and Tilahun Abebe. "Self-reported race/ethnicity in the age of genomic research: its potential impact on understanding health disparities." Human genomics 9.1 (2015): 1. Self-reported race/ethnicity in the age of genomic research: its potential impact on understanding health disparities22. Ossorio, Pilar N. "Myth and mystification: The science and race of IQ." Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth, and Culture (2009).23. Genes Prove Mixed Ancestry of All Cubans: Interview Director, National Medical Genetics Center, Havana24. Cooper, R., et al. "Hypertension prevalence in seven populations of African origin." Am J Public Health 87 (1997): 160-168. Cooper, Richard S., et al. "An international comparative study of blood pressure in populations of European vs. African descent." BMC medicine 3.1 (2005): 1. An international comparative study of blood pressure in populations of European vs. African descent26. Taylor, Anne L., et al. "Combination of isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine in blacks with heart failure." New England Journal of Medicine 351.20 (2004): 2049-2057. Roberts, Dorothy. Fatal invention: How science, politics, and big business re-create race in the twenty-first century. The New Press, 2013.28. Kahn, Jonathan. Race in a bottle: The story of BiDil and racialized medicine in a post-genomic age. Columbia University Press, 2013.29. International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-Wide Association Studies. "Genetic variants in novel pathways influence blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk." Nature 478.7367 (2011): 103-109. Tuchman, Arleen Marcia. "Diabetes and race a historical perspective." American journal of public health 101.1 (2011): 24-33. Dejong, David H. "Abandoned Little by Little:" The 1914 Pima Adjudication Survey, Water Deprivation, and Farming on the Pima Reservation." Agricultural History (2007): 36-69.32. Mark, Albyn K. "Ecological Change in the History of the Papago Indian Population." Master of Arts thesis, University of Arizona (1960).33. Demouy, J., et al. "The Pima Indians: Pathfinders of Health. Bethesda, MD: Nat. Inst." Diabetes Digestive Kidney Diseases (1995).34. Pearson, Ewan R. "Dissecting the etiology of type 2 diabetes in the Pima Indian population." Diabetes 64.12 (2015): 3993-3995. for the R2A, Sergey Yegorov.

Do we have extra-biblical evidence for the origins of the Israelites?

THE WORLDVIEWFirst let me begin this answer with two quotes by James Hoffmeier, a leading OT scholar on the Exodus:"There are several possible reasons for this absence of evidence. The first possibility is, as the Biblical minimalists suppose, that the Hebrews were never there. A second, more likely explanation is that we have had unrealistic expectations as to what archaeology can deliver. After all, what evidence, short of an inscription in a Proto-Canaanite script stating “bricks made by Hebrew slaves” would be considered proof that the Israelites were in Egypt? Archaeology’s ability to determine the ethnicity of a people in the archaeological record, especially of the Israelites at such an early period, is quite limited. Assuming the Israelites were in Egypt during Egypt’s New Kingdom (c. 1540– 1200f B.C.), what kind of pottery would they have used? What house plans would they have lived in? What sort of burial traditions did they practice? And would archaeologists be able to identify the burial of these early Israelites who ended up as slaves anyway? And how are all these things different from those of Canaanites or other Semitic-speaking peoples in Egypt at this time?" (Hoffmeier, OE, 3)"In short, the Nile Delta where the Bible says the ancient Israelites lived has produced no historical or administrative documents that might shed light on any period. Moreover, the types of royal inscriptions found on stelae and temples never include any negative reports about Pharaoh and his armies. Rather, they speak of his triumphs and deeds of valor, and even distort set-backs such as the near disaster to Ramesses II’s army at the battle of Kadesh, about which we know from other sources. Consequently, no one will ever find a stela commemorating the humiliation of Pharaoh as a result of the plagues or the defeat of the Egyptian forces dispatched to bring the fleeing Hebrews back to Egypt." (Hoffmeier, OE, 5)Three questions must first be answered: Archaeology cannot be used to disprove ancient events merely due to a lack of evidence. We do not have access to hardly any relevant records to this time contrary to those who claim Egyptian history is well documented. If it were, why are entire reigns of pharaohs missing or contradicted? Finally, Egypt would certainly not mention anything about the Exodus or Conquest in what records we have.Such answers are important in shifting the burden of proof. Historians do not treat their sources with the sort of presuppositional skepticism many biblical scholars employ. Famous historian and archaeologist R. G. Collingwood once said biblical theologians treat the Bible more critically than a historian would for any other historical topic (see him especially on the resurrection of Jesus, Collingwood, 135-136).Image Source: R G Collingwood - Alchetron, The Free Social EncyclopediaAs Collingwood points out later on the supernatural: "The historian is master in his own house. He owes nothing to the scientist or to anyone else" (Collingwood, 155).Marc Bloch argued history in dealing with humans necessarily leads to disparate theories and generalizations, none of which are absolute. As such, the historian is never justified to assume he or she KNOWS the world of the ancients. As Bloch concludes:"Whether confronted by a phenomenon of the physical world or by a social fact, the movement of human reactions is not like clockwork always going in the same direction...Is not man himself the greatest variable in nature?...In a word, in history, as elsewhere, the causes cannot be assumed. They are to be looked for." (Bloch, 196-197)Why then do Old Testament scholars like Israeli Finkelstein or William Dever assume the Exodus and Conquest did not happen? Because they involve the miraculous? It certainly has nothing to do with evidence for Joshua and Exodus are themselves evidence. They are historical sources no? Yet these type of scholars not only assume a skeptical starting point but use their own skepticism as the primary "evidence" to "reconstruct" the Exodus to a conveniently non miraculous, elongated, and frankly...BORING process.Yet as historian John Vincent once said:"The body of evidence in favour of miracles could not be of higher quality. It is based on the testimony of eye-witnesses. It is contemporaneous. It is massive in bulk. It comes from educated men. It is often entirely disinterested. It varies little over a large number of centuries. There is little evidence contrary to the idea of special providences, and perhaps there could not be. The historical evidence for miraculous intervention could not be weightier. Our decision to disregard it is not a historical decision, not an induction from the evidence as it is. It is based on our non-historical or a priori belief (for belief it is) that there is no such thing as the miraculous." (Vincent, 28)So as Hoffmeier rightly concludes in another work:"In view of Huizinga's position that 'every civilization creates its own form of history,' the modern historian must exercise caution in employing modern, Western investigative methods on ancient Near Eastern documents. If the historian thinks there is a problem with the text's trustworthiness, the burden of proof lies with the modern investigator, not the ancient writer who cannot explain himself to the modern investigator. Writing on this point nearly thirty years ago, Kitchen stated, 'It is normal practice to assume the general reliability of statements on our sources, unless there is good, explicit evidence to the contrary. Unreliability, secondary origins, dishonesty of the writer, or tendentious traits—all these must be clearly proved by adduction of tangible evidence, not merely inferred to support a theory.'" (Hoffmeier, OE, 16)So in continuing: the Exodus and Conquest ought to be treated as innocent until PROVEN guilty.I want to also note how the percentage of scholars who believe the traditional narrative cannot be overlooked.Too often skeptics make it sound like believing the Old Testament is factual is a fringe view. A popular young (by comparison with renown scholars) media scholar (yet hardly one widely recognized by her peers) is Francesca Stavrakopoulou who in this discussion just nonchalantly implies her fellow biblical historians agree Moses and David didn't exist!First, David's existence is not in dispute by scholars anymore after the Tel Dan Inscription. Second, I have no idea (yet...) what her theories are on the genre of writing for OT books but suffice it to say Exodus to Chronicles show no evidence of intending their works to be taken as non history. One of the most common expressions used by all these writers is "to this day" implying some monument caused by an event they just narrated was still existing in their lifetime. How in the WORLD could that be interpreted any other way than literal history? And starting with even Joshua, these writers name sources occasionally (the Book of Jashar). Indeed, most skeptical scholars I read accept the biblical writers were intending a historical genre and just doubt their accuracy. So she is certainly a minority who thinks books like Joshua did not even consider themselves literal history.But what of Moses and the Exodus?Aside from scholars who think the Exodus happened in the traditional chronology like Bryant Wood, some scholars that accept the Ramses dating of the Exodus still believe it. Hoffmeier is one such example. But Kenneth Kitchen has argued for a biblical style Exodus on a Ramses dating before. And Kitchen is one of THE LEADING Egyptologists, OT scholars, and archeologists today! Moreover, the Conquest model was contended by William F. Albright who is widely regarded as the founder of biblical archaeology.Image Source: Ancient Bible not let anyone tell you believing the Exodus is a fringe view.DATING THE EXODUSThe traditional chronology of the Bible which I accept and will employ places the Exodus around 1446 BC. This is based mainly on a verse in 1 Kings saying the exodus happened 480 years before Solomon's reign. The Septuagint says 440 years likely due to copyist errors, but both dates are similar and 480 matches other passages in the Bible on dating Exodus. As the chronology of Israel's kings can be adduced with a much higher degree of accuracy, such a verse cannot be idly dismissed. Jepthath in Judges says the conquest occurred 300 years prior which would put it near 1400 BC and so the Exodus 1440.But I will allow Bryant Wood to establish the dating quite reliably against critics of the Ramses period:"Late-date proponents explain away this Scripture by saying that the 480 years cannot be taken literally, but must be understood as a figurative number. It is really 12 idealized generations of 40 years each. Since an actual generation is on the order of 25 years, the real time interval from Solomon’s fourth year to the Exodus is only 12 x 25 = 300 years. When we add this number to Solomon’s fourth year, 967 BC (Young, this issue, 121 n. 11), voilà, we have a year smack-dab in the reign of Rameses II, 1267 BC! Of course, this is an approximation, so the actual date could vary a few years either way from 1267.....In addition, we know from genealogical data that there were more than 12 generations between the Exodus and Solomon’s fourth year. From Heman the musician, who lived in the time of David, back to Korah, who lived in the time of Moses, there were 18 generations (1 Chr 6:33–37). Adding one additional generation takes us to the time of Solomon, resulting in a total of 19 generations, far more than the imagined 12 generations of the late-date theorists" (Wood, RRDSE)"The appearance of the name Rameses in this passage and in Genesis 47:11 are examples of editorial updating of a name that went out of use. After the construction of Rameses II’s capital, the area came to be known as Rameses from that time forward. Other examples of such updating are Bethel (Gn 12:8; 13:3; 28:19), Dan (Gn 14:14; Dt 34:1; Jgs 18:29) and Samaria (1 Kgs 13:32; 16:24)" (Wood, RRDSE).With our worldview and chronology settled, let's finally discover what evidence internal and external support the traditional Exodus narrative that gives us this origin story to Israel: The Israelites travel to Egypt from Canaan settling in the land of Goshen. After slavery and oppression, the Israelites are freed by the "finger of God" and make their way to Canaan. Under the leadership of Joshua and future judges, the Israelites slowly conquer the promised the land to establish their first monarchy four centuries later.Before we get into the evidence let's also consider logic. As Hershel Shanks opened up a panel of several OT scholars:"But...only a single tradition of Israel's origins has ever been preserved—that they came from outside Canaan, from Egypt, where they were slaves. Who would invent such an ignominious past?" (Shanks, RAI, 39)The VERSEFirst I want to mention one verse in Joshua.Image Source: Exclusive Look at THE BIBLE Miniseries Character Art for Joshua(Joshua as depicted in the Bible series. He looks more like a rugged warrior as we should expect.)This is a verse in Joshua often overlooked or entirely ignored I suspect because archaeologists are not as trained in the historical method for analyzing written sources. Yet it offers the historian an important internal indicator of why the writer Joshua (and Exodus and Judges for that matter which presuppose each other and follow the same timeline and presumably sources) might have access to more than just folklore..."But Rahab the prostitute and her father's household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho." (Joshua 6:25, ESV)She has lived TO THIS DAY? If not by an eyewitness, this passage certainly indicates the destruction of Jericho is based on a contemporary source. Actually it would imply the author of Joshua was contemporary. But since most scholars like to create redacting, multiple author mayhem with the Bible let's just grant that theory for now. Even if Joshua was written centuries later by multiple editors (which this verse argues against too as why didn't they edit that out?) this verse still proves they had access to a contemporary report of Jericho's destruction. And if they had access to such sources what else in Joshua could be true? And what about Exodus which Joshua and the story of Jericho's destruction presuppose as a backdrop?That this verse is due to deception is absurd. This is literally the only direct, internal indicator given in all of Joshua to its author and/or date, and it is as subtle as can be. The passage is not even about Rahab still being alive in the authors' time but the fact she's still alive because she helped Israel! It's dating implication is nothing but a side note to us later readers whereas the juicy meaning of this passage to the author or editor is Rahab's faith! The historian could not ask for a more trustworthy internal indicator in the text for its general credibility.Semites in Egypt?That Semitic people were migrating to Egypt in the patriarchal time is virtually undisputed now.One Egyptian sage Nerferti in 1900 B.C. even laments all the Asiatics migrating into Egypt (Hoffmeier, OE, 6).Semites start appearing in droves in Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. By the Middle Kingdom we have plenty of sources confirming the Asiatic and Semite populations in Egypt. The Middle Kingdom would be when Joseph and Jacob's family moved to Egypt and start growing. Hoffmeier points out one piece of evidence demonstrating just how thoroughly Semites have penetrated Egypt:"An oft-cited document provides information on Semites in Egypt during the late Middle Kingdom is Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1446. This document, probably of Theban origin and dating to the late Twelfth or early Thirteenth Dynasty, contains a ledger with the names of the servants of the Egyptian estate. Over forty...bear names of Northwest Semitic type indicating their Syro-Palestinian ethnicity. Since over forty Semites were attached to this single estate in the Thebaid, the number across Egypt, especially in the Delta, was likely considerable." (Hoffmeier, IE, 60-61)Hoffmeier goes on to say how there are records of droughts and thirst driving Canaanites, Asiatics, and Semites to Egypt during this period much like what drove Joseph's brothers to him during a drought (Hoffmeier, IE, 68). This is also noted by Baruch Halpern who has argued for the Exodus being a myth: "The universal experience of Canaanites...was that in times of famine, Canaanites were sent down to Egypt. And when the Canaanites were pastoralists, it was to the land of Goshen they went—the area where the Israelites settled" (Halpern, RAI, 203-204).Image Source: Brooklyn Papyrus 35.1446 RecreationThe presence of Semites in Egypt certainly doesn't prove Israelites alone are among them. But given the likely numbers, is it that hard to accept a group of Israelites traveled to Egypt too during this time?The New Kingdom Setting of ExodusFor this section I will depend mostly on Hoffmeier's work "Israel in Egypt." Hoffmeier who believes the Ramses dating of the Exodus against traditional chronology still offers important evidence demonstrating the trustworthy character of the narratives. I am no expert yet in the ancient languages and so I could not follow the very detailed evidence Hoffmeier put forth. But I understood the logic and as Hoffmeier notes, the setting for the Exodus reflects numerous New Kingdom examples of language proving it was likely not written later as most advocates of the Documentary Hypothesis assumed.Image Source: Immigration and the Bible: James Hoffmeier on the RadioWhile tragic that neither Genesis nor Exodus name the Pharaoh in their narratives, ironically this very omission is sign of their earliness. Egyptian history initially used "Pharaoh" as an identity with the palace, and only later began using it as a generic name for the monarch. (Hoffmeier, IE, 84)The use of "Pharaoh" with no name became a common practice of Egyptians in the New Kingdom ending right in Israelite's first monarchy with David and Solomon in the tenth century B.C. But after that period, pharaoh's name began being used in records. We see this in the Old Testament too as Exodus transitions from calling the current pharaoh simply "Pharaoh" to Kings and Chronicles where the name of pharaoh is finally mentioned (i.e. Shishak and Neco). Therefore the use of "Pharaoh" in Genesis and Exodus reflects a much earlier period no later than Solomon's but even as early as Moses's in the 15th century (Hoffmeier, IE, 87-88).Hoffmeier goes further in showing 6 terms in Exodus 2 on Moses's origin have Egyptian etymology that we know existed only in the New Kingdom:"Yet we see that this verse contains no less than six words used in Egypt during the New Kingdom. 'River,' 'basket,' and 'reeds' occur again in 2:5, as does 'Pharaoh' (which is repeated in 7, 9, and 10), which is of unquestioned Egyptian origin....Furthermore, it seems unlikely that a scribe during the late Judean monarchy or the exilic period (or later) would have been familiar with these Egyptian terms....Consequently, the birth narrative of Exodus 2 must at least date back to the time of Solomon, when close political and cultural ties with Egypt existed, or even earlier." (Hoffmeier, IE, 140)Finally, Hoffmeier emphasizes Moses's rearing in the Egyptian court. Some might question the idea of a foreigner of slave origin being permitted Egyptian royalty and education. This belief is reaffirmed in Stephen's speech in Acts.Yet we have much evidence from the Amarna Letters and Egyptian records in the New Kingdom that foreign princes and princesses (including some known Semitic ones) were regularly brought up in the Egyptian court to become future rulers or officials (Hoffmeier, 142-143).Perhaps most intriguing is this practice, as far as we know, was started by Thutmose III, who was the pharaoh during Moses's childhood according to our traditional chronology. And according to Hoffmeier, the New Kingdom is the ONLY period where we have evidence of such foreign acceptance into the court (Hoffmeier, 142-143).One final point to note is we also have evidence of such Semites being used in slavery including the sort of brick making in the 15th century setting of the Exodus. Halpern states: "A 15th-century tomb painting depicts Canaanite and Nubian captives making bricks at Thebes. One text even complains about the dearth of straw for brick making—a situation encountered by Israel in Egypt....The details of Israelite slavery in the Bible mesh well with historical research: One Egyptian text bemoans the lack of straw for brickmaking" (Halpern, RAI, 223-224). Kenneth Kitchen also takes note of this and how the New Kingdom is when Egypt began using so many slaves in building projects. In this scene depicted in 1450 B.C., Semite foreigners are forced to make bricks using mud and water “under the watchful eye of Egyptian overseers, each with his rod” (Kitchen, OROT, 247).JERICHOArchaeological excavations of Jericho began in the 1930s with German archaeologist John Garstang.Image Source: Archaeologist John Garstang: from Liverpool to AnatoliaBritish archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon then excavated Jericho in the 1950s.Image Source: Kathleen Kenyon and JerichoBoth these and future excavations have taught EVERY scholar one thing: the pattern is identical to Joshua.Image Source: The Fall Of JerichoJericho sat on a hill and had not one but two large walls surrounding the city. Both of these walls fell down flat. By flat I mean they fell outward from the city to the ground. How? You tell me. Kenyon and other skeptics never seemed to explain this destruction other than it wasn't Joshua (as we will see later). Yet walls falling outward rather than inward would not be due to an army. And if it was an earthquake, why only the walls? And why did the ENTIRE circular wall fall down? One would expect sporadic damage not an entire collapse. Even if it was an earthquake it was mighty convenient for what came next...The walls fell down and created a ramp from the rubble to the base of the hill. This allowed an army apparently waiting on the other side to rush up and destroy the city. They set the city on fire and destroyed everything. Oh but when the walls came down one section in that wall (and only this one section) was preserved. The section had houses built into the wall. This in Joshua could only be Rahab's home said to be built into the wall where she lowered the spies to safety.Image Source: Biblical Nuggets: Ancient JerichoSo the army destroyed the city. Yet they did not plunder it. Archaeologists discovered all the grain was burned too, something truly bizarre as any raiding army would take FOOD (probably the most important resource for a large army!). This grain's preservation also told archaeologists the siege of the city did not last long. If it did, we would expect grain shortages as a besieging army starved out the population. Furthermore, such grain quantities imply the siege happened in spring when the harvest was plenty. Finally the city was abandoned for centuries except in a small case we will mention that ironically parallels Judges. In any event, Joshua's curse of rebuilding the city would imply later abandonment.ALL these details are in Joshua. Indeed, no scholar disputes this pattern discovered in the excavations (see Shanks, RAI, 40-44)."The archaeological remains at Tell-es-Sultan correspond to the biblical Jericho. This is undisputed by mainstream scholarship, whether conservative or liberal" (Biblical Chronologist 2.3).Therefore the ONLY dispute is the dating of Jericho. Garstang rightfully dated its destruction to 1400 B.C. based on local pottery and ceramic remains. Kenyon came along and dated it to 1550 B.C. using new radiocarbon dating. Now biblical archaeologist Bryant Wood has reexamined and dated it back to 1400 B.C.Which is it? Frankly I think this demonstrates why we ought to care more about the pattern than uncertain dating methods. We know it dates to an ancient time that is certainly between 1800-1200 BC at least. That's all one needs. The fact it matches Joshua exactly is sufficient evidence to accept a 1400 BC dating.Radiocarbon dating of the city has proven allusive. To demonstrate one example:"In 2000, the current Italian excavation team under Lorenzo Nigro tested two samples that were excavated from a building appearing to contain debris from the final destruction of the Bronze Age city that had washed down to the bottom of the tell. The dates given from the two samples were 1347 BC +/-85 and 1597 BC +/-91, giving an overall range for these two C-14 dates as 1688-1262 BC (Marchetti , Nicolo and Nigro, Lorenzo, eds. Quaderni di Gerico 2, 2000, 206-207, 330, 332). The first of these dates fits roughly around the proposed 1400 BC destruction, while the other is closer to the proposed 1550 BC destruction. Yet, again these dates are so broad that they are useless in contributing to solving the problem for the date of destruction. Overall, the C-14 dates from the destruction of the Bronze Age city of Jericho range from as high as 1883 BC to as low as 1262 BC—a range of over 600 years" (APXA10C).Yet as long as it's POSSIBLE to date it to 1400 BC, that's all that should matter. For knowing the pattern of its destruction is identical to Joshua should imply any possible favorable dating ought to be the accepted one.Bryant Wood has shown scarab evidence in the tombs of Jericho. The scarabs of all the major pharaoh's in the mid 15th century BC to Amenhotep III, who began his reign close to 1400 BC (1391 BC by some accounts but a decade isn't much to ask). While scarab evidence is not always the best dating means, Wood points out Hatshepsut was among the scarabs and her name was systemically wiped out by Egyptian successors. So her name was unlikely to be used as a scarab long after her reign (see Wood, DJD).Besides Joshua's destruction of Jericho, Jericho is mentioned a second time in Judges 3 as the "City of Psalms." Eglon, king of Moab, built a palace in Jericho and oppressed the Israelites for a short period before being routed. Garstang's excavation into Jericho revealed a building dated later into the early Judges period Wood thinks matches this account:"The next mention of Jericho following Joshua's destruction is in Judges 3 where we are told that Eglon, king of Moab, took possession of the "City of Palms" and built a palace there. The City of Palms, of course, is none other than Jericho (Dt 34:3; 2 Chr 28:15)....The Bible does not tell us what, if anything, was at Jericho in David's day. Garstang's Middle Building, on the other hand, exactly fits the description of Eglon's palace in Judges 3 using conventional chronology (Garstang 1941a; 1941b; 1948: 175-80). It was an isolated palatial structure with no corresponding town. There was evidence of wealth (expensive imported pottery), and administrative activities (an inscribed clay tablet). The Middle Building was constructed toward the end of the 14th century B.C. by conventional chronology, which matches the time period of the Judges 3 account according to Biblical chronology. It was occupied for only a short period of time and then abandoned, paralleling the Biblical description of an 18 year oppression by Eglon and the subsequent rout of the Moabites by Ehud and the Israelites." (Wood, DRREC)AiImage Source: Bible Map: AiIt's hard to know where Ai was located. Ai was assumed to be vacant during the Exodus time. Indeed, locating Ai has been a task in itself as Joshua gives few specific geographical details to help archaeologists. Kitchen has pointed out, however, that the invention of such a small, insignificant settlement as Ai was unlikely to be legend regardless of what archaeology does not say yet on the traditional site."It is easy (for some) to dismiss the whole narrative [of Ai] as a later story told to explain the noble ruin with its still visible (Early Bronze) walls. But why bother? There would be more famous or important places to romanticize, if the need were felt. People did not write 'historical' novels with authentic research and background (e.g. the meticulous battle topography of Josh. 8) in Near Eastern antiquity, as we do today, and only since the last two hundred years or so.” (Kitchen, OROT, 188)Bryant Wood among others have recently excavated another ruined city dating to the Conquest timeline Kh. el-Maqatir. Though Kitchen rejected this site as an alternative, Wood has explained how this city more exactly matches all the details of Joshua:• Near Beth-aven (Josh. 7:2)­ Kh. el-Maqatir is 1.5 km southeast of Beitin, the most likely candidate for Beth-aven• East of Bethel (Josh. 7:2) Kh. el-Maqatir is 3.5 km northeast of El-Bireh, the most likely candidate for Bethel• Ambush site between Bethel and Ai (Josh. 8:9)­ between Kh. el-Maqatir and El-Bireh is a very deep valley, the Wadi Sheban, out of sight of both Kh. el-Maqatir and El-Birch, which could easily ac­commodate a large ambush force• Hill north of Ai suitable for Joshua's command center (Josh. 8:11) Jebel Abu Ammar 1.5 km north of Kh. el-Maqatir is the highest hill in the region and provides a commanding view of the battle area• Shallow valley north of Ai such that the king of Ai could see Joshua and his men (Josh. 8:14)­the Wadi Gayeh between Kh. el- Maqatir and Jebel Abu Ammar is shallow and easily visible from Kh. el-Maqatir• Small fortress dating to the time of Joshua (Josh. 7:3, 5; 8:29; 10:2) a fortress about 3 acres in size has been found at Kh. el- Maqatir, with pottery from the fifteenth century B.C.• Gate on the north side (Josh. 8:11) ­the gate of the fortress at Kh. el-Maqatir is on the north side• Destroyed by fire (Josh. 8:28) abundant evidence for a destruction by fire has been found at Kh. el-Maqatir in the form of ash, burned pottery, burned stones, and burned bedrock.(Wood, FRS)Image Source: Update from Khirbet el-Maqatir Week TwoThough the location of Ai will always be uncertain, the fact one city fitting its general vicinity in Joshua perfectly matches the story is significant evidence.HAZORImage Source: The Renewed Hazor ExcavationsIronically Hazor's destruction has been used as evidence for the Ramses dating! This is due to archaeological excavations revealing the city being burned in the 13th century B.C. matching Joshua's description. But these scholars forget Hazor is actually assaulted again in Judges. We should thank them for agreeing Hazor's destruction matches the Bible only in the time period of Judges rather than Joshua.But in an ironic twist, excavations of Hazor have shown evidence of a 15th century destruction in parts of the city too therefore confirming both Joshua and Judges' destruction narratives. Wood gives the details:"As with Jericho and Ai, Hazor was put to the torch (Josh. 11:1). Abundant evidence has been found in the excavation of the fifteenth-century city (Stratum XV in the upper city and Stratum 2 in the lower city) that it was destroyed by fire. In the upper city, the Long Temple in Area A was destroyed and never rebuilt,61 and in Area M evidence was found that Str. XV was brought to an end by a conflagration.62 In the lower city, the Square Temple in Area F went out of use at the end of Str. 2,63 and the Str. 2 Orthostat Temple in Area H was covered by a 15 cm thick layer of ash on the floor64 and a 70 cm thick layer of mud brick debris above that.65 Further evidence for the destruction of Str. 2 was found in Areas C, K and P" (Wood, FRS)In conclusion, Jericho, Ai, and Hazor all show early 15th century evidence of destruction during Joshua's campaign. And contrary to the exaggeration of some, Joshua only names these three cities for destruction (rather than thinking Joshua's narrative implies a total invasion and destruction of Canaan). In that light, William Dever one of the most skeptical scholars to the Exodus today and a Ramses Exodus theorist unwittingly admits: "From the Amarna Letters, we know that the Canaanite city states were collapsing as early as 1400 B.C.E." (Dever, RAI, 140).The Pharaoh of the ExodusThe Pharaoh of the Exodus has traditionally been ascribed too Thutmose III. But Egyptian chronology for Amenhotep II (his successor) offers three different reign periods. As we will see, Amenhotep II is the likely pharaoh of the Exodus (Thutmose being the one who reared Moses).Image Source: Thutmose III | WikiwandFirst, the pharaoh of the Exodus MUST meet two criteria: He cannot be the first born of his predecessor, and his successor cannot be his first born. This is due to the Plague of the First Born in Exodus.Thutmose III's eldest son was not Amenhotep II but rather Amenemhet. Moreover, Amenhotep II's eldest son is mysteriously non existent in Egyptian history leading some Egyptologists to believe his eldest son died early. Instead, Thutmose IV succeeds Amenhotep and in his Dream Stele recounts surprise becoming pharaoh as he was not the original heir, and inscriptional evidence confirms he was not the first born (see Petrovich, IV, 2, X)If we then compare Thutmose with his son, there is sudden decline in Egypt's power. Too much has been made of the plagues. Yes we should see some decline in Egypt after the Exodus but a total collapse? Most of the plagues affected areas that were easily replenished once the Israelites left and the Egyptians, presumably, returned to their prosperity. The plague of livestock did not kill every animal as often assumed for Exodus goes on to say some Egyptians sheltered their livestock during the plague of hail (Exodus 9:20). That is one example. Crops and homes could be rebuilt. And some of the plagues did not even attack Egypt's economy but simply demonstrated God's power (such as darkness or boils).Image Source: Amenhotep IIPerhaps the only event that would certainly affect Egypt's power for a significant period was the destruction of its army in the Red Sea. However, Egypt like most empires had multiple armies and nothing in Exodus beyond obvious hyperbole would suggest literally every SINGLE Egyptian soldier was involved in the pursuit. Therefore, Egypt would still retain defensive armies after the Red Sea barring any total invasion as often assumed due to the Exodus.In this light, we should only expect a modest military decline in Egypt for a limited period due to the Exodus. And Amenhotep II's time sees an immediate decline in military might. Compared to his father's 17 campaigns, Amenhotep only conducts 2 or 3 (Petrovich, VI, 1). And, as we shall see in the next section, the Amarna Letters demonstrate Egypt was losing control of its Palestinian territories in the 14th century B.C. as Canaanite kings cry to Egypt for military aid that never came.(Cool depiction of the Red Sea Parting!)Image Source: MosesAssuming the earlier reign of Amenhotep, his first military campaign would have occurred before the date of the Exodus. His second campaign occurred right after the Exodus and...boy...did he have labor to replace!In all of Thutmose's 17 campaign, the recorded booty and prisoner list was moderate with prisoners never reaching anymore than a few thousand. Amenhotep continued this trend in his first campaign only capturing barely 2,000 prisoners where some or most would become slaves (Egypt commonly used prisoners of war as slaves).By his second campaign, however, Amenhotep took 101,128 captives! As scholar Doug Petrovich remarks:"The Annals of Thutmose III, also will be abbreviated: his first Asiatic campaign (T1), sixth (T6), and seventh (T7). The prisoners taken on the various campaigns are compiled as followed: T1=5,903 captives; T6=217 captives; T7=494 captives; A1=2,214 captives; and A2=101,128 captives. Put differently, A2 yielded 46-times more prisoners than all the other campaigns combined!" (Petrovich, VII, 2)Yet the connection does not end there. Amenhotep also captured 1,082 chariots in his second campaign (Petrovich, VII, 2). Why also a sudden huge demand for chariots and captives? Need I say it?Though some might question his captured number as unbelievable and exaggerated, even Hoffmeier who doesn't accept the traditional Exodus dating notes:"Because this total is so high, its reliability might be questioned. However, the figures do not fit typical Egyptian hyperbolic language of capturing hundreds of thousands and myriads. Consequently, for they have not been dismissed as deliberate exaggerations, nor have Egyptologists denied the historicity of the campaigns because of their large total."(Hoffmeier, IE, 113)So we have seen: Amenhotep II was not the first born of his predecessor, his own first born is mysteriously absent in all history, his successor was not his first born, his reign was characterized by little military activity, Egypt's Palestinian provinces would soon fall with little aid decades later (during Joshua and Judges period), he captured the highest amount of captives destined for slavery than any other pharaoh in his period, and he captured over 1,000 new chariots during this military halt. The corroborating parallels with Exodus are striking.Before I conclude this section there are three other pieces of less evidential weight to mention but still bear on this connection.Towards the end of Amenhotep's reign he wrote in such a rage some Egyptologists thought he was drunk on how much he despised Semites (Shea, APE). Could the events of the Exodus been on his mind?Thutmose III and Amenhotep II's reigns also saw one of the few reigns of an Egyptian queen Hatshepsut. Yet towards the events of the Exodus and after her death, her image was targeted by Amenhotep II where she was actively removed from history and tarnished. This attempted political destruction of her history has no explanation in Egyptian records leading some Egyptologists to assume it was due to an unknown power struggle. But could she be Moses's mother, the Egyptian princess with a claim to the throne? Her image being destroyed after her reign would make sense during the Exodus events (Petrovich, X).Finally, did the pharaoh of the Exodus die in the Red Sea? I do not think the Bible directly says this as Petrovich agrees. However, as the point of the Exodus was partly to show Pharaoh's arrogance and how Yahweh was superior to Pharaoh, would not his death be the final blow? Time to get a little bit…but only a little bit…CONSPIRATORIAL!William Shea has offered an interesting case that Egypt hid Amenhotep II's death after his first campaign and simply made his successor take on the same family name as if nothing had changed. If Pharaoh did die in such a horrible fashion, this is exactly what we should expect. The general populace would not know the pharaoh's face and Egyptian government controlled the future records modern Egyptologists rely upon. Yes this is a conspiracy but conspiracies were easier to manage in that time compared to our technological age. And such a conspiracy does not make too many unproven assumptions.Shea shows how Amenhotep II has two different coronation dates, and oddly his first and second campaigns are both called his first in official documents. Egyptologists have tried to explain this as Amenhotep being a coregent before his sole rule, but coregency is never mentioned and even if he was, we should still expect his second campaign to be called his second as his sole rule would've merely continued with the same official reign years as his coregency (for more, read Shea, APE).The Amarna LettersThe Amarna Letters offer us an apt conclusion to our evidence from the patriarchs to the Exodus to the Conquest. The last sections will address evidence refuting the Ramses dating of the Exodus.The Amarna Letters are...well...LETTERS...from various kings including Canaanites to the Egyptian pharaohs. They were composed at different times but most reflect the mid to early 14th century B.C. Based on our Exodus chronology, this would be during the early Judges period right after Joshua.Image Source: The Amarna LettersMost of the Canaanite rulers have only bad news to report to Egypt. And many request reinforcements against a group only labeled Apiru or Habiru that are ransacking Canaan, and most importantly taking cities from them.Besides the general parallel to Joshua and Judges, the letters also mention biblical cities during these battles such as Hazor again. And the Canaanite king of Hazor is the only one in the Amarna Letters called the "king" implying he held a loftier role than these other rulers under Egypt (Petrovich, VIII, 3). This matches Judges 4:2 which mentions Jabin as the "King of Canaan." Joshua 11:1 also mentions another Jabin, king of Hazor gathering all the other kings of Canaan implying his greater authority. Moreover, the Amarna Letters at one point tell Pharaoh the king of Hazor has betrayed him and aligned himself with the Apiru (Petrovich, VIII, 3).Unsurprisingly, skeptics argue the Apiru were not the early Israelites. Halpern contends: " 'Apiru' was an Egyptian term for bands of Semitic warriors or brigands who had destabilized numerous locales in Egyptian dominated Canaan" (Halpern, RAI, 222).Indeed, the word means "wanderer" like Hebrew but did not have to mean Israelites specifically. And although this is true, the general linguistic and Semitic connection combined with the events and period of the letters cannot be ruled out. Though Apiru is used in other Egyptian texts long before this, it's only here that a band of marauders or bandits (as long assumed for this group in the letters) makes little sense. A band of marauders taking whole regions, sacking cities, and making alliances with the most powerful Canaanite king? Moreover, Amenhotep's second campaign comes into play again, for his list of captives also included 3,600 Apiru, an incredibly high numbers for mere bandits. As Hoffmeier says:"The appearance of the 3,600 apiru (Egyptian for habiru), a rather large figure, in the Memphis stela of Amenhotep II, suggests that the habiru were more than just small marauding bands. Listing the apiru/habiru alongside other ethnic groups from Hurru, Retenu, and the Shasu suggests that the Egyptians may have viewed the habiru as a distinguishable ethnic group."(Hoffmeier, 124)Thus there is no question the Apiru in this period and historical context, at least, must represent a genuine ethnic group that is well organized. Knowing that in addition to its Hebraic connection as pastoral nomads, what other NEW and large military force in Canaan could this be but the Israelites? We would expect their rivals to mainly refer to Israelites with such generic names as they had no monarchy by this point and were still known as a huge group of foreign slaves.Egyptologist and OT scholar Kenneth Kitchen believes in a Ramses dating of the Exodus. Yet even he acknowledges the striking parallels between the Habiru of the 14th century Canaan and the Israelites. Ironically Kitchen in the context was using these analogies to prove Joshua and Judges have ancient precedents and so their narratives are not so far fetched. And this is true too. An argument from context should never be ignored. Kitchen also relied on a plethora of ancient data showing David's mini empire and Solomon's wealth were not uncommon either in their time. But simply read this and ask..."Why can't they just BE the Israelites…to an extent at least knowing Apiru may not always mean Hebrews and the Conquest actually started near 1400 B.C.”"This much-discussed term cannot be readily equated linguistically with biblical 'Hebrew' ('ibri'), as is often done. But there are clear behavioral analogies between these Apiru and the displaced Hebrews....The biblical Hebrews in Joshua-Judges sought to raid towns, and hopefully to seize control of them, occasionally burning them down (Jericho, Ai, Hazor). Of the Apiru we can read similar activities from the point of view of local city rulers in the Amarna letters. Time and again they are accused of trying to overcome cities and expel their petty kings ('mayors/governors' in Egyptian usage), and get control, as did the Hebrews. Seeing trouble, the people of Gideon (Josh. 9) sought to make treaty-alliance with the Hebrew intruders. And in the Amarna letters, city rulers continually fear towns joining up with the Apiru. Or they go over to the Apiru and make agreement or treaty with them, as the Gibeonites later did with Joshua and his people. Local rulers might band together against a third party just as the five kings of south Canaan did against Gibeon and Israel (Josh. 10) and the group in north Canaan did against Joshua and his forces." (Kitchen, OROT, 165)Image Source: The Kitchen DebateLet us now peruse a few selections from these letters."Let the king take heed that there is no garrison of the king with me! Such is the case as the king liveth. Puuru his ... He has departed from me and is in Hazati. Let the king keep this before him, and let the king send fifty garrison-men to protect his land ! The whole land of the king is in revolt." --From Abdi-hiba of Jerusalem to the King (Berlin, VA. Th. 1645), Selections from the Tell El-Amarna Letters, pp. 11So…REVOLT!!!From here we see Canaan is in a chaotic revolt and upheaval. Such revolts and power losses can lead to the creation of new nations from the ashes later as we see from Israel. Indeed, the introduction of the Israelites would have likely destabilized the land beyond their own contribution. As these letters were written in the mid to early 14th century this would have been Israel's glory days still at the height of the Conquest. Joshua lived to 110 so likely was still alive near 1350 B.C. And immediately after his death, Judges offers this picture:"And the men of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire. And afterward the men of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba), and they defeated Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai." (Judges 1:8-10, ESV)Joshua also lists the number of kings defeated by Joshua and includes one king of Jerusalem (Joshua 12:10). Well interestingly, some of these desperate letters specifically mentioning the Habiru were by a king of Jerusalem!"Behold this land of Jerusalem neither my father nor my mother gave it to me ; the mighty hand of the king gave it to me. Behold, this deed is the deed of Milkilu, and the deed of the sons of Labaya, who have given the land of the king to the Habiru." --From Abdi-hiba of Jerusalem to the King (Bolin, VA. Th. 1644), Selections from the Tell El-Amarna Letters, pp. 6"Let the king turn his face to the troops, and let the king, my lord, send troops ! No territory remains to the king, my lord. The Habiru are devastating all the lands of the king. If there be troops in this year, then the lands will remain the king's, my lord's ; but if no troops arrive, the lands of the king, my lord, are lost. To the scribe of the king, my lord : Abdi-hiba, thy servant. Bring clearly before the king, my lord, [these] words : All the lands of the king, my lord, are going to ruin." --From Abdi-hiba of Jerusalem to the King (Berlin, VA. Th. 1642), Selections from the Tell El-Amarna Letters, pp. 8We see also Egyptian disinterest in Canaanite plights. It's been said the traditional chronology of the Exodus is disproved because the Amarna Letters prove Egypt was in control of Canaan during the early 15th and 14th centuries. Yet they also tell us they lost them! Egypt did not send military aid either due to disinterest (which is possible) or maybe they were still recovering from the Red Sea incident. In any event, Joshua and Judges never mention the Egyptians because they never came. And the Canaanite kings appear to agree! Another Canaanite king in the same period writes to Pharaoh:"Further, I have written for garrison-troops, and for horses, but they were not granted. Send a reply to me ! Otherwise I shall make alliance with Abdi-Ashirta, like Yapa-Adda and Zimrida, and I shall be saved." --Letter of Rib-Adda of Byblus (British Museum, Bu. 3 88-10-13, 58), Selections from the Tell El-Amarna Letters, pp. 16Give me troops or I'm leaving you! That's basically the message.Rib-Habba was the local vassal king to Egypt of Byblos in Lebanon. Byblos is a famous port city of Lebanon along the Mediterranean coast. Rib-Habba alone authored almost half the Lebanon letters to Egypt.Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges mention Lebanon as an important target for the early Israelites. Joshua 1 and 9, in particular, demonstrate Lebanon and its bordering coastal areas were to become enemies at war with Israel."From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory....As soon as all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon...they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel." (Joshua 1:4, 9:1-2, ESV)So did Rib-Habba (who later died in the Amarna correspondence) talk about the Apiru? You bet he did! In fact, his first letter to Egypt immediately cries for help."May the king, my lord, know that Gubla, the loyal maidservant of the king, is safe and sound. The war, however, [o]f the Apiru forces [ag]ainst me is extremely severe, and so may the king, my lord, not [ne]glect Sumur lest ever[yo]ne be joined to the Apiru forces." (Amarna Letters, EA 68)And in a later letter, Rib-Habba complains about the Egyptian help never arriving and fears for his predicament compared to formerly prosperous times for Byblos."As to the king's having written to me, 'Irimayassa is coming to you,' he has not come to me. As to the king's having written me, 'Guard yourself and guard the city of the king where you are,' who can guard me? Look, formerly my ancestors [were str]ong. There was war against the[m, but] a garrison [of the king] was wi[t]h them. There were provisions from the king at their disposal. [Though the war against me] is seve[re], I have [n]o [provision]s [from the king or gar]ri[son of the king]. Wh[at shall I] do? As for the mayors, [the]y are the ones who strik[e] our city. They are like the dogs, and there is no one who wants to serve them. What am I, who live among Apiru, to do? If now there are no provisions from the king for me, my peasantry is going to fi[gh]t (against me). A[ll] the lands are at war against me." (Amarna Letters, EA 130)So we know these letters were written in the early Judges period and/or late Joshua period. At this point, Israel under Joshua had just destroyed the three major cities God wanted (Jericho, Ai, and Hazor) and had or were defeating numerous other kings establishing the "allotments" to various tribes. Other Amarna Letters also say Shechem was lost to the Habiru during this time and we know it was in Joshua's position at the end in Joshua 24:1.So we have evidence for Semitic slaves in Egypt, the Exodus, the conquest of Joshua at the end of the 15th century, and the back-and-forth rumbles with Canaanite powers and Israel in the early Judges period. What can be said now that mitigates against the Ramses theorists?The Merneptah SteleImage Source: Merneptah Stele - WikipediaThe Merneptah Stele is one of the most important archaeological evidence related to the origins of Israel.This Stele written close to 1212 B.C. is our earliest near certain claim of "Israel" beyond the Bible. The Stele is a slab with hieroglyphic inscriptions recounting Pharaoh Merneptah's victories in his Libya campaign with a conclusion on his campaign into Canaan (Shanks, RAI, 44). The inscription reads:"Canaan has been plundered into every sort of woe; Ashkelon has been overcome; Gezer has been captured. Yanoam was made nonexistent; Israel is laid waste, his seed is not" (Shanks, RAI, 47).As Shanks observes: "This reference to Israel shows that the most powerful man in the world...was aware of Israel. Not only was he aware of Israel—he boasts that one of the most important achievements of his reign was to defeat Israel....The fact is that in 1212 B.C.E., Israel must already have been a military force to be reckoned with" (Shanks, RAI, 47).Yet more can be said on this inscription. The presence of Israel as an established force equivalent to all other nationalities in the pharaoh's eyes questions the notion that Israel did not begin as a national unit until the monarchy. This also greatly casts doubt on any theory that Israel evolved slowly from indigenous Canaanites in the mid 13th century B.C during the Ramses Exodus. David Rohl says: "Israel was already established in the land. This was somewhat embarrassing for the Ramses II Exodus Theory....This awkward reality becomes even more stark when you examine the poem in detail, revealing (as John Bimsom noted in a paper published in 1988) that Israel was a major political entity at the time" (Rohl, E, 25-26).So how do skeptics respond to this evidence? Proponents of the Ramses Exodus need not worry TOO much if they accept the reality of the Exodus as Hoffmeier contends. The Stele would then take place during Joshua's campaign. Yet this still creates the issue of how Pharah could boast of defeating Israel during Joshua's conquest? Israel was still not a settled people in Canaan by any means. I have not discovered Hoffmeier's response to that point yet beyond his rebuttal that if the Exodus happened much earlier we should expect earlier mentions of Israel. Yet as Wood adequately responds:"During the 18th Dynasty, Egypt was primarily interested in controlling the trade routes and fertile agricultural areas of the lowlands of Canaan and had little interest in the highlands, other than to maintain the peace. The Israelites, on the other hand, settled in the highlands and the cities they could not conquer, with the exception of Jerusalem, were precisely in the lowlands where Egypt maintained a presence. Since the Israelites did not venture into the lowlands, and the Egyptians did not campaign in the highlands, the two entities had no contact and thus no mention by one of the other." (Wood, BDE)Kitchen also ironically (being a Ramses theorist) answers similarly:"Egypt officially was overlord of Canaan, but her main interest was in the productive coastal plains, lowland hills, and Jezreel, not in the economically poorer highlands, and in keeping hold on the main routes north into Phoenicia (to Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, etc).” (Kitchen, OROT, 235)But the Merneptah Stele creates even more problems for skeptical Ramses Exodus scholars who maintain the Exodus and Conquest did not happen at all and, instead, Israel evolved from Canaan during this period. William Dever argues this reference to Israel must be a DIFFERENT Israel from the Bible (Dever, RAI, 133). As there is no evidence historically or archaeologically to assume a separate people called Israel emerging in the same time period and same area as the biblical version of Israel, Dever's theory can only be assumed as a classic case of cognitive dissonance. In short, skeptics ignore or offer even more complicated, speculative explanations to the Merneptah Stele because they refuse to question their theory.Image Source: View ContentOne answer here I have encountered just assumes because the Stele calls Israel a "people" means they were a SMALL, insignificant tribe? That the Pharaoh was so prideful in defeating he erected them on his inscribed campaigns with other major powers? Please...The designation of Israel as a people only also proves the Bible as Judges implies Israel was not an organized monarchy yet but still lived in tents. Yet they were also a major and developed power by Judges. This is precisely what Pharaoh labeling them a people and yet boasting of defeating them would imply.The Statue PedestalMerneptah was an unquestionable piece of evidence. Yet a more recent Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription has been discovered that may destroy the Ramses dating once and for all. As Rohl narrates:"In the basement storerooms of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, Hebrew Bible scholar and Egyptologist Professor Manfred Gord (University of Munich), came across a fragmentary block from a statue pedestal, which no one had paid much attention to since its arrival at the museum back in 1913....In the case of the Berlin block we read, from left to right, Iskln (Ashkelon), Kynanu (Canaan) and then a partly preserved ring on the right edge of the block fragment which can be restored as 'I-a-shra-i-l'."(Rohl, E, 26)This discovery also caused the Biblical Archaeological Society to issue a message on it:"Manfred Görg discovered a broken statue pedestal containing hieroglyphic name-rings in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin and, after studying it with colleagues Peter van der Veen and Christoffer Theis, they suggest that one of the name-rings should be read as “Israel.” Not all scholars agree with their reading because of slight differences in spelling, but Görg, van der Veen and Theis offer strong arguments, including supportive parallels in the Merneptah Stele itself. This newly rediscovered inscription is dated to around 1400 B.C.E.—about 200 years earlier than the Merneptah Stele." (Biblical Archaeology Society Staff, DMSCFMI)Image Source: Biblical Archaeology 48 — The Berlin Fragment: “Israel” May be Attested to Earlier than the Merneptah SteleDespite being fragmented, it's difficult to imagine any other ethnic group with a similar name in Canaan during this time beyond Israel. Unless you're William Dever...Yet as Shanks observes of the images displayed near the hieroglyphic:"The three prisoners on the slab that may contain the name Israel are all clearly West Semites— recognizable by their typical shoulder-length hair, headbands and pointed beards—a significant clue to the identification of the name as Israel." (Shanks, WDAIB, 34).Moreover, the identifiable names next to possibly Israel are clearly Canaanite too. Hoffmeier and other scholars have responded to this new evidence by asserting it cannot be a reference to Israel due to the presence of a "sh" spelling in the hieroglyphic rather than "s" (Shanks, WDAIB, 35).But such an argument forgets hieroglyphic inscriptions frequently offer spelling variants for names (Shanks, WDAIB, 35). And how does “sh” change the name so much more than “s”? As the German scholars and discoverers of the inscription responded to Hoffmeier: " 'What other name in the same general region would be so strikingly reminiscent as that of Biblical Israel?'" (Shanks, WDAIB, 35).Ironically the Merneptah Stele offers such scholars additional evidence of an Israel connection as the Biblical Archaeology Society’s notice recounted. Shanks explains this thus:"Strengthening this argument is the text of the Merneptah Stele. In the verses adjacent to the reference to Israel are Canaan and Ashkelon! The proximity of the same names in the two inscriptions, in the words of the three German scholars cited above, 'seems to suggest that both texts are related in some way,' thus buttressing the reading 'Israel.'" (Shanks, WDAIB, 5)Based on the orthography and paleography, one leading Egyptologist dated the inscription to 1400 B.C. (Shanks, WDAIB, 36), though the German scholars and others have preferred a Ramses dating in the mid 13th century B.C. (Rohl, E, 27). Even by the later dating, this would offer an earlier mention of Israel as yet another established political entity known to Egypt 50 years before Merneptah when the Exodus was supposed to be happening!The Biblical Tradition of the ExodusIn the final section, we must recognize just how much the Exodus and its events are retold in the Bible. One forgets books like Jeremiah and Psalms are separate sources which show how widely accepted the Exodus was to ancient Israel. The Exodus was Israel's origin story in ALL its periods. And I am about to quote a large percentage of the passages (all passages from the ESV):"Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers." (Judges 2:1)"And the king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel on coming up from Egypt took away my land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.” (Judges 11:13)"And Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt." (1 Samuel 12:6)"I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling." (2 Samuel 7:6)"There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt." (1 Kings 8:9)"And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods." (2 Kings 17:7)“And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea" (Nehemiah 9:9)"He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham." (Psalm 78:51)"Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea." (Psalm 106:7)"And the Lord of hosts will wield against them a whip, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb. And his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt." (Isaiah 10:26)"They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’" (Jeremiah 2:6)"Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I myself made a covenant with your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (Jeremiah 34:13)"Thus says the Lord God: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands." (Ezekiel 20:5-6)"Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite." (Amos 2:10)"For I brought you up from the land of Egyptand redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam." (Micah 6:4)One can only read such a quantity of passages in amazement. The Exodus was such a prevalent national "myth" according to the terminology of skeptics that it's hard to argue no historical reality exists within it. But, as I have attempted to demonstrate, the exodus story was more than just a national "myth," it was...the real deal.Kitchen summarizes the biblical evidence best:"Thus, the phenomenon of an exodus-deliverance recurs all over the biblical corpus, in law/covenant, in historical narratives, in the poetry of the Psalms, and in the messages of the prophets, at all dates in the biblical saga from Sinai itself and the plains of Moab down into the Persian period. If there never was an escape from Egyptian servitude by any of Israel's ancestors, why on earth invent such a tale about such humiliating origins? Nobody else in Near Eastern antiquity descended to that kind of tale of community beginnings. That question has been often enough posed, and the sheer mass and variety of postevent references gives it a sharp point. The plain fact is that the question cannot be answered in the negative without leaving an insoluble crux." (Kitchen, OROT, 245)CONCLUSIONWe have observed too much evidence to dismiss the Exodus. On a general side, the Semitic migration and slavery evidence, New Kingdom Setting of the story, and the amount of later mentions of the Exodus in the Bible, all offer a concrete case against any theory claiming the Israelites solely or even mostly originated from Canaan not Egypt.Yet on a specific side, we have seen a mountain of written and physical evidence confirming the Exodus-Conquest account in more detail once the traditional dating of 1446 B.C. is accepted. Amenhotep II is almost certainly the Pharaoh of the Exodus offering specific matching evidence. Jericho's destruction matches Joshua completely and can be possibly dated to 1400. Evidence for Ai and Hazor's destruction exist too. The Apiru in the Amarna Letters can be plausibly connected to the Israelites confirming the general early Judges picture. And some physical evidence even exists confirming Judges like Hazor's second and undisputed destruction and the Middle Building in Jericho.Finally, let us not forget the important worldview points. Truly critical historians must always accept positive evidence long before negative evidence which proves NOTHING for such an ancient time. This is why the theory that Merneptah Stele proves the biblical narrative (our only true source on Israel's origin I might add) of Israel already being militarily and politically established in the late 13th century is more preferable to purely speculative skeptical theories like Dever thinking it proves a different Israel was in mind.The Exodus is not like Jesus. I know from studying New Testament scholarship more that Jesus has far better types of evidence confirming his story than the Exodus. But this is due to the time period difference. Nevertheless, the Exodus-Conquest narrative has corroborating evidence that cannot be brushed aside by modern skeptics.References:Hoffmeier, James K. "Out of Egypt: The Archaeological Context of the Exodus." Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus. Edited by Margaret Warker. Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 2012. eBooks.Collingwood, R. G. The Idea of History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.Bloch, Marc. The Historian's Craft. New York: Vintage Books, 1953.Vincent, John. An Intelligent Person's Guide to History. Duckworth Overlook, 2005.Hoffmeier, James K. Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.Wood, Bryant G. "Recent Research on the Date and Setting of the Exodus." Associates for Biblical Research (19 October, 2009). Associates for Biblical Research... (accessed 4 June, 2017).Shanks, Hershel & William G. Dever & Baruch Halpern & P. Kyle McCarter, Jr. The Rise of Ancient Israel. Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeological Society, 2012."Is Bryant Wood's chronology of Jericho valid?" Biblical Chronologist Vol. 2. Number 3. http://www.biblicalchronologist.... (accessed 4 June, 2017)."Carbon-14 Dates at Jericho and the Destruction Date." APXA10C (12 October, 2012). (accessed 4 June, 2017).Wood, Bryant G. "Dating Jericho's Destruction: Bienkowski is Wrong on All Counts." Associates for Biblical Research (28 March, 2012). Associates for Biblical Research... (accessed 5 June, 2017).Wood, Bryant G. "David Rohl's Revised Egyptian Chronology: A View From Palestine." Associates for Biblical Research (23 May, 2007). Associates for Biblical Research... (accessed 14 June, 2017).Wood, Bryant G. "From Ramesses to Shiloh: Archaelogical Discoveries Bearing on the Exodus-Judges Period." Associates for Biblical Research (2 April, 2008). Associates for Biblical Research... (accessed 5 June, 2017).Petrovich, Doug. 'Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh.' Associates for Biblical Research (4 February, 2017). Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh (accessed 6 November, 2016).Shea, William. "Amenhotep II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus." Associates for Biblical Research (22 February, 2008). Amenhotep II as Pharaoh of the Exodus (accessed 4 June, 2017).Rohl, David. Exodus: Myth or History? St. Louis Park, MN: Thinking Man Media, 2015.Wood, Bryant G. "The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier." Associates for Biblical Research (30 March, 2009). The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier (accessed 7 June, 2017).Kitchen, K. A. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.Handcock, Percy. Selections from the Tell El-Amarna Letters. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The Macmillan Company, 1920. Selections from the Tell El-Amarna letters : Handcock, Percy Stuart Peache : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive (accessed 16 June, 2017).The Amarna Letters. Edited and Translated by William L. Moran. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press, 1992.Shanks, Hershel. "When Did Ancient Israel Begin?" Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus. Edited by Margaret Warker. Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 2012. eBooks.Biblical Archaeology Society Staff. "Does the Merneptah Stele Contain the First Mention of Israel?" Biblical Archaeology Society (17 January, 2012). Does the Merneptah Stele Contain the First Mention of Israel? - Biblical Archaeology Society (accessed 16 June, 2017).

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