The Parting of the Sea: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plagues Shaped the Story of Exodus

Princeton University Press
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For more than four decades, biblical experts have tried to place the story of Exodus into historical context--without success. What could explain the Nile turning to blood, insects swarming the land, and the sky falling to darkness? Integrating biblical accounts with substantive archaeological evidence, The Parting of the Sea looks at how natural phenomena shaped the stories of Exodus, the Sojourn in the Wilderness, and the Israelite conquest of Canaan. Barbara Sivertsen demonstrates that the Exodus was in fact two separate exoduses both triggered by volcanic eruptions--and provides scientific explanations for the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. Over time, Israelite oral tradition combined these events into the Exodus narrative known today.

Skillfully unifying textual and archaeological records with details of ancient geological events, Sivertsen shows how the first exodus followed a 1628 B.C.E Minoan eruption that produced all but one of the first nine plagues. The second exodus followed an eruption of a volcano off the Aegean island of Yali almost two centuries later, creating the tenth plague of darkness and a series of tsunamis that "parted the sea" and drowned the pursuing Egyptian army. Sivertsen's brilliant account explains inconsistencies in the biblical story, fits chronologically with the conquest of Jericho, and confirms that the Israelites were in Canaan before the end of the sixteenth century B.C.E.


In examining oral traditions and how these practices absorb and process geological details through storytelling, The Parting of the Sea reveals how powerful historical narratives are transformed into myth.

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About the author

Barbara J. Sivertsen has been managing editor of the Journal of Geology for over twenty-five years. She is the author of Turtles, Wolves, and Bears: A Mohawk Family History and The Three Pillars: How Family Politics Shaped the Early Church and the Gospel of Mark.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Feb 17, 2009
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781400829958
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Antiquities & Archaeology
Religion / Biblical Studies / General
Religion / History
Science / Earth Sciences / Geology
Science / Earth Sciences / Seismology & Volcanism
Social Science / Archaeology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Three Pillars: How Family Politics Shaped the Earliest Church and the Gospel of Mark, examines how family relationships played a key role in the earliest Christian church. By disentangling the two disparate genealogies of Jesus, the author reconstructs the families of Joseph and Mary. Presented here for the first time is the full ancestry of Jesus' mother, Mary, who was descended from the anti-Hasmonean high priest Alcimus. The author suggests that Mary and her daughter Mary played a hitherto unrecognized role in the church's earliest leadership struggle and that a composite of these two women, not Mary Magdalene, was the basis for the Gnostic Mary of later Christian works.

The author next explores how this early leadership conflict shaped the Gospel of Mark, which she argues was written by Peter's son. She discusses Mark's footprint in this Gospel and how Mark's resentment of the relatives of Jesus, his ambivalence toward his father, and his anger at the disciples for ceding leadership to these relatives is at the heart of some of the most distinctive features of the Second Gospel, features that have perplexed biblical scholars and laymen for centuries.

The last section examines the mysterious Beloved Disciple in the Gospel of John. The author concludes that the many unlikely elements in the account of the arrest and interrogation of Jesus can only be explained by seeing the Beloved Disciple as a close relative of the high priest Caiaphas and that this family relationship was crucial to the protection of the early Christians in Jerusalem. The book's final chapter offers reflections on how kinship played an important role in Jesus' ministry and how the high priestly-leadership responded to him in part because of his family lineage.
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The Three Pillars: How Family Politics Shaped the Earliest Church and the Gospel of Mark, examines how family relationships played a key role in the earliest Christian church. By disentangling the two disparate genealogies of Jesus, the author reconstructs the families of Joseph and Mary. Presented here for the first time is the full ancestry of Jesus' mother, Mary, who was descended from the anti-Hasmonean high priest Alcimus. The author suggests that Mary and her daughter Mary played a hitherto unrecognized role in the church's earliest leadership struggle and that a composite of these two women, not Mary Magdalene, was the basis for the Gnostic Mary of later Christian works.

The author next explores how this early leadership conflict shaped the Gospel of Mark, which she argues was written by Peter's son. She discusses Mark's footprint in this Gospel and how Mark's resentment of the relatives of Jesus, his ambivalence toward his father, and his anger at the disciples for ceding leadership to these relatives is at the heart of some of the most distinctive features of the Second Gospel, features that have perplexed biblical scholars and laymen for centuries.

The last section examines the mysterious Beloved Disciple in the Gospel of John. The author concludes that the many unlikely elements in the account of the arrest and interrogation of Jesus can only be explained by seeing the Beloved Disciple as a close relative of the high priest Caiaphas and that this family relationship was crucial to the protection of the early Christians in Jerusalem. The book's final chapter offers reflections on how kinship played an important role in Jesus' ministry and how the high priestly-leadership responded to him in part because of his family lineage.
The Three Pillars: How Family Politics Shaped the Earliest Church and the Gospel of Mark, examines how family relationships played a key role in the earliest Christian church. By disentangling the two disparate genealogies of Jesus, the author reconstructs the families of Joseph and Mary. Presented here for the first time is the full ancestry of Jesus' mother, Mary, who was descended from the anti-Hasmonean high priest Alcimus. The author suggests that Mary and her daughter Mary played a hitherto unrecognized role in the church's earliest leadership struggle and that a composite of these two women, not Mary Magdalene, was the basis for the Gnostic Mary of later Christian works.

The author next explores how this early leadership conflict shaped the Gospel of Mark, which she argues was written by Peter's son. She discusses Mark's footprint in this Gospel and how Mark's resentment of the relatives of Jesus, his ambivalence toward his father, and his anger at the disciples for ceding leadership to these relatives is at the heart of some of the most distinctive features of the Second Gospel, features that have perplexed biblical scholars and laymen for centuries.

The last section examines the mysterious Beloved Disciple in the Gospel of John. The author concludes that the many unlikely elements in the account of the arrest and interrogation of Jesus can only be explained by seeing the Beloved Disciple as a close relative of the high priest Caiaphas and that this family relationship was crucial to the protection of the early Christians in Jerusalem. The book's final chapter offers reflections on how kinship played an important role in Jesus' ministry and how the high priestly-leadership responded to him in part because of his family lineage.
The Three Pillars: How Family Politics Shaped the Earliest Church and the Gospel of Mark, examines how family relationships played a key role in the earliest Christian church. By disentangling the two disparate genealogies of Jesus, the author reconstructs the families of Joseph and Mary. Presented here for the first time is the full ancestry of Jesus' mother, Mary, who was descended from the anti-Hasmonean high priest Alcimus. The author suggests that Mary and her daughter Mary played a hitherto unrecognized role in the church's earliest leadership struggle and that a composite of these two women, not Mary Magdalene, was the basis for the Gnostic Mary of later Christian works.

The author next explores how this early leadership conflict shaped the Gospel of Mark, which she argues was written by Peter's son. She discusses Mark's footprint in this Gospel and how Mark's resentment of the relatives of Jesus, his ambivalence toward his father, and his anger at the disciples for ceding leadership to these relatives is at the heart of some of the most distinctive features of the Second Gospel, features that have perplexed biblical scholars and laymen for centuries.

The last section examines the mysterious Beloved Disciple in the Gospel of John. The author concludes that the many unlikely elements in the account of the arrest and interrogation of Jesus can only be explained by seeing the Beloved Disciple as a close relative of the high priest Caiaphas and that this family relationship was crucial to the protection of the early Christians in Jerusalem. The book's final chapter offers reflections on how kinship played an important role in Jesus' ministry and how the high priestly-leadership responded to him in part because of his family lineage.
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