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A proposal by Egyptologist Jan Assmann suggests that the Exodus narrative has no single origin, but rather combines numerous historical experiences into "a coherent story that is fictional as to its composition but historical as to some of its components".
1450 BCE, but the number is rhetorical rather than historical, representing a symbolic twelve generations of forty years each.
The second theory, sometimes called the "Citizen-Temple Community", proposes that the Exodus story was composed to serve the needs of a post-exilic Jewish community organised around the Temple, which acted in effect as a bank for those who belonged to it.
The history of the Exodus story stretches back some two hundred years before the achievement of its current form, to a point in the late 7th century BCE when various oral and written traditions were drawn together into written works which were the fore-runners of the Torah we know today. "General problems of studying the text of the bible...".
and no evidence has been found that Egypt ever suffered the demographic and economic catastrophe such a loss of population would represent, nor that the Sinai desert ever hosted (or could have hosted) these millions of people and their herds. Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience.
The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains are in the Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite.
Numbers gives a more precise total of 603,550 men aged 20 and up. "Egyptology and the traditions of early Hebrew antiquity (Genesis and Exodus)".
It is difficult to reconcile the idea of 600,000 Israelite fighting men with the information that the Israelites were afraid of the Philistines and Egyptians. The consensus of modern archaeologists is that the Israelites were indigenous to Canaan and were never in Egypt, and if there is any historical basis to the exodus it can apply only to a small segment of the Israelites. Yet there are indications that some historical basis underlies the story: the name of Moses is Egyptian, for example, and many scholars have found it improbable that a humiliating tradition of slavery would simply be invented. Despite the Exodus story, a majority of scholars do not believe that the Passover festival originated as described in the biblical story. The first of these, Persian Imperial authorisation, advanced by Peter Frei in 1985, holds that the Persian authorities required the Jews of Jerusalem to present a single body of law as the price of local autonomy. There is no indication that the Israelites ever lived in Ancient Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula shows almost no sign of any occupation for the entire 2nd millennium BCE, and even Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites are said to have spent 38 years, was uninhabited prior to the establishment of the Israelite monarchy.