Richard Elliot Friedman: “Let’s Do the Math”

Richard Elliot Friedman, The Exodus: How It Happened and Why It Matters (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2017), 64-65.

So let’s do the math:

Eight out of eight Israelites with Egyptian names are Levites.

Two out of two accounts of the revelation of God’s name make it to the Levite Moses and are told in Levite sources.

The massive treatment of the Tabernacle, which parallels the Egyptian tent of Ramses II, appears in the Levite Priests’ sources.

The ark, which is entrusted to the Levites, parallels the Egyptian barks.

Seven out of seven items of Egyptian lore that come up in the biblical story occur in Levite sources.

Eleven out of eleven references to circumcision in legal context, literal or metaphorical, occur in Levitical sources in the Torah and the prophets. And the two references to it in stories involve the Levite Moses or Levi himself.

Three out of three sources that tell the story of the plagues and exodus are Levite sources.

All texts treating slavery during and after the Egyptian stay are Levite sources.

Fifty-two out of fifty-two references to aliens occur in Levite sources.

Fifty-two references to the sanctuary (miqdash) in the Bible, which is where the people in the Song of the Sea go, identify it as the Temple or Tabernacle, the shrines which only the Levites were allowed access.

The non-Levite source(s) lack all of this.

2 thoughts on “Richard Elliot Friedman: “Let’s Do the Math”

  1. riderontheclouds 30 Jun 2020 — 5:03 am

    Any good books on the Documentary Hypothesis? Without it, Friedman’s arguments are on rather flimsy grounds.


    1. Friedman’s own classic work ‘Who Wrote The Bible?’ is a good place to start. As well as Joel Baden’s ‘The Composition of the Pentateuch.’


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