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We have established that the account was written not earlier than the 7th/6th century B. because some of the sites mentioned did not come into existence until that time frame. He probably did not realize that some of these sites did not exist or were abandoned at the time he "thought" the Exodus occurred (1512/1446 B. It thus follows that even if one could satisfactorily identify a chain of sites or ruin heaps or tells in existence by 7th/6th century B. extending from Egypt across the Sinai to the Negev and Canaan these sites still would _not_ constitute the "real" route of the Exodus as it would have been most probably the way to the land of the Philistines following the shore of the Mediterranean Sea because there were no Philistines to oppose Israel's Exodus and entry into Canaan in 1512/1446/1260 B. Besides the fact that the Bible (Old and New Testaments) in various books suggests for some scholars different dates for the Exodus, the single most important impediment in establishing a date for the Exodus is Archaeologists' failure to find a period when _all_ the sites mentioned in the narratives were in existence at the same moment in time.
So, how "reliable" is this account if it was written roughly 1000 years after the date given in the Bible for the Exodus (Catholic: 1512 B. That is to say, no matter what archaeological timeframe one chooses to place the Exodus in be it Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age or Iron Age, _none_ of these time frames has _all_ the sites in existence and occupied at the same moment in time.
The best that they can do is attempt to identify a string of sites existing principally in the 7th-6th centuries B. The biblical narrative suggests Israel fears the warlike Philistines upon exiting Egypt (Ex ) so they do not take "the way to the land of the Philistines" the northern track across the Sinai paralleling the Mediteranean Sea although this is the fastest way to Canaan. Archaeologists understand the Philistines did not settle in Canaan before circa 1175 B. in the days of Pharaoh Rameses III who defeated their attempted invasion of Egypt.
This means that the biblical narrator and his audience were _unaware_ that there were no Philistines for Israel to fear and thus no need to have Israel travel south to the Red Sea (gulf of Suez) and the southern Sinai (Mt.
It is the Late Iron Age II Period, the 7th-6th centuries B. Some scholars have suggested on this archaeological basis that the Exodus account was composed towards "the end of the Late Iron Age II Period," the author and his audience being apparently _unaware_ that the cities in existence at this time were _not_ in existence (or if in existence, they were unoccupied) within the time frame the anonymous author cast the Exodus story in. For the reasons why "Sites mentioned in the Exodus narrative are real.
I understand that Genesis-2 Kings was composed in 560 B. A few were well known and apparently occupied in much earlier periods and much later periods- after the kingdom of Judah was established, when the text of the biblical narrative was set down in writing for the first time.
Because of these _indisputable_ and well-documented "archaeological anomalies" some scholars understand that the Bible's Exodus account is _not_ an eyewitness account, they have suggested that it was written in a period when no one knew such sites were not in existence or were unoccupied and I concur.
We "know" Moses did _not_ write the Exodus account because it is presented in the third person format. The sites enumerated in Numbers 33:1-50 were most probably sites known to the narrator who wrote the account in the 7th/6th century B. so they most likely were in existence in his day (some may have been abandoned in his days while others were occupied but they did "exist" at least physically).
However, THE TEXTS IN QUESTION WERE MOST PROBABLY WRITTEN IN LIGHT OF THE SETTLEMENT CONDITIONS THAT PREVAILED IN THE IRON II PERIOD AND PROBABLY TOWARDS THE END OF THAT PERIOD. anonmyous Exilic author "thought" were in existence in the timeframe (1512/1446 B. As already noted by Finkelstein and Mac Donald not even the Late Iron Age II has _all_ the sites appearing in the narratives occupied.
Thus, the assumption here is that although the biblical writer may have used material that predates his time, he set that material into a context, namely, the Iron II AND LATER PERIODS, that would be meaningful to his readers." If Finkelstein and Mac Donald are right, and I believe they are, then this means that those scholars who are seeking to establish the "route" of the Exodus from its itinerary preserved in Numbers 33:1-50 have a daunting task before them. Anyone seeking to find sites in existence before the 7th-6th centuries B. for their Exodus will hit a brick wall: the fact that _no_ archaeological time period has _all_ the sites in existence and occupied.
The findings of the above-listed surveys indicate there are few, if any, Late Bronze Age materials and a paucity of Iron I Age materials in the areas being surveyed.
On the other hand, the Iron II Age is well represented in all of these areas.