Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: Moses the Egyptian

ImageA review of the book, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism, 1997, appears in the March/April 1998 issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review. The book was written by Jan Assmann, the review by Ronald Hendel. It seems that both the author and reviewer have a modernist view of the Bible, and the history it records.

Interestingly, Assmann favorably compares the polytheism of Egypt with the monotheism of Israel. He seems to assert that Moses was the author of the Hebrew religion, and the claim that there is one God is referred to by the author as the “Mosaic distinction.”

He also claims that the “Mosaic distinction” is what has led to religious intolerance. It seems that since Egyptians followed multiple gods, she identified her gods with the gods of other peoples. For example, the Egyptian god Horus, (pictured above), was identified with the Canaanite god Baal. Note Hendel’s assessment of the book’s claim:

“So the innovation of monotheism is not just a reduction from the Many to the One, but perhaps more decisively, a rejection of the translatability of religions in favor of the absolute contrast of true vs. false religion. Thus the seeds of religious intolerance are born” (pg. 68).

The author claims that by familiarizing ourselves with the ancient religions of Egypt, it is possible we may be able to overcome such intolerance. As the reviewer notes:

…he suggest that it may be possible to alleviate our long-held impulse to label other versions as false and others as depraved. Perhaps … a renewed memory of Egypt can help us to revive an authentic religiosity without antagonism” (ibid.).

It is interesting that such an emphasis is made on the importance of religious toleration. It is interesting that modernists are less interested in knowing the truth concerning God and His will for man, and more interested in maintaining pleasant relations with other men. In fact, God is intolerant of, and antagonistic toward, the false gods of the pagans. “For the Lord your God is a jealous God, a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24).

Likewise, Christ and his followers were exclusivist in their teaching, and advocated an antagonism toward those who did not come to a knowledge of the One true God. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Paul wrote that it is a righteous thing with God to take “vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

The modernist preconceptions that many “scholars” bring to their studies color their conclusions and views. This is the norm, not the exception. As Christians, we must remember that these are antagonists to the faith, and maintain our strong convictions in the face of such assaults. “Indeed let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).