Original Research

'Deep is the well of the past': Reconsidering the origins of the Exodus motif in its cultural context

Raik Heckl
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 34, No 2 | a806 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v34i2.806 | © 2013 Raik Heckl | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 October 2012 | Published: 04 September 2013

About the author(s)

Raik Heckl, Department of Protestant Theology, University of Tuebingen, Germany; Department of Old Testment Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The article shows, that the stories of the Patriarchs as well as the Exodus-story are allochthonous traditions of origin. We find comparable stories in the neighboring cultures of Israel. Egypt as origin of human culture was of utmost importance in the Levant. Herodotus reports a myth of origin of the Phoenicians which is of particular interest in this respect. As far as it can be seen there are affinities between this tradition and the Exodus motif from the Hebrew Bible. This raises the question if we should read the Biblical traditions as part of the comprehensive cultural context of the Levant.


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