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I think an expert in ancient history of the region could elaborate more than me, but I've read any number of articles suggesting the whole Egyptian enslavement and Exodus...makes for a dramatic story, but isn't backed up by any evidence.

I wonder if the Egyptians make for a convenient villain, standing in for the real bad guys, i.e., the Babylonians (the book was written during the exile). Can't say for sure, but if I was writing at the time, you can bet I'd steer clear of any overt references to the actual oppressors...

Theodore Wirth

Nice job Mannion. For me, Monsignors, Latin?, altar boy duties, Mass/fasting nearly every morning, Pallotines and Benedictines hammered and honed my cynicism to a razor's edge. In my eight years in Catholic School, I attended Mass so many times that after the age of consent, I no longer had to do so because I had them in the bank with interest. That said, the new pope gives me hope.

Michael Strickland

"Birdman" sounded like not my cup of tea but turned out to be brilliant, the best look at the uneasy mixture of the squalid/sordid with the glamorous that makes up The Professional Broadway Theatre, and much else besides. "Smells like balls," is the second phrase out of Michael Keaton's narrator voice, and if you've ever been in a men's dressing room, you'll know the truth of it.

"Foxcatcher" should be on your "couldn't pay enough not to see" list because it takes a bizarre, potentially fascinating story and makes it so solemn and dull and talky and darkly lit, you would think it was about the Potsdam Conference for chrissake. The only amusing moments worth watching involve Vanessa Redgrave as the disapproving DuPont dowager mother.

You don't mention "Boyhood," but am interested in your take.

And thanks for the "Captain America: Winter Soldier" recommendation. It was the first Marvel movie where I haven't wanted to throw something at the screen.

doug r

I'm a fan of the volcano/tsunami theory. This would also account for a cloud of ash and raining frogs.


What I recall of Mr Schick's teaching of this event was that it took place at the Sea of Reeds and the wind blew the water to one end to allow passage of the Israelites. The miracle was not in the parting but that it took place at just the right time the Israelites needed to escape. Same thing with the manna; it still happens, it just happened when they needed it. Same thing with Moses striking the rock to bring forth water; the water was there, Moses just needed to hit the right spot.


I suspect that the story is just that, a story. There have been earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the Mediterranean for as long as there have been people there, and certainly some of those people would have witnessed the ebbing of the sea prior to one of the resulting tsunamis. That could easily have been incorporated into the mythology of the Hebrews without being directly related to any real event in their past.

Carl Drews

Readers who do not think that wind setdown is dramatic enough should read the first two chapters of my recent book "Between Migdol and the Sea" (Drews 2014). Or read about Naaman being healed of his leprosy in 2 Kings 5; God does not always cater to our sense of drama.

The wind setdown theory has been around since 1879 with Samuel Bartlett, as I describe in Chapter 3. We researchers keep refining it and adding details, such as the timing and location. My Tanis hypothesis places the "Red Sea" crossing in the eastern Nile delta near the archaeological site Tell Kedua.

Your teachers sounded like they took a rational approach to Biblical interpretation: neither fundamentalist nor minimalist. I approve.

Lance Mannion

Michael, that's disappointing about Foxcatcher. I think I'll still try to catch it for blogging purposes. Boyhood came and went in a blink here, so I'll have to wait for it to come out on DVD.

Sabretom, ah, yes, I remember Mr Schick on the manna and the water from the rock too. I don't think I bought into those the same as I did the Reed Sea. The actual miracles sounded more plausible. Still, we were essentially being taught "Take this with a grain if not a whole pillar of salt."

Theodore Wirth, Francis gives me hope too, but if I end up going back to church because of him I'm going to be really pissed.

Carl Drews, thanks for stopping by. I'll check out your book. Yes, the Lord often works in mundane and banal ways His wonders to perform.

I've often wondered how our school compared to other Catholic schools of the time. The nuns and Mr Schick and the other lay teachers did an excellent job and as those of us who went on to the public high school found out, we had a leg up on the kids who'd attended the public grade schools, and not just in science class. We knew how to write and do math and we knew our history. My best class in all my years at St H was 5th grade geography.

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