BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Excruciating Exodus Movie Exudes Errors

Exodus: Gods and Kings reeks with wretchedness

Note: This discussion of Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) contains spoilers.


exodus

Colossal expense equals colossal waste for the new Ridley Scott movie Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014). The story has been changed so much from the Biblical narrative that it is barely recognizable.

My mother always taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I should say nothing at all. If I were to follow her policy, this review of Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) would end now.

I should say I am not a purist. I understand that Biblical material needs to be added to in order to make a motion picture. After all, very rarely does the Bible give a physical description of a character. I also understand that changes might need to be made for technical reasons or to make the story flow—though Scott’s explanation for the racial make-up of his casting falls flat. Heck, I even like Dan Brown books. Sure, I notice the inaccuracies, but the man tells good stories. So why am I annoyed that Exodus: Gods and Kings bears almost no resemblance to the Biblical narrative? Because it pretends to be something that it is not.

It is beyond me to understand why one of the most action-packed, intense Biblical narratives needed such dramatic altering by writers Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. Their story was so different that if they didn’t use the Biblical names and released the same movie with a different title, I might not have even recognized it—especially with all the Arthurian mythology woven in—though the caricature and stereotypes that ran through the film shoved the viewer in that direction.


In the free eBook Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus, top scholars discuss the historical Israelites in Egypt and archaeological evidence for and against the historicity of the Exodus.
exodus-comic

Not only have the exciting Biblical elements, such as a lonely baby floating down a raging Nile, a hero with a speech impediment sent to speak to the most powerful leader in the world, a brotherly side-kick, been edited out of the movie, God has been turned into a petulant child. This is the precise opposite of the narrative, which depicts a God who has control of every element of nature, including death and Pharaoh. But movie Moses’ exasperated cry, “Who are you punishing?” misses the textual point that the Hebrews were not subjected to the majority of the plagues. I should not be surprised as it seems no one involved with this movie has ever read the Biblical account. This comic visually demonstrates the plague of darkness that affected the Egyptians but not the Israelites (Exodus 10:22–23). Image: bit.ly/1C3fxnd courtesy Barer at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.

The movie is manipulative in its anti-religious polemic. All the supernatural elements of the story (which are in the Bible to make theological points about the God of the Hebrews and thus are literarily important to the characterization of God, regardless of one’s faith position) are stripped away or given a “scientific” explanation within the dialogue. It’s amazing that the movie had time for that when it rushed through the plagues. To my count, only eight or possibly nine were depicted (though the alligator plague might be an improvement on the text). The Egyptian priestess (apparently there was only one in Memphis) and the prophet are slain for incompetence. Moses is a firm atheist until he suffers a traumatic brain injury which makes him hallucinate a boy-god. Which brings us to the petulant, malicious boy-god, who plagues the Hebrews alongside the Egyptians, ignores Moses’ pleas for mercy and binds the Hebrews to him without choice in the final plague. All of these alterations were designed to make religion look senile. This is misdirection at best considering the blatant attempt to attract religious viewers with the movie’s “Biblical” subject matter.

My intention was to create a list of all the changes made to the text, the historical inaccuracies and the archaeological brutalities, but there are just too many of them. To do this would result in a review that was twice the length of the script itself. Even where I might be able to offer praise at the movie’s use of paleo-Hebrew (a single rudimentary mem), it was written on a full sheet of papyrus by a slave. Seriously?! What slave can afford to buy papyrus? Not to mention can read or write? I know I am not supposed to ask these questions, but I am also supposed to find at least something nice to say about everything. I guess I am just not very good at doing what I am supposed to.

Leaving aside the mutilations to the text, the historical record and the archaeological remains, the melodramatic nature of the characters made them phony and dislikable. Thus, even if you can put everything else aside, I would still recommend you skip this incredible waste of time and money.


For more on Hollywood movies, read “The ‘Gods of Egypt’ Movie: A Mess of Anachronisms and Exoticization,” “Rock Giants in Noah” and “Blending into One: The ‘Left Behind’ Movie, the Book of Revelation and the Rapture.”


ellen-whiteEllen White, Ph.D. (Hebrew Bible, University of St. Michael’s College), is the senior editor at the Biblical Archaeology Society. She has taught at five universities across the U.S. and Canada and spent research leaves in Germany and Romania. She has also been actively involved in digs at various sites in Israel.


More on the Exodus in Bible History Daily:

Exodus in the Bible and the Egyptian Plagues

Who Was Moses? Was He More than an Exodus Hero?

Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination

Searching for Biblical Mt. Sinai


 


65 Responses

  1. Amanda says:

    I liked the comic. But Israelites didn’t wear kippahs!

  2. Richard says:

    I am currently half way through the movie. I am watching it in bits and pieces so as not to get overwhelmed by how bad it is. This is a period of time that I cherish so I watch this travesty to compare what the movie portrays to what I know happened. Mainly, then, I watch it to mock the film and mock Hollywood. I am not one to question someone else’s devote beliefs, but Ridley Scott is an avowed atheist. I’m not saying that an atheist could not make this movie, but I’m guessing that he looks at the events differently than I would. In trying to come up with an analogy, maybe it would be like a director from the old Soviet Union making a movie about The Bill of Rights to show to the American public. The acting is less than stellar. I want them all to lose.

  3. Jay Lehyeh says:

    Dear Miss White,

    I have recently watched exodus:gods and kings, and I have to say I am more than disappointed with it. After reading your wonderful artical I came to the conclusion that this motion picture doesn’t only lack the basic facts of Moses’s story told from a Hebrew or Christian religious point of view, it also lacks the Muslim’s point of view. For instance: Moses had a brother called Arron, he was the one who addressed Ramsis and tried to negotiate the release of the Hebrews because Moses lacked the necessary articulacy to address such a powerful man.
    Moses didn’t not leave his wife and child behind, they went with him to Egypt.

    There was no mention of staff of Moses..

    And many other details..

    Like you mentioned in your article, it might be necessary to alter or change some details in the story to adapt it to a theatrical motion picture. But what the writers and Ridley Scott did was far more beyond minor alterations..

    Nevertheless, your artical showed me that it’s not only me who is confused with this project.

    Thank you and please keep up the good work

    Regards

  4. Exodus in the Bible and the Egyptian Plague | Centro Estudios Judaicos Sur PR says:

    […] from the curses to Israelites as mentioned in Leviticus. Some have connected the Egyptian plagues to natural phenomena that were possible in ancient Egypt. Torrential rains in Ethiopia could have sent red clay […]

  5. cmbaker says:

    Turned off 1/2 hour into it. Terrible non Bible based drival. Shame, what a wonderful movie the book oc Exodus could have been.

  6. Moe Howard says:

    Tried to watch it. Failed. How does such outright crap get financing?

  7. Gli errori del film ‘Exodus – Dei e Re’ | Il Fatto Storico says:

    […] ebrei non furono poi soggetti alla maggior parte delle piaghe. Nel film hanno peraltro tolto la piaga delle tenebre, in compenso hanno aggiunto i coccodrilli, […]

  8. Kurt says:

    Should the Exodus be re-dated?
    “Exodus did not happen in the way it is described in the biblical text on the background of the 13th century B.C.”
    Norma Franklin, “biblical” archaeologist with the University of Haifa:

    “I don’t believe there was a single event that we can call the exodus.”
    And rabbi David Wolpe telling interviewer Michael Medved:

    “The exodus certainly didn’t happen the way the bible depicted it….Scientifically it is virtually indefensible to make the Bible’s case.”

    When Medved pushes him on how someone can base their faith on something incorrect, he comes up with this winner:

    “Things that aren’t ‘facts’ can be ‘truths.”

    Excuse me? Way to go, rabbi. Really helpful.

    On that foundation, Mahoney poses this fundamental problem:
    “If the leading scholars are siding with the leading atheists and agnostics, that there is no evidence that the exodus ever happened, what are the rest of us supposed to think?”

    Basically, the “Biblical” archaeologists don’t believe there ever was an Exodus. But their reason for not believing it is based on a chronology they created using their own misunderstanding of a coincidence of a name in the Bible…
    http://www.examiner.com/article/should-the-exodus-be-re-dated?CID=examiner_alerts_article

  9. Exodus | Dwaze Schare says:

    […] dusver niets raars. Bijbelfilms komen wel met bizarder verzinsels dan dat en ook boeken over bijbelse figuren zijn niet vaak betrouwbaar. Meestal niet zelfs. Behalve […]

  10. Sexist Exodus | Liturgy says:

    […] agree with Ellen White (a senior editor at the Biblical Archaeology […]

  11. EXODUS : GODS AND KINGS | Église Protestante Évangélique de Claye-Souilly says:

    […] nombreuses dans le scénario rédigé par Bill Collage, Adam Cooper et Steven Zaillian. La revue Biblical Archeologyen fait une assez longue liste. Signalons par exemple les dix fléaux envoyés comme un jugement […]

  12. Theodore says:

    Thank you Dr. E. White,

    Today is my lucky day. First Murphy-O’Connor saves me from reading a bad book, “First Paul”, and now Dr. White saves me from a bad movie. Perhaps I should consider myself truly ‘saved’?

  13. Oliver says:

    To victor: Noah is based on a supernatural comic book, and depicted Noah as a psychopath, which turned a lot of the viewers off, and possibly affected the other bible based film, Exodus.

    Me and Wife saw it on New Year’s Day, really enjoyed it. We know it’s an “adaptation” of the bible, and the main themes, characterization and stories are still there. The Red Sea confrontation part was well done, sticking to the bible, and different to the trailer. If people want word to word adaptation, then they are just like comic book geeks, complaining about costumes, Superman’s hair, Batman’s voice, Wonder Woman’s boobs. This is a movie, not a documentary. I understand Lincoln the movie was quite accurate, and people down here in NZ didn’t bother with it.

    Unfortunately, how many non believers watched the Christian documentaries? This movie at least got millions to watch it, and appreciate at least the character of Moses. Folks like me, and there are a lot of us, like to compare original literatures to the actual films, and a lot of non believers would be checking out the bible because of this, and is that a bad thing? Heck, me and wife spent the last two days reading up Exodus, archeology, science of Red Sea parting etc, and we haven’t done that for ages! This movie at least, portrayed Moses as a good man, a hero, not like Noah, or Dogma, or Simpson’s Jesus etc.

    It is a movie that introduces you to the world of Egypt, what it’s like to go through the ten plagues, what it’s like to see all first borns die, I had tears in my eyes watching that scene, it is not just, words that people mumble through reading the verses in class, it’s real, brutal and emotional. I doubt people will lose their faith because of a movie, or if people are gonna hate the bible because of this neither.

  14. Ralwoe says:

    Well, this is nothing new from “Hollywood” of movies produced that are supposed to be based on historical events.

  15. Steve C says:

    So Hollywood castrated the Bible fairy story?

    The traditional interpretation that Moses and the Exodus occurred alongside the building of the pyramids and Ramesses II is generally considered incorrect – the bible or more specifically the biblical story in the written Torah does not give names or sufficient references to be certain of when or even if it happened (the use of fictional stories, or altered interpretations of actual events, to reinforce beliefs has been common practice throughout history).

  16. Jeff says:

    An interesting side note on this time frame and Egyptology that the Bible provides. Ex 1:8 states “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” (ESV). Has someone ever looked into the significance of the “setting” of this event? If you had, you might have come across this interesting verse in Isaiah 52:4, “My people went down at first into Egypt to sojourn there.”… (Ask when & what event is the LORD referencing here?)…”and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing.” Also, if you’re still having problems with the “context” of this verse, read Is 52:6. There is a school of thought that believe there was a short (less than 100 years) “break” in the linage of the Egyptian Pharaohs…when a conquering nation from the north invaded with something brand new, horse drawn chariots, re-curve bows, and armor. If you take God’s Word literally in its normal, grammatical usage, as I do, this verse in Isaiah, along with Paul’s in Galatians about Sinai being in Arabia, help make sense of this great “historic” event. Besides, geo-politically, ask why Saudi Arabia today would have ANY interest in validating the Biblical, historical account of the Jewish nation?

  17. jwfarns says:

    Interestingly enough an Islamic co-worker just told me that this movie is exactly like the Islamic teaching of the Exodus story. Can anyone confirm this?

  18. Sunwyn Ravenwood says:

    Not only did the imbeciles who created this pile of crap have Moses and company riding horses… they are using stirrups….TWO THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE THE INVENTION OF THE STIRRUP, 1000 YEARS BEFORE THE INVENTION OF THE SADDLE, AND AT LEAST 500 BEFORE THE EARLIEST DEPICTION OF SOMEONE RIDING A FULL-SiZE HORSE. This compost heap of a movie is about as credible as “300” was as a depiction of the Battle of Thermopylae or “Troy” was in its depiction of a penteconter. (Hint: rowboats, even big ones, don’t have holds.)

  19. Exodus: A trop ménager la chèvre et le chou, Hollywood finit par perdre l’essentiel (Worst of both worlds: Ridley Scott goes for the fake science and misses the real theology) | jcdurbant says:

    […] Excruciating Exodus Movie Exudes Errors Exodus: Gods and Kings reeks with wretchedness Ellen White Biblical archeology 12/18/2014 Colossal expense equals colossal waste for the new Ridley Scott movie Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014). The story has been changed so much from the Biblical narrative that it is barely recognizable. My mother always taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I should say nothing at all. If I were to follow her policy, this review of Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) would end now. […]

  20. Exodus: A trop ménager la chèvre et le chou, Hollywood mécontente tout le monde et perd l’essentiel (Worst of both worlds: Ridley Scott goes for the fake science and misses the real theology) | jcdurbant says:

    […] Excruciating Exodus Movie Exudes Errors Exodus: Gods and Kings reeks with wretchedness Ellen White Biblical archeology 12/18/2014 Colossal expense equals colossal waste for the new Ridley Scott movie Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014). The story has been changed so much from the Biblical narrative that it is barely recognizable. My mother always taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I should say nothing at all. If I were to follow her policy, this review of Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) would end now. […]

  21. Het Jezuscomplot ontrafeld | Dwaze Schare says:

    […] is dat Ostling de missing link tussen aandacht en jezusboeken heeft gevonden: idiote theorieën (en niet alleen over Jezus) krijgen meer aandacht in de pers dan boeken met verstandige […]

  22. Robb says:

    Thanks Dr White for your article. I was hoping you or someone with some level of professional expertise couple address the following question:

    Based on the timing of Exodus/Moses it was my understanding that the pyramids were already ancient structures as well as the sphinx. There seem to be scenes in the trailers that depict the pyramids being built as well as the sphinx. There is also a scene where there are two step pyramids and one smooth sided pyramid like those at Giza. Can you address the accuracy of location/timelines for exodus relative to some of the movie scenes for accuracies?

  23. Dan Baxley says:

    My, my, it amazes me that so many critics, not of the film but of the religion of the Hebrews are in such abundance on this site. I especially like the remark about religion created to control the masses — that is rich. Some said it out loud, while others suggest it, and was that, then, and original thought? Now, who is being controlled? Some of the mindless religious bigots try to talk down to believers as if they are some kind of ignorant masses. What dribble from brains of mush looking at themselves as some kind of Einstein of religious thought, all the while parroting the oft used and abused words of disbelievers who in their arrogance are so much smarter than the masses — themselves being part of the masses that will stand with their mouths when their stupidity is unveiled for them to see. Sorry, Ellen, like you I have trouble following my mother’s words, like your mother’s word about not saying anything if you cannot say something nice. This forum is for Biblical Archaeology, right? I would expect believers to be sharing, and some are, but where did the stone heads come from that have nothing to contribute but their own asinine opinions that too many of us fail to ignore — me included. Peace to all that look to BAR as a source of intellectual property doing some serious Biblical research.

  24. Victor Mathea Mulovi. says:

    Is it like Noah which did not depict wat really in the bible.

  25. Doug says:

    I saw it this weekend. Get over it, get a life, it was not that bad. I saw many of the inaccuracies, I felt their depiction of God was insulting, and many of the “fill in the blanks” that Hollywood for some reason feels compelled to do to make a movie interesting to those who are not accuracy freaks like myself are going to happen no matter what. If the movie “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston was made today people would trash it. Sometimes we go into things like this looking for issues: “Look, those are clearly not the kind of palm trees found in that region!” From all the bad publicity this movie got I almost didn’t go, but all in all, not as bad as portrayed by critics.

  26. Reviews of “Exodus: Gods and Kings” | CSPTheology.org says:

    […] Dr. Ellen White, senior editor at the Biblical Archaeology Society, gives the movie a rather negative review as a whole, commenting on the historical and biblical errors of detail from a largely scientific approach. Her review can be read here: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/exodus/excruciating-exodus-movie-exudes-err… […]

  27. Daniela says:

    In my opinion, this is an artistic film, not a documentary. So, it is ok if it does not obbey to the story in the Bible. I could imagine what a borrowing scene it would be when Moses returns ten times to the Pharaon to ask to release his people! The symbolistic and the metaphoric images are the key in this movie. God is not a child, but remember that God chose to put his words in the mouth of innocent one, and only a child can be so innocent. It is obvious that God spoke from a burning bush. Moses seems very real, very human, torn between humanity and faith. He asks, he implores, he fights, his road is coarse and dangerous. I enjoyed pretty much the movie!

  28. Mary Ann says:

    My husband and I saw the movie, and it was so far from the Bible, you had to discount it in it’s entirety. we did not read any reviews before we went. But the cinematography, was well done.
    It’s all Hollywood junk any way. Their god is $$$. Wait till they find out each for themselves. That will be a block buster.

  29. Paul Douglas says:

    Why would any Christian waste their time or money on a bible based story movie made by people who don’t believe in the Bible? It’s like going to a mechanic for information on human anatomy. Any Christian that supports this nonsense should be ashamed of themselves.

  30. MICHAEL NORWOOD says:

    GREAT review You are RIGHT and I have NOTHING good to say!! I found that this movie was COMPLETE GARBAGE and God is NOT a boy. The movie did NOT show God with all His majesty and sovereign power. It is another FAIL like NOAH. The world wants to belittle and water down God, but EVERY knee WILL bow and EVERY knee WILL confess…

    Philippians 2:9-11
    9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    And I say “AMEN!”

  31. kelly Waller says:

    Love your review. Explain to me too how Moses rides a Fresian horse, let alone all of the other breeds that seem to be readily available in ancient Egypt? I think the hebrew slaves were using mules too. Lol. A ridiculous movie by someone who was so meticulous about a shipwreck!

  32. mojwnun says:

    It was at the point in the script in which Rameses starts lecturing Moshe on economics that I threw up my hands and just MST3K’d the rest of it. God, I miss David Lean…

  33. John says:

    You believer s are too funny, arguing the validity of a work of fiction

  34. Jonathan says:

    Fantastic review. Thanks so much!

  35. davidl231 says:

    Hollywood has not been making Biblical films fora long time. they don’t want riots by religious groups. It bad for profits. Its interesting, now, they are but with secular overtones. Hollywood films are for profit and public stock market health. If you want a Bible lesson read a descent Bible translation if you can find one.

  36. joseph salowitz says:

    I saw the movie. I thought it was GREAT! It makes you realize that your previous visualizations of the Bible narrative, are a “man-made” limitation that we have imposed upon ourselves, and since we can never know the mind of God, any original visualizations might open our own minds to the inspirational message of the Exodus that we have not considered before. Do yourself a favor, and go see this movie.

  37. Ray Johnson says:

    I will watch to see how they want to brain wash you.

  38. rowlandt says:

    People, people please say it isn’t
    so. If you believe that Jesus died and was raised from the dead than all your questions have been answered. To search for proof of whether the Bible is accurate or even truethful aren’t you already questioning your own belief?
    As it states in the Bible ” I will put my laws into their mind and write them in their hearts” so whether the evidence is there or not is irrelavent because you ALREADY KNOW THE TRUETH. To go digging in peoples graves is an abomination and to traveling through space searching for proof the Bible is false and that everything exists because a few comits collided with earth is just plain stupid.
    You already know the trueth and you didn’t have to leave your sofa. Whether you choose to believe your conscience is up to you. Me personally I just like watching God have fun with all of these brilliant: scientists. How’s that solar powered plilae lander doing without sunlight
    As far as the movie Gods and Kings
    There is and has always been only one true God and to deny him his story told in trueth well,
    (God help them all)

  39. David says:

    I found it amusing that when the author finally finds one thing to list as “historical inaccuracies”, she asks, “Seriously?! What slave can afford to buy papyrus? Not to mention can read or write?”. I wonder where she gets the idea that the Jewish slaves were illiterate, especially from a biblical perspective. I recall the mitvah to write words upon doorposts and gates. This is given with a clear expectation of understanding what they were writing.

  40. Peter Sullivan says:

    I am disappointed that this review did not list more changes etc – after all that is a review’s main purpose of having an expert in the subject matter pointing out the errors, omissions, improvements etc.. Not knowing the context of the slave with papyrus writing etc does not allow a fair assessment of the comment that ‘slaves could not afford papyrus’. I differ, depending on whom the slave was plus recent work has shown it was not as expensive as previously thought. You also expect Hollywood to find the unusual angle!! after all they are making a movie NOT a documentary. Having said all that, as an Egyptologist I am always surprised to hear the utter shock that greets the class announcement ‘Egypt was an AFRICAN culture’ when teaching intro hieroglyphics etc. ‘African’ to Western eyes is only too often simply Negroid and ignores the other types in the continent..

  41. bennt says:

    I agree with the writer what turned me of they got moses talking like heathens today saying things like I dont think so what an idiotic portrayal of moses its just stupid to have batman playing moses was this actor in american psycho…now that is sick…what about trained actors not these wanna be john come lately

  42. Janice says:

    Aw, come on. If Biblical passages were adhered to, no one would talk about their movie. I’ll probably watch it at some point in the future, but it doesn’t sound likely that my opinion of Biblical truths will be changed by it.

    I enjoyed the review.

  43. ralph Ellis says:

    >>though Scott’s explanation for the racial
    >>make-up of his casting falls flat.

    I don’t think so. There were no black African Egyptians.

    The Israelites we know, were not black – in fact they looked like – errr – modern Jews.

    As to the Egyptians, Ramesses II was a redhead. When the mummy of Ramesses II was taken to France in 1985 for preservation, it was also forensically tested and the results determined that:

    Quote:
    “Hair astonishinghy preserved showed some complementary data – especially about pigmentation: Ramses II was a ginger haired cymnotriche leucoderma.”

    Professor Pierre-Fernand CECCALDI, Forensic Scientist, Criminal Identification Laboratory of Paris. (Bulletin de l’Academie de médecine – Volume 171, Issue 1. p119)

    So Ridley Scott was correct in his casting and depictions.

    Ralph

  44. Brian D Finch says:

    There is no valid reason why an atheist could not have made a biblically accurate biblical movie [after all: the atheist, communist, homosexual Pier Paolo Pasolini managed it in the film ‘The Gospel According to St Matthew’] unless, of course, he didn’t want to.

    In short, Ridley Scott’s film is propaganda. Nothing more, nothing less.

  45. Jo Shafer says:

    Thanks for all the critiques of this film. My friends, both Jewish and Christian, agree; and none of us plan to see it. The depiction is neither historically nor scientifically correct but, instead, distorts the whole biblical scenario. After Ralph’s listing of historical/archeological facts in his post above, I need say anything further. Thank you again, y’all!

  46. Stewart says:

    I applaud any serious effort to present the stories of biblical miracles in an historical context. After all, archaeology has verified much of the history of the Bible, but has yet to validate one small miracle, or show that any revelation is anything more than hearsay. But this movie fails both as validation of the biblical story or any of the science there might be behind it. The first 9(?) plagues are reasonably explained, but for the 10th plague and the parting of the Red Sea, no explanation is presented–particularly given the detailed description of the wall of water on both sides, which is reiterated. I think because they explained the first plagues, they figured we’d be lulled into skimming over the miracles. BTW, neither the Bible nor the movie explain how a wind strong enough to part the sea wouldn’t blow people, animals, carts and baggage to kingdom come.

  47. Christopher says:

    The upcoming movie Patterns of Evidence (releases January 19th, 2015 in ~600 theaters) also attempts to say that there is some really tantalizing evidence for Hebrews in Avaris, Egypt, and more in the 13th dynasty rather than the 19th dynasty. It also discusses some of the evidence at Jericho. I was able to preview the documentary in full recently and enjoyed it’s mind-stretching, bound-to-be-controversial approach. More info at http://www.patternsofevidence.com/en/.

  48. BILL Skibinski says:

    We saw the movie,Exodus, Gods and Kings last night. My opinion is that if you’re going to make a movie about the Bible, it should follow the Bible,not make fiction of it. It didn’t show the 3 days of darkness. The Nile turning to blood was because of giant crocodiles eating the Egyptians. Moses threw a sword into the Red Sea instead of holding up his staff. The Bible tells that they crossed on dry land, the movie had them wading into waist deep water. The Egyptians lost half their army to a landslide, in the Bible they were held back by a pillar of cloud by day and fire at night. In the movie you only heard their names mentioned once or twice, no building of characters. This movie doesn’t hold a candle to Cecil B Demile’s The Ten Commandments. Also depicting God as a small boy is blastphamous.

  49. Ralph Ellis says:

    Dear Ellen,

    But who has made the most mistakes: the film or classical theologians?

    If you read Josephus (Judaism’s greatest historian), he clearly states that the Israelite Exodus was the Hyksos Exodus (and this the Israelites and Hyksos were the same people. If so, then we have the following similarities:

    They were both called shepherds.
    They both wore earrings and curly sidelocks of hair.
    They both were circumcised.
    There was darkness and storms for three days (Tempest Stele)
    There was an ashfall, with the air thick enough to kill people (Thera)
    There was a volcano (Thera).
    There was a battle (civil war) with the Egyptians.
    Tribute of gold, cloth and oil was given to make the people leave (Tempest Stele)
    Some 500,000 of these shepherds went on the Exodus.
    They both left from Pi Rammase (Avaris)
    There was a tsunami (Thera).
    They both trashed Jericho.
    They both went to Jerusalem (Manetho)

    See what I mean? The reason you cannot find historical evidence for the Exodus, is because you are looking in the wrong era. But Josephus says the era was 1550 BC, and if you look there you will see that all of the Exodus story is historically correct. See ‘Tempest & Exodus’.

    Ralph

  50. Christopher says:

    Well said, Dr. White!

  51. Robert C. says:

    I’m sure the critics of the Jewish reworking of the Gilgamesh flood myth were just as disappointed at some of the changes to the original story. They did like the name change from Ut-Napishtim to Noah because that is easier to say. It’s just sad that the unknown author of the Jewish Flood Myth didn’t stay 100% true to the original story found in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Of course the Jewish Flood story is just one of hundreds found around the world. Maybe there was just too many flood stories to pick just one to copy! http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

  52. j says:

    I like your review. Thank you for speaking out–and up for God!
    I’ve long said we each must choose weather we believe in God or not. I choose to believe! Obviously from the comments, many do not. I suggest they begin reading the Bible. It is the oldest book written in continuous use-could so many people over ?3,000 years of time all be wrong? I think one purpose of the Bible was to give us all instruction in how to live peaceful, prosperous lives. If followed-we will-if not- well, look at America’s decline in the last 50 years, since the Bible, and God, have been pushed out of our daily lives. Do you not see a correlation? If I were the biggest atheist ever (but smart)(oxymoron :))- I would want everyone on earth to learn and follow the Bible’s rules just so I could have a better -peaceful life! I would definitely NOT try to stop people from believing in God. After all, what does it hurt (assuming no excess-but that argument doesn’t work). It’s evil creeping in that causes people to bash God and His word! Who said, “The devil’s biggest victory was in making people believe he doesn’t exist.”

  53. Dave Feinstein says:

    The exodus never happened. Its just imagination. There is no proof at all. See even Finkelstein and Silberman. So that movie also just “something” based on that fiction.

  54. Wayne Brazil says:

    Why is Hollywood so afraid of the Bible? It doesn’t make sense to me that they replace the mystery and miraculous with “more acceptable” explanations on one hand and release their own brands of miraculous on the other as though the Biblical account is inadequate. They give us Howarts and not Moses? Of course God wasn’t consulted at all when the writers, producers and directors were hired. I passing on this one.

  55. Keith du Randt says:

    Thanks for this review. I will definitely give this movie a skip. Hollywood has this unnecessary tendency to over-embellish on the facts when the facts themselves are dramatic enough. For example, Braveheart and the recent movie about Noah. Grrrrrr!

  56. Charles Power says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, but would bet that three things are omitted or distorted:

    1) That the parents of Moses and Aaron were an aunt and her nephew;

    2) That Moses tried to con Pharaoh saying that the Hebrews just wanted to go out to the desert for a sacrifice, but would need all their cattle since the Lord would have to select the sacrificial animal (Pharaoh wasn’t fooled for a minute);

    3) That after each plague Pharaoh decided to release the Hebrews but the Lord intervened and hardened Pharaoh’s heart. (He evidently wanted to use all His plagues.)

  57. A F says:

    For clarity I should explain that in my above comment when I referred to the “core Exodus story” having value…

    I meant the actual story and not the movie. Hopefully I wasn’t being too confusing with that…

  58. A F says:

    Perhaps it’s partly because current mainstream thought generally considers Biblical stories like Exodus to have such scant historical merit that its not just acceptable – but artistically necessary – to freely reinterpret what is only a mythologized folk tale to begin with. And if it disgruntles a few people along the way and manages to get the indulgent re-rendered elements labeled as controversial or in some way note worthy then all the better for their fishing hopes of boosting boxoffice exposure.

    After reading some of the other comments posted here already, evidently fans of Biblical history are becoming more jaded though. Like others, I completely expected a lot of Biblical and historical ridiculousness from this movie. I’ve only seen the trailer but this article and comments seem to confirm my expectations.

    I think the core Exodus story has a lot of value because helps us see the primal monotheistic idea of Biblical “holiness” (as in purity by way of some kind of separateness and differentiation) developing as the Israelites were emerging as an identifiable people in the region

  59. Nate I. says:

    You mean Hollywood didn’t make an accurate movie on Biblical/Historical events, as directed by a self proclaimed atheist? I cannot say that I am surprised by this.

  60. Rev. Paul T. McCain says:

    Slow clap!

    I have told all my friends NOT to waste money seeing this in a theater, but wait until it is available via streaming video, hopefully, for free on Netflix.

    “It is beyond me to understand why one of the most action-packed intense Biblical narratives needed such dramatic altering by writers ”

    EXACTLY!!!!

  61. Ben West says:

    Thanks, Dr. White. Based on your review, I will not be seeing the film, and will in that way avoid a lot of aggravation and disgust. Also, I have enjoyed and learned from all of your articles that I have read. Thanks again. ben

  62. Howard West says:

    I believe the Bible from cover to cover! However, not by Blind Faith that others tell me to believe. For example the year of Jubilee “Was a good time for all”. NO! it was a time of lack. If you were prepared as Bible told you to be you were in good shape. Then about every ten years of Jubilee it was really Bad! IF you do the math you will find that Joesph was in the middle of a bad period, about 500 _ 50 years later. Moses was on the scene. About 500 _ years later David was having a bad time, 500 _ 50 years later the Jews went to Babylon. What did these time have in common? A astrological manifestation which the Egyptians called the Eye of Thoth. GOD used this astrological manifestation to cause the problems. Even to the draining of the Red Sea. The Moon and Sun causes high tides on both sides of the planet at the same time.Add a third astrological manifestation and the tides would cause an extremely low tide in the Red Sea basin.

  63. James says:

    @Martin

    The God of the Bible never forces anyone to do anything. He may command people to do things, but they don’t always do them (to their detriment, of course. It is the Bible, after all), their own agency is never compromised.

    The message being, of course, that doing the right or wrong thing comes from the individual. It would be out of character for such a God to ‘make’ Pharaoh do anything.

  64. K W says:

    I understand that Moses may have been a general in pharaohs military before he fled Egypt.

  65. Martin Dragoon says:

    Why didn’t God make Pharaoh release his chosen ones?
    It never happened, it was just a story to encourage the Worship of ‘God’ by those who wanted power and control of the Masses.

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65 Responses

  1. Amanda says:

    I liked the comic. But Israelites didn’t wear kippahs!

  2. Richard says:

    I am currently half way through the movie. I am watching it in bits and pieces so as not to get overwhelmed by how bad it is. This is a period of time that I cherish so I watch this travesty to compare what the movie portrays to what I know happened. Mainly, then, I watch it to mock the film and mock Hollywood. I am not one to question someone else’s devote beliefs, but Ridley Scott is an avowed atheist. I’m not saying that an atheist could not make this movie, but I’m guessing that he looks at the events differently than I would. In trying to come up with an analogy, maybe it would be like a director from the old Soviet Union making a movie about The Bill of Rights to show to the American public. The acting is less than stellar. I want them all to lose.

  3. Jay Lehyeh says:

    Dear Miss White,

    I have recently watched exodus:gods and kings, and I have to say I am more than disappointed with it. After reading your wonderful artical I came to the conclusion that this motion picture doesn’t only lack the basic facts of Moses’s story told from a Hebrew or Christian religious point of view, it also lacks the Muslim’s point of view. For instance: Moses had a brother called Arron, he was the one who addressed Ramsis and tried to negotiate the release of the Hebrews because Moses lacked the necessary articulacy to address such a powerful man.
    Moses didn’t not leave his wife and child behind, they went with him to Egypt.

    There was no mention of staff of Moses..

    And many other details..

    Like you mentioned in your article, it might be necessary to alter or change some details in the story to adapt it to a theatrical motion picture. But what the writers and Ridley Scott did was far more beyond minor alterations..

    Nevertheless, your artical showed me that it’s not only me who is confused with this project.

    Thank you and please keep up the good work

    Regards

  4. Exodus in the Bible and the Egyptian Plague | Centro Estudios Judaicos Sur PR says:

    […] from the curses to Israelites as mentioned in Leviticus. Some have connected the Egyptian plagues to natural phenomena that were possible in ancient Egypt. Torrential rains in Ethiopia could have sent red clay […]

  5. cmbaker says:

    Turned off 1/2 hour into it. Terrible non Bible based drival. Shame, what a wonderful movie the book oc Exodus could have been.

  6. Moe Howard says:

    Tried to watch it. Failed. How does such outright crap get financing?

  7. Gli errori del film ‘Exodus – Dei e Re’ | Il Fatto Storico says:

    […] ebrei non furono poi soggetti alla maggior parte delle piaghe. Nel film hanno peraltro tolto la piaga delle tenebre, in compenso hanno aggiunto i coccodrilli, […]

  8. Kurt says:

    Should the Exodus be re-dated?
    “Exodus did not happen in the way it is described in the biblical text on the background of the 13th century B.C.”
    Norma Franklin, “biblical” archaeologist with the University of Haifa:

    “I don’t believe there was a single event that we can call the exodus.”
    And rabbi David Wolpe telling interviewer Michael Medved:

    “The exodus certainly didn’t happen the way the bible depicted it….Scientifically it is virtually indefensible to make the Bible’s case.”

    When Medved pushes him on how someone can base their faith on something incorrect, he comes up with this winner:

    “Things that aren’t ‘facts’ can be ‘truths.”

    Excuse me? Way to go, rabbi. Really helpful.

    On that foundation, Mahoney poses this fundamental problem:
    “If the leading scholars are siding with the leading atheists and agnostics, that there is no evidence that the exodus ever happened, what are the rest of us supposed to think?”

    Basically, the “Biblical” archaeologists don’t believe there ever was an Exodus. But their reason for not believing it is based on a chronology they created using their own misunderstanding of a coincidence of a name in the Bible…
    http://www.examiner.com/article/should-the-exodus-be-re-dated?CID=examiner_alerts_article

  9. Exodus | Dwaze Schare says:

    […] dusver niets raars. Bijbelfilms komen wel met bizarder verzinsels dan dat en ook boeken over bijbelse figuren zijn niet vaak betrouwbaar. Meestal niet zelfs. Behalve […]

  10. Sexist Exodus | Liturgy says:

    […] agree with Ellen White (a senior editor at the Biblical Archaeology […]

  11. EXODUS : GODS AND KINGS | Église Protestante Évangélique de Claye-Souilly says:

    […] nombreuses dans le scénario rédigé par Bill Collage, Adam Cooper et Steven Zaillian. La revue Biblical Archeologyen fait une assez longue liste. Signalons par exemple les dix fléaux envoyés comme un jugement […]

  12. Theodore says:

    Thank you Dr. E. White,

    Today is my lucky day. First Murphy-O’Connor saves me from reading a bad book, “First Paul”, and now Dr. White saves me from a bad movie. Perhaps I should consider myself truly ‘saved’?

  13. Oliver says:

    To victor: Noah is based on a supernatural comic book, and depicted Noah as a psychopath, which turned a lot of the viewers off, and possibly affected the other bible based film, Exodus.

    Me and Wife saw it on New Year’s Day, really enjoyed it. We know it’s an “adaptation” of the bible, and the main themes, characterization and stories are still there. The Red Sea confrontation part was well done, sticking to the bible, and different to the trailer. If people want word to word adaptation, then they are just like comic book geeks, complaining about costumes, Superman’s hair, Batman’s voice, Wonder Woman’s boobs. This is a movie, not a documentary. I understand Lincoln the movie was quite accurate, and people down here in NZ didn’t bother with it.

    Unfortunately, how many non believers watched the Christian documentaries? This movie at least got millions to watch it, and appreciate at least the character of Moses. Folks like me, and there are a lot of us, like to compare original literatures to the actual films, and a lot of non believers would be checking out the bible because of this, and is that a bad thing? Heck, me and wife spent the last two days reading up Exodus, archeology, science of Red Sea parting etc, and we haven’t done that for ages! This movie at least, portrayed Moses as a good man, a hero, not like Noah, or Dogma, or Simpson’s Jesus etc.

    It is a movie that introduces you to the world of Egypt, what it’s like to go through the ten plagues, what it’s like to see all first borns die, I had tears in my eyes watching that scene, it is not just, words that people mumble through reading the verses in class, it’s real, brutal and emotional. I doubt people will lose their faith because of a movie, or if people are gonna hate the bible because of this neither.

  14. Ralwoe says:

    Well, this is nothing new from “Hollywood” of movies produced that are supposed to be based on historical events.

  15. Steve C says:

    So Hollywood castrated the Bible fairy story?

    The traditional interpretation that Moses and the Exodus occurred alongside the building of the pyramids and Ramesses II is generally considered incorrect – the bible or more specifically the biblical story in the written Torah does not give names or sufficient references to be certain of when or even if it happened (the use of fictional stories, or altered interpretations of actual events, to reinforce beliefs has been common practice throughout history).

  16. Jeff says:

    An interesting side note on this time frame and Egyptology that the Bible provides. Ex 1:8 states “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” (ESV). Has someone ever looked into the significance of the “setting” of this event? If you had, you might have come across this interesting verse in Isaiah 52:4, “My people went down at first into Egypt to sojourn there.”… (Ask when & what event is the LORD referencing here?)…”and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing.” Also, if you’re still having problems with the “context” of this verse, read Is 52:6. There is a school of thought that believe there was a short (less than 100 years) “break” in the linage of the Egyptian Pharaohs…when a conquering nation from the north invaded with something brand new, horse drawn chariots, re-curve bows, and armor. If you take God’s Word literally in its normal, grammatical usage, as I do, this verse in Isaiah, along with Paul’s in Galatians about Sinai being in Arabia, help make sense of this great “historic” event. Besides, geo-politically, ask why Saudi Arabia today would have ANY interest in validating the Biblical, historical account of the Jewish nation?

  17. jwfarns says:

    Interestingly enough an Islamic co-worker just told me that this movie is exactly like the Islamic teaching of the Exodus story. Can anyone confirm this?

  18. Sunwyn Ravenwood says:

    Not only did the imbeciles who created this pile of crap have Moses and company riding horses… they are using stirrups….TWO THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE THE INVENTION OF THE STIRRUP, 1000 YEARS BEFORE THE INVENTION OF THE SADDLE, AND AT LEAST 500 BEFORE THE EARLIEST DEPICTION OF SOMEONE RIDING A FULL-SiZE HORSE. This compost heap of a movie is about as credible as “300” was as a depiction of the Battle of Thermopylae or “Troy” was in its depiction of a penteconter. (Hint: rowboats, even big ones, don’t have holds.)

  19. Exodus: A trop ménager la chèvre et le chou, Hollywood finit par perdre l’essentiel (Worst of both worlds: Ridley Scott goes for the fake science and misses the real theology) | jcdurbant says:

    […] Excruciating Exodus Movie Exudes Errors Exodus: Gods and Kings reeks with wretchedness Ellen White Biblical archeology 12/18/2014 Colossal expense equals colossal waste for the new Ridley Scott movie Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014). The story has been changed so much from the Biblical narrative that it is barely recognizable. My mother always taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I should say nothing at all. If I were to follow her policy, this review of Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) would end now. […]

  20. Exodus: A trop ménager la chèvre et le chou, Hollywood mécontente tout le monde et perd l’essentiel (Worst of both worlds: Ridley Scott goes for the fake science and misses the real theology) | jcdurbant says:

    […] Excruciating Exodus Movie Exudes Errors Exodus: Gods and Kings reeks with wretchedness Ellen White Biblical archeology 12/18/2014 Colossal expense equals colossal waste for the new Ridley Scott movie Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014). The story has been changed so much from the Biblical narrative that it is barely recognizable. My mother always taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I should say nothing at all. If I were to follow her policy, this review of Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) would end now. […]

  21. Het Jezuscomplot ontrafeld | Dwaze Schare says:

    […] is dat Ostling de missing link tussen aandacht en jezusboeken heeft gevonden: idiote theorieën (en niet alleen over Jezus) krijgen meer aandacht in de pers dan boeken met verstandige […]

  22. Robb says:

    Thanks Dr White for your article. I was hoping you or someone with some level of professional expertise couple address the following question:

    Based on the timing of Exodus/Moses it was my understanding that the pyramids were already ancient structures as well as the sphinx. There seem to be scenes in the trailers that depict the pyramids being built as well as the sphinx. There is also a scene where there are two step pyramids and one smooth sided pyramid like those at Giza. Can you address the accuracy of location/timelines for exodus relative to some of the movie scenes for accuracies?

  23. Dan Baxley says:

    My, my, it amazes me that so many critics, not of the film but of the religion of the Hebrews are in such abundance on this site. I especially like the remark about religion created to control the masses — that is rich. Some said it out loud, while others suggest it, and was that, then, and original thought? Now, who is being controlled? Some of the mindless religious bigots try to talk down to believers as if they are some kind of ignorant masses. What dribble from brains of mush looking at themselves as some kind of Einstein of religious thought, all the while parroting the oft used and abused words of disbelievers who in their arrogance are so much smarter than the masses — themselves being part of the masses that will stand with their mouths when their stupidity is unveiled for them to see. Sorry, Ellen, like you I have trouble following my mother’s words, like your mother’s word about not saying anything if you cannot say something nice. This forum is for Biblical Archaeology, right? I would expect believers to be sharing, and some are, but where did the stone heads come from that have nothing to contribute but their own asinine opinions that too many of us fail to ignore — me included. Peace to all that look to BAR as a source of intellectual property doing some serious Biblical research.

  24. Victor Mathea Mulovi. says:

    Is it like Noah which did not depict wat really in the bible.

  25. Doug says:

    I saw it this weekend. Get over it, get a life, it was not that bad. I saw many of the inaccuracies, I felt their depiction of God was insulting, and many of the “fill in the blanks” that Hollywood for some reason feels compelled to do to make a movie interesting to those who are not accuracy freaks like myself are going to happen no matter what. If the movie “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston was made today people would trash it. Sometimes we go into things like this looking for issues: “Look, those are clearly not the kind of palm trees found in that region!” From all the bad publicity this movie got I almost didn’t go, but all in all, not as bad as portrayed by critics.

  26. Reviews of “Exodus: Gods and Kings” | CSPTheology.org says:

    […] Dr. Ellen White, senior editor at the Biblical Archaeology Society, gives the movie a rather negative review as a whole, commenting on the historical and biblical errors of detail from a largely scientific approach. Her review can be read here: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/exodus/excruciating-exodus-movie-exudes-err… […]

  27. Daniela says:

    In my opinion, this is an artistic film, not a documentary. So, it is ok if it does not obbey to the story in the Bible. I could imagine what a borrowing scene it would be when Moses returns ten times to the Pharaon to ask to release his people! The symbolistic and the metaphoric images are the key in this movie. God is not a child, but remember that God chose to put his words in the mouth of innocent one, and only a child can be so innocent. It is obvious that God spoke from a burning bush. Moses seems very real, very human, torn between humanity and faith. He asks, he implores, he fights, his road is coarse and dangerous. I enjoyed pretty much the movie!

  28. Mary Ann says:

    My husband and I saw the movie, and it was so far from the Bible, you had to discount it in it’s entirety. we did not read any reviews before we went. But the cinematography, was well done.
    It’s all Hollywood junk any way. Their god is $$$. Wait till they find out each for themselves. That will be a block buster.

  29. Paul Douglas says:

    Why would any Christian waste their time or money on a bible based story movie made by people who don’t believe in the Bible? It’s like going to a mechanic for information on human anatomy. Any Christian that supports this nonsense should be ashamed of themselves.

  30. MICHAEL NORWOOD says:

    GREAT review You are RIGHT and I have NOTHING good to say!! I found that this movie was COMPLETE GARBAGE and God is NOT a boy. The movie did NOT show God with all His majesty and sovereign power. It is another FAIL like NOAH. The world wants to belittle and water down God, but EVERY knee WILL bow and EVERY knee WILL confess…

    Philippians 2:9-11
    9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    And I say “AMEN!”

  31. kelly Waller says:

    Love your review. Explain to me too how Moses rides a Fresian horse, let alone all of the other breeds that seem to be readily available in ancient Egypt? I think the hebrew slaves were using mules too. Lol. A ridiculous movie by someone who was so meticulous about a shipwreck!

  32. mojwnun says:

    It was at the point in the script in which Rameses starts lecturing Moshe on economics that I threw up my hands and just MST3K’d the rest of it. God, I miss David Lean…

  33. John says:

    You believer s are too funny, arguing the validity of a work of fiction

  34. Jonathan says:

    Fantastic review. Thanks so much!

  35. davidl231 says:

    Hollywood has not been making Biblical films fora long time. they don’t want riots by religious groups. It bad for profits. Its interesting, now, they are but with secular overtones. Hollywood films are for profit and public stock market health. If you want a Bible lesson read a descent Bible translation if you can find one.

  36. joseph salowitz says:

    I saw the movie. I thought it was GREAT! It makes you realize that your previous visualizations of the Bible narrative, are a “man-made” limitation that we have imposed upon ourselves, and since we can never know the mind of God, any original visualizations might open our own minds to the inspirational message of the Exodus that we have not considered before. Do yourself a favor, and go see this movie.

  37. Ray Johnson says:

    I will watch to see how they want to brain wash you.

  38. rowlandt says:

    People, people please say it isn’t
    so. If you believe that Jesus died and was raised from the dead than all your questions have been answered. To search for proof of whether the Bible is accurate or even truethful aren’t you already questioning your own belief?
    As it states in the Bible ” I will put my laws into their mind and write them in their hearts” so whether the evidence is there or not is irrelavent because you ALREADY KNOW THE TRUETH. To go digging in peoples graves is an abomination and to traveling through space searching for proof the Bible is false and that everything exists because a few comits collided with earth is just plain stupid.
    You already know the trueth and you didn’t have to leave your sofa. Whether you choose to believe your conscience is up to you. Me personally I just like watching God have fun with all of these brilliant: scientists. How’s that solar powered plilae lander doing without sunlight
    As far as the movie Gods and Kings
    There is and has always been only one true God and to deny him his story told in trueth well,
    (God help them all)

  39. David says:

    I found it amusing that when the author finally finds one thing to list as “historical inaccuracies”, she asks, “Seriously?! What slave can afford to buy papyrus? Not to mention can read or write?”. I wonder where she gets the idea that the Jewish slaves were illiterate, especially from a biblical perspective. I recall the mitvah to write words upon doorposts and gates. This is given with a clear expectation of understanding what they were writing.

  40. Peter Sullivan says:

    I am disappointed that this review did not list more changes etc – after all that is a review’s main purpose of having an expert in the subject matter pointing out the errors, omissions, improvements etc.. Not knowing the context of the slave with papyrus writing etc does not allow a fair assessment of the comment that ‘slaves could not afford papyrus’. I differ, depending on whom the slave was plus recent work has shown it was not as expensive as previously thought. You also expect Hollywood to find the unusual angle!! after all they are making a movie NOT a documentary. Having said all that, as an Egyptologist I am always surprised to hear the utter shock that greets the class announcement ‘Egypt was an AFRICAN culture’ when teaching intro hieroglyphics etc. ‘African’ to Western eyes is only too often simply Negroid and ignores the other types in the continent..

  41. bennt says:

    I agree with the writer what turned me of they got moses talking like heathens today saying things like I dont think so what an idiotic portrayal of moses its just stupid to have batman playing moses was this actor in american psycho…now that is sick…what about trained actors not these wanna be john come lately

  42. Janice says:

    Aw, come on. If Biblical passages were adhered to, no one would talk about their movie. I’ll probably watch it at some point in the future, but it doesn’t sound likely that my opinion of Biblical truths will be changed by it.

    I enjoyed the review.

  43. ralph Ellis says:

    >>though Scott’s explanation for the racial
    >>make-up of his casting falls flat.

    I don’t think so. There were no black African Egyptians.

    The Israelites we know, were not black – in fact they looked like – errr – modern Jews.

    As to the Egyptians, Ramesses II was a redhead. When the mummy of Ramesses II was taken to France in 1985 for preservation, it was also forensically tested and the results determined that:

    Quote:
    “Hair astonishinghy preserved showed some complementary data – especially about pigmentation: Ramses II was a ginger haired cymnotriche leucoderma.”

    Professor Pierre-Fernand CECCALDI, Forensic Scientist, Criminal Identification Laboratory of Paris. (Bulletin de l’Academie de médecine – Volume 171, Issue 1. p119)

    So Ridley Scott was correct in his casting and depictions.

    Ralph

  44. Brian D Finch says:

    There is no valid reason why an atheist could not have made a biblically accurate biblical movie [after all: the atheist, communist, homosexual Pier Paolo Pasolini managed it in the film ‘The Gospel According to St Matthew’] unless, of course, he didn’t want to.

    In short, Ridley Scott’s film is propaganda. Nothing more, nothing less.

  45. Jo Shafer says:

    Thanks for all the critiques of this film. My friends, both Jewish and Christian, agree; and none of us plan to see it. The depiction is neither historically nor scientifically correct but, instead, distorts the whole biblical scenario. After Ralph’s listing of historical/archeological facts in his post above, I need say anything further. Thank you again, y’all!

  46. Stewart says:

    I applaud any serious effort to present the stories of biblical miracles in an historical context. After all, archaeology has verified much of the history of the Bible, but has yet to validate one small miracle, or show that any revelation is anything more than hearsay. But this movie fails both as validation of the biblical story or any of the science there might be behind it. The first 9(?) plagues are reasonably explained, but for the 10th plague and the parting of the Red Sea, no explanation is presented–particularly given the detailed description of the wall of water on both sides, which is reiterated. I think because they explained the first plagues, they figured we’d be lulled into skimming over the miracles. BTW, neither the Bible nor the movie explain how a wind strong enough to part the sea wouldn’t blow people, animals, carts and baggage to kingdom come.

  47. Christopher says:

    The upcoming movie Patterns of Evidence (releases January 19th, 2015 in ~600 theaters) also attempts to say that there is some really tantalizing evidence for Hebrews in Avaris, Egypt, and more in the 13th dynasty rather than the 19th dynasty. It also discusses some of the evidence at Jericho. I was able to preview the documentary in full recently and enjoyed it’s mind-stretching, bound-to-be-controversial approach. More info at http://www.patternsofevidence.com/en/.

  48. BILL Skibinski says:

    We saw the movie,Exodus, Gods and Kings last night. My opinion is that if you’re going to make a movie about the Bible, it should follow the Bible,not make fiction of it. It didn’t show the 3 days of darkness. The Nile turning to blood was because of giant crocodiles eating the Egyptians. Moses threw a sword into the Red Sea instead of holding up his staff. The Bible tells that they crossed on dry land, the movie had them wading into waist deep water. The Egyptians lost half their army to a landslide, in the Bible they were held back by a pillar of cloud by day and fire at night. In the movie you only heard their names mentioned once or twice, no building of characters. This movie doesn’t hold a candle to Cecil B Demile’s The Ten Commandments. Also depicting God as a small boy is blastphamous.

  49. Ralph Ellis says:

    Dear Ellen,

    But who has made the most mistakes: the film or classical theologians?

    If you read Josephus (Judaism’s greatest historian), he clearly states that the Israelite Exodus was the Hyksos Exodus (and this the Israelites and Hyksos were the same people. If so, then we have the following similarities:

    They were both called shepherds.
    They both wore earrings and curly sidelocks of hair.
    They both were circumcised.
    There was darkness and storms for three days (Tempest Stele)
    There was an ashfall, with the air thick enough to kill people (Thera)
    There was a volcano (Thera).
    There was a battle (civil war) with the Egyptians.
    Tribute of gold, cloth and oil was given to make the people leave (Tempest Stele)
    Some 500,000 of these shepherds went on the Exodus.
    They both left from Pi Rammase (Avaris)
    There was a tsunami (Thera).
    They both trashed Jericho.
    They both went to Jerusalem (Manetho)

    See what I mean? The reason you cannot find historical evidence for the Exodus, is because you are looking in the wrong era. But Josephus says the era was 1550 BC, and if you look there you will see that all of the Exodus story is historically correct. See ‘Tempest & Exodus’.

    Ralph

  50. Christopher says:

    Well said, Dr. White!

  51. Robert C. says:

    I’m sure the critics of the Jewish reworking of the Gilgamesh flood myth were just as disappointed at some of the changes to the original story. They did like the name change from Ut-Napishtim to Noah because that is easier to say. It’s just sad that the unknown author of the Jewish Flood Myth didn’t stay 100% true to the original story found in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Of course the Jewish Flood story is just one of hundreds found around the world. Maybe there was just too many flood stories to pick just one to copy! http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

  52. j says:

    I like your review. Thank you for speaking out–and up for God!
    I’ve long said we each must choose weather we believe in God or not. I choose to believe! Obviously from the comments, many do not. I suggest they begin reading the Bible. It is the oldest book written in continuous use-could so many people over ?3,000 years of time all be wrong? I think one purpose of the Bible was to give us all instruction in how to live peaceful, prosperous lives. If followed-we will-if not- well, look at America’s decline in the last 50 years, since the Bible, and God, have been pushed out of our daily lives. Do you not see a correlation? If I were the biggest atheist ever (but smart)(oxymoron :))- I would want everyone on earth to learn and follow the Bible’s rules just so I could have a better -peaceful life! I would definitely NOT try to stop people from believing in God. After all, what does it hurt (assuming no excess-but that argument doesn’t work). It’s evil creeping in that causes people to bash God and His word! Who said, “The devil’s biggest victory was in making people believe he doesn’t exist.”

  53. Dave Feinstein says:

    The exodus never happened. Its just imagination. There is no proof at all. See even Finkelstein and Silberman. So that movie also just “something” based on that fiction.

  54. Wayne Brazil says:

    Why is Hollywood so afraid of the Bible? It doesn’t make sense to me that they replace the mystery and miraculous with “more acceptable” explanations on one hand and release their own brands of miraculous on the other as though the Biblical account is inadequate. They give us Howarts and not Moses? Of course God wasn’t consulted at all when the writers, producers and directors were hired. I passing on this one.

  55. Keith du Randt says:

    Thanks for this review. I will definitely give this movie a skip. Hollywood has this unnecessary tendency to over-embellish on the facts when the facts themselves are dramatic enough. For example, Braveheart and the recent movie about Noah. Grrrrrr!

  56. Charles Power says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, but would bet that three things are omitted or distorted:

    1) That the parents of Moses and Aaron were an aunt and her nephew;

    2) That Moses tried to con Pharaoh saying that the Hebrews just wanted to go out to the desert for a sacrifice, but would need all their cattle since the Lord would have to select the sacrificial animal (Pharaoh wasn’t fooled for a minute);

    3) That after each plague Pharaoh decided to release the Hebrews but the Lord intervened and hardened Pharaoh’s heart. (He evidently wanted to use all His plagues.)

  57. A F says:

    For clarity I should explain that in my above comment when I referred to the “core Exodus story” having value…

    I meant the actual story and not the movie. Hopefully I wasn’t being too confusing with that…

  58. A F says:

    Perhaps it’s partly because current mainstream thought generally considers Biblical stories like Exodus to have such scant historical merit that its not just acceptable – but artistically necessary – to freely reinterpret what is only a mythologized folk tale to begin with. And if it disgruntles a few people along the way and manages to get the indulgent re-rendered elements labeled as controversial or in some way note worthy then all the better for their fishing hopes of boosting boxoffice exposure.

    After reading some of the other comments posted here already, evidently fans of Biblical history are becoming more jaded though. Like others, I completely expected a lot of Biblical and historical ridiculousness from this movie. I’ve only seen the trailer but this article and comments seem to confirm my expectations.

    I think the core Exodus story has a lot of value because helps us see the primal monotheistic idea of Biblical “holiness” (as in purity by way of some kind of separateness and differentiation) developing as the Israelites were emerging as an identifiable people in the region

  59. Nate I. says:

    You mean Hollywood didn’t make an accurate movie on Biblical/Historical events, as directed by a self proclaimed atheist? I cannot say that I am surprised by this.

  60. Rev. Paul T. McCain says:

    Slow clap!

    I have told all my friends NOT to waste money seeing this in a theater, but wait until it is available via streaming video, hopefully, for free on Netflix.

    “It is beyond me to understand why one of the most action-packed intense Biblical narratives needed such dramatic altering by writers ”

    EXACTLY!!!!

  61. Ben West says:

    Thanks, Dr. White. Based on your review, I will not be seeing the film, and will in that way avoid a lot of aggravation and disgust. Also, I have enjoyed and learned from all of your articles that I have read. Thanks again. ben

  62. Howard West says:

    I believe the Bible from cover to cover! However, not by Blind Faith that others tell me to believe. For example the year of Jubilee “Was a good time for all”. NO! it was a time of lack. If you were prepared as Bible told you to be you were in good shape. Then about every ten years of Jubilee it was really Bad! IF you do the math you will find that Joesph was in the middle of a bad period, about 500 _ 50 years later. Moses was on the scene. About 500 _ years later David was having a bad time, 500 _ 50 years later the Jews went to Babylon. What did these time have in common? A astrological manifestation which the Egyptians called the Eye of Thoth. GOD used this astrological manifestation to cause the problems. Even to the draining of the Red Sea. The Moon and Sun causes high tides on both sides of the planet at the same time.Add a third astrological manifestation and the tides would cause an extremely low tide in the Red Sea basin.

  63. James says:

    @Martin

    The God of the Bible never forces anyone to do anything. He may command people to do things, but they don’t always do them (to their detriment, of course. It is the Bible, after all), their own agency is never compromised.

    The message being, of course, that doing the right or wrong thing comes from the individual. It would be out of character for such a God to ‘make’ Pharaoh do anything.

  64. K W says:

    I understand that Moses may have been a general in pharaohs military before he fled Egypt.

  65. Martin Dragoon says:

    Why didn’t God make Pharaoh release his chosen ones?
    It never happened, it was just a story to encourage the Worship of ‘God’ by those who wanted power and control of the Masses.

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