I told you girls a while back that the History Channel contacted me about reviewing products. Talking about a kid in a candy store! They basically said, “Go to the shop, tell us what you want to review and we’ll send it right out!”
Are these people kidding me?
So for my first round of Nerdy Goodness, I chose 3 things related to my obsession of ancient Egypt. I’ll tell you a little about each one.
So the cover leaves a little to be desired but this first DVD is about the egomaniac Pharaoh, Rameses. It was pretty interesting stuff, especially the parts relating to the possibility of his being the Pharaoh of the Exodus. I’m personally not convinced. Sure, Rameses is mentioned as one of the cities the Hebrews built but this Pharaoh was notorious for taking credit for other Pharaohs’ building projects. Many scholars are now leaning towards Thutmose III who was Queen Hatshepsut’s stepson. I’ve never heard of anyone who could convince me either way, and since my opinion is so valuable in this matter, I’m sure my BFF Kara Cooney will also be commenting here soon about my conclusions on this review.
As for the Rameses DVD: If you love ancient Egypt or especially if you are a homeschooler who needs extra-curricular sources, this video is completely intriguing in historical fact about the Pharaoh’s life. My kids even watched and loved it which makes it a blockbuster at my house.
Would I buy it? Yes – especially if I homeschooled.
When I saw the DVD, Exodus Decoded, and realized it was by James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, my first inclination was to run the other way. These two, after all, are the ones who made the film, “The Lost Tomb of Christ” which was filled with blasphemous conjecture based on poorly figured probabilities and even more poorly edited ‘experts’. But here’s the thing – the DVD came packaged with a flat-out gorgeous coffee table book that I really wanted to see so I decided, for grins, I’d take a look at the film in order to get ahold of the book. And besides, I’m always up for one more Exodus theory.
I’m also going to tell you up front, Simcha Jacobovici will henceforth be known as SJ because I really don’t like typing his big ‘ole long name.
What I can tell you is that I was somewhat surprised that this film did not seek to prove the Exodus never existed. The dynamic duo of Cameron and SJ must be trying to redeem themselves because, and I say this loosely, they almost seemed to be saying God exists and that the Exodus did in fact take place.
I was very amused at SJ because with the same ease one reschedules a dentist appointment, he reassigned a date of Israel’s flight from Egypt to align with several other pieces of archaeological ‘evidence’ which backed his theories on both the timeline of the Exodus as well as the scientific causes of the Plagues of Egypt. In a nutshell, SJ believes the expulsion of the Hyksos (Semitic rulers in Egypt) and the Exodus are one and the same event, Ahmose was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, headstones found in Greece were those of Israelites who did not follow Moses to the Promised Land, an enormous volcanic eruption at Santorini was the scientific cause of the Plagues, and the Red Sea is no longer under water.
SJ highlighted several pieces of archaeology that I was aware of and several I was not. He spoke of the Stele of Ahmose which makes mention of ‘a storm’ and Egypt being plunged in ‘darkness’. The Stele also, according to SJ, says all these happened so god (in the singular though Egypt was a polytheistic culture) to manifest His power. I’d heard all this before and find it fascinating, but have yet to find any commentary by anyone whose opinion I respect on the matter.
Something intriguing I’d never heard was that at Avaris, the capital of Egypt during the Hyksos rule, 9 seals of an Egyptian ruler had been found with the name ‘Jacov’ (Semitic form of Jacob). SJ concludes this is Joseph’s seal when he rose to power in Egypt. Another interesting thing was a cave wall writing found at a turquoise mine in Serabit. According to SJ, it was the in the earliest Semitic writing around the time of the slavery of the Israelites and reads, “El, Save Me.” El in the Old Testament is the word for God. SJ again makes a far-reaching conclusion this was a writing of an Israelite groaning to God. Fascinating in theory but again, no supporting reliable commentary.
The takeaway from this film? I believe the irrefutable archaeological evidence of the Exodus is out there but unless God sees fit, the political and religious tension between the Jews and Arabs will never allow it to see light. If the Biblical Exodus is proven, the Arabs lose their claim to the Promise and you’d better believe they will never let that happen.
As for this film, Jacobovici has done no less than many other before him have attempted to do: make human sense of the Wonders of God. Anyone, including you and me, can take pieces of ‘evidence’ and form thousands of theories but our God alone sees clearly what we can only see in part. This is the place where faith lives, my friends. And personally, I don’t need to see the breadcrumbs the Israelites left behind to believe they were delivered from Egypt.
Would I buy this film? No.
Would I watch it for entertainment on The History Channel? You bet! But only if discerning enough not to get hung up on extra-biblical details.
This book is inscribed and illustrated by Sam Fink and is positively beautiful. It is HUGE and features watercolors for each chapter of the Exodus. The English and Hebrew are written side by side. I don’t know about you, but Hebrew writing is so (for lack of a better word) sacred looking to me and definitely lends a special feeling to this book.
If I wanted to give a gift of literature, this book would be it. It has all the hallmarks of a family heirloom. My description can’t do it justice, so just trust me, okay? Here’s where you can find it at History.Com.
Would I Buy it? ABSOLUTELY!
Now for the fun stuff!
I am giving away both DVDs and this book to one geeky girl who signs the Linky below! This drawing will be open until next Friday, October 19th. Good luck!!!
ALSO – Be sure to leave your email address in comments if you do not have a blog. Unclaimed prizes will be passed to someone else if you’ve not contacted me within 2 weeks of the drawing.