Biblical Mount Sinai

The Biblical Mount Sinai is an ambiguously located mountain at which the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. [http://home.aol.com/lazera/torah.htm] In certain biblical passages these events are described as having transpired at "Horeb", but though there is a small body of opinion that Sinai and Horeb were different locations,they are generally considered to have been different names for the same place.

Passages earlier in the narrative text than the Israelite encounter with Sinai indicate that the ground of the mountain was considered holy, [), meaning "hatred", in reference to the other nations hating the Jews out of jealousy, due to the Jews being the ones to receive the divine laws [ [http://www.breslov.org/land/land_49.html Breslov—Judaism with Heart ] ] . However, according to biblical scholars, "Sinai" is most likely to derive from the name of "Sin", the semitic lunar deity."Peake's commentary on the Bible"] Horeb is thought to mean "Glowing"/"Heat"; this could be a reference to the sun, and thus Sinai and Horeb would be the mountain of the moon and sun, respectively.

According to the researchers of the Documentary hypothesis, the name "Sinai" is only used in the Torah by the Jahwist and Priestly Source, whereas "Horeb" is only used by the Elohist and Deuteronomist.] . Several scholars have indicated that it seems to suggest that Sinai was a volcano, although there is no mention of ashibid] ; other scholars have suggested that the description fits a storm, especially as the Song of Deborah seems to allude to rain having occurred at the time. it is argued that God was accompanied by 22,000 archangels, and 22,000 divine chariots, and in order for all these to fit these onto the mountain, God made the mountain expand from its earlier size ["Tanhuma" Zaw 16] . The biblical description of God's descent superficially seems to be in conflict with the statement shortly after that God spoke to the Israelites from heaven [] . Nevertheless, Josephus had stated that Mount Sinai was "the highest of all the mountains thereabout", [Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews", 2:12] which would imply that Mount Catherine was actually the mountain in question, if Sinai was to be sited on the Sinai peninsula at all; in the 6th century, Saint Catherine's Monastery was constructed at the base of this mountain, leading to the abandonment of the monastery at Serbal, and two monks, allegedly in 300 AD. A number of fundamentalist Christian apologists and untrained pseudoarchaeologists, including Howard Blum [ [http://www.bibleprobe.com/sanai1.htm Where is Mount Sinai ] ] [ [http://www.baseinstitute.org/sinai_3.html] ] and Ron Wyatt, have proposed instead that another volcano adjacent to Al-Manifa named "Jabal al-Lawz" was the Biblical Sinai. This claim has not been supported by any academically qualified biblical scholars or archaeologists, and indeed one member of the Israel Antiquities Authority described Wyatt's claims as being within "the category of trash which one finds in tabloids such as the National Enquirer." [ [http://www.tentmaker.org/WAR/Zias.html Letter from Joe Zias] ]

On the other hand, much speculation has been raised due to the many vociferous denials of the Jabal Al Lawz location as the true Mount Sinai - rarely do you see such negative responses to other possible locations. Indeed. the Jabal Al Lawz location, uniquely, is the only possible location which completely fulfills the Biblical story (including a cave, a split rock with water-worn rocks, a torched peak and an elevated rock pile with drawings of Cows). It is also fenced off to the public for "archaeological reasons" unlike Jabal Musa in the Sinai Peninsula, which fulfills almost no biblical criteria.

The Negev

While equating Sinai with Petra would indicate that the Israelites journeyed in roughly a straight line from Egypt via Kadesh Barnea, and locating Sinai in Saudi Arabia would suggest Kadesh Barnea was skirted to the south, some scholars have wondered whether Sinai was much closer to the vicinity of Kadesh Barnea itself. Half way between Kadesh Barnea and Petra is "Jabal Ideid", which Emmanuel Anati excavated, and discovered to have been a major paleolithic cult centre, with the surrounding plateau covered with shrines, altars, stone circles, stone pillars, and over 40,000 rock engravings; although the peak of religious activity at the site dates to 2350-2000 BC, the exodus is dated 15 Iyar 2448 (Hebrew calendar; 1313 BC) [Ex.16:1,7,13;Tal. Kid.38a] , and the mountain appears to have been abandoned between 1950-1000 BC, Anati proposed that Jabal Idead was equatable with biblical Sinai [Emmanuel Anati, "The riddle of Mount Sinai : archaeological discoveries at Har Karkom" (2001)] [ [http://www.harkarkom.com Mount Sinai has been found: Archaeological discoveries at Har Karkom ] ] . Other scholars have criticised this identification, as, in addition to being almost 1000 years too early, it also appears to require the wholesale relocation of the Midianites, Amalekites, and other ancient peoples, from the locations where the majority of scholars currently place them.

ee also

* Judaism
* Exodus
* Archaeology
* Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
* Mount Gerizim
* Jebel Musa, a mountain in Morocco whose name translates as "mountain of Moses"

References

Sources

*Cheyne and Black, "Encyclopedia Biblica"
*Talmud, Pesachim
*"Jewish Encyclopedia"
*"Peake's commentary on the Bible"
*Yalkut (Psalms) 785
*Yalkut Isaiah 391
*"Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer"
*"Encyclopedia Biblica"
*Tanhuma" Zaw 16
*"Mekhilta"
*Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews"
*Richard Elliott Friedman, "Who wrote the Bible?"
*Menashe Har-El, "The Sinai Journeys: The Route of the Exodus"
*Ditlef Nielsen, "The Site of the Biblical Mount Sinai – A Claim for Petra" (1927)
*Graham Phillips, The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant: The Discovery of the Treasure of Solomon, *Bear & Company, 2005 ISBN 1591430399 http://www.grahamphillips.net/Ark/Ark_Intro.htm
*Andrew Collins & Chris Ogilvie-Herald, "Tutankhamun: The Exodus Conspiracy", Virgin, London, 2002
*Sigmund Freud, "Moses and Monotheism", 1939
*Charles Beke, "Sinai in Arabia and of Median" 1878
*Jean Koenig, "Le site de Al-Jaw dans l'ancien pays de Madian"
*Colin Humphreys, "The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist's Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories"
*Blum, Howard, The Gold of Exodus
*Exodus, Bible
*Talmud Kidushin
*Emmanuel Anati, "The riddle of Mount Sinai : archaeological discoveries at Har Karkom" (2001)

Online sources

*http://home.aol.com/lazera/torah.htm
*http://www.breslov.org/land/land_49.html Breslov—Judaism with Heart
*http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14011a.htm|publisher=New Advent, The Catholic Encyclopedia
*http://www.bibleprobe.com/sanai1.htm Where is Mount Sinai
*http://www.baseinstitute.org/sinai_3.html
*http://www.tentmaker.org/WAR/Zias.html Letter from Joe Zias
*http://www.harkarkom.com Mount Sinai has been found: Archaeological discoveries at Har Karkom
*http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Mount_Har_Karkom.html Mount Har Karkom informational page
*http://www.harkarkom.com Official site for Mount Har Karkom
*http://www.pilgrimpromo.com/WAR/discovered/html/chapter13.htm Ron Wyatt on jabal al-Lawz
*http://www.geocities.com/athens/parthenon/3021/redsea.html Red Sea Crossing and the Sinai
*http://www.bibleprobe.com/sanai1.htm Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt
*http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,808671,00.html The Lost Mountain, 1956-12-03, TIME


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