Professor Ron Hendel (University of California at Berkeley) delivered a lecture at the Arizona Centre for Judaic Centre on March 9, 2015, on the subject of “The Exodus as Cultural Memory”.
The Exodus is a central event in biblical and Jewish memory. But according to the archaeological and historical record, it is unclear what it is a memory of. I propose that it is, in part, a transformed memory of the demise of the Egyptian Empire in Canaan, which facilitated the emergence of Israel as an independent people. The story served as an engine of a distinctive cultural identity, a function that it continues to perform today.
The lecture begins at 5:30.
A version of the lecture was published in Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective, edited by Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider, and William H.C. Propp (Springer, 2015).