The Exodus story
compared with Herodotus's story of
the Persian campaign against Greece
-- Biblical authors emulating Greek epic history?
Dr Jan-Wim Wesselius, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Semitic Studies in the Theological University of Kampen, Netherlands, in 2002, published The Origin of the History of Israel : Herodotus's Histories as Blueprint for the First Books of the Bible. "This book demonstrates that the Primary History, the historical work contained in the first nine books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis--2 Kings), was written as one unitary work in deliberate emulation of the Greek-language Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus (completed c. 440 bce); the diversity of its books and sections is largely a literary device. The work was most likely written in the period 440-420 bce, in the period of reform usually associated with the name of Nehemiah. Though this thesis does not directly affect questions of historicity, understanding the literary nature of the Primary History promises to open new vistas for research into the history of Israel, the Hebrew Bible in general and the history of the Hebrew language." -- dust jacket.
From Jan-Wim Wesselius' The Origin of the History of Israel ... pp.21-22
Summarized by Neil Godfrey -- VRIDAR BLOG




Moses is ordered to bring Israel to the Land of Canaan and conquer it

he is reluctant

but is forced to do so through divine intervention

Xerxes is advised to conquer Greece

he is reluctant

but is forced to do so through divine intervention

the genealogy of Moses and Aaron is then listed

the genealogy of Xerxes follows



presents of Egyptians

presents of Pythios

first-born dead

Pythios' eldest son dead

leaving Egypt

leaving Sardis

(plagues of Egypt)

thunder and lightning

Baal Zephon

Pergamon of Priamus

panic among Egyptians (night)

panic in army (night)

murmuring of Israel at the sea

advice of Artabanus

crossing of sea between continents through miracle

crossing of sea between continents over bridges of boats

songs of praise

words of praise

(plagues of Egypt)*

strange miscarriages

*See table below

murmuring of Israel at Mara

advice of Demaratus

no water in desert of Shur

river Lissos dries up through drinking of army

bitter water at Marah

salt water at Pistyros

people encamped at Elim

army encamped at Therme

murmuring of Israel in desert of Sin

feeding the people

feeding the army

murmuring of Israel at Rephidim

advice of Demaratus

war with Amalek,

Moses sits and stands

brother Aaron and Hur support him;

written record


battle of Thermopylae

Xerxes sits and stands

brother Achaemenes and Demaratus give advice

written record


Mt Sinai


Mt Parnassus


mustering and counting of the people

mustering and counting of the army

prediction of Balaam

prediction of Dikaios

Moses not to enter Promised Land

looks at it from behind river Jordan

Xerxes not to go to Salamis

looks at it from behind the sea

Joshua crosses river Jordan through miracle

Xerxes attempts to build bridge of boats for crossing sea to Salamis

Moses dies

Xerxes leaves Greece

Plagues of Egypt compared with events connected witih Xerxes' army (p.20)




1. water to blood

no drinking from river

too many people

no drinking from river

2. frogs


3.dust becomes lice

(cloud of dust)

4. flies


5. murrain

(pest of man and animal on Crete)

6. boils

pest and dysentery

7. hail, thunderstoon


8. locusts


9. darkness


10. death of first-born

death of Pythios' eldest son


miscarriages of cattle