Bible Review 8:4, August 1992
Frank Moore Cross—An Interview

Part I: Israelite Origins

Hershel Shanks: I have heard you speak of Israelite origins but I have not seen in print your belief that the Israelites came out of Egypt and traveled to Canaan via Saudi Arabia. Is that correct?

Frank Moore Cross: [Laughter] You have an uncanny ability to put matters in the most provocative way possible. I should not express myself in the words you have chosen. Let me put my views in words. The land of Midian played an important role in ancient Israelite history, in Israelite origins. The Midianites were West Semites and probably spoke a North West Semitic dialect. The role of the priest of Midian is most extraordinary in Epic tradition,a particularly in view of later tradition, which treats the Midianites as an intractable enemy.

HS: Jethro?

FMC: Yes. Moses married his daughter (Exodus 2:15–22). The priestly offspring of Moses were thus half Israelite, half Midianite according to tradition. This too is extraordinary, and the fact that the tradition was preserved demands explanation.

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