Biblical Archaeology Review 11:4, July/August 1985

The Southern Sinai Exodus Route in Ecological Perspective

By Aviram PerevolotskyIsrael Finkelstein

Tradition locates quite precisely in southern Sinai a number of places associated with the Israelites’ history: the burning bush where Moses heard God’s call (Exodus 3:2–4), identified with a raspberry plant growing in the yard of St. Catherine’s Monastery; Horeb, where the prophet Elijah found refuge (1 Kings 19:8), identified with Jebel Sufsafeh next to Jebel Musa; the hill where the Israelites worshipped the golden calf, with Nebi Haroun one kilometer west of St. Catherine’s; and, above all, Mt. Sinai, with Jebel Musa, which rises in all its glory above St. Catherine’s Monastery.

During the latter part of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries—in what we might call the pre-archaeological-research age—two principal theories developed concerning the route of the Exodus journey through Sinai. These theories were developed by scholars who traveled in Sinai and who based their conclusions both on Biblical textual evidence and on geographical evidence garnered during their journeys.

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