Biblical Archaeology Review 13:5, September/October 1987

Redating the Exodus

By John J. BimsonDavid Livingston

Among Biblical scholars and archaeologists it is almost axiomatic that the Israelites entered Canaan about 1230–1220 B.C. In terms of archaeological periods, this would be towards the end of the Late Bronze Age, for which the Generally Accepted Date (GAD) is 1550–1200 B.C.

Yet there are enormous problems with this dating. In recent decades an increasing number of scholars have recognized that if we accept the GAD of 1230–1220 B.C. for the Israelite entry into Canaan, we must reject the Biblical account of Israel’s conquest of Canaanite cities. This is because the Biblical account conflicts so strongly with the archaeological record. The Bible describes the Israelite conquest of Canaan at length and refers to a number of cities encountered by Joshua and his armies. In almost every case the archaeological evidence is inconsistent with the Biblical evidence—if we date the Israelite entry into Canaan to the GAD of 1230–1220 B.C.

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