Biblical Archaeology Review 18:5, September/October 1992


Biblical Archaeology Review

Scientists Part the Red Sea

Two scientists recently recreated the parting of the Red Sea on paper, at least. According to a Florida State University press release, Doron Nof, professor of oceanography at Florida State University, and Nathan Paldor, associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Hebrew University, have produced calculations that they claim offer a plausible scientific explanation for the Biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea.

They based their calculations on a strong wind blowing for several hours before the crossing, which coincides with the Biblical account (Exodus 14:21), and on a crossing site at the northern edge of the Gulf of Suez, a location supported by some scholars. Nof notes that this site is “very long and extremely shallow. Because of that, the wind can lift a lot of water. It’s like blowing across the top of a cup of coffee. The coffee blows from one end to the other.”

Nof and Paldor calculate that a 40-mile-per-hour wind blowing for 10 to 12 hours could push the gulf water a mile from the original shoreline and cause a sea level drop of about 10 feet. They say such a drop at the shallow north end of the gulf could allow a crossing on foot. The subsidence of the wind would cause the water to reflood the area in a matter of minutes, swallowing up the pursuing Egyptians in accordance with the Biblical account.

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