Deriv; Moses and the Messengers from Canaan, Christopher Marlowe

Questioning the Moses Timeline: Clues revealed in work of murdered playwright Marlowe

(Read the article on one page)

On May 29th, 1593, a government informer, Richard Baines, formally charged the famous playwright, Christopher Marlowe, with blasphemy. The complaint sent to Queen Elizabeth I read: “Containing the opinion of Christopher Marlowe concerning his damnable opinions and judgment of religion and scorn of God’s word. … He affirmed that Moses was but a Juggler and that one Herriot, being Sir Walter Releigh’s man, can do more than he. That Moses made the Jews to travel 11 years in the wilderness, ere they came to the promised land to the intent that those who were privy to most of his subtleties might perish and so an everlasting superstition remain in the hearts of the people. That it was an easy matter for Moses, being brought up in the all the arts of the Egyptians, to abuse the Jews...”

A portrait believed to be of Christopher Marlowe, (1564-1593)

A portrait believed to be of Christopher Marlowe, (1564-1593). ( Public Domain )

Marlowe had dared to make the sacrilegious statement that Moses was no more than a second-rate illusionist who had succeeded with such tricks because the Israelites were remarkably gullible. Marlowe also didn’t bother to hide his belief that the celebrated tale of forty years wandering in the wilderness was a gross exaggeration. Furthermore, he wasn’t discreet in his claim that the true purpose of the supposed exile was not to build the strength of the Israelites as rationalized in Exodus but was instead a cynical ruse designed to cover-up a deep secret.

Marlowe never had the chance to reveal what that secret might be. He was released from jail after the council adjourned. The next morning, while eating breakfast, he was stabbed to death by an agent of Queen Elizabeth I. The murderer spent only a month in jail - the official story being that the young playwright was just another victim of a common place pub brawl.

Centuries later, another famous writer also dared to take a magnifying glass to the Moses story. In doing so he discovered some of the same timeline inconsistencies hinted at by Marlowe.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). ( Public Domain )

Johann Goethe wrote ‘Israel in the Desert’ partly as an attempt to show how later editors of the Bible had tampered with the story of Moses. At the time, many biblical scholars were busy trying to disentangle the various strands that compose the first five books of the Old Testament attributed to Moses and named The Torah (the Law). Goethe’s writer’s eye convinced him that misleading words had been added to the scriptures. Like an art restorer peeling away layer-upon-layer of paint covering a lost masterpiece he revealed hidden seams and overlapping pigments in the Torah that implied the work of different authors, some of whom were obsessed with religious ceremony. According to Goethe these late and unwelcome additions spoiled the natural flow of the narrative.

The same meddlesome writers had exaggerated critical timescales and shoe-horned their revisionist versions into the ancient sacred texts. Goethe considered the idea that a great prophet had wandered the desert for forty years with thousands of people in tow absurd. It called into question Moses’ fitness as a commander and painted him in a ridiculous light. Goethe concluded that the only explanation must be that the forty years was symbolic; noting other instances in the Bible where the number forty was used symbolically. Remove the corruption of the text, especially the illegitimate timescale, Goethe reasoned, and Moses’ dignity would be restored, revealing the prophet of God as more of a hero and less of a bungler.

Moses and the Israelites.

Moses and the Israelites. ( Public Domain )

To Goethe, Moses’ piousness didn’t compensate for his serious faults. His princely education counted for nothing. He describes the prophet as ‘curt and introvert, and barely able to communicate.’ He was especially unimpressed with Moses’ dismal military leadership; remarking that during the Israelites’ first battle the prophet ‘retreated to a mountain to pray’ leaving others to face the enemy.

Goethe saw Moses as an honest, strong-willed man consumed by his mission of leading his people to the Promised Land. His tragic flaw was a weak personality inadequate to the task. He was at best, incompetent: at worst, foolish. Goethe paints him as a pathetic character forced to lead an unruly tribe through unforgiving desert. A tribe who, though liberated from slavery had been wrenched from the great Egyptian culture and dragged into a primitive life. For Goethe, such a fate was ‘the saddest condition in which an excellent man can find himself.’ He goes so far as to conjecture why the exiled Moses didn’t have the courage to end his own miserable life.


They were correct in realizing the timeline is off, and that forty is symbolic. It means many.

They were right about the Egyptian Moses. He was a pharoah/high priest at Heliopolis.

They were wrong about the rest, because they were looking in the wrong place and time for the first exodus.

Moses was the Satan. This is why Jesus referred to the synagogues of Satan. In fact, Moses is a psychopath, and he created a tribe of racist psychos driven insane by self hatred and guilt. Jews do not believe in god, but law, and the laws of Moses. Read Exodus and see if there's a Moses in your city. Chicago has Rahm, NY had Bloomburg.

The questions posed by the people mentioned are valid. The conclusions are not. There is no way to ascertain any of the proposed explanations.

The comments so far are amusing, if not insightful.

During what we would know as the time of Moses there was nothing on Earth known as a Jew. There were people in the middle East known as Hebrews, I cannot say with any certainty that were ever a people known as the Israelite's? It is a sure thing there were no Jews. The Jews are a modern day invention of the Rothschilds and since the Rothschilds own publishing and print the Christians bible, well, most of the people reading this will say: hey, man, the bible says this and the bible says that. Hey man, the bible says what the Rothschilds want it to say, and so does the Pope. It is for certain the Ashkenazi Jews did not come from the middle east, and since the Ashkenazis made sure the Semites who might call themselves Jews were used up in WW2, murdered by the Communist Jews who were Ashkenazi. From this came the Holohoax and a lot of other stuff thought of today as history when in fact it is nothing but BS.

Sam, you are pretty dang close to dead on the money correct! Jews were known as Edomites in Christ's time. The word Jew did not exist then. No J's or J sounds until 1500 years later. Not even a "Jesus" then as His name was Yahshua. Even Germans use the J letter as a Y sound as in Karl Jung (Young).


Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article