Deriv; Moses and the Messengers from Canaan, Christopher Marlowe

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

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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.

Comments

I find it fascinating that historians look at the myths, symbolism, meditation techiques and altered states of consciousness that are written about in the bible as history. Once one is called to serve the divine source, there is a period of wandering lost. Fourty symbolizes the period of time that one wanders lost seeking their spiritual path forward. In the time one wanders lost,( in the Moses myth fourty years in the Jesus myth fouty days) one is spiritually cleansed and purified and is tested and challenged by the divine source until one is ready to fulfill one’s divine purpose. The time period is not fourty days or fourty years this is a symbolic number representing the four sacred directions of the medicine wheel or cycle/ spiral of life and learning that one wanders through to learn a spiritual life lesson. Once one comes to a place of eldership  one can teach the spiritual lesson. It is all really quite simple when one can read the bible from the perspective of a Seer, one who sees the hidden spiritual secrets. I am not going to give away any more of my knowledge I am one day going to write a book on all the esoteric secrets hidden in the The Exodus, in the Synoptic Gospels and The Revelation to John.   

Moses had come out of Egypt with many who were in bondage. He left Reuel on good terms. He led all these people to the worship of Yahweh. In the desert, Moses was on good terms with Reuel, as you point out - having given him the organization of judges which Moses appointed. What would Reuel have to want revenge over?

"Goethe considered the idea that a great prophet had wandered the desert for forty years with thousands of people in tow absurd."

You know, as someone who never did have any biblical anything shoved down any personal orifice, I haven't in earnest considered some of the proposals in the Bible. This sentence is a sublime articulation of the answer to a question I've never asked. The number 40 pops up in my mind, but it's confused with 40 days and so on.

40 years? In the desert. Wandering.

After 40 hours of wandering in the desert you either find something else to do, or you die. Well, not with plenty of mana along though, eh? Not to mention fish, loaves, and wine -- oh, no -- sorry -- that comes later.

But -- hold on, though. You've got "thousands in tow" here. I think the fable uses a number in the millions. Don't undercut Moses, man.

amazing that we're now in the Space Age and people still believe in such superstitious fairytales.......

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).

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