The inerrants literally believe the claim that 600,000 men (which means about 2,000,000 women and kiddos) boogied out of Egypt under the leader of Charleton 'Moses' Heston. Doubters, including atheists, say (rightfully) "where is the archaeology supporting your greater claims?" [Book of Mormon criticism levies the same logic]. What if there exists a 'better' answer? There just may be. Title: The Exodus Author: Richard Elliott Friedman Publisher: Harper One Genre: Jewish History Year: 2017 No. of Pages: 282 (including Index) Binding: Hardback ISBN: 9780062565242 Price: $27.99 Reviewed by Gary McCary for the Association for Mormon Letters I am a Christian believer, though a "progressive" one. Richard Elliott Friedman is, in my view, a member of "the loyal opposition" (a term that originated in 18th century England to let the out-of-power party express its views without fear of being charged with treason). As a Biblical and historical scholar who is also Jewish, and an agnostic, he has not allowed his skepticism to get in the way of honest investigation. His latest work, "The Exodus: How It Happened and Why It Matters," is a prime example of such intellectual honesty. At a time when most historical-critical scholarship is doubtful that the biblical story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt to the Sinai Peninsula ever occurred, Friedman boldly casts doubt on both the assumptions and conclusions of such scholarship. He does so with the same detective panache that made his bestselling "Who Wrote the Bible?" such an eye-opening classic some three decades ago. Friedman makes a convincing case that the Exodus really did occur--just not in the same way that the Bible suggests it happened. This argument is a key component underlying his entire historical detective drama. According to Friedman, the scholars who are skeptical of the exodus as a historical event are tripped up by a flawed assumption--that the biblical text's description of 600,000 men should be taken literally. With women and children counted in, this would suggest that around 2 million people left Egypt and went into the Sinai. Neither archaeology nor Egyptian records give any evidence of such an exodus. But what if, instead of 2 million people, there was an exodus from Egypt of a much smaller number of people (say five hundred or a thousand) around 1200 B.C., people who called themselves "Levites." And what if they eventually merged with indigenous people already in Canaan--people who called themselves "Israelites" and who referred to their god as "El." And what if these Levites from Egypt called their god "Yahweh." And what if, years later, the writers of this joint narrative history had pet versions of their stories, coming from priests, Levites, Elohists, Yahwists, Deuteronomists, and the like? According to Friedman, this is entirely plausible.