Posted By MSH on May 28, 2009
Here’s an interesting article that advanced students of the Old Testament should read and digest. Egyptologist Donald Redford traces what he calls the “exposed child” motif through ancient literature. By “exposed child” he means stories that have the elments of the Moses birth in them. Redford’s goal isn’t specifically to deal with the Moses story, but that’s inevitable. The Sargon story in particular is very similar to the Moses story:
My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener.
The article is a good example of literary / genre criticism / analysis of the OT. It may trouble some readers whose exposure to OT scholarship has heretofore been limited. I’m hoping readers give careful thought to how one who views the OT as inspired might handle the similarities and material. Hint: the Sargon version has its own literary history.