The Israelites in Egypt: The Story of Exodus and Ancient Egypt

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Date(s) - August 5, 2013
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

UBC School of Music

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Thomas H. Greiner

(Egyptologist, President of Vancouver’s Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities

Handel’s “Israel in Egypt” oratorio is based on the book of the Exodus in the Bible and sings of the time the Israelites spent in Egypt. We are very familiar with the toils the Israelites faced daily and the 10 plagues, which ravaged Egypt as a result of her stubbornness in disallowing the Israelites from leaving the land. One figure in particular features prominently in that story: Moses, who was born to a Jewish mother, but grew up in Pharaoh’s grasp.

We know the biblical story, but what about the Egyptian side? What was life like in Egypt? What must have Moses experienced working as Pharaoh’s direct representative? Is Moses actually a historical figure? We will examine life in Egypt some 3,000 years ago and consider the archaeological and historical background of the time Handel’s oratorio is set in.

Thomas H Greiner is an Egyptologist and previously taught for SFU and UBC Continuing Studies. He has excavated at Hierakonpolis in Egypt and been active as President of the Vancouver chapter of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities from 2011 to 2013. He is beginning his PhD later in the fall at the University of Toronto.

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