As usual the celebration of Passover, lead me to once again consider the Exodus, it’s causes and it’s meaning for our time. With this thought in mind, I started reading a book called Moses the Egyptian, by Jan Assman (an Egyptologist) and discovered other versions of the Exodus, outside the Bible.
Those versions are similar to the Biblical version, but differ in one important respect, namely who caused the plagues?
The earliest of those versions were found in ancient Egyptian texts, studied today, by Assman and other Egyptologists. Naturally they don’t mention the Bible, because it hadn’t yet come into existence or they hadn’t heard of it and of course there’s no mention ofJews or Moses.
According to those texts, the plague was brought into Egypt by a nation, that had entered Egypt from another country. Having the plague they had polluted the purity of Egypt, making it impossible for the gods to live there. And as long as that people stayed in Egypt the gods couldn’t protect Egypt. Therefor that nation had to be expelled from Egypt.
Egyptologists, like Assman spend a lot of time researching the question of who are the people, referred to in those ancient texts. But as yet haven’t arrived at a conclusion. The most popular theory is that those people were the Hyksos, but that isn’t relevant to this little note.
Unfortunately many writers, like Strabo, Tacitus, Manetho and others, weren’t careful, like the Egyptologists. They were theoreticians and their theories were biased against the Jews.
Those writers, who were, of course familiar with the ancient Egyptian texts, as well as the Bible and the Jews, spread the idea that the nation, referred to in ancient Egypt history, was the Jews. This is how the idea came about that the Jews carried the plague and were lepers, who deliberately caused disease among the Christians.
Throughout the ages this terrible libel has been past on, from one generation to the next. It’s antiquity keeps it alive and so it is believed by many people to this day.
Clearly modern antisemites are carrying forward this idea of the Jews spreading disease. We should remember Hitler’s declared motivation in wanting to annihilate the Jews. Here are a few examples of this idea in his speeches.
“How many diseases have their origin in the Jewish virus! We shall regain our health only be eliminating the Jew.”
“Anyone who wants to cure this era, which is inwardly sick and rotten, must first of all summon up the courage to make clear the causes of this disease.”
“This is the battle against a veritable world sickness which threatens to infect the peoples, a plague that devastates whole peoples...an international pestilence.”
“The Jew is a parasite in the body of other nations.”