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The Exodus as Epic

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The Exodus as Epic

David Gooding


The ‘Cambridge Encyclopaedia of English Literature’ tells us that the first qualifications of being an epic must be that it is a substantial body of work. On that ground at least, Exodus certainly qualifies. In fact, while the story of the exodus is given in the book of Exodus, the roots of the epic lie in the previous book, the book of Genesis. And the story is not finished when Israel gets out of Egypt. Like many an epic, it is not merely the escape story to begin with; it is the long journey that follows until the nation reaches its glorious destiny, the promised land.

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