Anthropology

Where Is Mount Sinai Located?

Several different perspectives and rational behind where Mount Sinai might actually be located.

Mount Sinai is referenced in the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran. It is the spot where Moses is said to have spoken to God in the form of a burning bush and where he was given the Ten Commandments that are so central to the teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But where is Mount Sinai?

Geographically there is a Mount Sinai. Also called Mount Moses, that is located in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, but there is much debate as to if this is the same Mount Sinai mentioned in the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. First, let’s look at how the mountain currently named Mount Sinai got its name, it is also considered the “traditional” location of the mountain. In the early 300s A.D. Helena, mother of Constantine I, was the first to dub this Egyptian mountain with the Biblical name. But currently no archaeologists study this location or dig for artifacts from the Exodus time period.

Currently, many biblical scholars and archeologists are at a disagreement as to where this mountain could possibly be located due to the fact that the descriptions in religious texts lack in-depth geological details. There are actually over 20 possible locations for Mount Sinai. While there are some scholars that do champion the traditional Mount of Moses as the real mount Sinai, another popular theory is that it is Kadesh-barnea.

Those that support this claim that after the Israelites left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, they traveled in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula. Kadesh-barnea was an important settlement for the Israelites during their 40 years in the desert. The mountains in this region usually identified with Mount Sinai or Horeb are Jebel Helal, located 25 miles west of the Kadesh oasis, and Har Karkom, which is located between Kadesh-barnea and Eilat.

Another strikingly different claim is that Mount Sinai is actually in modern day Saudi Arabia. This assertion comes from the passage in Exodus 3:1 that states that Moses was in Midian. The passage states, “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” Proponents of this theory claim that geographically the “back” of a desert is here certain mountains in Saudi Arabia are located.

Another completely different claim is that Sinai may actually be a volcano. Horeb is another biblical name for Mount Sinai. Horeb in Hebrew means “glowing/heat”, thus the justification for the mountain to be a volcano.

 

 

 

 

 

By: Alexandria Addesso Kean Univesity, New Jersey.

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