Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici regards The Book of Exodus not as a biblical text of parables, but as actual historical truth. He spent six years investigating the text's many fantastical accounts - the series of plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, for example - and believes he's found real-world explanations that authenticate the veracity of each tale. His findings form the spine of the feature-length documentary The Exodus Decoded, a controversial handling of complex history that calls upon the probing expertise of scholars, archeologists and assorted theologians.
For many viewers, the film may provide new ways to view the Old Testament. Jacobovici's research and subsequent conclusions require a shifting of timelines. He claims the Exodus from Egypt took place 300 years earlier than is widely believed. The event was spurred by a massive volcanic eruption, which in turn produced severe seismic activity that cloaked the landscape in darkness, led to a disruption of the sea that resembled a miraculous parting, and killed first-born males due to their proximity to the ground-level noxious fumes.
That's not all. Jacobovici contends that the much sought after lost Ark of the Covenant resides in the National Archeological Museum in Athens, Greece. He claims that the Children of Israel actually consisted of the ruling Hyksos tribes of the time.
The filmmaker calls upon the expertise of various researchers from multiple disciplines. While these experts don't necessarily agree on the same narrative, they often provide a provocative clue that Jacobovici uses to craft his own investigative theory.
Throughout the film, the central question remains whether the stories of the Exodus could be the result of natural occurrences or the work of a divine power.
Produced by Oscar-winning director James Cameron (Titanic), The Exodus Decoded is complimented by sterling production values, including a wealth of visual animations and special effects that bring the most dazzling aspects of biblical lore to life. The film has been criticized by scholars and others who question its theories and the methods of research that were engaged in its making. Nevertheless, for those who have an interest in the veracity of biblical text, the film should provoke much constructive discussion and debate.