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Previous Issues Vol 4, No 5
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Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Path of Moses
The Path of Moses
Nearly everyone knows the story of Moses, the son of a Hebrew slave, and how the Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him from the river where his mother had placed him to avoid Pharoah's order to kill every male Hebrew child. At this time, the Hebrews had been held in bondage for four hundred years. She raised him in the court of the pharaoh. After he discovererd his true heritage and killed an Egyptian taskmaster, Moses fled Egypt to the Sinai Peninsula. He married a shepherd’s daughter and lived there attending his father-in-law’s flocks. After some years, Moses was chosen by the people of Israel to be one of their leaders.

In accordance with the story as a told in the Torah, he returned to Egypt and led his people out of bondage toward the promised land. They wandered in the Sinai Peninsula for 40 years. During this period, Moses found himself at the foot of a mountain. Scolars dispute where this mountain was. However, since the fourth century AD when Coptic Christians founded a small church there, Christians (and later Muslims) have revered what is now called Mount Sinai. According to scripture, Moses spoke directly to God through a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. On God’s instructions Moses went up on the mountain and there received, directly from the hand of God, the Ten Commandments.

Mount Sinai is in the southernmost part of the Sinai Peninsula in what is part of modern Egypt. In the fourth century a monastery was built there and named St. Catherine’s after a martyred Egyptian saint. Tradition has it that the monastery was constructed on the site of the burning bush.

rubus sanctus
The "Burning Bush"
A bush still grows there. It is a rare species of the rose family called Rubus Sanctus endemic to the Sinai and extremely long-lived. The monks at St. Catherine's believe that it is the same bush that Moses saw. Legend says that it was transplanted in the tenth century to its current location.

Over the centuries various improvements have been made to the monastery so that now it encompasses a fairly large area that are surrounded by the granite walls 60 feet in height. It not only houses Christian a church but also a Moslem mosque.

Ancient Manuscript
Ancient Manuscript
Today the monastery is the repository for the second-largest collection of ancient manuscripts, the Vatican being the only place with more ancient manuscripts. There are 4570 manuscripts and 7000 early printed books. One of the Monks is an American, born in Texas. Nine years ago he became a member of the monastery. Since then he has been copying and in putting in digital form all of the ancient manuscripts and books. The goal is to make them available to everyone and preserve to them for eternity.

He hopes to make all manuscripts, like the Moses's burning bush, in time something for everyone to see and to appreciate but not to be consumed at the same time. Too often in their zeal to reveal an ancient discovery, the finders destroy or damage the treasure.

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Contents copyright 2005 by Dr. A. V. Persson and ParaComp, Inc. All rights reserved.