by Eric Kvaalen, Ph.D.
Hala-'l Badr (حلا البدر) is a volcano in Arabia situated at 27º 15' N, 37º 12' E.
It has been proposed as the site of Mt Sinai:
in the early 20th century by Alois Musil,
in 1971 by Jean Koenig (Le site de Al-Jaw dans l'ancien pays de Madian)
in 2003 by Colin Humphreys (The Miracles of Exodus)
Humphreys points out that many of the descriptions of Mt Sinai given in the Bible can be seen as descriptions of an erupting volcano, and Hala-'l Badr is a volcano that has apparently erupted in historical times.
(The idea that Sinai was a volcano has been advanced by Charles Beke (Mount Sinai, a Volcano, 1873), Freud (Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion, 1939), and Velikovsky.)
In the lack of direct geological evidence of an eruption of Hala-'l Badr around the time of the Exodus, can we find evidence in ice cores? When one measures acidity or electrical conductivity of ice cores, one sees peaks at times of volcanic eruptions on the same side of the equator. This is due to the large quantities of SO2 that are emitted by volcanos. Here is a plot of data from the Greenland Ice Core Project showing volcanic activity over the last 4000 years:
If we zoom in on the period of the Exodus, we find some possible peaks:
Peaks that may correspond to eruptions include:
An eruption centred on 1426 BC, lasting 3.1 years—approximate date often cited for the Exodus based on Biblical chronology
1303 BC of duration 0.8 years
1209 BC lasting 0.6 years—probably too late, since Pharaoh Merneptah mentions Israel as an existing nation on the Merneptah Stele, before 1203.
The reign of Ramesses II was about 1290 to 1224 BC, which does not fit with the above dates if he was the pharaoh of the Exodus.
Article in Dutch on the theory by Dr M.J. Paul
Article against the theory (March 14, 2002):
Is Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia by Gordon Franz (archeologist in New Jersey, formerly of Institute of Holy Land Studies)
Another article by Gordon Franz, concerning another candidate, Jebel al-Lawz (also March 14, 2002):
Sinai is NOT at Jebel al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia or with a couple
photos and bibliography: http://www.ldolphin.org/franz-sinai.html
Freud speculated in Moses and Monotheism that YHWH was a volcano god:
“Jahve was certainly a volcano-god. As we know, however, Egypt has no volcanoes and the mountains of the Sinai peninsula have never been volcanic; on the other hand, volcanoes which may have been active up to a late period are found along the western border of Arabia. One of these mountains must have been the Sinai-Horeb which was believed to be Jahve's abode.” See more excerpts.