Exodus, the second book of the Jewish Torah and of the Christian Old Testament Bible, tells how the prophet Moses lead the Hebrew people out of slavery in Egypt and toward freedom in Canaan. The Torah provides a narrative describing a forty-year journey through the wilderness, filled with divine miracles. Some modern biblical archeologists and scholars interpret that the Exodus describes a period of emigration from Egypt over several generations around 1300 B.C.E. Modern scholars believe that the Exodus narrative originated as an oral history based on factual events.
Through Moses, God forms a covenant with the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai and delivers the Ten Commandments, the foundation of Judeo-Christian law. Lead by Moses, the Hebrew people coalesced in the Sinai into a community with Jewish identity committed to a covenant with God. In the Covenant, God promises the land of Canaan to the Hebrew people for obeying the ritual and moral laws delivered through the prophet Moses at Mt. Sinai.
The National Geographic Society assigned Nathan Benn to photograph In the Steps of Moses in 1974. The photographer’s first overseas assignment for National Geographic, Nathan arrived in Cairo in September 1974 to begin the coverage. Six months and 262 rolls of film later, the photographs were completed. National Geographic staff writer Harvey Arden wrote the text and In the Steps of Moses was published as the 36-page lead story in the January 1976 issue of National Geographic Magazine. Elie Rogers was the picture editor.
Technical Notes: All photographs were produced with Leica M4 and Nikon F cameras on 35mm film. Kodachrome film was used whenever possible.