What counts as “historical” in the mind of the first century and what counts as “historical” in the mind of the 20th or 21st, are very different things. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the first century mind was not capable of conceiving what we think of as “historical.” And this is a extremely essential part of understanding the Scriptures, as well as acquiring an Orthodox mind. . .
God is a poet. The world is His poem. It often needs to be read poetically in order to be understood. Protestants and modernists want the world (and God) to be prose. It is not.What this writer deems the difference between a secular viewpoint and understanding of history and the mind of a first century person like St. Paul sounds awfully close to what most skeptics of Scripture and its story say. In fact, I would suggest that this author has fallen into the trap of becoming exactly what he is trying to avoid. He has tossed out historicity as a modern concept and therefore ended up right where the higher critics of the 1800s and forward have left us -- with a story that does not need to be and certainly does not claim to be true in order for us to benefit. In the modern critic, morality is what is left when you sift all of history from the Biblical message. In this Orthodox writer's viewpoint, allegory is what is left when you dispense with the messy business of truth and fact and history.
The life of an Orthodox believer includes struggling to acquire the mind of the fathers, which includes losing the mind of modernity. In that mind, I would generally say, the “historical” character of the Exodus (or other stories), in a precise, objective form just doesn’t matter, inasmuch as it’s the wrong question asked by a wrongly shaped mentality. That doesn’t mean nothing happened. The assertion that the Exodus is nothing more than pure fiction is both wrong and implausible.
It sounds like a spiritual high road but it is in essence a dark detour that will inevitably lead to a dead end. The thing begins with St. Paul's words to Corinthians (1 Cor. 10:1-11) in which it certainly sounds like St. Paul presumes that the Exodus account is factual, historical, and true. The questioner protests because surely everyone believes that this is mythistory, not history. Well, it certainly does sound like St. Paul presumes that the Exodus account is factual, historical, and true. And it certainly does sound like Jesus presumes such, along with the historicity of Adam and Eve and God's ordered creation of all that is. What is even more compelling is the way St. Paul treats the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15) in which not only is the factual, historical, and truthful nature of Christ's resurrection affirmed but the apostle insists on this fact, history, and truth hangs the whole balance of Christianity!
There are those who insist that trying to hold on to the historicity of the creation account and Adam and Eve as well as a host of other things deemed mythistory by the modern mind is a troglodyte mentality -- uniformed, uneducated, unsophisticated, and untenable! The truth is that we hold to the truthful, factual, historical character of the Biblical record and its content not because we are incapable of higher intellectual thought but because these are the claims of Scripture itself and ultimately of Jesus Himself and one cannot pick and choose truth and fact and history without losing the whole forest for the sake of a few suspect trees.
Believing the creation account of Genesis or the Exodus or the miracles of the Old Testament is a small thing in comparison to believing the greater thing -- that the Son of God was incarnate of a Virgin, that He willingly suffered in our place to carry the burden of our sins into His death so that by His resurrection we might be raised from the death of sin to new and everlasting life. Every other claim of Scripture pales in comparison to the mystery of Christ. It is the most untenable fact and truth of Scripture! If we have problems with lesser things, we shall surely have a great impediment to believing the greater.