From Man versus myth: does it matter if the Moses story is based on fact? | Film | The Guardian,
But the problem with historical evidence goes much deeper. “Moses himself has about as much historic reality as King Arthur,” British archaeologist Philip Davies famously concluded. A more moderate conclusion comes from the historian Tom Holland: “The likelihood that the biblical story records an actual event is fairly small.”
Cyprian Broodbank, the Disney professor of archaeology at Cambridge University, wrote in his recent history of the Mediterranean that the exodus was “at best a refracted folk memory of earlier expulsions of Levantine people” following the reconquest of the Nile delta by the Egyptian king Ahmose around 1530BC.
Those expelled people included the Hyksos, some people likely from Canaan who had overrun the Nile Delta some centuries earlier. This can also explain some of the Ten Plagues of Egypt as accounts of Cretan refugees describing what the big caldera eruption of Thera had done to their homeland. Crossing the Red Sea would likely have been crossing a big marsh that seemed like a sea of reeds. I think that the Egyptian armies likely went home after that, but later storytellers turned it into something much more dramatic. "We crossed a sea of reeds and the Egyptians stopped chasing us" is much less dramatic than "Moses parted the Red Sea, letting us cross. When the Egyptians followed us, Moses let the water return, drowning them."
Subjection to Egypt may have been a memory of Egypt's New-Kingdom Levantine empire, moved back in time to make a more coherent narrative.
Ahmose's name sounds like "Brother of Moses" in Hebrew, so some later storytellers likely asked who "Moses" was. Later storytellers likely elaborated on him, adding a lot of detail, until he became the character that we find in the Bible. Moses was thus much like King Arthur, whose history grew in the telling from Nennius to Geoffrey of Monmouth and beyond.