This comment appeared on Dr. Enns' blog, where he argued that the exodus should be seen as a theological story, rather than a literal history.
"Based on how these things are normally handled in the ancient world, one would expect Egyptian sources not to ignore the departure of about 2,000,000 slaves and the crippling of the Egyptian power base (as in the plagues). They would need
to explain it, i.e., they would have to spin it, as, say, an indication
that their gods were angry with them for some failure. That is a common
way that ancient cultures “explained” military defeat. The worse the
defeat, the better an explanation was needed."
Of course, the Book of Exodus is a theology book, but that doesn't it make it less of a history book (nor is history to be seen as something literally described absent of forming the presentation theologically).
However, I do think this comment oversimplifies something important. The ancients had three ways of handling embarrassing events or people. The first is that they acknowledged these embarrassments, and spun them off as their own gods punishing them for some sort of impropriety, as Dr. Enns notes above.
However, they also handled them in other ways. One of which was to spin it as a victory in some way. But most importantly, in Egypt specifically, when something was well known by the people at the time, an event could not be spun. Hence, the embarrassment was blotted out from history for future generations.
We see this in the attempt, and successful practice, of blotting out Pharaohs when they were major embarrassments. In fact, many Egyptologists believe that there are missing Pharaoh's from history and that our chronologies based upon those we know of is likely off.
We know for a fact that this erasing of history occurred with Pharaohs like Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, Smenkhkare, and Aya when many later kings and priests attempted to erase the entire Amarna period from Egypt's history, seeing it as a total embarrassment and abomination. This includes a female Pharaoh. Names and faces were scratched off, and more likely, whole works were destroyed in an effort to get rid of the evidence of what went on during this entire period.
This is the way the Egyptians handled what could not be spun. They just denied that it happened. They either didn't record it at all, or, as in the case where a Pharaoh was in charge of his own embarrassments, they erased it/him/them after he died.
This has an interesting connection to the Exodus account. In that account, the Pharaoh states that he does not know who YHWH is, and that he has never heard of Him. The irony of the book is that by its end, everyone knows who YHWH is but no one knows who the Pharaoh is. His name is never mentioned in the book, and it may be that YHWH has not only blotted him out from the book's memory, but from history, through the Egyptian people, as well. This would make for a grand irony, and it seems like something God would in fact do.
In any case, regardless of what one believes about the event, he or she needs to know that there may be no historical record of the exodus in Egyptian literature; (1) Because it never happened, or (2) Because it happened and the Egyptians consistently erased such embarrassments from their history or did not record them in the first place.
Hence, I think Dr. Hoffmeier's work still has good points to it that cannot be discounted by the claim that we should have something in Egyptian literature, even if its only an explaining away. That simply would not be true for such an embarrassing event in its history. And if it happened during the Amarna period, then it definitely would not have been recorded or preserved.
For Dr. Hoffmeier's work in the area, see these two books: