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Camels Had No Business in Genesis

Posted by on Feb. 15, 2014 at 9:50 AM
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1 mom liked this

There are too many camels in the Bible, out of time and out of place.

Camels probably had little or no role in the lives of such early Jewish patriarchs as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, who lived in the first half of the second millennium B.C., and yet stories about them mention these domesticated pack animals more than 20 times. Genesis 24, for example, tells of Abraham’s servant going by camel on a mission to find a wife for Isaac.

These anachronisms are telling evidence that the Bible was written or edited long after the events it narrates and is not always reliable as verifiable history. These camel stories “do not encapsulate memories from the second millennium,” said Noam Mizrahi, an Israeli biblical scholar, “but should be viewed as back-projections from a much later period.”

Dr. Mizrahi likened the practice to a historical account of medieval events that veers off to a description of “how people in the Middle Ages used semitrailers in order to transport goods from one European kingdom to another.”

For two archaeologists at Tel Aviv University, the anachronisms were motivation to dig for camel bones at an ancient copper smelting camp in the Aravah Valley in Israel and in Wadi Finan in Jordan. They sought evidence of when domesticated camels were first introduced into the land of Israel and the surrounding region.

The archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century B.C. — centuries after the patriarchs lived and decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible. Some bones in deeper sediments, they said, probably belonged to wild camels that people hunted for their meat. Dr. Sapir-Hen could identify a domesticated animal by signs in leg bones that it had carried heavy loads.

The findings were published recently in the journal Tel Aviv and in a news release from Tel Aviv University. The archaeologists said that the origin of the domesticated camel was probably in the Arabian Peninsula, which borders the Aravah Valley. Egyptians exploited the copper resources there and probably had a hand in introducing the camels. Earlier, people in the region relied on mules and donkeys as their beasts of burden.


“The introduction of the camel to our region was a very important economic and social development,” Dr. Ben-Yosef said in a telephone interview. “The camel enabled long-distance trade for the first time, all the way to India, and perfume trade with Arabia. It’s unlikely that mules and donkeys could have traversed the distance from one desert oasis to the next.”

Dr. Mizrahi, a professor of Hebrew culture studies at Tel Aviv University who was not directly involved in the research, said that by the seventh century B.C. camels had become widely employed in trade and travel in Israel and through the Middle East, from Africa as far as India. The camel’s influence on biblical research was profound, if confusing, for that happened to be the time that the patriarchal stories were committed to writing and eventually canonized as part of the Hebrew Bible.

“One should be careful not to rush to the conclusion that the new archaeological findings automatically deny any historical value from the biblical stories,” Dr. Mizrahi said in an email. “Rather, they established that these traditions were indeed reformulated in relatively late periods after camels had been integrated into the Near Eastern economic system. But this does not mean that these very traditions cannot capture other details that have an older historical background.”

Moreover, for anyone who grew up with Sunday school images of the Three Wise Men from the East arriving astride camels at the manger in Bethlehem, whatever uncertainties there may be of that story, at least one thing is clear: By then the camel in the service of human life was no longer an anachronism.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/science/camels-had-no-business-in-genesis.html?_r=2

by on Feb. 15, 2014 at 9:50 AM
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jobseeker
by Bronze Member on Feb. 15, 2014 at 1:22 PM
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Thank you for that information,  Now tell me how that negates teh bigger truths of the bible?


PinkButterfly66
by Bronze Member on Feb. 15, 2014 at 2:08 PM
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Because it is proof that it was written 1000 years after the fact.  There were no archaeologist,  and these authors certainly did not have a time machine so concrete, indisputible facts were non-existent to the authors of Genesis.

Quoting jobseeker:

Thank you for that information,  Now tell me how that negates teh bigger truths of the bible?



jobseeker
by Bronze Member on Feb. 15, 2014 at 3:52 PM
1 mom liked this

The existence or non existence of GOD has nothing to do with camels.   There aer higher truths in biblical teaching that do not rely on the archeological existence of a camel in Genisis writings.  

NO ONE EVER held as truth that the writings of the old testement were taken from someone's journal.  or by an eyewitness to the events.  The writiers of the old testament were men who wrote down ORAL tradition.  The specifics regarding someone riding a camel, or a donkey or walking from place to place to not take away from teh larger truths and bigger miracles that occurred.

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

Because it is proof that it was written 1000 years after the fact.  There were no archaeologist,  and these authors certainly did not have a time machine so concrete, indisputible facts were non-existent to the authors of Genesis.

Quoting jobseeker:

Thank you for that information,  Now tell me how that negates teh bigger truths of the bible?




PinkButterfly66
by Bronze Member on Feb. 15, 2014 at 4:17 PM
1 mom liked this

Did I say ANYTHING about the existence of GOD?  Nope, but since you brought it up, the Bible doesn't prove the existence of that either.

Quoting jobseeker:

The existence or non existence of GOD has nothing to do with camels.   There aer higher truths in biblical teaching that do not rely on the archeological existence of a camel in Genisis writings.  

NO ONE EVER held as truth that the writings of the old testement were taken from someone's journal.  or by an eyewitness to the events.  The writiers of the old testament were men who wrote down ORAL tradition.  The specifics regarding someone riding a camel, or a donkey or walking from place to place to not take away from teh larger truths and bigger miracles that occurred.

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

Because it is proof that it was written 1000 years after the fact.  There were no archaeologist,  and these authors certainly did not have a time machine so concrete, indisputable facts were non-existent to the authors of Genesis.

Quoting jobseeker:

Thank you for that information,  Now tell me how that negates teh bigger truths of the bible?





jobseeker
by Bronze Member on Feb. 15, 2014 at 7:30 PM
1 mom liked this

The germ of your post is an effort to discredit biblical authors.  by discrediting biblical authors you attempted to start a domino that ends with proving the non existence of GOD.  

The problem is that people  have had that agenda for 5000 years.  Thousands of people have been killed violently for their faith,  God does not have to prove his existence to you or me .  He just IS.  your attempt to diminish a tiny part of our faith has failed.  

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

Did I say ANYTHING about the existence of GOD?  Nope, but since you brought it up, the Bible doesn't prove the existence of that either.

Quoting jobseeker:

The existence or non existence of GOD has nothing to do with camels.   There aer higher truths in biblical teaching that do not rely on the archeological existence of a camel in Genisis writings.  

NO ONE EVER held as truth that the writings of the old testement were taken from someone's journal.  or by an eyewitness to the events.  The writiers of the old testament were men who wrote down ORAL tradition.  The specifics regarding someone riding a camel, or a donkey or walking from place to place to not take away from teh larger truths and bigger miracles that occurred.

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

Because it is proof that it was written 1000 years after the fact.  There were no archaeologist,  and these authors certainly did not have a time machine so concrete, indisputable facts were non-existent to the authors of Genesis.

Quoting jobseeker:

Thank you for that information,  Now tell me how that negates teh bigger truths of the bible?






NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Feb. 15, 2014 at 9:21 PM
1 mom liked this

This only seems to be a problem for people who take the bible literally and those folks will just deny any science evidence to the contrary.

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Feb. 15, 2014 at 9:32 PM
Quoting jobseeker:

The germ of your post is an effort to discredit biblical authors.  by discrediting biblical authors you attempted to start a domino that ends with proving the non existence of GOD.  

The problem is that people  have had that agenda for 5000 years.  Thousands of people have been killed violently for their faith,  God does not have to prove his existence to you or me .  He just IS.  your attempt to diminish a tiny part of our faith has failed.  

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

Did I say ANYTHING about the existence of GOD?  Nope, but since you brought it up, the Bible doesn't prove the existence of that either.

Quoting jobseeker:

The existence or non existence of GOD has nothing to do with camels.   There aer higher truths in biblical teaching that do not rely on the archeological existence of a camel in Genisis writings.  

NO ONE EVER held as truth that the writings of the old testement were taken from someone's journal.  or by an eyewitness to the events.  The writiers of the old testament were men who wrote down ORAL tradition.  The specifics regarding someone riding a camel, or a donkey or walking from place to place to not take away from teh larger truths and bigger miracles that occurred.

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

Because it is proof that it was written 1000 years after the fact.  There were no archaeologist,  and these authors certainly did not have a time machine so concrete, indisputable facts were non-existent to the authors of Genesis.

Quoting jobseeker:

Thank you for that information,  Now tell me how that negates teh bigger truths of the bible?




Quite true
Farmlady09
by Silver Member on Feb. 15, 2014 at 9:35 PM
4 moms liked this

The fact that some people have nothing better to do with their time than diss on camels is ... sad. Seriously.

The fact that some people can't manage to live a happy life instead of wasting it trying to disprove a book written long before they were born is beyond sad. It's like they are obsessed. All I've got as a comment is seek help.

Clairwil
by Gold Member on Feb. 16, 2014 at 4:50 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Farmlady09:

The fact that some people have nothing better to do with their time than diss on camels is ... sad. Seriously.

The fact that some people can't manage to live a happy life instead of wasting it trying to disprove a book written long before they were born is beyond sad. It's like they are obsessed. 

How often, on CafeMom, have you typed out a page long description of your self-supporting lifestyle on a farm, in an effort to disprove to others that most poor people in America only go hungry if they're being lazy?

Farmlady09
by Silver Member on Feb. 16, 2014 at 6:52 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting Clairwil:

 

Quoting Farmlady09:

The fact that some people have nothing better to do with their time than diss on camels is ... sad. Seriously.

The fact that some people can't manage to live a happy life instead of wasting it trying to disprove a book written long before they were born is beyond sad. It's like they are obsessed. 

How often, on CafeMom, have you typed out a page long description of your self-supporting lifestyle on a farm, in an effort to disprove to others that most poor people in America only go hungry if they're being lazy?

My farm is current. It isn't thousands of years old. Gardening is visual, factual, tangible, real. It's right there, in your face and undeniable as well as undebateable.

I type out page long descriptions because I CARE whether or not people go hungry, and because I CARE about healthy, wholesome food. It's something I believe everyone should have in abundance.

As for whether or not camels were stumping around in Israel and other lands in the vincinity during Biblical events ... I don't believe it makes one iota of difference to the actual message God delivers in the Bible. For anyone, ANYone who doesn't believe to spend the time to research and actually write up a disparaging article because of camels is beyond ridiculous. People like that are truly certifiable. Far more certifiable than any person who does believe in God and does nothing more with their lives than living according to the teachings in that book. One is productive and happy. One is miserable and discontent and half mad because of a God they claim doesn't exist ... but which they can't get out of their thoughts long enough to live their own life instead of wasting it.

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