[b-hebrew] Wellhausen vs. Camels

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Sun Dec 30 16:00:56 EST 2007

Yitzhak  Sapir: 
You wrote:  “Camels were not domesticated  and used in caravans as in the 
time of
the Patriarchs.” 
    1.  Camels Were Domesticated and Used as  Beasts of Burden in the Middle 
East Prior to the Patriarchal  Age.
Virtually all archaeologists agree that  camels had been domesticated, and 
were occasionally used as beasts of burden, by  the early 2nd millennium BCE, 
prior to the time of the  Patriarchs.  The point that  archaeologists make, whi
ch is valid as far as it goes (but no farther than  that), is that camels were 
only rarely used as domesticated beasts of burden  prior to the 1st millennium 
    1.  No Camel Caravans Are Portrayed in the  Patriarchal Narratives.
It is true that caravans in the time of the  Patriarchs did not use camels.  
But  that in fact fits the received text of the Patriarchal narratives  
perfectly.  The Patriarchal  narratives open with Abraham on an extended caravan 
trip to and from Mesopotamia  with his father’s family.  Note that  there are no 
camels on that caravan trip.  The first mention of camels is in Egypt, after 
Abraham has sold his  valuable commercial merchandise in Egypt.  To show how 
wealthy Abraham had become from his caravan trip (which  caravan trip had not 
itself used any camels), Abraham is portrayed as purchasing  several expensive 
camels with the sales  proceeds. 
Abraham’s possession of camels would be an  historical anachronism if and 
only if the Hebrew author of the Patriarchal  narratives in the mid-14th century 
BCE had never once seen a single  camel being used as a beast of burden.  If 
the author had seen at least one camel being used in that way once in  the 
mid-14th century BCE, then it would not be anachronistic to  portray Abraham has 
owning 10 camels.  Whether the first historical Hebrew literally owned any 
camels (which is  highly doubtful) is not the point.  The point, rather, is that 
there is no historical anachronism in  portraying Abraham as owning 10 camels. 
    1.  The Patriarchal Narratives Lack Historical  Anachronisms.
Except for a tiny handful of a few words and  phrases that were added into 
the text at a later time, there are no historical  anachronisms in the 
Patriarchal narratives for a mid-14th century BCE  Patriarchal Age.  That is to say,  
not a single actual story in the received text, not one, is based on anything  
that is an historical anachronism for a mid-14th century BCE  Patriarchal Age. 
(a)   “Philistines”. 
As noted in my previous post, there is no  depiction whatsoever of the 
classic Philistines in the Patriarchal  narratives. 
(b)   Camels. 
As pointed out in this post, (i)  archaeologists know that camels had been 
domesticated prior to the  mid-14th century BCE, though the use of camels was 
quite rare prior  to the 1st millennium BCE, and (ii) no camel caravans are 
portrayed  in the Patriarchal narratives.  Rather, Abraham is portrayed as owning 
ten super-expensive, exotic  camels, in order to emphasize the tremendous 
wealth that Abraham had after he  sold his commercial merchandise in Egypt. 
    1.  Archaeology Supports a Mid-14th  Century BCE Patriarchal Age.
Archaeology is a great friend of a  mid-14th century BCE historical 
Patriarchal Age.  There are essentially no historical  anachronisms, and most aspects 
of the text have had their existence confirmed by  archaeologists for a 
mid-14th century BCE time period, such as:  Hittites, Hurrians, iniquitous Amorites,  
Paddan-Aram, Naharim, tent-dwelling habiru/Hebrews, a strange pharaoh in 
Egypt  who was strangely friendly toward monotheism, the Decapitation of the 
Shechem  Offensive, the depiction of foreign mercenaries in Lebanon called  “
Invaders”/“Philistines” (who have nothing to do whatsoever with the later  classic 
Philistines, in their five great cities on the southwest coast of  Canaan), 
and the rare presence of super-expensive camels in this time  period. 
Archaeology and a mid-14th  century BCE historical Patriarchal Age are a 
perfect  fit. 
Yitzhak Sapir, my guess is that you may be  honestly surprised that 
archaeologists have no solid historical anachronisms  whatsoever for a mid-14th century 
BCE Patriarchal Age.  But that is indeed the case.  As to why no university 
academic has  proposed a mid-14th century BCE Patriarchal Age, that’s another  
But people on the b-Hebrew list have the  right to know that there is not a 
single major archaeological historical  anachronism for a mid-14th century BCE 
Patriarchal Age.  Not one.  You see, it would have been literally  impossible 
for J, E, P and D in the mid-1st millennium BCE to craft a  tale that has not 
a single substantial historical anachronism for a  mid-14th century BCE 
Patriarchal Age.  No human beings are that clever.  That is literally impossible.  
Rather, the reason why there are no  archaeological historical anachronisms for 
a mid-14th century BCE  Patriarchal Age in the received text of the 
Patriarchal narratives is because  over 98% of the received text was composed in the 
mid-14th century  BCE, by a single author, and was never edited  thereafter. 
The one and only historical time period that  fits the Patriarchal narratives 
is the mid-14th century BCE.  The more archaeological facts you  mention, the 
clearer this will become to  everyone. 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois

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