[b-hebrew] Wellhausen vs. Camels

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Sun Dec 30 21:16:35 EST 2007


 
Thanks so much to several posters for citing  scholarly articles on the 
Internet that show how very early it was that camels  were domesticated, and the 
somewhat spotty, but nevertheless very real, evidence  that camels were on 
occasion used as domesticated beasts of burden in the Middle  East prior to the 
mid-14th century  BCE. 
In  partial defense of Yitzhak Sapir, many Biblical historians bend over 
backwards  to imply, without actually stating, what Yitzhak Sapir wrote:  “Camels 
were not domesticated  and used in caravans as in the time of the Patriarchs.” 
    1.  No archaeologist would ever actually state  that camels were not 
domesticated prior to the mid-14th century  BCE.  The evidence against such a  
proposition is absolutely  overwhelming.
    1.  It is true that in the mid-14th  century BCE, most all caravans were 
donkey caravans, not camel caravans.  Yet there were some camels being used  
as domesticated beasts of burden at that time (and long before that time, for  
that matter).  A proper statement  would be that “camel caravans were rarely 
used in the time of the  Patriarchs”.  Note that such a  proper statement does 
not support the false charge that the presence of camels  in the Patriarchal 
narratives is an historical  anachronism.
I just want people to know that Yitzhak  Sapir was simply repeating what many 
Biblical historians imply.  But to the best of my knowledge, those  Biblical 
historians rarely, if ever, literally state what Yitzhak Sapir wrote,  because 
they know it’s not true. 
Why do Biblical historians try so hard to  mislead people about alleged 
historical anachronisms in the Patriarchal  narratives?  If you read the “fine  
print”, they usually do not categorically insist that any particular item is of  
necessity an historical anachronism, but they deliberately imply that such is  
the case. 
The fact that most secular scholars in  other, albeit related, disciplines, 
such as Yitzhak Sapir and Yigal Levin,  assume that the Patriarchal narratives 
are rife with huge numbers of glaring,  important historical anachronisms, 
when in fact such is not the case at all,  reflects the fact that many Biblical 
historians deliberately imply precisely  that.  But in most cases, those  
Biblical historians do not literally say that, at least not  categorically. 
I think that Yitzhak Sapir and Yigal Levin  will be honestly shocked when 
they realize that they cannot identify a single  important historical anachronism 
in the entirety of the Patriarchal narratives  for a mid-14th century BCE 
historical Patriarchal Age.  Dozens of reputable books by reputable  university 
scholars strong imply the contrary, but they usually do not literally  state 
that categorically.  And in  point of fact, there are no such important 
historical anachronisms in the  text. 
If there were an important historical  anachronism in the text that would 
show, once and for all, that the Patriarchal  narratives are mid-1st millennium 
BCE fiction, don’t you think that  the Biblical Minimalists would have 
published it 20 times over by now?  Those Biblical Minimalists simply do not  have any 
“secret” historical anachronisms up their sleeves, though they love to  
imply that they do.   
The objective fact of the matter is that  there are no important historical 
anachronisms in the Patriarchal narratives for  a mid-14th century BCE 
historical Patriarchal Age.  That in turn strongly supports a  mid-14th century BCE 
composition date for the Patriarchal  narratives.  The closer one looks at  the 
objective, historical facts, the stronger is the case that the Patriarchal  
Age was historical, not fictional, and that the historical Patriarchal Age was  
the mid-14th century BCE. 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois



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