[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 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.
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