[b-hebrew] Wellhausen vs. Camels

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Mon Dec 31 00:32:43 EST 2007


The question is not when camels were domesticated but in what places were 
they in use. Because of their height, bulkiness and shape their use was and 
still is much restricted to places where their use would have left scant 
historical evidence. Placing the domestication of camels to within few 
hundred years is, on its face, a scientific canard.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <JimStinehart at aol.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, December 31, 2007 4:16 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Wellhausen vs. Camels

> 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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