Camels, Religion and Science Oh My!


The Bible is known to be the most read book in the world and the most printed with an estimated 3.9 billion copies. I also believe that it is the worlds most disputed. The Bible has been scrutinized for decades due to its inconsistencies in being congruent with modern science and the lack of external evidence supporting its origin, scripture and authenticity.


A recent article in the New York Times ( argues whether the numerous accounts of camel domestication throughout the Bible are true. The article suggests that some of the scriptures in the Bible, such as that of the Jewish patriarch Abraham in the book of Genesis occurred before the domestication of camels in the Middle East. Suggesting that the camels mentioned in Genesis involving Abraham and his servants are out of time and out of place.


This argument sounds outrageous in comparison to some debates circulating the Bible, however, the article does provide credible evidence through the workings of two archaeologists from Tel Aviv University. Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen used radiocarbon dating on camel bones retrieved from multiple ancient copper smelting camps found in the Aravah Valley in Israel; the bones dated back to the last third of the 10th century B.C.. The two archeologists were able to provide evidence that the bones were of domesticated camels due to specific markings on the leg bones that indicated wear from heavy loads.


This finding is interesting as the Jewish patriarch Abraham is estimated to have lived sometime during the 2nd millennium B.C. according to the book of Genesis. Abraham’s servants are documented to be using camels in a period 1200 years before their domestication has been archeologically found to exist. So how did these camels get into the book of Genesis? According to Dr.Mizrahi a Hebrew teacher at Tel Aviv University, stories did not begin to be consistently written in scripture until the 7th century B.C.. This was a period when camel domestication was critical for economic success in the Middle East. It is suggested that the camels’ value in society may have influenced the historical writings of the Bible and that nothing should be taken away from the value of its scriptures.




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