The Problem of Camels...
Camels were recently in the news. But not the nuisance they cause in Australia, where around 750,000 feral animals, mainly the single-humped dromedary, roam wild breaking fences, water-pumps and pipes, and of course, drinking vast amounts of water.
No, these camels were very much older, or rather, not nearly as old as they should have been. The problem camels are those mentioned many times in the Old Testament as possessions of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph and others.
Two archaeologists from Tel Aviv university have performed radiocarbon dating of old camel bones in Israel and Jordan. Being able to identify domesticated animals from signs in their leg-bones that they were beasts of burden, they have concluded that camels were not tamed to use for carrying men and goods before around 1,000 BC. Since this was approximately 300 years after the Exodus from Egypt, itself 400 years before the Israelites came to Egypt, it means that the patriarchs of the Old Testament could not have used them.
It seems ironic then, that the humble camel should bear evidence to the questionable veracity of the bedrock of the Bible which is the Book of Genesis.
23/10/2016 03:54:22 pm
26/10/2016 08:39:48 am
David, it’s an interesting point. I did listen to Kwame Anthony Appiah’s lecture and was enormously impressed; I do not find him at all smug. Not only does he have a serious intellect, his is a very able communicator (unlike Sue Lawley who I wish would act more like a chairwoman, and refrain from constantly interposing her own views during questions). Interestingly, I already practise a form of what Professor Appiah does when he performs libations to his ancestors. I visit churches and light candles for my ancestors; sometimes, if I’m in a church I know they would have attended, I just sit and try to think myself back to when they would have been there. In a very real sense then, I already perform a sort of ‘ancestor worship’.
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