More Camels

I blogged on some articles a few days regarding archaeologists assumptions about camel domestication in the Promised Land.  It seemed like an inconsequential topic, but CNN has picked up on it with this editorial.  And, to clarify, CNN picked up on the same Associated Press article – NOT my blog.  

Please, get real!
CNN’s editorial seems sympathetic.  However it is written by a scholar who has recently written a book on the “real” (vs. the Biblical) King David.  In other words, he isn’t someone who expects what  the Bible says to be true in any meaningful way – it’s more symbolic than factual.  Joel Baden assumes that while the Biblical authors are not duplicitous, they are in fact not the authors that Scripture and Hebrew & Christian traditions and history say they are.  
It’s only natural, Baden writes, that the writers of the Old Testament would imagine backwards what they knew in their day – camels were great travel beasts.  Baden assumes that the Bible wasn’t written by who it says it is, or when it claims to have been written, and that the stories are fictitious.  Symbolic.  It isn’t lying, because nobody expects it to be true.  
Again, a popular modern, liberal theological attitude, but one not based on any incontrovertible fact, but only on their own set of presuppositions.  But if you repeat something vigorously enough, people eventually begin to assume it’s true.  Which is ironic, since that’s ultimately what Baden and others accuse early Hebrews and Christians of doing.  
My critiques of these assumed conclusions remains.  Nothing has been proven by this latest archaeological missive or the scholars who want to jump on it to prove their personal bias.  The fact that we have’t found archaeological evidence of domestication doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, or that the Old Testament is flawed, lying, or written hundreds of years after it claims to have been.  It just means we haven’t found archaeological evidence yet.  Scholars know that camels were in the area farther back than the Patriarchal period.  But apparently their assumption is that nobody thought to domesticate for thousands of years, simply because we don’t have proof of it.  It’s a curious interpretation of the data to come to, but it’s hardly surprising these days.

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