Here's Proof the Bible’s Tales Were Tweaked | Smart News | Smithsonian
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Here's Proof the Bible’s Tales Were Tweaked

Biblical figures were riding around on camels thousands of years before camels were domesticated

smithsonian.com

The events recorded in the Bible happened so long ago that it's difficult to say definitively how accurate they are. For some, like the creation of the Earth, we can turn to science. But it's hard to gauge the validity of others. The archaeological evidence is scarce, and embellishing and post hoc revisionism of historical events may have run rampant.

In the New York Times today, though, we're treated to proof that the stories included in what Christians call the Old Testament suffered from some ahistorical tweaks when they were finally committed to writing. Reporting on research from two archaeologists at Tel Aviv University, the Times says that the Bible is littered with stories of people riding around on camels, thousands of years before camels were ever domesticated in the region.

Camels probably had little or no role in the lives of such early Jewish patriarchs as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, who lived in the first half of the second millennium B.C., and yet stories about them mention these domesticated pack animals more than 20 times. Genesis 24, for example, tells of Abraham’s servant going by camel on a mission to find a wife for Isaac.

Camels weren't domesticated in Israel until the 10th century B.C., says the Times.

Dr. Mizrahi likened the practice to a historical account of medieval events that veers off to a description of “how people in the Middle Ages used semitrailers in order to transport goods from one European kingdom to another.

Now, these findings don't necessarily disprove all the stories of the Bible. Rather, knowing that there are camels where there definitely shouldn't be shows that the Bible's authors, working thousands of years after the events they were describing were supposed to take place, took a modern lens to these ancient tales.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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