Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gimme Dat Ol' Time Religion

Uh, oh, archaeologists are at it again.  Recent New York Times story by John Nobel Wilford reports that "There are too many camels in the Bible, out of time and out of place."  You know, the Bible, the "inerrant Word of God," the "literal" Word of God, the absolutely "True" Word of God, the Good Book that has absolutely no mistakes in it because, well, God doesn't make mistakes in His Holy Book?

Except for camels, apparently.

As the Times story notes,  the Bible is full of stories about the early Jewish patriarchs, such as "Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, who lived in the first half of the second millennium BC. 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."

Inerrant word, right?  Errrnnkkk. Sorry.  "The archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century BC -- centuries after the patriarchs lived and decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible."

Oops.  Continues the Times story, "These anachronism are telling evidence that the Bible was written or edited long after the events it narrates and is not always reliable as verifiable history.  These camel stories 'do not encapsulate memories from the second millennium,' said Noam Mizrahi, an Israeli biblical scholar, 'but should be viewed as back-projections from a much later period." 

Mizrahi offered a deliciously funny comparison, likening "the practice to a historical account of medieval events that veers off into a description of 'how people in the Middle Ages used semitrailers in order to transport goods from one European kingdom to another'."

So much for inerrancy and a good example of reasons to read the Bible with a lovely little salt cellar nearby.  Not that science or fact will have any impact on True Believers.

Speaking of which, Larry Womak, at the Huffington Post, had a few very apt things to say about True Believers and Politics, which is certainly relevant in our era of the ongoing, relentless push by the Right Wing to move America into a kind of Fundamentalist Theocracy. 

A good read at

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