Camel bones suggest error in Bible, archaeologists say


Archaeologists from Israel’s top university have used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the arrival of domestic camels in the Middle East – and they say the science directly contradicts the Bible’s version of events.

I would like to invite anyone who is good at apologetics to explain how this does not hurt the faith. Personally I don’t know how to do so.


I’m neither one of CA’s apologists nor even Catholic, but this website seems like a good explanation, or at least a good place to start:

Abraham, at least, is recorded as receiving his camels from the Pharaoh, meaning his camels came from Egypt, and it is entirely possible that those camels might have been around in the days of his sons and grandsons.

This quote, for example:

A lot of argument has been focused on Genesis 12:16, against its mention of camels, not ordinarily accepted as domesticated until much later in the second millennium B.C… But HamiltonF7 cites an Alalakh text (18th century B.C.) with ration lists including that of “one (measure of) fodder - camel”, the very fact of feeding it seems to imply its domestication or use as a pack animal. Camel bones were also excavated at Mari in an early house possibly dating back to c.2400 B.C… An 18th century B.C. Byblos relief depicts a kneeling camel further suggesting its domestication and use as a beast of burden. The above references seem to imply that the mention of camels in Genesis is not just anachronistic.

This site also discusses camels in the Levant.

These sites might also be useful: and

None of these are Catholic sites, though, but knowledge can still be gleaned from them. I’ll leave CA’s professional apologists to provide better answers.

This appears to be a regurgitation of an old accusation levied against Christianity (and perhaps Judaism).


A rabbi addresses the question here, by the way:

And one final source, this time from “Ministry Magazine”:


So it would seem that Abram (Abraham) got the camels from somewhere else?


It’s entirely possible.

The passage in Genesis appears to suggest that he got them from Pharaoh during his time in Egypt.


Just because they have analysed the oldest known bones doesent mean there aren’t older ones they just haven’t found. I’m far from an archeaelogist but I find it hard to beleive they can distinguish bones of that age as that of a wild camel or domesticated camel with any great degree of a accuracy. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Just because they have analysed the oldest known bones doesent mean there aren’t older ones they just haven’t found. I’m far from an archeaelogist but I find it hard to beleive they can distinguish bones of that age as that of a wild camel or domesticated camel with any great degree of a accuracy. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


FWIW, here’s Wikipedia’s article on the subject.


Thats easy. I can do so with only two words taked from the quote.

radiocarbon dating


As Matthew Harrison Brady said: I am more interested in the ‘Rock of Ages’ than I am in the age of rocks.


I meant taken. :blush:




Thank you everyone for your replies. I appreciate them. :slight_smile:


There is no evidence of the Israelites going out into the wilderness. So what. The Bible is rife with historical inaccuracies


Let me just throw this out there …first, I am neither an Apologist (maybe someday) nor an Archaeologist. The Bible was not intended to be a “history” book. There are no errors in the Bible as it pertains to its message and intent.

Why don’t we look at the age of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which carbon dating was used to determine their age. How does that correspond to the allegations in this article?

From the article…
Camels are mentioned as pack animals in the biblical stories of Abraham, Joseph and Jacob, Old Testament stories that historians peg to between 2000 and 1500 BC. But Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures say camels weren’t domesticated in Israel until centuries later, more like 900 BC.

So they state Historians “peg” the stories to 2000 - 1500 BC. How did they “peg” this timeframe? I’m guessing from the carbon dating of the scriptures. Maybe someone that knows more about this can comment further. I’m just posing questions to get to some answers hopefully in line with the OP questions.


Reminds me of the example that only 50 years ago or so they finally found some archaelogical evidence that Pontius Pilate existed.

I’m also curious how the differentiate between domestic and wild bones?

But keep digging boys, you’ll find some more evidence that proves your current theory wrong. These “scientists” assume that the domestication of camels couldn’t have been two separate events. The period of time between these bones, and the Patriarchs is millenia. Empires rose and fell in that time, civilzations and states rose and fell. Entire ecosystems changed. With the fall of the Egyptian empire, several items related to civilization could have fallen as well, including the domesticated camel.

History isn’t a smooth timeline and progression towards civilization. It’s a violent, and bumpy ride. Lots of starts and stops and fallbacks.


What gives with these people, the Turin shroud was dated wrongly , now its the Camel Bones, the Bible is not meant for all this nonsense, I think here we go again, why can’t and why don’t they do it the other way around, they find nothing to proof or dis proof, so why then don’t they go on in the same way, with the same zeal to prove its correct, why is always in the negative with them.

As the OP said they found evidence of the Hall of Pontius Pilate, one in the eye , what is wrong with these people, they are so anti God , they try and do there utmost to contradict HIM at every point and turn, they must have very sad lives. Sadder still when they meet with the Lord.


Wear patterns and growth rates would be my guess at figuring out the difference between wild and domesticated bones.


This is only my opinion: Science in its modern form lives almost entirely off grant money from secular sources. It only makes sense that they would not bite the hand that feeds them. Do a little experiment that rattles God’s cage, get publicity in the liberal press, make Satan happy, etc …

We are in a battle of powers and principalities.


The Bible is a Library. Not intended to be a history book of timelines, etc. That’s the biggest problem with these people. They search and seek this tangible evidence for something that isn’t there. They can’t wrap their limited brain capacity around what it means to have Faith. I think they probably want to find this evidence so they can sleep easier at night and not be uncomfortable with the fact that they are …wrong! :slight_smile:

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