Camel bones suggest error in Bible, archaeologists say

#21

if the date is off even hundreds of years it doesn’t matter Bible is the truth can’t change the truth in it.

note: it is possible that many parts of the story are not entirely accurate historical events, being slightly off historically should have no impact on the validity of the stories.

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#22

The Bible is not history for the most part. I came to that conclusion long ago, and that helped my faith at least.

Once it is understood that the Bible is not history, then the discovery of finding the message of what the Bible is really trying to tell us begins. It has nothing to do with camel bones, I don’t think, or donkeys jawbones even, or whether or not snakes have been able to smooth talk the ladies better than men.

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#23

The Bible is neither a history nor a science book, and as such can not be discredited by such claims.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the claims are true (and that is a bit of a leap). The Scripture stories were told (vocally) for centuries before they were written down. Often, the stories were added to in later years for theological reasons (redaction), thus helping the Israelites to follow God. The stories for the most part do not claim to be historically factual. But, they do present an understanding of God’s relationship to his people and their relationship to their one true God.

This article, it seems to me challenges those who hold the words of Scripture to be literal in every way. Since, as Catholics we are not bound to accept the Bible historically or scientifically literal, there is no concern.

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#24

What is your point?

Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.

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#25

Carbon dating? :shrug:

  1. We know that fully domesticated dromedary camels have been around since 3000 BC.

  2. We also know that they were used as pack animals for merchants from Africa whose travels are lost to history.

What the scientist have found may well be the first camels to perish near an ancient copper smelter in Israel. :smiley:

ATB

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#26

The Bible is not a book of natural science. So the stories were compiled later, big deal. It was common for the stories of a people’s history to be passed on orally. And soon as the people began to read and write, they began to record their memories in writing. The actual existence of camels at the time of Abraham has nothing to do with the actual history of A braham and his family, that is a part of our history of Faith and it is true.

Linus2nd

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#27

Take a look at this link -

isocard.org/e_Library/Proceedings/Proceedings_1998_Camel%20Conference_UAE/vol_01_23.pdf

Clearly the domesticated camel was around a lot longer than what these archaeologists are proposing.

The article addresses domestication of the camel in Egypt - it seems the camel was introduced to Egypt where it was previously unknown (there is no native Egyptian word for camel; it was a borrowed word into ancient Egyptian from the language of the culture that introduced it)

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#28

Camels and the Composition of Genesis

Arguably, the most widely alleged anachronisms used in support of the idea that Moses could not have written the first five books of the Bible (a theory known as the Documentary Hypothesis) are the accounts of the early patriarchs possessing camels. The word “camel(s)” appears 23 times in 21 verses in the book of Genesis. The first book of the Bible declares that camels existed in Egypt during the time of Abraham (12:14-17), in Palestine in the days Isaac (24:63), in Padan Aram while Jacob was working for Laban (30:43), and were owned by the Midianites during the time Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery (37:25,36). Make no mistake about it, the book of beginnings clearly teaches that camels were domesticated since at least the time of Abraham.

According to skeptics (and a growing number of liberal scholars), however, the idea that camels were domesticated in the time of Abraham directly contradicts archaeological evidence. Over one hundred years ago, T.K. Cheyne wrote: “The assertion that the ancient Egyptians knew of the camel is unfounded” (1899, 1:634). In his oft’-quoted book on the various animals of the Bible, George Cansdale stated:

The Bible first mentions the camel in Gen. 12:16, where the presents are listed which the pharaoh gave to Abram. This is generally reckoned to be a later scribe’s addition, for it seems unlikely that there were any camels in Egypt then (1970, p. 66, emp. added).

More recently, Finkelstein and Silberman confidently asserted:

We now know through archaeological research that camels were not domesticated as beasts of burden earlier than the late second millennium and were not widely used in that capacity in the ancient Near East until well after 1000 BCE (2001, p. 37, emp. added).

By way of summary, what the Bible believer has been told is: “[T]ame camels were simply unknown during Abraham’s time” (Tobin, 2000).

While these claims have been made repeatedly over the last century, the truth of the matter is that skeptics and liberal theologians are unable to cite a single piece of solid archaeological evidence in support of their claims. As Randall Younker of Andrews University stated in March 2000 while delivering a speech in the Dominican Republic: “Clearly, scholars who have denied the presence of domesticated camels in the 2nd millennium B.C. have been committing the fallacy of arguing from silence. This approach should not be allowed to cast doubt upon the veracity of any historical document, let alone Scripture” (2000). The burden of proof actually should be upon skeptics to show that camels were not domesticated until after the time of the patriarchs. Instead, they assure their listeners of the camel’s absence in Abraham’s day—without one shred of archaeological evidence. [Remember, for many years they also argued that writing was unknown during the time of Moses—a conclusion based entirely on “silence.” Now, however, they have recanted that idea, because evidence has been found to the contrary. One might think that such “scholars” would learn not to speak with such assurance when arguing from silence.]

What makes their claims even more disturbing is that several pieces of evidence do exist (and have existed for some time) that prove camels were domesticated during (and even before) the time of Abraham (roughly 2,000 B.C.). In an article that appeared in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies a half-century ago, professor Joseph Free listed several instances of Egyptian archaeological finds supporting the domestication of camels [NOTE: The dates given for the Egyptian dynasties are from Clayton, 2001, pp.14-68]. The earliest evidence comes from a pottery camel’s head and a terra cotta tablet with men riding on and leading camels. According to Free, these are both from predynastic Egypt (1944, pp. 189-190), which according to Clayton is roughly before 3150 B.C. Free also listed three clay camel heads and a limestone vessel in the form of camel lying down—all dated at the First Dynasty of Egypt (3050-2890 B.C.). He then mentioned several models of camels from the Fourth Dynasty (2613-2498 B.C.), and a petroglyph depicting a camel and a man dated at the Sixth Dynasty (2345-2184 B.C.). Such evidence has led one respected Egyptologist to conclude that “the extant evidence clearly indicates that the domestic camel was known [in Egypt—EL] by 3,000 B.C.”—long before Abraham’s time (Kitchen, 1980, 1:228).

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#29

Article was written in 2002:

Camels and the Composition of Genesis

Arguably, the most widely alleged anachronisms used in support of the idea that Moses could not have written the first five books of the Bible (a theory known as the Documentary Hypothesis) are the accounts of the early patriarchs possessing camels. The word “camel(s)” appears 23 times in 21 verses in the book of Genesis. The first book of the Bible declares that camels existed in Egypt during the time of Abraham (12:14-17), in Palestine in the days Isaac (24:63), in Padan Aram while Jacob was working for Laban (30:43), and were owned by the Midianites during the time Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery (37:25,36). Make no mistake about it, the book of beginnings clearly teaches that camels were domesticated since at least the time of Abraham.

According to skeptics (and a growing number of liberal scholars), however, the idea that camels were domesticated in the time of Abraham directly contradicts archaeological evidence. Over one hundred years ago, T.K. Cheyne wrote: “The assertion that the ancient Egyptians knew of the camel is unfounded” (1899, 1:634). In his oft’-quoted book on the various animals of the Bible, George Cansdale stated:

The Bible first mentions the camel in Gen. 12:16, where the presents are listed which the pharaoh gave to Abram. This is generally reckoned to be a later scribe’s addition, for it seems unlikely that there were any camels in Egypt then (1970, p. 66, emp. added).

More recently, Finkelstein and Silberman confidently asserted:

We now know through archaeological research that camels were not domesticated as beasts of burden earlier than the late second millennium and were not widely used in that capacity in the ancient Near East until well after 1000 BCE (2001, p. 37, emp. added).

By way of summary, what the Bible believer has been told is: “[T]ame camels were simply unknown during Abraham’s time” (Tobin, 2000).

While these claims have been made repeatedly over the last century, the truth of the matter is that skeptics and liberal theologians are unable to cite a single piece of solid archaeological evidence in support of their claims. As Randall Younker of Andrews University stated in March 2000 while delivering a speech in the Dominican Republic: “Clearly, scholars who have denied the presence of domesticated camels in the 2nd millennium B.C. have been committing the fallacy of arguing from silence. This approach should not be allowed to cast doubt upon the veracity of any historical document, let alone Scripture” (2000). The burden of proof actually should be upon skeptics to show that camels were not domesticated until after the time of the patriarchs. Instead, they assure their listeners of the camel’s absence in Abraham’s day—without one shred of archaeological evidence. [Remember, for many years they also argued that writing was unknown during the time of Moses—a conclusion based entirely on “silence.” Now, however, they have recanted that idea, because evidence has been found to the contrary. One might think that such “scholars” would learn not to speak with such assurance when arguing from silence.]

What makes their claims even more disturbing is that several pieces of evidence do exist (and have existed for some time) that prove camels were domesticated during (and even before) the time of Abraham (roughly 2,000 B.C.). In an article that appeared in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies a half-century ago, professor Joseph Free listed several instances of Egyptian archaeological finds supporting the domestication of camels [NOTE: The dates given for the Egyptian dynasties are from Clayton, 2001, pp.14-68]. The earliest evidence comes from a pottery camel’s head and a terra cotta tablet with men riding on and leading camels. According to Free, these are both from predynastic Egypt (1944, pp. 189-190), which according to Clayton is roughly before 3150 B.C. Free also listed three clay camel heads and a limestone vessel in the form of camel lying down—all dated at the First Dynasty of Egypt (3050-2890 B.C.). He then mentioned several models of camels from the Fourth Dynasty (2613-2498 B.C.), and a petroglyph depicting a camel and a man dated at the Sixth Dynasty (2345-2184 B.C.). Such evidence has led one respected Egyptologist to conclude that “the extant evidence clearly indicates that the domestic camel was known [in Egypt—EL] by 3,000 B.C.”—long before Abraham’s time (Kitchen, 1980, 1:228).

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#30

Continued

Perhaps the most convincing find in support of the early domestication of camels in Egypt is a rope made of camel’s hair found in the Fayum (an oasis area southwest of modern-day Cairo). The two-strand twist of hair, measuring a little over three feet long, was found in the late 1920s, and was sent to the Natural History Museum where it was analyzed and compared to the hair of several different animals. After considerable testing, it was determined to be camel hair, dated (by analyzing the layer in which it was found) to the Third or Fourth Egyptian Dynasty (2686-2498 B.C.). In his article, Free also listed several other discoveries from around 2,000 B.C. and later, which showed camels as domestic animals (pp. 189-190).

While prolific in Egypt, finds relating to the domestication of camels are not isolated to the African continent. In his book, Ancient Orient and the Old Testament, professor Kenneth Kitchen (retired) of the University of Liverpool reported several discoveries made outside of Egypt proving ancient camel domestication around 2,000 B.C. Lexical lists from Mesopotamia have been uncovered that show a knowledge of domesticated camels as far back as this time. Camel bones have been found in household ruins at Mari in present-day Syria that fossilologists believe are also at least 4,000 years old. Furthermore, a Sumerian text from the time of Abraham has been discovered in the ancient city of Nippur (located in what is now southeastern Iraq) that clearly implies the domestication of camels by its allusions to camels’ milk (Kitchen, 1966, p. 79).

All of these documented finds support the domestication of camels in Egypt many years before the time of Abraham. Yet, as Younker rightly observed, skeptics refuse to acknowledge any of this evidence.

It is interesting to note how, once an idea gets into the literature, it can become entrenched in conventional scholarly thinking. I remember doing research on the ancient site of Hama in Syria. As I was reading through the excavation reports (published in French), I came across a reference to a figurine from the 2nd millennium which the excavator thought must be a horse, but the strange hump in the middle of its back made one think of a camel. I looked at the photograph and the figurine was obviously that of a camel! The scholar was so influenced by the idea that camels were not used until the 1st millennium, that when he found a figurine of one in the second millennium, he felt compelled to call it a horse! This is a classic example of circular reasoning (2000, parenthetical comment in orig.).

Finds relating to the domestication of camels are not as prevalent in the second millennium B.C. as they are in the first millennium. This does not make the skeptics’ case any stronger, however. Just because camels were not as widely used during Abraham’s time as they were later, does not mean that they were entirely undomesticated. As Free commented:

Many who have rejected this reference to Abraham’s camels seem to have assumed something which the text does not state. It should be carefully noted that the biblical reference does not necessarily indicate that the camel was common in Egypt at that time, nor does it evidence that the Egyptians had made any great progress in the breeding and domestication of camels. It merely says that Abraham had camels (1944, p. 191, emp. added).

Similarly, Younker noted:

This is not to say that domesticated camels were abundant and widely used everywhere in the ancient Near East in the early second millennium. However, the patriarchal narratives do not necessarily require large numbers of camels…. The smaller amount of evidence for domestic camels in the late third and early second millennium B.C., especially in Palestine, is in accordance with this more restricted use (1997, 42:52).

Even without the above-mentioned archaeological finds (which to the unbiased examiner prove that camels were domesticated in the time of Abraham), it only seems reasonable to conclude that since wild camels have been known since the Creation, “there is no credible reason why such an indispensable animal in desert and semi-arid lands should not have been sporadically domesticated in patriarchal times and even earlier” (“Animal Kingdom,” 1988). The truth is, all of the available evidence points to one conclusion—the limited use of domesticated camels during and before the time of Abraham did occur. The supposed “anachronism” of domesticated camels during the time of the patriarchs is, in fact, an actual historical reference to the use of these animals at that time. Those who reject this conclusion cannot give one piece of solid archaeological evidence on their behalf. They simply argue from the “silence” of archaeology…which is silent no more!

apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=858

Article says citing quotes by Finkelstein and Silberman:

While these claims have been made repeatedly over the last century, the truth of the matter is that skeptics and liberal theologians are unable to cite a single piece of solid archaeological evidence in support of their claims.

Now there is radiocarbon dating apparantly regarding the claiming bones but there is other evidence.

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#31

According to Columbia University history professor Richard Bulliet, “[T]his type of utilization [camels pulling wagons] goes back to the earliest known period of two-humped camel domestication in the third millennium B.C.” [4]

The case continues to get stronger when one learns:

Recent research has suggested that domestication of the camel took place in southeastern Arabia some time in the third millennium [BC]. Originally, it was probably bred for its milk, hair, leather, and meat, but it cannot have been long before its usefulness as a beast of burden became apparent [5]

For even more evidence see this article.

Even more evidence is constantly being uncovered. Marlie-Louise Olsen writes for The National:

According to 3,000-year-old evidence discovered at two excavation sites in Sharjah, people in what is now the UAE were probably the first to domesticate the wild camel.

A team from Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia has been digging at the sites in Tell Abraq and Muweilah along the border with Umm Al Qaiwain since early December.

The excavations have revealed almost 10 times as many bones of domesticated dromedaries as at any other single site in the Middle East. [6]

In order to avoid making this article unreasonably lengthy, we’ll just throw out some additional articles for those really interested in digging deep (no pun intended) into this issue:

[LIST]
*]Compagnoni, B. and M. Tosi, 1978. The camel: Its distribution and state of domestication in the Middle East during the third millennium B.C. in light of the finds from Shahr-i Sokhta. Pp. 119–128 in Approaches to Faunal Analysis in the Middle East, edited by R.H. Meadow and M.A. Zeder. Peabody Museum Bulletin no 2, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, New Haven, CT.
*]Younker, Randall W. (1997), “Late Bronze Age Camel Petroglyphs in the Wadi Nasib, Sinai,” Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin, 42:47-54.
*]Also see this article which includes several other reliable sources.
[/LIST]

endthelie.com/2013/10/13/are-domesticated-camels-in-the-old-testament-an-anachronism

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#32

Hundreds of thousands of people wandering the dessert for 40 years would have left some kind of sign- don’t ya’ think?

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#33

So you’re saying, in essence, that since we have not found evidence, there must not be any at all?

Sounds like a pretty shaky theory to me… :shrug:

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#34

Archeologist’s have discovered stables to breed and keep at least 460 horses, in the city of Piramesse: weekly.ahram.org.eg/1999/461/fr2.htm

They also found pieces of bronze chariots

youtube.com/watch?v=n-8e8PGvhgg

Exodus 14:5-7 describes Pharaoh sending chariots to chase the slaves who ran away

Bones of horses, human beings and chariots have been found in the sea at Nuiweba

arkdiscovery.com/red_sea_crossing.htm

Evidence of an eruption from a volcano from Aegean island of Thera has been discovered

thefreelibrary.com/EVIDENCE+BACKS+BIBLE’S+JERICHO+BATTLE+STORY,+ARCHEOLOGISTS+SAY.-a083956818

In 1966, Manfred Bietak, Austrian archaeologist, discovered and excavated ruins at Avaris, which was the capital of Egypt under Hykoses and the modern name for this city is Tell el-Dab’a. Bietak discovered methods of burial differing from Egyptians and the walls of buildings, floor plans etc were like those built by Hebrews in Israel

Roman historian Tacitus wrote some anti Semitic things. He says in his book ‘Histories’ (5.3), that ‘most writers agree’ regarding a ‘plague’ in ancient Egypt and Tactius says that the cause was ‘a race hateful to the gods,’ which was ‘removed to foreign lands.’ Tacitus says, ‘So the Hebrews were searched out and gathered together’ and names ‘Moses.’ Read the full text:

penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Tacitus/Histories/5A*.html

Sinatic inscriptions in Wadee El-Mukattab, Sinai: bibleprobe.com/exodus.htm

There is a book called, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition by James K. Hoffmeier, professor of Bible studies and archeology, and he looks at the evidence for the Exodus and he argues that it supports the Biblical record

That is evidence of Israel having been in Egypt in an hieroglyphic inscription that has been dated to nearly 200 years prior to the Merneptah stele:

biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/does-the-merneptah-stele-contain-the-first-mention-of-israel[/LIST]

Evidence for post Exodus Israelite sites have been discovered:

haaretz.com/news/have-the-first-israelite-sites-built-after-exodus-been-found-1.273654

Leiden Papyrus 348, an Egyptian document, says, 'distribute grain rations to the soldiers and to the ‘Apiru who transport stones to the great pylon of Rames[s]es.’ Scholars have mixed views on whether ‘Apriu’ can refer to Hebrews, some thing it can, some think it can not. Exodus 1:11 says Hebrews, ‘built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh’ so the Leiden Papyrus 348 would fit with Exodus 1:11

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#35

18th dynasty painted inscriptions in Egyptian tombs show slaves making bricks etc. Professor Hoffmeier says in an article, ‘It is worth noting, that the practice of using forced labor for building projects is only documented for the period 1450 to 1200, the very time most biblical historians place the Israelites in Egypt’

The linked article in the prior paragraph says of this circumstantial evidence

[LIST]
*]In a surviving Egyptian document called Leiden Papyrus 348, orders are given to “distribute grain rations to the soldiers and to the 'Apiru who transport stones to the great pylon of Rames[s]es.” This brings to mind Exodus 1:11, which says the Hebrews “built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh.” While hotly debated, 'Apiru is believed by some scholars to refer to the Hebrews, the ‘Ibri. If a future discovery of an inscription could link this word to the Hebrews, this document would prove to be our first direct extrabiblical reference to the children of Israel in slavery in Egypt.
*]Recent discoveries of military outposts on a road leading from Egypt into Canaan, built by Pharaoh Seti I and earlier kings in the thirteenth century B.C., shed new light on why a northern route for the Exodus would have meant war for the Israelites. Exodus 13:17 states: "When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, ‘If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.’ " Instead, the Bible explains, “God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness.”
*]While it is virtually impossible 3,000 years later to retrace the footsteps of a people who escaped over a sand-swept wilderness, an Egyptian letter (Anastasi III) from guards at a “border crossing” between Egypt and the Sinai helps explain Moses’ insistent cry, “Let my people go!” The text indicates that in the thirteenth century the Egyptians maintained a tight border control, allowing no one to pass without a permit. The letter describes two slaves who—in a striking parallel to the Israelite escape—flee from the city of Rameses at night, are pursued by soldiers, but disappear into the Sinai wilderness. “When my letter reaches you,” writes the official to the border guard, “write to me about all that has happened to [them]. Who found their tracks? Which watch found their tracks? Write to me about all that has happened to them and how many people you send out after them.” Another inscription from the same cache of documents (Anastasi VI) records that an entire tribe gained permission to enter Egypt from Edom in search of food.
*]If it seems incredible to believe that 600,000 men plus women and children could have survived as a people in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years, we may be misinterpreting the number, says Hoffmeier. Hebrew University professor Abraham Malamat, for one, points out that the Bible often refers to 600 and its multiples, as well as 1,000 and its multiples, typologically in order to convey the idea of a large military unit. “The issue of Exodus 12:37 is an interpretive one,” says Hoffmeier. “The Hebrew word eleph can be translated ‘thousand,’ but it is also rendered in the Bible as ‘clans’ and ‘military units.’ When I look at the question as an Egyptologist, I know that there are thought to have been 20,000 in the entire Egyptian army at the height of Egypt’s empire. And at the battle of Ai in Joshua 7, there was a severe military setback when 36 troops were killed. If you have an army of 600,000, that’s not a big setback.” In other words, the head count may have been far fewer than suggested by a literal reading of Exodus 12:37.
*]While conservative scholars debate an “early” and “late” date for the Exodus (fifteenth century or thirteenth century B.C.), all but the most skeptical scholars agree that the Israelites were in Canaan by the year 1208 B.C. This date was set a century ago with the discovery of the Merneptah Stele. This seven-foot high, black granite stone contains a victory hymn of Pharaoh Merneptah, which proclaims, “The Canaan is plundered with every hardship. / Ashkelon is taken, Gezer is captured, / [and] Yano’am reduced to nothing. / Israel is laid waste, his seed is no more.”
[/LIST]

ctlibrary.com/ct/1998/september7/8ta044.html

Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus:

archeologiabiblijna.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/ancient-israel-in-egypt-and-the-exodus.pdf

Some may be sceptical of this but look at Papyrus Ipuwer and Exodus:

specialtyinterests.net/ipuwer.html

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#36

Well…we already know there are a lot of errors–historic, technical, chronological, translational and otherwise–in the bible…both Old and New testaments…and bigger than this camel bones one…but that has not hurt a lot of people’s faith so far.

Is this one any more important to have a bigger impact? (this is a serious question, I’m not trying to be flip or anything).

.

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#37

I found some information from the following website at Christianity Today.

18th dynasty painted inscriptions in Egyptian tombs show slaves making bricks etc. Professor Hoffmeier says in an article, ‘It is worth noting, that the practice of using forced labor for building projects is only documented for the period 1450 to 1200, the very time most biblical historians place the Israelites in Egypt’

[LIST]
*]In a surviving Egyptian document called Leiden Papyrus 348, orders are given to “distribute grain rations to the soldiers and to the 'Apiru who transport stones to the great pylon of Rames[s]es.” This brings to mind Exodus 1:11, which says the Hebrews “built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh.” While hotly debated, 'Apiru is believed by some scholars to refer to the Hebrews, the ‘Ibri. If a future discovery of an inscription could link this word to the Hebrews, this document would prove to be our first direct extrabiblical reference to the children of Israel in slavery in Egypt.
*]Recent discoveries of military outposts on a road leading from Egypt into Canaan, built by Pharaoh Seti I and earlier kings in the thirteenth century B.C., shed new light on why a northern route for the Exodus would have meant war for the Israelites. Exodus 13:17 states: "When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, ‘If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.’ " Instead, the Bible explains, “God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness.”
*]While it is virtually impossible 3,000 years later to retrace the footsteps of a people who escaped over a sand-swept wilderness, an Egyptian letter (Anastasi III) from guards at a “border crossing” between Egypt and the Sinai helps explain Moses’ insistent cry, “Let my people go!” The text indicates that in the thirteenth century the Egyptians maintained a tight border control, allowing no one to pass without a permit. The letter describes two slaves who—in a striking parallel to the Israelite escape—flee from the city of Rameses at night, are pursued by soldiers, but disappear into the Sinai wilderness. “When my letter reaches you,” writes the official to the border guard, “write to me about all that has happened to [them]. Who found their tracks? Which watch found their tracks? Write to me about all that has happened to them and how many people you send out after them.” Another inscription from the same cache of documents (Anastasi VI) records that an entire tribe gained permission to enter Egypt from Edom in search of food.
*]If it seems incredible to believe that 600,000 men plus women and children could have survived as a people in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years, we may be misinterpreting the number, says Hoffmeier. Hebrew University professor Abraham Malamat, for one, points out that the Bible often refers to 600 and its multiples, as well as 1,000 and its multiples, typologically in order to convey the idea of a large military unit. “The issue of Exodus 12:37 is an interpretive one,” says Hoffmeier. “The Hebrew word eleph can be translated ‘thousand,’ but it is also rendered in the Bible as ‘clans’ and ‘military units.’ When I look at the question as an Egyptologist, I know that there are thought to have been 20,000 in the entire Egyptian army at the height of Egypt’s empire. And at the battle of Ai in Joshua 7, there was a severe military setback when 36 troops were killed. If you have an army of 600,000, that’s not a big setback.” In other words, the head count may have been far fewer than suggested by a literal reading of Exodus 12:37.
*]While conservative scholars debate an “early” and “late” date for the Exodus (fifteenth century or thirteenth century B.C.), all but the most skeptical scholars agree that the Israelites were in Canaan by the year 1208 B.C. This date was set a century ago with the discovery of the Merneptah Stele. This seven-foot high, black granite stone contains a victory hymn of Pharaoh Merneptah, which proclaims, “The Canaan is plundered with every hardship. / Ashkelon is taken, Gezer is captured, / [and] Yano’am reduced to nothing. / Israel is laid waste, his seed is no more.”
[/LIST]

ctlibrary.com/ct/1998/september7/8ta044.html

Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus:

archeologiabiblijna.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/ancient-israel-in-egypt-and-the-exodus.pdf

Some may be sceptical of this but look at Papyrus Ipuwer and Exodus:

specialtyinterests.net/ipuwer.html

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#38

Maybe it is just the way I think but: We think the Torah was written down around the 5th century BC. If camels were used as beasts of burden for trading starting around the 9th century BC, especially in places where the Israelites were in exile during the time the books were written down, then it would make sense that the Torah would use them as incidental props in the stories.

Then again, archeologists have been positive that they knew “facts” before, just to be found incorrect later on. So who knows…

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#39

Archeology is a science and a very useful tool to help us gather knowledge and make informed decisions. Like all sciences, the conclusions that we draw from depend very much upon the limited information that is available to us.

We make a mistake if we look to archeology to either prove or disprove our faith in God.

Probably from the very earliest of times, people made the assumption that the Bible was giving us a factual historical account of our past. The problem with this is that most of the major events even in the Bible are being told and retold from different points of view, depending on the book that is being referred to, and with different details and differing outcomes.
There is a general cultural,historical/political, and mythical background to all the stories, that would have been widely known to the people of the region in the times that they were written from. Much of the same thing is found in the sermons and theological discussions of today, where rabbis and priests and pastors and theologians make reference to such things as black holes and time warps and the quantum mechanics of the day to make their spiritual point. They know that they are not qualified physicists, and so does their audience, but the understandings of the day are like parables that reveal the unseen world of the spirit in terms of the world that is available to our senses.

Christianity and most particularly Catholicism is a sacramental faith, in which the world as we experience it is imbued with spirit and is the vehicle through which we can react with all things spiritual.

We are not pantheists though. We make a mistake if we confuse the historic event with the spiritual event that the Bible points us to. This world of events and things is not God. It is a reflection of God, a creation in the image and likeness of He who created it, but not the essence of who God is, for God is transcendent to the event and the things of this world.

We are a culture that insists that truth be measured exclusively by the tool of science. ‘Science proves and disproves truth. Whatever science confirms is deemed to be true, and whatever is unconfirmable is irrelevant.’

That is simply not the way that the cultures of the Bible thought, and in the end it is not good science either. Good science recognizes its limitations and recognizes that its experience of truth is only as valid as the facts that are being revealed. Facts are constantly being discovered, and old theories become transformed into totally different understandings as the new facts present themselves, and the old ones must be reinterpreted in new ways in order to remain consistent with the ever-emerging picture.

The Bible is the Wisdom of the Ages. It does not displace the fact of science, nor is it in competition with them. Instead, the Bible is there in order that each generation does not have to reinvent the relationship between God and between themselves from scratch. We have been given an understanding of God and ourselves within the Bible that is of immeasurable worth that informs us of how to live a good and worthwhile life that is not dependant on our own personal experiences, in real time as we are experiencing them. Young people need to know the best way to live their lives before they make their choices, and that is what a good understanding of the Bible allows us all to do.

Trial and error of experience is another way of course. Assuredly though, the mistakes that our society which has cut itself off from the Wisdom of the Ages in deference to the trial and error methods of science have already been made-they have already been depicted in the Bible even— and the Bible warns us against making them again and again and again.

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#40

Are these archaeologists in any way related to the loons that claim that frescoes in the newly restored Catacombs of Priscilla prove there were women priests in early Christianity?..:rolleyes:

***Peace, Mark ***

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