Updated, see below:

Here is an exercise in rationalization for you:

The Bible talks a lot about camels:

http://biblez.com/search.php?q=camel

According to the Bible, camels were common and known throughout the Old Testament to the people of the covenant, at least from the time of Abraham circa 2,000 BC.

Oops. The camel bones indicate there were no camels until nearly 900 BC, well into the time of the Kings.

http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=19673

It took me a bit to find, but here is the published article:

http://archaeology.tau.ac.il/ben-yosef/pub/Pub_PDFs/Sapir-Hen&Ben-Yosef13_CamelAravah_TelAviv.pdf

I will be glad to see any comments or suggestions on this topic. Please comment here or on Facebook.

Update: I am glad this particular study has sparked some activity in the news and in media like Christianity Today. Here is an update link with some useful information: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/february-web-only/latest-challenge-bible-accuracy-abraham-anachronistic-camel.html?paging=off

I’m still inclined to suppose the current scholarly paradigm is close to the truth, but I am committed to the truth, and if we can find evidence to over through the consensus, then by all means, proceed.

I find the paper presented as being compelling, and the overall evidence for compilation and editing of much of the Old Testament during the Babylonian captivity period to be sufficient to warrant acceptance until more evidence is available.

In comments at CT: Stefan Stackhouse, February 14, 2014, “There is another possible explanation: some well-meaning scribe took it upon himself to add mentions of camels to the original text sometime between its writing and the Exile. No doubt he was (mistakenly) thinking that he was somehow “improving” upon the original text. The fact that “the book of the law” was “rediscovered” in the temple in Josiah’s day suggests that maybe they didn’t have quite the same attitude toward scripture back then that they developed after the exile. If the camels were a later embellishment, then there really isn’t any issue here, is there? So why are some fighting so hard against such solid scientific evidence? Might it be that the real issue isn’t biblical inerrancy, but rather a belief that the text of the original autographs was somehow preserved intact with no additions. One can believe that, but that is NOT the same thing as inerrancy, and it is a rather novel belief that is very difficult to defend.”

Roger Morris, February 14, 2014, “The sooner we accept that the early narratives of the OT are myths and legends of an ancient near-eastern culture in Israel – admitting they are myths and legends is NOT the same as admitting they are fabricated – the sooner we will relax on whether exact details of the accounts are literally and chronologically accurate. Ancient myths and legends can be generally accurate, while getting some details incorrect or exaggerated in the oral transmission process. Demanding every piece of information given is 100% accurate is only one step away from Young Earth Creationism.”

THE REV ROBERT MORRIS, February 14, 2014, “I, too, lament how many people try to validate or invalidate the truths of Scripture by quibbling about details like camels or no camels. A minor factual error no more undermines a fundamental truth like God’s covenant with Abraham than some error in a newspaper report about MLKJr would invalidate the truth of his civil rights message. The insistence by believers on the Bible’s 100% accuracy in everything simply invites skeptics to try disproving details. Scripture is trustworthy in revealing God’s character and how grace works for salvation. Quite enough for me.”

My point in posting about the cited study is that it will simply cause those who dismiss the bible to say, “See, I told ya so.” While the fundamentalist Christian types will rationalize or dismiss the study out of hand. The truth is somewhere in between. Most will not put forth the effort to find it, nor hold the patience to wait for it.

The fact is the preponderance of evidence leans against the overall accuracy of detail in the Old Testament. It is just as certain, that the basic historicity of the bible is sound, but there were edits, and embellishments, and errors. Exaggerations abound, and exaggerated, even fanciful assumptions in the last century abound to overflowing.

As an example, I have seen people, even from pulpits, try to use the Saddam Hussein construction of “Abraham’s House in Ur” as evidence of the greatness of the patriarch. Pah! http://archive.archaeology.org/1011/etc/president.html “…the supposed house of the prophet Abraham, a complete fabrication by Saddam Hussein. It was designed to attract Pope John Paul II’s interest in Ur immediately prior to the Vatican’s Jubilee Year in 2000.”

Where is your faith? If you faith isn’t in Christ, please don’t call yourself a Christian. If it is, please reset confidently in His promise that He will perfect the work He began in you. (The Epistles, specifically, Philippians and Hebrews.)

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