Magazine Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSP 0 (Autumn 1987) p. 26
Camel Ancestry and Domestication in Egypt and the Sahara by Michael Ripinsky
There are a great many magazines on archaeology telling of recent finds. However, most of them are too technical or too theological for many people. And frequently it may be difficult to see the value of a given discovery for Bible study.
In each issue of Archaeology and Biblical Research we will review recently published archaeology journals and magazines and give summaries of articles helpful to Bible students and teachers. Some of those to be surveyed can be found in another section of this issue.
Many excellent articles have been published since Bible and Spade suspended publication. We feel it will be helpful to our readers to review some of these before looking at more recent ones.
According to biblical chronology the Patriarchs lived at the end of the Early Bronze Age and the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age, ca. 2100–1800 BC.
Near Eastern scholars have long maintained that the camel was not domesticated until ca. 1100 BC. By this reckoning, the camel was not even domesticated at the time of Moses, traditional author of the first five books of the Bible (who lived about 1500 BC). So the mention of camels in the Patriarchal narratives has been one of the arguments critics have used to bolster their claim that the Bible is unreliable, and that it was written much later than the events it relates.
But the evidence gathered by Michael Ripinsky, summarized
BSP 0 (Autumn 1987) p. 27
here, dispels the critics’ claims and demonstrates that the camel was domesticated, at least in Egypt, 1000 years before the time of Abraham!
“The story of the camel is, as much as anything, the story of the scholarship which pertains to its existence in early Egypt and the Sahara. It sometimes happens that a scholarly hypothesis hardens into accepted dogma, and such was the case to some extent regarding the camel.
“The eleventh-century BC date for the first domestication of the camel was proposed by William F. Albright on the strength of a cuneiform inscription — an Akkadian udru — on the Broken Obelisk of the Mesopotamlan ruler Tlglath-Plleser I (1115–1077 BC). This inscription relates to the breeding of Bactrian camels and was correlated by Albright and his followers with the first appearance of the domestica...
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