Are You a Camel Denier?

The authenticity of the Bible has received a new challenge, a new camel’s nose under the tent.  You’ve probably seen the headline: Two archaeologists have published their findings that camels did not likely live in Biblical lands at the time of Abraham, yet the Bible says they did.

One obvious conclusion is that the early books of the Bible were written long after the events they describe.  Conservative Protestants quickly disputed this implication.  Dr. Andrew Steinmann, a professor of Hebrew and theology at Concordia University-Chicago, insisted that this evidence merely proved the accuracy of the Old Testament.  Camels, Steinmann argued (according to an article in the Christian Post), were not described in the OT as widespread, but rather only owned by recent emigres from other areas.

As Gordon Govier aptly put it in the pages of Christianity Today, this archaeological dispute is only the “latest challenge to the Bible’s accuracy.”

Indeed, as historians of evangelicalism will tell you, the roots of what we think of as fundamentalism and its neo-evangelical offshoots came directly from an earlier generation of scholarly criticisms of the Bible’s accuracy.

In all the ruckus, nothing I’ve seen has been more poignant than the recent accusation by Julie Borg in World Magazine that the archaeologists amount to nothing more than cynical “Camel Deniers.”  She argues that plenty of secular research disproves their bitter and ill-conceived anti-Biblical argument.

So how about it?  Is this a new “denier” category to add to our culture-war lists?


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