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Bible's text not about the facts or the camels

The Bible’s telling of events is being questioned after a recent study suggested that camels, which were the car of the day back in biblical times, weren’t domesticated and available for riding until hundreds of years later, CNN reported.

But the use of camels in the Bible isn’t about writing down an inaccuracy, CNN said. It’s actually a sign that writers of the Bible's stories were only making the book more compelling and connected to the world that they lived in.

“The presence of these camels in the story highlights, in a very clear way, the essential humanity of the biblical writers: like the best authors, they simply wrote about what they knew,” CNN reported.

Time magazine said something similar. It wasn’t about telling an exact retelling of what happened in biblical times, but rather showing a story that provided a message for people to understand.

“We expect history to provide an accurate narrative of real events,” Carol Meyers, a religious professor at Duke University to Time. “The biblical authors, composers, writers used their creative imaginations to shape their stories, and they were not interested in what actually happened, they were interested in what you could learn from telling about the past.”

And the camels, Time said, weren’t meant to be modes of transportation in the Bible. Rather, they are representative of the people that the Bible’s story showed in the text.

“Understanding the Case of the Phantom Camel as a fight between archeological evidence and biblical narrative misses the entire spiritual point of the text, as far as scholars are concerned,” Time said. “In this case, camels were a sign of wealth and developing trade routes, so it is likely that the biblical writer used the camel as a narrative device to point out power and status.”

And Christianity Today reported that the research may not show the entire story, and that there may have been domesticated animals in biblical times.

Looking at the research and saying there weren’t “domesticated camels anywhere else in Israel in the 1,000 years before that is an overreach," said Todd Bolen, professor of Biblical Studies at The Master's College, to Christianity Today. "The conclusions are overstated."

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