You’ve probably read the headlines: “Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out.” (The U.K. Telegraph.) “New DNA study casts doubt on Bible claim.” (Mother Nature Network.) “Canaanites Weren’t Annihilated by Ancient Israelites After All.” (Newser.)
All of them giddily reported a genetic study that allegedly disproved the Bible, according to PJ Media. However, in their rush to disprove the Abrahamic holy book, they overlooked one slight problem: namely, the actual text of the Bible.
The articles came from a study in the American Journal of Human Genetics, which traced the DNA of the biblical Canaanites to modern-day Lebanon. Since God commanded the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites in Deuteronomy 20, the researchers said their work had disproved part of the Bible.
“The Bible reports the destruction of the Canaanite cities and the annihilation of its people; if true, the Canaanites could not have directly contributed genetically to present-day populations,” they wrote.
“However, no archaeological evidence has so far been found to support widespread destruction of Canaanite cities between the Bronze and Iron Ages: cities on the Levant coast such as Sidon and Tyre show continuity of occupation until the present day.
“We show that present-day Lebanese derive most of their ancestry from a Canaanite-related population, which therefore implies substantial genetic continuity in the Levant since at least the Bronze Age.”
One thing these researchers didn’t bother researching was the book they were apparently eager to debunk. Specifically, Judges 1:28: “And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.“
Apparently, the media was all-too-keen to jump on it before checking out the actual facts. And it didn’t take long for them to start issuing corrections and changing headlines. Two of the three headlines mentioned in the first paragraph, in fact, have already been changed and a small correction inserted at the bottom. Newser, for their part, has stuck with their headline — which is still kind of true, if misleading.
I’m not sure what’s more irksome or less surprising: that the media was willing to take the study’s claims at face value, or that no one at any of these publications seemed to know enough about the Christian holy book to correct it.
Either way, it’s somewhat satisfying to see these mainstream media outlets quietly celebrating something that disproves the Bible and then getting some biblical egg on their faces when they turned out to be very wrong.
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