#1
Old 04-25-2005, 12:37 AM
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"Old Camel Knees"

I happend to attend a church service this morning (a statement that would probably give you a heart attack if you actually knew me), and one of the preachers got up and told us we should be like James, Jesus's brother, who earned the nickname "Old Camel Knees" because he apparently spent all of his time on his knees praying. Now this struck me as odd. I know there's quite alot of strange things in the bible, but surely I would've heard about this before. After the service, me and my girlfriend go to eat lunch and discuss this. Both of us were raised in church, and neither of us had heard this before. So when we get home, we Google for it. Turns out there are no biblical citations for it, it's just "tradition" or "historical fact", even though none of the websites I looked through actually told me where they got this "fact."

Odd, because I thought there were only one or two extra-biblical texts concerning people mentioned in the bible, and I'm not sure they would decide to include such a weird fact as that.

So now I turn to the Dopers to enlighten me: is there any historical accuracy behind James "Old Camel Knees," or is it simply glurgy inspirational camel-crap?
#2
Old 04-25-2005, 01:01 AM
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St. Jerome (342-420 CE), in his Live of Illustrious Men:
Quote:
He [James] alone enjoyed the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since, indeed, he did not wear woolen, but only linen clothes, and went into the Temple alone and prayed on behalf of the people, so that his knees were reputed to have acquired the callousness of a camel's knees.
#3
Old 04-25-2005, 01:08 AM
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The claim is dubious, as Jews do not customarily kneel while praying except during the annual Yom Kippur service. It sounds like latter-day piety was being thrust upon James by a Christian writer.
#4
Old 06-13-2011, 10:55 AM
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I came across this thread while doing a search for something else. It caught my interest and I read the couple posts here . . .

Then I went to my research process.

It took all of 5 minutes to find Daniel 6:10 (Old Testament of the Bible) that says Daniel prayed on his knees several times a day . . . a Jew in 600 BC.

Fighting ignorance since 1955.

Steve
#5
Old 06-13-2011, 11:08 AM
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Good thing he didn't spend all day praying on his toes then.
#6
Old 06-13-2011, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronic Chaos View Post
I happend to attend a church service this morning (a statement that would probably give you a heart attack if you actually knew me), and one of the preachers got up and told us we should be like James, Jesus's brother, who earned the nickname "Old Camel Knees" because he apparently spent all of his time on his knees praying. Now this struck me as odd. I know there's quite alot of strange things in the bible, but surely I would've heard about this before. After the service, me and my girlfriend go to eat lunch and discuss this. Both of us were raised in church, and neither of us had heard this before. So when we get home, we Google for it. Turns out there are no biblical citations for it, it's just "tradition" or "historical fact", even though none of the websites I looked through actually told me where they got this "fact."

Odd, because I thought there were only one or two extra-biblical texts concerning people mentioned in the bible, and I'm not sure they would decide to include such a weird fact as that.

So now I turn to the Dopers to enlighten me: is there any historical accuracy behind James "Old Camel Knees," or is it simply glurgy inspirational camel-crap?
I think it's half and half. I, about 35 years ago, had heard of the reference to James' knees (which, no doubt, came from Walloon's source,) but it sounds, to me, that the 'Old Camel Knees' thing is some of the glurgy camel-crap that you noted.

Best wishes,
hh
#7
Old 06-15-2011, 03:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronic Chaos View Post
I happend to attend a church service this morning (a statement that would probably give you a heart attack if you actually knew me), and one of the preachers got up and told us we should be like James, Jesus's brother, who earned the nickname "Old Camel Knees" because he apparently spent all of his time on his knees praying. Now this struck me as odd. I know there's quite alot of strange things in the bible, but surely I would've heard about this before. After the service, me and my girlfriend go to eat lunch and discuss this. Both of us were raised in church, and neither of us had heard this before. So when we get home, we Google for it. Turns out there are no biblical citations for it, it's just "tradition" or "historical fact", even though none of the websites I looked through actually told me where they got this "fact."

Odd, because I thought there were only one or two extra-biblical texts concerning people mentioned in the bible, and I'm not sure they would decide to include such a weird fact as that.

So now I turn to the Dopers to enlighten me: is there any historical accuracy behind James "Old Camel Knees," or is it simply glurgy inspirational camel-crap?
To be honest, I've personally MET quite a few camel during my deployment.
To put it simply, they're not the nicest animal to deal with, make it even SLIGHTLY irritated and it'll spit a greenish goo upon you that makes kid's slime look NICE.
That said, I never had a problem with them myself. One alpha type tried to crowd me once, but HE backed off. Never figured out WHY that on worked out so well, rather than getting mega-slimed...
THAT all said, I had a fair amount of R&R time in Qatar, a quite safe state.
I had my wife visit. She happened to be trying to draw a camel, but made a score of mistakes, due to lack of exposure to them.
So, I took her to the livestock market, about 700 meters from my villa (off post housing, due to my rank).
Camels don't normally have knees that you'd notice. They kneel and drop their chest down hard first and let IT bear the mass, hence a massive callous on the breastbone, NOT THE KNEES.

So, from direct and personal experience, I'd dispatch it to the dustbin of idiocy.
#8
Old 06-15-2011, 05:02 AM
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It is mentioned in St. Jerome's Letters, where he cites Hegesippus for coming up with the nickname. I found this translation here.

Quote:
He alone was permitted to enter into the holy place; for he wore not woolen but linen garments. And he was in the habit of entering alone into the temple, and he was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the people, so that his knees became hard like those of a camel in consequence of his constantly bending them in his worship of God and asking forgiveness for the people.
But not wanting to let a good nickname go to waste it appears again in Jerome's Letter to Maricella, XXIV, to describe St. Asella:

Quote:
So intimate are you with Asella that you have seen, with your own eyes, her holy knees hardened like those of a camel from the frequency of her prayers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizard One View Post
Camels don't normally have knees that you'd notice. They kneel and drop their chest down hard first and let IT bear the mass, hence a massive callous on the breastbone, NOT THE KNEES.
A camel's knees

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