This article is
written and posted as a statement of the author's opinion on a subject
that is directly related to the history, heritage and contributions
of the Canaanite Phoenician civilization. The author does not assume
to take over, herewith, the responsibility of defending any ideologies,
religions, or political systems. However, the author has taken upon
himself to write this in defense of what he believes is true. Finally,
this statement means to declare very strongly that the subject mentioned
herewith is not open for discussion. Readers
who disagree are invited to leave this page and all messages
that contradict this article will be ignored.
Down the Forum
A few months ago,
I had to shut down the Forum Phoenicium or the forum dedicated to the
Global Guardians of Phoenician Heritage (GGPH) related to this page.
The reason for pulling the plug on the forum was the intellectual terrorist
activities that some members brought onto the forum. As moderator of
the forum, I found myself playing policeman rather than history enthusiast.
The academic terrorism was propagated by a group of (obviously) atheist
Israelis and nominal Jews commonly referred to as Minimalists. In addition
to the latter there were some confused Europeans, persons with political
agenda, and some individuals who could not open their mind to reason.
Hence, the forum became a socio-political battleground instead of being
a place for the free exchange of ideas. Shutting it down was the only
The original purpose
of setting up the Forum Phoenicium, the GGPH, was to bring together
a group of people who cared for working together on preserving the heritage
of Canaanite Phoenicians. It was hoped that the group would work jointly
and separately to rally support for protection of this heritage in various
forms. These include seeking the assistance of politicians, dealers,
and common people to safe guard archaeological finds, artifacts and
treasures from potential loss by looting or sale in black markets. Further,
the group was urged to accumulate information about this heritage for
a compiling in a centralized location.
While the purpose
of the forum was clear, some members joined with special historical
and political agenda that had nothing to do with the purpose of the
A group of nominal Jews and agnostic Israeli archaeologists
(inspired by Israel Finkelstein, chairman of the Archaeology Department
at Tel Aviv University, who, with archaeology historian and journalist
Neil Asher Silberman, published a book called "The
Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the
Origin of Its Sacred Text.") introduced to the forum an idea
which, in short, claims that the Hebrews were never enslaves in Egypt
and there was no Exodus to the "Promised Land". Further, they
claimed that the Hebrews were actually Canaanite and that Judaism was
a product of ideas borrowed from Canaanite faith systems along with
an imported but adapted concept of one god. That is the heretic Egyptian
Pharaoh Akhenaton's concept of monotheism that dismissed all Egyptian
deities in favor of a single god, the sun god Ra.
Once these people established the heresy in their own
minds, they started preaching that the Hebrews were Phoenician Canaanites.
Along with that came all the credits that used to be attributed to the
Phoenician Canaanites. These well-known credits include invention of
the alphabet, colonizing the Mediterranean, circumnavigating Africa,
trade, architecture, arts and crafts...etc. In a way, these confused
archaeologists claimed a superior origin for their people along with
loads of great achievements instead of the enslavement in Egypt.
There are variances
and additional historical heresies to be mentioned but there is no place
for them in this article.
If the claim is
true why is there a problem?
The fundamentals of Judaism were laid down by Moses in
his Pentateuch, first five books of the Bible. These include the Ten
Commandments which he received on Mount Sinai during the Children of
Israel's Exodus from Egypt; the Ark which was made to house the Commandment;
the Tabernacle (later to become the Temple in Jerusalem) which was made
to house the Ark; and, last but not least, the Promised Land
in Canaan to which he was leading his people. Thereafter, everything that related to the settlement of the Children of Israel in Canaan as
their Promised Land of "milk and honey" was included the-things-to-go.
Hence, the hypothesis torpedoed the fundamentals of Judaism the Judeo-Christian
When the fundamentals of the Jewish faith are undermined
by negating the basis of Judaism what happens to the Israel and its
claim on the Promised Land? The answer is not hard to figure out. If
Judaism is nothing more than Phoenician Canaanite paganism with an Egyptian
concepts of one God and there is no truth in the enslavement in Egypt,
the Exodus, the Ten Commandment, the Ark, the Tabernacle, the Temple
and the Promised Land; the claim of the Israeli people to the Holy Land
has no place as a political concept. It is a stab in the back for the
Jewish faith and Zionism at the same time.
The logic, or lack
of it, of this heresy assumes indirectly that Jews have no right to
"RETURN" to a land which supposedly was never promised
In short, these
heretic archaeologists do not realize that they are playing with fire
in their hypothesis and "are cutting their noses to spite their
faces," -- a very trite but appropriate expression.
Upon careful analysis of hieroglyphic inscriptions and careful study
of very specific archaeological sites in Egypt, the presence of the
Children of Israel is clearly identified and so is their exodus. Simple
hieroglyphic interpretation shows that the Hebrews were elevated from
being a people to being a nation right after the Exodus. Also, an important
archaeological site where a group of foreign people lived in Egypt shows
that the inhabitants left the site at the same date in history and took
with them the body of a buried patriarch interred in their midst. The
archaeologists who analyzed the site came up with the conclusion that
the group of people where the Children of Israel and the Patriarch's
body was Joseph's.
Lack of evidence
does not necessarily deny an occurrence
Though archaeological evidence of an exodus across the Sinai desert
has not been found yet, a trickle of an exodus could have happened or
the evidence would be found someday. In other words, the lack of evidence
should not be taken as a proof that it never happened. Such blunders
and false conclusions have frequently happened in history but later
made historians and archaeologists eat their words when evidence proved
Records and references
The history of the Hebrews upon arriving in Canaan, their wars and collaboration
with the various peoples of that part of the world are too many to discuss
in this short article. Further, the history of their kings and queens
such as David, Solomon, Jezebel and others document the relations which
they had with the Phoenician Canaanites, the Philistines and others.
In the New Testament, among the first pagan convert was a Canaanite
woman from Sidon. The words of Christ to her as not belonging to the
Hebrew people are one among many proofs that the two people were not
do not have to mean two people are one
The claim that similarities between Hebrew archaeological finds (pottery,
buildings, artifacts...etc) and Canaanite equivalents which are used
to suggest that the Hebrews were Canaanites are unfounded. This is simply
imputed to the fact that the Hebrews learned from the Canaanite/Phoenicians.
The latter were the most advanced civilization the Hebrews had come
in contact with after spending 40 years as nomads in the Sinai desert.
Hence, it is elementary that the Phoenicians had impacted every aspect
of Hebrew life. The same parallel may be suggested regarding the impact
of the Byzantines on the Arab and Turk invaders who came from nomadic
existed after Jewish Diaspora
The early Christian community outside the Jews was mostly made up of
ex-pagan Phoenician Canaanites. The Phoenician Church was established
by the Apostles and their immediate successors. The Phoenician Canaanite
City of Tyre was one of the most important Christian cities of that
era. Further, during the Roman persecution of the Church, Phoenician
Canaanite Christians went through periods of extensive persecution.
Records of these persecutions throughout Phoenicia are extensive. Imperial
letters to the bishops of Phoenician cities are additional documents
which prove that Phoenician Canaanites were in existence long after
the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the dispersion of the Jews. In fact,
the Phoenician community was still well known in the Eastern Mediterranean
until the advent of Islam in the 7th century. It, along with
the Phoenician/Punic language, survived even longer in the Phoenician
colonies of North Africa.
Why are names
of Phoenician script (letters) easily understood by Israelis?
Hebrew was gradually abandoned in favor of Aramaic. During the Babylonian
Captivities of the Hebrews, Aramaic became their lingua franca. Targum
or translation of scriptures into Aramaic was made to accommodate the
switch from Hebrew to Aramaic. However, Hebrew remained in use for sometime
thereafter as the official language of worship (much like Latin in the
Catholic Church). By the 3rd century BC, Hebrew was spoken only in Judaea,
and even there in a modified form known as Mishnaic. During the time
of Christ, Aramaic was the lingua franca of the Hebrews. As a language,
Hebrew died out around AD 200, and was no longer spoken anywhere. Hebrew
was revived as a spoken language to provide a lingua franca for Jews
who moved to Palestine in the late 19th century. Hence, Hebrew was frozen
in time for about 1,700 years. Philologists, ethemologists and lexicographers
are well aware that languages evolve over time. Such evolution makes
some words loose their meanings or make their meanings obscure. However,
the similarities between Hebrew of 200 AD and Phoenician of the same
period did not undergo the normal evolution mentioned herewith. The
former "froze in time" in 200 AD and the latter went out of
use about 500 AD. This lack of evolution makes Hebrew of the 19th century
relatively unchanged for 1,700 years and therefore much closer to its
original Semitic roots -- unadulterated by evolution. Similarities
between many European languages can be easily drawn up to illustrate
this point. To summarized the fact that modern Hebrew
speakers understand the meaning of Phoenician characters is nothing
more than the lack of evolution of Hebrew language.
Undermining and Domino Effect
The heretic archaeologists'
undermining of Judaism and the books of the Old Testament (the Torah)
with their new hypotheses and false assumptions impacts Judaism and
Christianity as well. In fact, it is a tool that every atheist would
like to adopt without hesitation to support known atheistic explanations
regarding the origin of all religions.
Finally, the new
ideas that the said group is floating around kill many birds with one
stone. It steals the Phoenician Canaanite heritage
and claims it for Israel. At the same time, it robs Judaism of its divine
origin by making it nothing more than a pagan invention. Further, it
lays waste the claim of the Jewish people to the Promised Land and
claims Christianity and Islam false, since they have their roots in Judaism.