Stealing the Heritage
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"Heretic" archaeologists steal Phoenician Canaanite heritage, call Judaism and Christianity a pagan invention, and lay waste the claim of the Jewish people to the Promised Land.

Statement of Purpose

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.

Closing 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 way out.

Preface

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 forum.

The Plan

The Hypothesis
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.

The Socio-Political Agenda
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.

The Problem

If the claim is true why is there a problem?

Religious Impact
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 tradition.

Political Impact
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 by anybody.

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.

Historical Sophistry

Archaeological evidence
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 them wrong.

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 the same.

Similarities 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 primitive societies.

Phoenician Canaanites 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.

The 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.

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