“Why was Jesus born in a semi-Arabian land & culture and why he had to deliver his sermons in a semi-Arabian tongue?”
By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat
Not necessarily having to be labelled Muslim, I was raised in a land/region with a Muslim Majority population, namely Egypt. Once again, not necessarily having to be branded as Christian, Egypt has one of the most ancient Christian communities whose members are called Copts and their ancient Church the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Although Christianity had practically first appeared in the East (the ancient Levant) in places like Palestine, Syria and of course Egypt. But the truth of the matter is that if we, right now, want to geographically categorize world religions we will have to concede to the following fact; the East is predominantly Muslim, the Far East Buddhist and Hindu while the West is predominantly Christian.
But I have a nagging problem with this geographical distribution, for Jesus Christ was said to have been born in Palestine (a genuine part of the East or what used to be called, and till this day, The Levant)
If God, the omniscient, had undoubtedly foreseen this geographical divide with all the conflict and intolerance that it would surely entail, why then didn’t he simply have his son born in ancient Greece, France or Rome for that matter? Why complicate things?
Once again, not necessarily having to be classified as atheist, why help politicize religion and turn spiritual affairs into drones carrying so called smart missiles?
After all it was the Roman Empire and church that controlled and canonized the literature of the then newly–fledged Christianity. Hence, Rome, as a birthplace for Jesus, would not only have been more convenient, but also would have saved the world many past and future religious wars/crusades. Not to mention the eagerly awaited mother of all battles, the so-called Armageddon.
Why did Jesus – as the story goes – have to be born in Palestine, a part of the Levant, or in other words the heart of the Ancient Near East? It is so enigmatic, for this is a land with an indigenous culture that runs contrary, if not hostile, to the western/Roman culture and more importantly its concept of Jesus. And do I mean by that that people of the Ancient Near East had another, oriental if you like, concept of Jesus? Yes I do.
In the eastern concept/story, Jesus is called Eas’sa the son of Mar’iam. It is a far older story than that of the Roman version of ‘Jesus”. In short it is one of Ancient Arabia’s religious cults and folk stories (topic of a future essay)
Some will argue that the biblical Lord might have had a sort of long run plan to turn the whole world into accepting Jesus as the Son of God and their savior, no matter where he was born. Even if Jesus’ birthplace was in the heart of a genuinely Eastern land that was indeed influenced by ancient Arabian culture and traditions.
Others will argue that when Jesus was born, Palestine was already part of the Roman Empire. Well, I’m quite familiar with this fact, but being occupied by the Romans doesn’t make the people of Palestine, with their genuine eastern culture/traditions more Roman than the British occupation made India (the land of Buddhism and Hinduism) British.
Let’s admit it, the story of Jesus took place on an Eastern land whose Eastern people spoke Aramaic (a mere dialect of the Arabic tongue).
But then, and after few decades the Bibles of the new Christian faith began to pop up not in Palestine, as one would have logically guessed, but the Bibles had appeared in the Western side of the Roman Empire.
And guess in what language? Not in Aramaic, the language Jesus was said to have spoken, but strangely enough in the tongue of the mother of all western languages; Greek.
The story of the nativity is re-enacted all over the western churches/schools around the time of Christmas with people/actors dressed up in ancient Arabian garments and head covers/pieces (The keffiyeh or kufiya – the symbolic head dress of Palestinians still worn till this very moment).
Westerners, with their Roman culture, keep repeating this Christmas re-enactment (ceremonial tradition) dressed in a completely foreign clothing that is undoubtedly Arabian. But the weird thing is that nobody in the Christian west wonders why Jesus had to be born in a semi-Arabian culture and deliver his sermons in a semi-Arabian tongue.
Did God’s plan lack a precise compass, or was Jesus, or better yet “Eas’sa” an Arabian Prophet whose story had somehow been Romanized and romanticized by the then western intellectuals with their Greco-Roman culture?
Some, and rightly so, will bring up the Jewish connection here. They will argue that since Christianity as a theological structure is mainly based on Judaism, Jesus had to be born in the midst of the land of Yehudia/Judaism. In other words, Palestine (according to the mainstream indoctrination).
But is that a correct/valid premise, to begin with? I mean is Palestine really the land of the ancient Israelites and their stories? Did David build his so-called Kingdom and Solomon his so-called temple over the soil of Palestine? Modern Archeologists and historians are in great doubt, if not outright denial, about this hypothesis. Archeologists can’t even validate that what modern-day Jews refer to as the Western Wall is indeed historically related to Herod’s Temple.
Moreover, they can’t even confirm that the foundation of the so-called first Temple lies underneath Al-Aqsa Mosque. Still the Israelis keep on digging under the Muslim Holy shrine, unabashed and undeterred, ever since they had militarily occupied Eastern Jerusalem back in 1967. Over 50 years of their frantic digging has practically yielded zero-evidence that Palestine was indeed the historical land of the Israelites and their stories.
If that what the status quo is, then we are back to the Jewish connection once again. But this time not only are we examining its relation to the geography of Palestine, but to Jesus himself, whom the Jews – quite frankly- till this very moment don’t see/ recognize him as their “Messiah”.
If archeologically and historically Palestine cannot be validated as the land of the Ancient Israelites and their first Temple, and the world Jews don’t accept Jesus as their Messiah, then why was Jesus said to have been born there?
If the Jewish first Temple was never built in Palestine, then what was Jesus, a supposedly physical embodiment of a Jewish prophecy, doing in the absolutely wrong place and temple? Why did God have his son born in the wrong place?
Maybe that explains why Paul, the man who invented (Roman) Christianity, turned his back on Palestine and Arabia and headed to the west and north. Paul did not proselytize in Arabia, which deep in its desert and valleys he had spent three awakening years. And no Arabia in this ancient context doesn’t by any means include the Sinai Peninsula (where Moses is allegedly said to have had his little chat with the God of the Israelites)
Having finished his mysterious sojourn in Arabia, Paul embarked on his mission of spreading the news about a new prophet, a Messiah with a (tailored) message that could very well suit the culture and political agenda of the ancient western world.
Paul, after “burying the dead” of his former theology, began preaching to westerners the story of the Arabian Eas’sa – but with a very, very clever Roman twist.
“The Ten Commandments should have been written down in Ancient Egyptian language, but that was not the case. So where is the missing link?”
By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat
Did the god of the Israelites deliver the so-called Ten Commandments to Moses orally or in a written form? The Bible clearly says in several places that he did indeed write the Ten Commandments himself (with his own finger). The clearest verse in regards to this is found in (Ex 31:18).
But then, why did the god of the Israelites have to go to such trouble as to write down the Ten Commandments himself?
What was so special about those ten laws particularly that they advocated common ethics ancient man had already come to know and value – including the idea of one supreme God – through social evolution and not by divine revelation?
Ironically, the man god chose to carry his laws which strongly abhorred the act of killing and stealing, was already a killer and later a warlord who ordered the killing of so many innocent people after having stolen their native land. That leaves one wondering whether those commandments had any moral mandate that should have deterred the children of Israel from committing the war crimes they did in the name of invading/occupying their so called “Promised Land”.
Moreover, most ancient cultures had codes of ethics more or less similar to the Hebrew Ten Commandments, and surprisingly, other cultures had far superseded them.
Ancient Egypt had long abided by 42 moral commandments – known as the laws of Ma’at, written at least 2,000 years before the time of Moses. Ma’at is the Egyptian principle of truth, righteousness and order. Compared to the Egyptian moral laws, the Ten Commandments seem a bit too little and much too late.
Most importantly, what was the language that the god of the Israelites used while chiseling down his tablets and also during his long conversations with Moses? Did the god of the Israelites use Chinese, Greek or Ancient Hebrew as the consensus of biblical scholars tends to believe.
What was the point the Israelite god wanted to make by chiseling down his commandments on stone, rather than articulating them verbally to Moses, as he did the rest of Torah? If those tablets were so divine and holy how did Moses have the guts – no matter what the reason was – to smash them into pieces the minute he descended from the mountain where he had a long chat with his god? Or maybe Moses destroyed those holy tablets because anger management (a value commended by ancient sages) was somehow not included in those Ten Commandments?
Rendering the Ten Commandments in a written form seems kind of strange considering that at the time of the story of the Exodus from Egypt no Israelite slave was literate in Ancient Hebrew or in any other ancient language for that matter.
So why did the god of the Israelites insist on writing down his commandments for an illiterate, aggressive and ungrateful mob of the Israelites?
As a matter of fact, the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet did not evolve before 1000 BC – some three centuries after the time of Moses and his tablets. The language structure is relatively similar to the Ancient Hebrew, which was about to arise around 1000 BC, but the symbols were not Hebrew, they were from an earlier set of pictograph symbols of Ancient Arabian/Yemenite writing.
So, what was the purpose of delivering God’s commandments inscribed on stone tablets when no one could have read them, including Moses who was purportedly raised and educated according to the Egyptian tradition and tongue?
If Moses was (as the misconception/myth goes) brought up as a high-ranking Egyptian he was probably literate only in Ancient Egyptian.
The Hebrews couldn’t have read or written hieroglyphs proper, because that was a closely guarded skill that required years of training and was the exclusive realm of a select class of scribes, usually drawn from elite Egyptian families.
Although no archaeological evidence has ever been recovered to attest to such an event of an Exodus or enslavement in Egypt, but, if the story of Moses did happen in Ancient Egypt, then the Ten Commandments as well as the rest of the Mosaic laws should have been written down in Ancient Egyptian language. But that was not the case according to the scholarly consensus. So where is the missing link?
When Moses was not in Egypt before the Exodus, he was with Midianites not Hebrews. The fact that Moses, after fleeing Egypt, was able to easily communicate/converse with Midianites means that the people of Ancient Egypt and Midian spoke the same tongue, but historically that is not true either.
A (mistaken) consensus among historians views Midian as an Arabian tribe/confederation of tribes that dwelled in the North-Western part of Ancient Arabia. But historians were not mistaken as they identified the Midianites as an Arabian tribe but only when they conveniently located them at the North of the Arabian Peninsula (near Egypt). Whereas according to Ancient Arabian tradition and records the original site of Midian had long been at the West-Southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and specifically at Ancient Yemen. The mountain of Jethro/Shu-ayb (Moses’ Midianite father-in-law) still stands in Yemen as the most prominent peak in the whole Arabian Peninsula.
If the Midianites were Ancient Arabian tribes then they must have spoken some kind of Ancient Arabian language/dialect.
Did Moses speak Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Arabian language, most unlikely. Then, how could that anachronism be straightened out?
Moreover did god speak to Moses in Ancient Egyptian language or in Ancient Arabian tongue? (And please spare me the patronizing voices that will claim that Moses and his god conversed in some unearthly divine dialect — because even the most fundamentalist rabbinical authorities never went that far).
If at the purported time of the Exodus story no written alphabet/written language had yet evolved in the Ancient Near East — except the Egyptian, the Sumerian and the Ancient Arabian/Yemenite, then what was the most likely language the Israelite god used to chisel down his (so-called) Ten Commandments? Of course both the Sumerian and Egyptian seemed highly unlikely.
That would leave us with only one possibility; the Ten Commandments must have been written down in Ancient Yemenite.
Interestingly not very far away from Yemen, the Orthodox Church and priesthood of Modern Ethiopia are adamant that their land has always kept the Arc of the Covenant, something the whole world has long deemed lost and irretrievable.
But that conclusion would dramatically shift the geography of the Exodus story from Ancient Egypt to Ancient Arabia and Yemen. Though it might seem a bit of a stretch for many, but Ancient Arabia and Yemen is actually where the ancient Israelites had originally dwelled and where their stories and legends evolved including that of the Exodus.
The truth of the matter is that the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church or what is known as the New Testament was originally based on a genuine Arabian culture and folklore. It is mistakenly known as the Old Testament/or the Hebrew Bible – a totally Greek terminology (To the Arabs and Ethiopians it is only referred to as the Torah)
The Story of Moses and Pharaoh – including the Ten Commandments — is an Ancient folktale of Arabia, and the Torah is one of its ancient books./