Saturday, July 28, 2018

Chutzpa in Translating Ancient Hebrew

Nadene Goldfoot                                           

Reading our Torah has been the challenge of the Jewish people.  Our history is that Moses himself wrote it through the 40 years of the Exodus.  He was a prince of Egypt and had been taught how to read and write, in probably the many languages that came into Egypt's realm. Our Torah has been copied over and over without adding or dropping a letter.  Though the style may have changed a few times, the letters have not.  If one error is made in the copy, it is to be destroyed.  Thus, we can rest assured the meaning and letters have not been changed.  "The oldest manuscripts discovered yet, including those of the Dead Sea Scrolls, date to about the 2nd century BCE. "
We have had many rabbis working on the meaning of every word.  Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Yitzhak) 1040-1105) Troyes, France, Rhineland,  is about the greatest of them all.  Our prayer books of today still bear his comments which are genius.  Groups of rabbis used to meet and confer with the meaning of texts in the Rhineland of Germany back then.  
Rabbi Howshua Amariel presenting Rabbi Hi Ben Daniel,
the head of the Igbo Jewish community,
with a plaque.  
I just read about a Black rabbi from Chicago , Howshua Amariel, who moved to Israel several years ago and is claiming that HIS people are descendants of the Hebrew people "also known as the Phoenicians.  The question is, "Who are HIS people?"  I also question where he was ordained as a rabbi.   Blacks are Blacks in Chicago, tribal connections unknown.   Has he had a DNA test to find his origins like Ophra Winfrey has?
I found a photo of the bat creek stone. Thomas’ publication of the inscription in his ‘The Cherokees in Pre-Columbian Times’ (1890). This could even be a forgery.   Is this something likewhat Howshua translated as Paleo Hebrew?  

The Bat Creek stone was discovered in a small mound near Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. The archaeologists who dug it up in 1889 discovered a small stone tablet engraved with several mysterious alphabetic characters.
The stone was discovered by a team led by entomologist Cyrus Thomas from the Smithsonian Bureau of Ethnology's Mound Survey. Eight years earlier, Congress assigned the Institute to complete archaeological excavations. The main goal was to explore the prehistoric mounds. After just a few years of work, archaeologists had collected over 40,000 artifacts and wrote a seven-hundred-page report of their findings, which was presented in 1894.                               
Below are from Dead Sea Scrolls
He bases his belief on old Cherokee/inscriptions found in the Americas that he began translating about 12 years ago.  He called the find in Paleo-Hebrew derived from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Samaritan text.                                                 

He made his find in a newspaper called "Jerusalem Chronicles" out of Memphis, Tennessee in 1998.  He was shown in a picture reading ancient Hebrew off the walls of a temple structure that was built by Jews in Elephantine, Egypt.

This is his ad on amazon about his book.  ""The missing link is finally revealed. The ancient hebrew torah scroll authenticates the belief that the children of israel and the phoenicians are historically linked." This work of reference can be used by linguists, scholars in their research and will serve as a tool to further understanding between nations and cultures. Howshua Amariel is a translator of Biblical Hebrew (also known as Ancient Hebrew or the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet) and the author of the interlinear style Paleo- Hebrew text, entitled “THIS REPORT: The Hebrew/Phoenician History called the Bible”. Aside from Amariel's claims, his work is also currently respected by the Igbo Jewish communities of Israel as being the most authoritative translation of the Torah scrolls into English.

Igbo Jewish communities in Israel?   The Igbo is the largest ethnic tribe in Nigeria !  Wikipedia tells me this: " Igbo Jews are members of the Igbo people of Nigeria who practice a form of Judaism. They either adopted Judaism newly, or are descendants of the Jews of Bilad el-Sudan."  Unlike people of the Masai tribe in Kenya, who have been found to actually have the history of being Jewish, these are new claimants as yet unproven and to my knowledge, are not going through any legitimate classes of studying Torah.   They are not like the Ethiopian Jews, either who have been studied by rabbis and found to have the right of such claims.  There have been other groups who have had such claims as the Igbo of Nigeria.  Their form of Judaism possibly includes  Messianic Judaism as they were introduced to Judaism through Christian missionaries.  
Praying in Nigeria

The Igbo are one of Nigeria's largest ethnic groups with population estimates ranging from 20 to 50 million. Abor is convinced that the Igbo's ancestors were Jews.

"Agbai is one of the founders of the Ghihon synagogue. He plays an important role as a spiritual leader in Abuja's community of Igbo Jews. He attended Abor's bar mitzvah last year, an experience that Abor says made him feel like a man, and feel closer to the Jewish culture.
He wants to go deeper into Orthodox Judaism and take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

"I want to live in Israel," Abor says. He hopes that there, he will get a better understanding of his forefathers."
Jewish Voice Ministries International, a Messianic Jewish organization based in Arizona, coordinated the genetic test of more than 100 Igbo men.  Messianic Jews believe Jesus was the Messiah and, despite being labeled apostates by mainstream Jewish groups, still consider themselves Jews.  Jews consider them to be Christians as they believe in Jesus, and Judaism doesn't.  Jews believe in one G-d only, and the rest of us are simply humans trying to be the best we can.  Jews believe their's a bit of G-d in all of us, not just special people.  It's too close to the beliefs of the Greeks and Romans for us.  
  They are not capable of knowing the intricacies of Hebrew.  They do not know anything about translating or past history in this field, just as I wouldn't know, and I am an Ashkenazi Jew.  It would have been difficult for ancient Phoenicians or Israelites to sail to Nigeria being it's not on the Mediterranean sea but on the South Atlantic Ocean.  

That aside, let's examine who the Phoenicians were.  They were the ancient people of Syria who lived along the Syrian-Canaanite coast.  which became the Israelite coast.  Their main towns were Arvad, Beirut, Sodon, Tyre, Gebal (Byblos), Simirro and Sin.  In different eras they would expand north toward the later Antioch and then south to the Carmel and even to Jaffa.  Today Tyre is in Lebanon.  

Their language, known mainly from inscriptions, was akin to Hebrew.  The script used by them was also used by the ancient Hebrews and was transmitted with modification to the Greeks and then to other European peoples.  
King Hiram of Tyre was a close friend of Israel's King Solomon.  Later on, Phoenecia was incorporated in the Persian Empire, influencing the people southward along the coastline.  The Greek influence was great and Hellenization spread quickly along Phoenicia.  Pompey's campaign in 64 BCE brought all of their people under Roman rule.  This showed up in Tyre in maritime trade with their ships trading with almost the entire known world.  They discovered distant lands and disseminated the products of Middle Eastern countries.  They planted colonies from Cyprus to Carthage and Spain and paid tithes to Tyre.  

Their religion was the Canaanite faith described in the Tanakh and in Ugaritic poetry.  Their main gods were Baal, lord of fertility and rain, and Astarte, goddess of fertility.  They had a god of wr and a patrol-god of Tyre.  They worshipped under trees and on hills and also had temples with pictures in them.  They sacrificed children to Moloch and had many religious prostitutes.  What else with fertility looming big in their beliefs?  
                                                                       If their colonies reached Nigeria, Howshua could be right, though he hasn't given us any reason to think he has any Phoenician ancestry other than he's taken up translating ancient Hebrew texts-so he says.  Today we have DNA to sanctify such beliefs.  The Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) result has confirmed that Igbos are not Jews.  
Hebrew as we read it today.  

I don't put any stock into such finds as this claim.  I hope others don't either until it has gone through the gamut of being checked and verified by those whose business it is, verified scholars.  We are in the era of looking for and finding lost tribes of Jewish people today and bringing them to Israel if this is their goal, too.  In fact, it is prophesied to happen.  Hopefully, people will study Judaism under other circumstances that the whole Jewish nation approves of if their goal is to actually live in Israel as Jews.  Knowing how much has been done already by our well-known readers and students of the Torah, I shudder with other people taking a stab at this and are claiming authenticity.  

"A small, ancient sect known as the Samaritans rely on the Torah, and the Torah alone, as their sole religious text—and the Samaritans use a somewhat different version. Two weeks ago, the first English translation of this Hebrew text was published by Samaritan historian and scholar Binyamin Tsedaka: The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah. There are some 6,000 instances where this version of the Torah differs from the Masoretic text; the question for scholars is which version is more complete, or more accurate."

Resource:  be sure to read this one!  April 10, 2018
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Info from Zara I.

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