HEBREW AND ENGLISH
Five Leading Scholars Prove the Link Exists
Pastor Jory Brooks (Canada)
The Language Connection
IS modern spoken English descended from the language of the patriarchs? Strong evidence now exists that it is, according to five leading language scholars, whose independent studies have all reached a similar conclusion. This language connection would, in turn, indicate some form of physical contact or migration in early times. Did Israelites of the age of the patriarchs visit the shores of Britain, settle there and impart their language? Evidence from historians shows how that may have taken place.
In ancient times, trading ships from the coast of Palestine sailed throughout the Mediterranean and as far as the coast of Britain. Where trading ships went, colonies soon developed. Now, as fascinating proof of this early colonization, leading language scholars have discovered amazing links between the modern English language and the ancient language of the Hebrews of the Old Testament. They tell their story in the paragraphs to follow, combining to present strong evidence that Hebrews themselves came to the British Isles at an early date. Our thesis is that between the beginning of the Egyptian captivity (1448 B.C.), and the Assyrian-Babylonian invasions (745-586 B.C.), Biblical Israelites first settled the shores of Britain. The result is a fascinating account of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Here are their stories:
1. Pritchard: A leading English language scholar
One of the 19th centuries' most notably famous language experts was James Cowles Pritchard, who lived from 1786 to 1848. Called 'the founder of modern anthropology,' one modern reviewer stated that he had "unquestionably done more than any other single individual to place Ethnology on a scientific basis." In his "Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations" (1857), he says that there is "a remarkable analogy" between the Hebrew-Semitic languages and the Celtic (which he spells old-style with a 'k' as in 'Keltic' ). He further states that the Celtic language "forms an intermediate link between [the Indo-European] and the Semitic, or perhaps indicates a state of transition" from Semitic to European languages. (p.349) Dr. Pritchard prepared a three-page chart tracing word origins showing his readers the connection between Celtic and Semitic, and states, "it does not appear probable that the idioms of North Africa are even so nearly related to the Semitic, as the latter are to the Indo-European languages."
Pritchard tells an interesting story demonstrating the connection between Hebrew and Celtic. He says, "From another I have learned that a crew of Bretons (i.e., Celts) understood the natives of Tunis [in North Africa]. How? Because the Kelt tongues were so like the Hebrew, and the Carthaginian was the same." (p.108) A ship from the British Isles had stopped in port in North Africa, in modern Libya, and the crewrnembers were surprised to be able to understand the natives who spoke Carthaginian, a Hebrew dialect.
An extended quotation from the scholarly Dr. Pritchard. dealing as he does with "pronominal suffixes," "vocables" and similar technical terms, would be beyond the capability and understanding of the average person. However, he summarizes by saying, "Consequently, even cautious investigators have not only given a list of Semitic elements in the Keltic, but have made the Keltic specially Semitic. " Does this have any relevance as to the origin of the Celtic peoples themselves? Prichard says, "A common language is prima facie evidence in favor of a common lineage ... Language is one of those signs of community of origin which is slow to be abolished - slower than most others." Pritchard believes that the Celts arrived in Britain from Asia, and suggests (p.380) two routes were used to travel westward to the isles: First, from Asia across Northern Africa and by sea to Britain; second, west from Asia and the Caucasus to Europe. Referring to other writers, he says, "With the Irish ... writer upon writer asserted for them an origin from Egypt, Persia, Palestine, or Phoenicia - especially from Phoenicia... The Phoenicians were what the Hebrews were, and the Hebrews were what is called Semitic... the Hebrew language... and the Keltic tongues... practiced the initial permutation of letters in their grammatical formations... Then there were certain habits and superstitions among the Kelts which put the comparative mythologist in mind of certain things Semitic; the Bel-tane, or midsummer-day fire of the Highlands of Scotland.. got compared with fire- worship of the Phoenician Baal. Then there were the words Bearla Fena, or language of Fene of the Irish annals... well translated by Lingus Pena, or Linge Punica - the language of Phoenicia." (p.75) Our tract, "The Hebrew-Celtic Connection." has further information about the origin of the Celts and their connection with the Hebrew nation.
One final important point indicates a connection with the Hebrews. "The evidence then, as far as it goes, is in favor of deducing the word, Kelt, from the wild Iberi... One of the several frontages of the Iberians may have called itself Kelt. " (pp. 66, 68) The Biblical Hebrews called themselves the "Ibri" or "Iberi", according to the Bible Archaeological Review magazine. (November-December, 1991, p.59)
2. Worrell: An American Semitic Scholar
Distinguished language scholar, William H. Worrell, Associate Professor of Semitics at the University of Michigan, proved that the Celtic language evolved in some way from both the Hebrew and Egyptian languages. In his 1927 book, "A Study of Races In The Ancient Near East," he says, "In the British Isles certain syntactic phenomena of insular Celtic speech have led to the inference that in this region languages were spoken which had some relation, however remote, to the Hamitic-Semitic family... the Insular Celtic languages, particularly colloquial Welsh, show certain peculiarities unparalleled in Aryan languages, and these remind one strongly of Hamitic and Semitic." (p. 46, 50) In very scholarly chapters, Dr. Worrell shows that the structure of the Hebrew, Egyptian, and Celtic languages is related. He says, "...we find that the Celtic languages of the British Isles, particularly in their spoken forms, differ from all other Aryan languages, and in a way to suggest the Hamitic or Semitic tongues... " (p,40)
How could the Celtic people exhibit language characteristics in common with both Hebrew and Egyptian? The eminent scholar theorizes that the ancestors of the Celts, before coming to the British Isles, had dwelt for a time in North Africa near Egypt, where they came into contact through trade with both the Hebrews and Egyptians. However, occasional trading would not change the entire structure of their language! A much greater intimacy with both the Hebrews and Egyptians is indicated. Would it not make more sense that the ancestors of the Celts were themselves Hebrews who escaped from Egyptian bondage westward? The Israelites were in an extended captivity in Egypt and thus would have had a solid mixture of both languages in their vocabulary, exactly as,the Celts had. Dr. Worrell comments on the ancient Hebrews, "We fancy we can almost follow them across into Europe, and imagine them the builders of Stonehenge and the dolmens of Brittany. Perhaps they were the people of Druidism. It may be that Caesar's soldiers heard in Aquitania [France] the last echoes of European Hamitic speech; and that Goidels and Brythons learned from Pictish mothers the idioms of this pre-Aryan British tongue. And may not this have been, indeed, the language of the whole Mediterranean race?" (pp. vii-viii) Many years of scholarship, and many pages of evidence, prove that Dr. Worrell was not far from the truth.
3. Hjelmslev: A Danish language scholar
Danish scholar, Dr. Louis Hjelmslev, completed independent research into the root structure of languages. In his book, "Language: An Introduction" (University of Wisconsin Press, 1970), he pointed out the great influence of the Semitic tongue upon the Indo-European languages. He states, "Even a language like Greek, which is considered one of the purest Indo-European languages and which plays a greater role than any other in comparative Indo-European studies, contains only a relatively small number of words that can be genetically accounted for on the basis of Indo-European." (p.63) Dr. Hjelmslev states that most European words are borrowings from non-Indo-European languages. In fact, "a genetic relationship between Indo-European and Hamito-Semitic [i.e., Egyptian-Hebrew] was demonstrated in detail by the Danish linguist Hermann Moller, using the method of element functions." (p. 79) This is an important point. The similarity between Hebrew and English goes far beyond the mere resemblance of similar sounding words. The element-functions represent a "genetic relationship" between English and both Hebrew and Egyptian. (p.83) These languages are therefore related in their very root structure, showing a common origin. Given these facts, a group of Danish language scholars has proposed eliminating the separate language categories of Semitic and Indo-European, combining them into one new category called, "Nostratic, a name proposed by Holger Pedersen for the languages related to our own," namely Hamito (Egyptian) and Semitic (Hebrew). Interestingly, the word, 'nostratic,' is taken from the Latin word, "nostras," meaning, "our own countrymen." (p. 80) Yes, the Semites, he says, are our own countrymen, because both language streams indicate a common origin in their very root structure.
4. Blodgett: An American language scholar
Dr. Terry Blodgett, chairman of the Southern Utah State College Language Department, received international attention in 1982 as a result of his research, which discovered "a major Hebrew influence" in the roots of the English language. A newspaper report commented, "Recent discoveries concerning the Germanic languages suggest there must have been extensive Hebrew influence in Europe, especially in England, Holland, Scandinavia and Germany during the last seven centuries of the pre-Christian era [700 B.C. to Christ]. " These dates take us back to the conquest of the "lost" ten tribes of Israel, who were removed out of Palestine by Assyria and dispersed to other lands between 845 and 676 B.C. Dr. Blodgett's doctoral dissertation was on "Similarities In Germanic and Hebrew " which deals with these discoveries. He states that his research has "traced various tribes of Israel into Europe." Dr. Blodgett presented his research in seminars in America, Germany, and Switzerland during the 1980's. For more information about the migrations of the dispersed Israelite tribes, ask for our tract, "The Real Diaspora."
5. Mozeson: A Hebrew scholar
In his encyclopedic work, "The Word, The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Source of English." Hebrew language scholar, Dr. Isaac Elchanan Mozeson, gives over 5,000 English words with a Semitic origin. Dr. Mozeson teaches the English language at Yeshiva University, and completed ten years of original research in this subject. His conclusion was "that English and Hebrew are profoundly connected. " His findings show that "many more words should be acknowledged as borrowings from the Hebrew. Some of these giant oversights include ogre (from mighty Og, king of Bashan) and colossus (a Greek version of the Hebrew Gollius, familiar to English speakers as Goliath). " Do some words sound alike in Hebrew and English? He says, "There are hundreds of'English and Hebrew words that sound remarkably alike and mean the same but are not cited by linguists. A few of these are abash and boosha, albino and labhan, evil and avel, lick and lakak, regular and rageel, and direction and derech. " Further evidence of a connection exists in word meanings. He tells us, "Many names of animals only have meanings in Hebrew. Giraffe means 'neck' and skunk means'stink'" in Semitic speech. A few additional examples from Dr. Mozeson are given in the adjacent box. His scholarly encyclopedia of the Hebrew origin of English words was published in 1989, quickly sold out, and has not yet been reprinted.
The research of other scholars also substantiates this evidence. For example, famed Celtic scholar, John Rhys, in The Welsh People, speaks of, "convincing evidence of the presence of some element other than Celtic... We allude to an important group of Irish names formed much in the same way as Hebrew names are represented in the Old Testament. " (p. 66) Many of these scholars further assert that the Celtic ancestors of the modern English people spoke a language which was strongly influenced by both Hebrew and Egyptian down to its very root structure. Yet only the ancient Israelites of the Bible, fresh from hundreds of years of Egyptian captivity, would exhibit such a unique language style.
Historians have often written about the "Phoenician" ships that sailed the Mediterranean Sea to Britain in early times, but few relate the connection between the Hebrew and Phoenician languages. The Bible Handbook by Dr. Joseph Angus, D.D., states, "That the Hebrew language was the common tongue of Canaan and Phoenicia is generally admitted. " (p. 13) In our tract, "Ancient Hebrew Sea Migrations," we show that a significant portion of the so-called Phoenician trade was in reality Israelite. Knowledge of this little-known history sheds important light on Bible history and prophecy.