According to the Phoenician International Research Center, PIRC, it is not certain that the Phoenicians call themselves in their own language; it seems to be Kena’ani (Akkadian: Kinahna), «Canaanites».
In the Hebrew language, the word «kena’ani» has the secondary meaning of «merchant», a term that characterizes the Phoenicians well. The Greeks gave the name Phoenicians to the Canaanites who lived on the coast and traded with them.
Phenicia is a word in the Greek language that means «purple.» The most probable reason to give them this name was due to the famous purple cloth that was made in Tire and that the Phoenicians made and sold to the rich of the ancient world. For their part, the Romans gave the name of Punic to the Phoenicians of the western Mediterranean.
In turn, the name of Carthage in their language (Phoenician) is «Krat khadasht», which means «new town». In fact, the word «town» is very similar to the word of the Paleo-Hebrew language «Kiryat» and the word «new» is very similar to the word «khadasha» of the Hebrew language.
The same can be said about the true meaning of the name of Spain that the Phoenicians gave it and that it came to us through the word «Hispania» as the name that Romans originally called the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal).
The word «Hispania» comes from the Phoenician-Paleo-Hebrew words: i-spani (a)which also means in modern Hebrew (אי שפניה) or «The Rodent Island» since «אי» means island in Hebrew and «שפן» means the name of a small desert rodent known by its Latin name as «procavia syriaca»
My research concludes that the name by which the Phoenicians originally called Spain and Portugal was: «Hispania» which was erroneously translated as «Land of rabbits», as the Latin poet Cayo Valerio Catulo transmitted to us but which is really «The Island of rodents». In this sense, the name of “Conejera Island” (a small island of the Balearic Islands) would pick up the real origin of the name of Spain.
So, as we can see, these words were very similar. Therefore, we can even say that the Phoenician language and the Hebrew language of that time were mutually intelligible.
Similarities between the Hebrew language and the Phoenician language
If one believes that the stories of the Torah are true, Moses was raised and educated at the Egyptian court. This brings us to the conclusion that Moses must have a good knowledge of the Egyptian language and master the hieratic and the demotic, if not the hieroglyphics. These last writing systems were not effective for writing important work, like the «Five Books» of Moses or Pentateuch. His other choice, according to our historical knowledge, was to use wedge-shaped writing to perform the same task, but it was not an easy option either.
The most effective system in the ancient world for writing volumes of books available to Moses was the Canaanite Phoenician script. This simple fact leads us to conclude that if Moses really wrote his books at the time he was supposed to have done, he used Canaanite Phoenician writing and language. Therefore, what we see today in the Samaritan scriptures is very close to what the Old Testament looked like. Isaiah 19:18 retains another aspect of the Bible. «In that day, five cities of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty, one of which will be called the city of destruction – – City of the Sun ( that is to say Heliopolis). «
The alternative scientific narrative of when and how the Torah was written by scholars, contemplates several dates ending in 586 a. In other words, the Bible was not actually written by Moses around the fourteenth or thirteenth century BC, but, he collected much later records about the ancient Jews kept in their minds. It was an attempt to establish a glorious Hebrew history, as the Romans did with Virgil’s Aeneid, based on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, to give it a stature, a pre-eminence and a historical significance.
Salomon Birnbaum in 1954 wrote: «It is not appropriate to apply the Phoenician term to the writing of the Hebrews.» That is why, coined the phrase the paleo-Hebrew alphabetic expression, as a variant of the Phoenician alphabet with 22 consonants, and described as an abjad (writing system where there are only symbols for consonants). The term used by Birnbaum was coined and applied to the Hebrew language that was identical to Phoenician writing. This is because the name of the Paleo-Hebrew language, according to him, must be called Phoenician-Biblical language.
In recent years, the Hebrew language fell under the influence of Aramaic during the Babylonian exile and adopted the square alphabet of the imperial Aramaic, abandoning Phoenician writing. His name was Ketav Ashuri. According to tradition, Ezra adopted the square alphabet of the Aramaic alphabet instead of the Canaanite Phoenician, nicknamed the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, during the post-exile restoration of Israel, in the fifth century BC. When the Aramaic alphabet became the Hebrew alphabet, papyri and Hebrew parchments were written mainly in Aramaic characters. The Phoenician Canaanite alphabet persists today thanks to the Samaritans who have preserved a manuscript of the original Hebrew Scripture.
The Phoenician language (and its subsequent Punic form) was used to make more than 10,000 inscriptions that survived and were deciphered. We therefore know that this language is Northern Semitic, related to Canaanite and Hebrew, and more distant Arabic, Assyrian and Aramaic. During the period of Phoenician colonization, the language spread from its country of origin in the Levant to Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Malta, Western Sicily, Sardinia, in Corsica, in the south of Spain and in the Balearic Islands.
Evolution of languages as a function of time.
The facts, the history and the reasoning of the previous paragraphs allow us to conclude: The «Paleo-Hebrew» language is nothing more than a Canaanite Phoenician language with language and writing. Therefore, the language and scripture of the original Bible should be called Paleo-Hebrew or Biblical Phoenician language.
A) It is well known that languages evolve over time and become educated. The Phoenician ceased to be used and, over time, ceased to evolve, as it gave way to Aramaic, Syriac, Greek, Latin and many other Near Eastern languages. Words, terms and Phoenician expressions continue to survive in the Mediterranean: Lebanese, Syrian, Hebrew and Arab languages and dialects without their users being aware of them. The spoken languages and dialects of the eastern Mediterranean still contain Phoenician words, along with words from Aramaic, Syriac, Turkish, Greek, etc.
B) The modern Hebrew language has gone through a turbulent history, but has emerged victorious as a spoken language. It evolved, but it was not cultured enough because I was sleeping for tens of centuries.
C) The Phoenician language (as a language identical to the Paleo-Hebrew language that it is) evolved to become the modern Hebrew language did not have the time and practice to polish as did the other languages of the world. Therefore, the Phoenician language and the Paleo-Hebrew language that became the modern Hebrew language were always close in terms of meaning, written form and oral form. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Phoenician we read today sounds like the modern Hebrew language.
D) Today, the modern Hebrews, and those who speak Arabic, Aramaic have a considerable degree of understanding of the Phoenician language and their respective languages.
The Phoenician language and the so-called Paleo-Hebrew language are almost identical, as evidenced by the Samaritan Torah that preserves these ancient texts.
About the Hebrew language: Historical metamorphoses from Biblical Phoenician to Hebrew language
1. The account of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt clearly implies that they spoke an unknown language, before they adopted Canaanite as their language, as previously quoted: Isaiah, 19:18 «In that day, five cities of Egypt speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty, one of them will be called the City of Destruction – City of the Sun (ie Heliopolis). «
2. The Biblical Phoenician Language («Biblical Hebrew») – More than 3,000 years ago, when the Israelites conquered and replaced the Canaanites in Israel, Hebrew was established as the national language. Subsequently, the Phoenician-Hebrew language became exclusively used in the Temple and in the synagogues, while the «lingua franca» of the Israelites became the Aramaic spoken by all the inhabitants of the region. As a result, the scriptures were translated into Aramaic, especially during the Babylonian exile (686-534 BC). For more than 1500 years, until around 400 AD, it came out of common use. The Hebrew language Biblical survived as a language of Jewish liturgy and religious texts.
3. Mishnaic Hebrew – The Mishnah or Jewish law and its dictionary were written in Hebrew in the 2nd century AD with a brief growth in Spain.
4. Hebrew language. In the 15th and 16th centuries, printing presses slightly stimulated the Hebrew language.
5. Modern Hebrew Language – In the 19th century, Biblical Hebrew language, fueled by the Zionist movement, experienced a revival. Eliezer Ben Yehuda and other authors and poets joined forces to make the Hebrew language an official language of Israel in 1948. As a result, the Hebrew language has now become a language that is a rich and fascinating expression of Israel. This must be admitted without any reservation.
As can be seen, the signs of the alphabet are identical, which means that the two languages were almost identical