What Happened to the Canaanites?

The ancient Canaanites were not wiped out, as the Bible suggests, but went on to become modern-day Lebanese, a study has found.

Living between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago, the holy text suggests things did not end well for the people living in the Middle East.

According to a passage in Deuteronomy, God had ordered the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites. “You shall not leave alive anything that breathes. But you shall utterly destroy them … so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods.”

It seems they didn’t destroy them all, though. Examining the DNA of the region’s ancient and modern inhabitants, the scientists found more than 90 per cent of the ancestry of modern-day Lebanese derived from the Canaanites.

“The Bible reports the destruction of the Canaanite cities and the annihilation of its people; if true, the Canaanites could not have directly contributed genetically to present-day populations,” the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

“However, no archaeological evidence has so far been found to support widespread destruction of Canaanite cities between the Bronze and Iron Ages: cities on the Levant coast such as Sidon and Tyre show continuity of occupation until the present day.

“We show that present-day Lebanese derive most of their ancestry from a Canaanite-related population, which therefore implies substantial genetic continuity in the Levant since at least the Bronze Age.”

The scientists came to the conclusion by comparing five whole genomes, obtained from the base of skulls from ancient remains found in the area of Sidon, with those of 99 Lebanese living in the region today.

“One of the most exciting parts of the research was to get DNA out of the specimens,” one of the researchers, Chris Tyler-Smith, told the ABC.

The modern-day Lebanese are “likely to be direct descendants of the Canaanites” said Dr Marc Haber, of The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, according to the Independent.

“But they have in addition a small proportion of Eurasian ancestry that may have arrived via conquests by distant populations such as the Assyrians, Persians, or Macedonians.”

I know this might sound strange, but this gives me a huge relief. I’ve always rooted for the Canaanites much like I cheer for the Trojans — even though I know their ending is tragic.

Head Cannon

I’ve been thinking about something (a lot ) lately: monotheism, but maybe monism is more accurate.

See, I have a very hard time with it as I’m pluralistic at heart. But what if….

What if the reason that HaShem says to only worship Him/Her/It and not to participate in idolatry isn’t to get all the attention, but rather the Collective Whole got tired of silly humans taking Their image and telling stories about Them that were completely unflattering ( I’m looking at You, Zeus and Hera). What if They came together and said, “Enough of the bullshit scandalous stories. The humans need to work on improving themselves and not be so worried about who We are sleeping with!”

So They came up with a plan: They would be known as One and no more images of Them would be made so that the humans would focus on the Inner Work and stop focusing on appearances. They shopped the idea to different groups until man said, “sure”, and his name was Abraham.Abraham, along with his wife Sarah, became the first Jews. But it is really hard to break old habits, especially when temptation is on all sides. So, time and time again the Hebrews wondered back to bad habits, and HaShem had to steer them back. Sometimes it was gently, and sometimes it was done brutally. (I mean, how many times do they need to be told “don’t do that!” before they listen?)

 

Oath Taker, World Breaker

It’s been a long time and several created blogs (and deleted blogs) since I last wrote here. I’ve been unsettled, restless, unnerved.

In September 2015, between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, I took a deep breath and threw my lot in with Odin and the Norse Gods. And my life hasn’t been the same since. See, Odin, in His infinite wisdom and extreme tough love believes in ripping toxic people out of my life, root and stem. And He does this around the same time in “celebration” of my lot throwing in.

It ain’t easy.

This past year has been soul shattering: I have had to confront the reality that those who claimed to be part of my tribe never considered me part of theirs: layers upon layers of betrayal. Of lies. Of manipulation.

However, it was so very necessary: it was unhealthy for me to have those toxic people in my life. As pa;nful as it has been, I would never want to go back before it all happened. I’d rather have no tribe than be amongst people who carry concealed knives.

Moving forward to the upcoming Autumn, I hope that I get a reprieve from the Cutting Out Project to allow me to focus on the High Holidays. For you see, I’ve found solace in Reform Judaism with the full blessing and backing of my Gods. I have head cannon of how it all fits together, and I’ll share more later.

For now, I have some projects in the wings. One of them is to start writing again and with that, I hope I will be writing again here.

Things will be changing on the blog, but changes are good.

 

 

Just Stories? Part Two

We had another interesting discussion in Roman History today, this time about a myth’s historical validity. The subject was brought up by addressing the fact that the myths written by Virgil and Livy in the first century c.e. should not be taken as accurate historical accounts because, well, they are not.

And it got me thinking…

When a myth (religious story explaining certain phenomenon) is no longer a valid “truth”, what does that do to the religion in which it is found? Especially when said myth is a central theme to said religion?

For example: In Judeo teaching, the Hebrews were the slaves of Egypt, forced to build the pyramids for the “evil” Pharaoh (Ramses). But archaeology has recently dispelled this “myth”, proving that the builders were in fact paid Egyptians…no slaves were used in the construction of the tombs.

Further, scientific analysis has concluded that the 10 plagues brought down upon Egypt by the Hebrew god was in fact the effect of a torrential downpour.

So how does this new understanding of an old myth affect the religion? Should Passover still be celebrated? How does the interpretation of the famous Exodus change?

It’s the same concept of Pagan myths: we know that Romans did not actually come from the burned city of Troy; there’s no such thing as cyclops which means Odysseus never encountered Polyphemus; little Arachnid never insulted Athena and was turned into the first spider.

But these are the back bone of our religion; understanding–and acknowledging–the stories as nothing but fanciful expressions of the imagination, what does that do to our religion? Again, I am left wondering what is it that we actually believe in?!

Every religion in the world–both monotheist and polytheist– is built upon mythology to explain why things are the way they are. Some have a small amount of historical truth to them, (the Bible does have some truth, but so does Gilgamesh) while most is simply tall-tales.

How do we weave modern understanding of historical events through the use of science and our faith? Can they exist side by side, or are we forced to give way to modern sensibilities, thus abandoning our own religious stories?

These are questions each of us has to ask ourselves and come to our own conclusions. I, for one, would like to think that regardless of the validity of the stories, we are able to weave science and myth into our lives creating a tapestry of a new kind of faith.