The Sémites are a whole of people in conventionally joined together common linguistic matters. This meeting was often abusive, and brings to indicate by the Nazis a common genetic character, supposing a common ethnos group. The Semitic people gather, actually several Peuple S different, and whose individuals the component are, in particular for the Jews, of different ethnic origins. Generally one indicates under this term the Arab language , the Hebraic language, and the Ethiopian language.
The word comes from the proper name Sem (in Hebrew שֵׁם, šem , “name, fame, prosperity”) indicating one of wire of Noah, from which, according to the Bible, several people would come (Arab majority of the tribes S, Araméens, Assyrian, Elamites, Hebrew and Phéniciens) and whose modern representatives are the Arabs, Chaldéens (Assyrian, Babylonian), Hebrews, Syriaques, etc
In Linguistic, this word was taken again at the 19th century by the Linguiste S to build the Semitic adjective , which indicates a group of languages.
More: Semitic Language
At the end of the 19th century, judéophobes (whose Léo Taxil) used Semitic like Jewish synonym of , and forged the adjective anti-semite . Certain associations antiracists estimate that this etymological construction is source of confusion because, say
- all the Juif S are not “Semites”, in particular in the European context and the history of the diaspora. On the basis of the principle that a Ethnie indicates a human group sharing the same culture and the same language, one can consider the Jewish Israelis as Semitic since they speak the same language, Hebrew, and have a joint culture, although they have various origins. Employment is more contestable for the Jews of the Diaspora.
- and conversely the Semitic are the whole of the biblical people, it is false anthropologiquement to think that there are current descendants from a genetic point of view, in this direction neither Arabic nor Jews are Semitic, if it is considered that there would be current descendants then the Hebrew X of it would be only one small portion, who includes in particular the Arab S. But the conflicts between Israelis and Arabic brought to speak the extremists d'" in the case of; anti-semitism arabe" , expression which thus seems paradoxical, and which serves the anti-semites to be defended to be about it.
More: Anti-semitism or http://www.phdn.org/antisem/antisemitismelemot.html
Confusion enters the languages and the people
The people belonging to the Semitic people are known as " Semites " and it is frequent to see mentioning their common origin starting from a Semitic stock. The goal of this paragraph is to show that the concept of " Semite " and of " Semitic people " rest on a confusion between people and languages and should not be preserved.
Several languages, the ones extinct, like the phenician, acadian or eblaitic, the other alive ones and spoken, like Arabic, Hebrew, Ethiopic, present great resemblances of phonetics, vocabulary and grammar. One explains these resemblances by a very probable assumption: these languages derive from an old language spoken before the invention about the writing, which one chose to call the " sémitique". It goes without saying this name is perfectly conventional.
The existence of a language supposes the existence of people having spoken it. One must thus admit the existence of people having spoken the Semitic one and one has the right to give them the name of Semites, has condition of remembering that it is about a conventional name, like the name of the language (the words Semite and Semitic were forged at the eighteenth century).
Were the Semites people having his own civilization, or were they several distinct people? One is unaware of it. Nowadays the English and the Irishmen speak the same language and are two different people.
Let us suppose, which seems most probable, that the Semites were people with his civilization and his manners. Can one deduce from it that the ancients or current speaking about the Semitic languages are their descendants? Not, it cannot. The Mexicans do not have the same ancestors as the Roumanians. A relationship of language is not enough to establish the common origin of the people, because the people change language during their history, and this very often.
Can one suppose a common origin on common features of civilization (names of divinities, laws, manners and habits)? In the case of the people of Semitic language it cannot because these people live or lived in a common geographical area. The resemblances can be explained quite naturally by inevitable loans and influences between population during several millenia.
When one observes resemblances of languages, of civilization, between the Ireland and the India, one is not tempted to explain them by contacts. It is necessary in this case to seek another explanation. On the other hand the resemblances between European people are explained very simply by a common long story. Thus the Hungarians are much closer by manners to Slovak than of Vogoules of the the Ural, although the Hungarian language is close to the vogoule and very different from the Slovak one.
It should be concluded from it that if there exist Semitic languages, people speaking about the Semitic languages, nothing allows to say that there exist Semitic people. To seek an origin common to the Babylonians, the Arabs, in Phéniciens and to the Jews, it is to waste his time. The origin of these people is perfectly unknown. Remainder these various people, like the others, come certainly from inextricable mixtures.
Scientific prudence must make us give up the concept of modern Semites or Semitic people. It is not shown that these terms answer a reality.
Useless thus to worry about the common origin of the Jews and the Arabs or to wonder whether the Jews ashkénazes are of Semitic stock or touranienne. The stock touranienne does not exist besides.
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