Volume 1, Issue 13
November 13,  2011
Noah's family and mankind's languages


The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1563) 




In considering Noah's Ark and the Flood, we must also keep in mind another important even that followed a few hundred years later. The account of the Tower of Babel and the scattering of mankind to the ends of the earth were no less historical. Likely, it will surprise moderns to learn that the science of historical linguistics is rooted in what was once a study of Noah's family. Linguistic developments inspired by German nationalism attempted to hide these roots. As a result, historical linguistics has become filled with a great deal of nonsense.


Linguistics was birthed during the Renaissance and Reformation when much attention was given to languages, ancient and modern. Scholars noted how similarities in languages point to common origins. The Italian, Spanish, French, and Portuguese languages develop from Latin, the language of the Romans. English, Danish, and modern German developed from an older German. What really surprised scholars was when Sir William Jones (c. 1796) discovered that India's Sanskrit had similarities with all these European languages. That was clear evidence that all of the European languages have a much older common ancestor.


Several of these languages are named for sons of Noah's son Japheth. They include the Greeks, Germans, and Medes. These (Javan, Gomer, and Madai) are among the descendants of Noah in Genesis 10, the appropriately called 'table of nations.' They gave the name Japhetic to this larger family of languages. As German linguists tried to move away from the biblical roots, they renamed these languages Indo-Germanic. As Germans began supposing that their ancestors came from Asia, they began calling it the Aryan family of languages. After Hitler, linguists changed to calling it the Indo-European family of languages.


Linguists identified another family of languages related to the Hebrew of the Old Testament. Supposing, that these derived from Noah's older son Shem, they called this family, the Semitic languages. (Sem is the German name for Shem.) They subsequently identified many more families of languages, though these have not been sufficiently studied to determine whether, as I suspect, that they may belong to a large group of agglutinative languages betraying a common ancestor, as in the case of the Indo-European and Semitic families. 


The same families are found among the ancient languages written on mud bricks and stone found in the Near East. Significantly, the first evidence of the Indo-European (ancient Hittite) and Semitic tongues (Akkadian, Eblaite) occur some centuries after the date of the Flood. Importantly, there are scripts of even older languages found in ancient Pakistan, Iran, and Egypt. The hieroglyphic script was invented before the Flood for still-undeciphered Archaic Egyptian. None of these have ever been deciphered. Likely, that is because they are found in what I have identified as the remains of those who died in the Flood.


There is only one language in what I have identified as the remains of the Flood that can actually be read. Scholars call it Sumerian because it was later written by some who were called Sumerians. According to great scholars of this language, Amo Poebel and Samuel Noah Kramer, the word Sumerian is rooted in the name Shem. These Sumerians, from whom all the peoples of the earth descend, was in fact Noah's family. They all spoke the same Sumerian language. Importantly, the structural differences between Sumerian and the Indo-European and Semitic languages that were soon to appear cannot be explained aside from a miracle like that of the Lord and his angels when they came down from Heaven to confuse men's tongues.


This is merely one of the dangers of identifying languages with historical peoples, as has been the custom of the German linguists. They were inspired to do so by the fact that their new nation was in fact created based on the German language. In truth, due to peoples being conquered, exiled, or simply for the convenience of commerce or new religions, historical peoples at various occasions change to speaking new languages that may have altogether different historical roots. As I explain below, those who have done this include the biblical Hebrews as well as those Indians who came to speak the Sanskrit language. 


There is a far simpler understanding of the languages and history if we but follow the light of the Bible instead of the myths of linguists. In The Language of Canaan (below), I put the light of Genesis to use in examining the historical evidence of the biblical patriarchs. In The Aryans (below), I explain Sir William Jones' mysterious discovery: Indians who were speaking a European language. 

Best regards,


Philip Williams
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In this issue
Noah's family and mankind's languages
Ancient Uruk appears the site of ancient Babel
The language of Canaan
The Aryans
Ancient Uruk appears the site of ancient Babel
This site on the plains of ancient Shinar grew rapidly to become the ancient world's largest city
The ruins of Uruk 
Photo by Tom Kjeilen
The Bible locates ancient Babel on the plains of Shinar. The name Shinar is known from Ancient Neareastern texts. It derives from the names Sumer and Akkad, the latter being one of the cities established by Nimrod. (Gen 10:10)
Nimrod, the "Daniel Boone" of ancient Mesopotamia, followed the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers from the mountains of Ararat to the plains of Shinar. At a time when some large and dangerous species of animals had just been released from the Ark, this mighty hunter would have become a popular guide for settlers.
Nimrod seems to have established his new settlements by the ruins of Early Bronze cities that were only recently covered by the soil washed from the mountains by Noah's Flood. The survivors may have desired to mine fine metal and unbroken pots buried in the ruins of these ancient cities. Only a few centuries after the world's population had been decimated, one of these cities explodes in size. This can be explained only if most all the survivors were choosing to live in this city. The archaeological evidence supports this demographic fact.
The city is ancient Uruk, probably the same site as biblical Erech, another of the sites established by Nimrod. The name goes back to the antediluvian city at the site. This may also be the site of the world's first city, the one built by Cain which he named for his son Enoch. 
There is evidence of a great platform being built in the city using bitumen and burnt brick. The city reach its largest extent during the Late Uruk period which (if properly dated) will be found to just follow the Flood! Almost as soon as the city reaches its great size, it is largely if not for a time completely abandoned. Gilgamesh, who wrote his own account of the Flood, claimed to have been king of this city.
Not surprising, assemblages of Late Uruk, including a factory made bevel-rimmed bowl and cylinder seals for marking ownership, scatter all over the ancient world. 
LanguageofCanaanThe language of Canaan 
Biblical "Hebrew" is a Canaanite language. What was the original Hebrew language?
Lawrence of Arabia (l) and Sir Leonard Woolley (r) with stele depicting a Hurrian king*
The word Hebrew derives from Eber, great grandson of Shem and Abraham's ancestor who lived before the tower of Babel. Eber's descendants through his sons Joktan and Peleg appear to have crossed the Euphrates River to live as pastoralists in lands whose fertile rivers and plains were already settled by the children of Ham. Among these children of Ham were the Canaanites who lived in the land which the Lord promised someday to give to Abraham's descendants. Interesting, what is called biblical "Hebrew" derives from the language of Canaan. The Bible in fact describes the language in just this way. (Isaiah 19:18) 
Considering that the patriarchs had immigrated to the land of Canaan, it is understandable that their descendants would speak this language. But what language might Abraham himself have spoken? It would have been related to that of the various sons of Shem: Asshur, Elam, and Arphaxad. Due to the fact that the Hebrews long ago left their homeland, Abraham's descendants who preserved the biblical genealogies seemed to know the least about their own ancestors. We may guess that the language of their own ancestors was unlike that of either the sons of Japheth (IndoEuropean) or the sons of Ham (such as Canaanite).
Scholars who study records from the time of the patriarchs have identified one language that belongs neither to the Hamitic or Indo-European family of languages. It is called Hurrian. Due to the homeland of the Hurrians and their association with chariot warfare, the name may well have referred to the original language of the Assyrians. If that is true, the Assyrians like the Hebrews eventually adopted one of the Hamitic tongues. Importantly, some peoples speaking a similar language is present at the times and places frequented by the patriarchs. Significantly, many of the Israelites have names reflecting this same language, which we might suppose to have been the original Hebrew language spoken by Abraham.
*Photo by Heinrich Franke
NAMI's Ark documentary
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TheAryansThe Aryans 
The Aryan language in fact came to India with the invasion of Cyrus, the Persian
Nationalistic-inspired German linguists challenged the account of Noah's family in the Bible by seeking German ancestors in what they wanted to believe was a far older Asia. They were given this hope by Jones' discovery of the relationships between Indian Sanskrit and the European languages. According to Max Muller (from whom many English-speaking peoples learned these theories), chariot-driving Aryans spread their superior language and culture across Europe the same way as ancient Aryans had invaded the dark-skinned Dravidic people of India. His theory mirrored and inspired the imperialistic racism of 19th century neocolonial Europe.
The epic Vedic poems inspiring this theory were written in Sanskrit. There are no manuscripts of the Vedic poems much older than the Middle Ages but the myths of the German nationalists required that these poems be more ancient than what they supposed the time of composition of the Bible. Hence, they invested oral tradition with a preservation capability equal or even surpassing that of written literature! The widely varying traditions of Noah's Flood show the true value of oral preservation. Notwithstanding the so-called "Oral Torah," oral literature cannot be reliably preserved over long ages, explaining why God's own inspired words are called Scripture (writings). 
The true roots of the Sanskrit language are not hard to discover. The oldest preserved inscriptions show it to be essentially the same as Old Persian, the language spoken by the people of Iran at the time of King Cyrus. Cyrus is known from the Bible as the king who allowed the Jews to return from exile and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Around the same time (sixth century BC), he also invaded India resulting in the Persians giving these Asians their European language.
Likely, the term Aryan, a reference to the ancient nobles of India, is not even of the Indo-European family of languages, despite the Germans using it to name the ancestral European language. It may derive from Arpharaxad, one of Abraham's ancestors. This would explain why various terms for horses and chariots found in the Hurrian language (see article at left) also appear in India where first settled descendants of Shem. One of history's greatest ironies is that the true Aryans, those virile warriors, were in fact Semitic!
We should probably call this third great family of world languages Shemitic to distinguish them from the Semitic languages which in fact derive from Ham and therefore should properly be called the Hamitic family (as is the already the practice of some scholars). By trying to avoid the Bible, the nationalistic-inspiried German scholars have only filled historical linguistics with the greatest myth and nonsense. Seeing it paraded as scholarly learning only makes it the more ridiculous.
ArchaeologicalEvidenceThe Archaeological Evidence
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Christian Leaders & Scholars is the newsletter and publication site of Philip Ernest Williams, author of The Archaeological Evidence of Noah's Flood (2011). The site is also a ministry not only to Christian leaders and scholars but all who are interested in the more difficult issues pertaining to the Bible and its implications for science and history. (Read more)