Dr. YOSEF BEN – JOCHANNAN
December 31, 1918 March 19,2015
African-American Writer, Master Teacher and Historian. He is considered one of the most prominent Afrocentric scholars, and is a world-renowned Kemetologist.
Ben-Jochannan was born the only child to Julia and Kriston ben-Jochannan, in a Falasha community in Ethiopia. He was educated in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Spain, earning degrees in engineering and anthropology. In 1938, Ben-Jochannan earned a BS in Civil Engineering at the university of Puerto Rico. In 1939 a Master’s degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Havana, Cuba. He received doctoral degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Moorish History from the University of Havana and the University of Barcelona, Spain.
Ben-Jochannan immigrated to the United States in the early 1940s. He worked as a draftsman and continued his studies. In 1945, he was appointed chairman of the African Studies Committee at the headquarters of the newly founded UNESCO, a position from which he stepped down in 1970. In 1950, Ben-Jochannan began teaching Egyptology at Malcolm King College, then at City College in New York City. From 1976 to 1987, he was an adjunct professor at Cornell University, where Dr. Ben is considered to be a world-renowned Egyptologist.
Ben-Jochannan is the author of 49 books, primarily on ancient Nile Valley civilizations and their impact on Western cultures. In his writings, he argues that the original Jews were from Ethiopia and were Black Africans, while the white Jews later adopted the Jewish faith and its customs. Dr. Ben, as he is affectionately known, has lectured widely on both sides of the Atlantic. His theme – the ancient civilizations of Egypt. His presentations have placed him in great demand by students and community groups, especially those of African descent. Perhaps the high regard he enjoys today stems from his long, unwavering theme that the ancient civilizations along the Nile were African.
He taught that the so-called major western religions were white folk’s religions and offered the historically incorrect but universally accepted blond-haired, blue-eyed representation of Jesus Christ as proof that our enemy had become our deity. We quoted Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who said in his book, The Mis-education of the Negro, that the European destruction of African civilization was done under the guise of “saving souls.” And we asked the rhetorical question, must one be dehumanized before one’s soul is saved? In retrospect, we had allowed someone else to define our reality.
Yoruba priestess, Iyanla Vanzant says your soul is saved when you accept that the spirit of God lives in you. She specifically says, “When you can look at yourself, accept who and what you are and love yourself unconditionally, your soul is saved. Your spirit is empowered.”
Dr. Ben’s African Origins of the Major “Western Religions” was one of the vehicles I used on my journey through the empowerment of my spirit.
“For more than five decades, Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan, a master teacher, researcher, author, lecturer, has led what has now become a mass effort to emphasize African contributions to the world.” African Origins of the Major “Western Religions: first published in 1970,remains a CLASSIC and continues to be one of Dr. Ben’s most thought-provoking works. “By highlighting the African influences and roots of these religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), Dr. Ben reveals an untold history that many would prefer to forget.”
His opening sentence sets the tone for the well-researched and documented work.
Dr. Ben says, “I shall show that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are as much African as they are Asian in origin, and in no sense what-so-ever European as the title, “Western Religions” suggests;” Dr. Ben’s ultimate goal in this work is to show the definite links between exclusively indigenous traditional African learning systems with these so-called “Western Religions.”
The first chapter is entitled: A Source of African Religions.
Dr. Ben shows how the “Mysteries of Egypt” were developed from the ancient religious rites of the indigenous Africans who once occupied the lands around the major great lakes of Central Africa and along the head-waters of the Nile River.” And how the Mysteries of Egypt through the Egyptian Book of the Coming Forth by Day gave rise to the so-called revealed religions.
Chapter 2, St. Augustine: African Influence in Christianity (The “Christian Church Fathers”).
Dr. Ben says the death of St Augustine in 430 C.E. was the major event in Christendom’s history which started the decline of power and control by the North African Church (the “Mother Church”) In this chapter he discusses the influence St. Augustine and other indigenous Africans had on the development of the early Christian Church.
Chapter 3, Moses: African Influence on Judaism.
In the introduction, Dr. Ben has warned that, “to say at this time that Moses of the Hebrew (Jewish) religion and peoples, was an indigenous African (Black or Negro), would create a catastrophic consternation among theological racists … This would not stop them from saying that “Moses was found floating down the Nile River in a bulrush basket.” Dr. Ben says many people conveniently forget that the Nile River’s source begins in Uganda. In this chapter, Dr. Ben also juxtaposes works from the Egyptian Book of the Dead with the Holy Bible and writings attributed to Solomon with those of Egyptian Pharaohs.
Chapter 4, Bilal: African Influence on Islam.
Hadzart Bilal ibn Rahab know simply as Bilal to most Muslims was a “tall and skinny, frizzled-hair indigenous Black man (African) of Ethiopia, East Africa.” Bilal, a former slave in Arabia was the Holy Prophet’s most ardent supporter and was responsible for the creation of much of what those of the Islamic faith believe about Heaven and also many of their original prayers and doctrines. Dr. Ben refers to Bilal as another Augustine with respect to his influence on the early development of Islam.
Dr. Ben concludes that the term “Western Religions” “is a misnomer and is as racist as it sounds.” “Western Religions” like “Greek Philosophy,” cannot escape its indigenous African origin says Dr. Ben. His conclusion leads one back to his introduction where he poses what he calls the “first question:”
How much longer are we to remain outside of the religions we originated in our “Mysteries” in Egypt and other High-Cultures along the Nile?
Dr. Ben-Jochannan made transition March 19th 2015 in New York City.
Here are just a few titles of some of is works:
African Origins of Major Western Religions
Africa: Mother of Western Civilization
Black Man of the Nile
Our Black Seminarians and Black Clergy Without a Black Theology
The Myth of Exodus and Genesis and the Exclusion of Their African Origins
The Need for a Black Bible
A Chronology of the Bible: Challenge to the Standard Version
We, the Black Jews: Witness to the ‘White Jewish Race’ Myth, Volumes I & II
Abu Simbel to Ghizeh: A Guide Book and Manual
Cultural Genocide in the Black and African Studies Curriculum.
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