Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Berry and The Alexandrian Link


On his way back from a recent trip, AdventureMan bought a book in an airport, which he read and then asked me to read. Here is what he said:

“It’s not a great book, but I don’t know why I say that. It has an interesting idea and I want to know what you think.”

So just after I finished Inheritance of Loss I started in with this book, and it was the second book I will not recommend to you.

It is wooden. The characters are about a millimeter deep. The plot is unbelievable and doesn’t make sense and doesn’t hang together. It is full of adventure and travel and shoot-outs, which our “hero” miraculously comes through without a scratch while all around him his foes are dropping like flies.

It DOES hinge on an interesting theory, one I had never heard before. There is a Lebanese historian and archaeologist, Kamal Salibi, who published a book called The Bible Came from Arabia. In this book Salibi makes his case for the “holy land” which was given to Abraham not being in Palestine at all, but rather in what is currently Saudi Arabia, along the western coast. He uses the utter lack of archeological findings in current day Israel/Palestine which support biblical accounts, and the plentitude of place names in the Asir region which closely resemble what the place names would have looked like and sounded like in ancient Hebrew, the language of the earliest biblical times.

The book, and the theory was, of course, controversial. If the contentions were true, it would undermine the foundation of the state of Israel in Palestine; it would mean that people have been fighting for the last 60 years over the wrong piece of land.

Here is a (very bad) photo of the map in the book which shows where Salibi believes the biblical cities were actually located. He believes “Jerusalem” was not a city, but an area within which were several cities. He believes “the Jordan” was not a river, but a mountain range, and that here, also, Moses and his refugees from Egypt wandered.


Unless you really love reading badly plotted books with cardboard characters, I would not recommend reading The Alexandrian Link. As a jumping off point for an interesting line of research – AdventureMan was right; this book gives you something new and different to contemplate.

January 17, 2008 - Posted by | Adventure, Books, Bureaucracy, Counter-terrorism, Cross Cultural, Entertainment, Fiction, Lies, Middle East, Random Musings, Technical Issue


  1. I knew Kamal Salibi will one day come back and haunt me. I just knew it!

    I read his “The Torah Came From Arabia” book a few years ago (I have it in Arabic) and I found it extremely ridiculous. It is one of these books that you do not want to read but cant stop reading because you want to see where the madness eventually ends. Like you said, his only basis for his “theory” was purely linguistic. Of course, he’s more often than not played around with the present names of villages and areas in Saudia Arabia in order to somehow they start to resemble biblical references. In short, he failed miserably.

    Which brings me to my second point. (Sorry for the long comment 🙂 )

    There’s a renowned Syrian archaeologist/historian and biblical expert named Firas Sawah whom I absolutely respect. He is one of the best researchers (Arab that is) that I’ve read for and I have all of his printed works in my possession. Sadly, none of his works have gone into translation and he is nowhere to be found on the internet (which is devastating, to say the least). Sawah rebuttled the entirety of Salibi’s theory in a book he called “Aram of Damascus & Israel” in which he refutes all arguments put forth by Salibi and provides valid evidence and references to all of Salibi’s hypothesizing. And dare I say that by far this book was Sawah’s best work.

    Salibi’s claims remain just that. Unfounded claims so my two-cents is not to read much into them.

    Comment by kinano | January 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Kinan, when you have information SO relevant and so personal to support your position, it would be a pity NOT to comment so fully! I love your comment! I read some other critiques of Salibi in English which said similar things, that he had stretched some of the information to fit his hypothesis.

    You are so amazingly knowledgable in the most arcane areas! Thank you for raising the tone on my blog!

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. i read the book ” the bible came from arabia” a couple of years ago , and i fully agree with your opinions ,, the information he provided was not scientifically based,, it was all based on speculations tha, i believe, he dreamed of… even the names of the old cities and villages were manipulated to prove his point.
    But come to think of it!! even if someone came with a theory and backed it with credible evidence. would anyone believe him/her ? i dont think so ! you see we as human beings are brought up to on a set of beliefs that are almost imposible to change,. even if these beliefs defy Logic we just say we were not ment to understand or say that some things are just meant to be believed and not meant to be understood .
    so if Abbraham (PBUH)was born in Iraq had his chidren in palestine and left his son in mecca . is the truth so we just believe it…. one of them must be accurate maybe all who knows !!
    i wrote too much and im not in the mood to proof read so sorry if i didnt sound coherent ..

    Comment by Abdulaziz | January 17, 2008 | Reply

  4. interesting! i think i’ve heard that before. god is god, what difference does it make. zionists are morons.good night!

    Comment by error | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  5. Abdulaziz, you know you are welcome to comment as long as you would like. You always add so much to the discussion.

    Error – You and I differ on one thing – I think sometimes we are all morons.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 18, 2008 | Reply

  6. I have one more thing to add commenting on Abdulaziz. Although there are certain things in this life that are not always comprehensible, logical, or have no proof I still think we should put our sense of logic and the power of our brains into action in order to at least try to understand them. Taking things for granted, or the way we are told they are, is not something I appreciate. I think it is part of our purpose as a human race to try and explain everything that we can explain.

    I still agree with your judgement on Salibi. The book is utterly fictional, but when evidence is presented it means that a proof has been found and anything which is unfounded and lacking evidence is of no value.

    Comment by kinano | January 19, 2008 | Reply

  7. Kinan, I agree. God gave us brains because he expects us to use them. Even women. 😛

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 20, 2008 | Reply

  8. Actually, there is a major historical site next to the Dead Sea (which is dying; how ironic is that??)where John the Baptist built a church with several Baptismal wells. I’m not too familiar with ‘where’s what’ in the bible but there’s a passage somewhere that talks about Jesus walking down from Bethlehem into Jordan and these ruins are located next to it. It also has a small rock stone plaque to mark John’s point of ascension where (and correct me if I’m wrong) he had the visions of Revelation and the Apocalypse. At the end of the day we beat each other up over land in the name of religion…when we can all share!

    Comment by harmonie22 | January 23, 2008 | Reply

  9. Harmonie, I am skeptical about exact sites of where things might have happened over 2000 years ago. I think it is great for tourism, not so great and not so important in our lives.

    You are so right, we fight over things that don’t matter, while people starve, are beaten, tortured, while our earth suffers, we focus on all the wrong things.

    Comment by Intlxpatr | January 23, 2008 | Reply

  10. Dr. Salibi, as indicated in his four books regarding this matter (The Bible Came from Arabia, Secrets of the Bible People, Who Was Jesus?: Conspiracy in Jerusalem and The Historicity of Biblical Israel) he had only started the question in the geography of the bible, other reaserchers, especially archioligists should start the proving matter.
    Dr. Salibi does not have the financial capabilities to start the research, as well he was grounded for opening an eye to the reality of the fact that Palestine is not the historical land of teh bible. This punishment came from 2 sides, the zionests around teh world because it defeats their idiology of the home land of jews and teh Suadi’s, because they were afraid (or at least what they claimed) that the Zionests would claim Suadi Arabia (or part of it) instead of Palestine.

    It is a worthwhile to read all 4 books before forming a point of view.
    thank you

    Comment by AboJihad | September 22, 2009 | Reply

  11. Thank you, AboJihad, and welcome. Yeh, it does give me a grin, thinking of all the problems it would cause if “the holy land” for the Jews was actually in Saudi Arabia. 🙂 What a mess.

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 23, 2009 | Reply

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