Review by Professor Robert J. Mathews, former professor of Ancient Scripture and Dean of Religious Education, BYU
“A recent publication, The Name of God from the Sinai to the American Southwest, is a detailed comparison of language forms and religious concepts found in the ancient inscriptions of the people on two continents separated by great distance with an ocean in between. The title states the scope of the study; Inscriptions bearing the same name for God in ancient Hebrew or Semitic-type script in the widely distant lands of the Middle East and the American Southwest-two different hemispheres. The similarity in language and deistic belief suggests that the ancient American culture has a close tie and origin to the older Hebrew culture.
The research of Harris and Hone is undergirded by hundreds of examples gathered on both sides of the ocean, and their conclusions that the ancient Americans had linguistic and religious ties with the Middle East, seems well founded.”
Foreward by Dr. Jon R. Polansky, Research Scientist, Associate Professor, University of California, San Francisco; Editor ESOP [Epigraphic Society Occasional Publications
“The proposal by Dr. Harris and Dann Hone of script-like elements in petroglyphs that appear related to Proto-Sinaitic both in form and content, if verified by the scholarly attention it deserves, represents a major new discovery with important implications for both ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ cultures. The ideas presented are based on detailed comparisons and on an honest attempt to evaluate probable meanings, and should not be dismissed out-of-hand by archaeologist and linguists, because they disagree with `established’ opinion concerning an isolated development of pre-Columbian American cultures.
Dr. Harris has been studying southwestern petroglyphs for many years in relation to indigenous cultures, and his scholarship in this area received general acceptance. In the early years (of this project) he began to validate the concept of an Egyptian hieroglyphic content in certain petroglyph panels. Since the proposed hieroglyphics appeared to fit into the accompanying depiction’s on the panels of petroglyphs being examined, this find left the door open to a consideration of potential script-like elements.
The publication of, The Name of God From the Sinai to the American Southwest, presents essential aspects of the evidence and rationale developed by Harris and Hone concerning what they think should best be termed Proto-Canaanite from both American and Near Eastern sites.
This publication. was postponed until after several years of effort were expended to obtain critical appraisals of the basic data. This included evaluations of associated symbolism and quantitative assessments of the frequencies of letter forms at SW American sites and sites in the Negev of Israel.
While it is clear that a final understanding of these parallels will benefit from additional scholarly interchanges and a consideration of alternatives, as the authors readily admit, it is appropriate to have the benefit of their opinions (in this and other planned publications) prior to the lively exchanges this work should engender. Dr. Harris has put forward an initial corpus of material, from which the reader can make judgments about both the methods of inquiry and the author’s waking hypotheses. These of course can be tested, expanded, and corrected where necessary.
I have observed that both Jim Harris and Dann Hone. respond positively to a critical and scholarly scientific process. I hope that the potential contributions of this work are evaluated on such a basis, without suffering unduly from biases imposed by archaeological pre-conceptions or religious doctrines. If the validity of specific proposals are assessed in an unbiased way (for example, using what can be deduced from trans-cultural aspects of symbolism and rigorous linguistic approaches), then the value of this interesting work to the individual development of cultures as well as to understand the spread of information in the ancient world, can best be considered.”