Dr. Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan, Ph.D
Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan, Ph.D. (Educator, Author, Historian, Egyptologist, Scholar par excellence, Former Chairman of the African Studies Committee at the headquarters of UNESCO, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University, 360° Grand Master in the Craft of Amen-Ra) Source: http://thedropsquad.com/
Professor Yosef Ben Jochannan is an Egyptologist. Having taught at Cornell University for over 15 years, 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.
Early life and education
Ben-Jochannan was born the only child of an Afro-Puerto Rican Jewish mother named Julia Matta and an Ethiopian father named Kriston ben-Jochannan, in a Falasha community in Ethiopia.
He was educated in Puerto Rico, Brazil, 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, despite the fact that the University of Puerto Rico did not offer this degree, nor was there an Engineering Department until 1942. 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. 
Career and later life
Ben-Jochannan immigrated to the United States in the early 1940s. He worked as a draftsman and continued his studies. He claims that in 1945, he was appointed chairman of the African Studies Committee at the headquarters of the newly foundedUNESCO, 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. 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.
Ben-Jochannan has also made a number of appearances on Gil Noble’s WABC-TV weekly public affairs series Like It Is.
Ben-Jochannan has been criticized for allegedly distorting history and promoting Black supremacy. In February 1993, Wellesley College European classics professor Mary Lefkowitz publicly confronted Ben-Jochannan about his teachings. Ben-Jochannan taught that Aristotle visited the Library of Alexandria. Lefkowitz showed this to be impossible since Aristotle was dead before the library’s construction.
According to the Skeptic’s Dictionary, much of Ben-Jochannan’s publications are influenced by earlier Afrocentric work by George James.
In 2002, Ben-Jochannan donated his personal library of more than 35,000 volumes, manuscripts and ancient scrolls to The Nation of Islam.
Ben-Jochannan currently lives in the Harlem section of New York City.
- African Origins of Major Western Religions, 1991, ISBN 978-0933121294
- We the Black Jews, 1993, ISBN 9780933121409
- Black Man of the Nile and His Family, Black Classic Press, 1989. ISBN 9780933121263
- Africa: Mother of Western Civilization, ISBN 9780933121256
- New Dimensions in African History
- The Myth of Exodus and Genesis and the Exclusion of Their African Origins
- Abu Simbel to Ghizeh: A Guide Book and Manual
- Cultural Genocide in the Black and African Studies Curriculum. New York, 1972. OCLC 798725
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, 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 (Book of the Dead) 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.
Chapter 5, King, Mohammed, Divine, Matthews and Garvey: Religious New Dimensions. Dr. Ben discusses the influence of Martin Luther King, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Father Divine, Rabbi Wentworth Matthews, and Marcus Garvey on the religious scene in America. He says that although most of them did not receive the “Good Negro Seal of Approval,” from the allegedly white liberal middle-class community of the United States, their influence cannot be denied.
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?
Photo courtesy of Enam Agyeman.