One highly tenuous theory, is by Professor Kamal Salibi's of American University in Beirut. In his 1985 book Bible Came from Arabia, he compares place names in the Bible with names in Arabia today, and concludes that Palestine had absolutely no historical Hebrew presence, and rather South West Arabia is what the Bible refers to as Israel! Moreover, Moses and Pharaoh were not in Egypt, but rather in Yemen! Egypt in the Bible is not today's Egypt, ...etc.
- Summary of the theory
- References to this theory
- Asir is the promised land
- Summary of Salibi's views (in Arabic)
- Discussion of Salibi's theory
To bring both sides of the argument to the table, I have to mention that I received an email on April 2005 from Dr. Bernard Leeman stating the following:
I have just published "Queen of Sheba and Biblical Scholarship" (AWP, New Jersey) which concludes that Kamal Salibi's hypothesis is correct - that ancient Israel and Judah until 722 and 586 BCE were indeed in Western Arabia. Chaim Rabin's work (1951) (which Salibi didn't consult) on Ancient West Arabian concludes that there is too much Hebrew in certain South West Arabian dialects to be coincidental (in the same area that Salibi locates the Old Testament) . Also the map references, ancient legal code and other items in the Sheba-Melelik cycle of the Ethiopic (Ge'ez) Kebra Nagast support Salibi. Roger Schneider's discovery of Sabaean inscriptions near Mekele in Ethiopia not only confirms the presence there of Hebrews ca 800 BCE but also the narrative of the Kebra Nagast.
There is a lot more evidence, and Salibi should be taken very seriously, even though it means a major reassessment of faith-based history.
I emailed Dr. Leeman twice that I would be willing to publish a one page summary of his book on this site. I have not yet heard from him.