The introductory phrase Schemà Israel Adonis Elohenu which means Oh Israel, listen to our God is frequently met with in Jewish rite’s prayers. The etymological analysis of two of these words, Adonis and Israel, shows that Adonis or Adon was a word used by Jews, in ancient times, to name God. Actually it was an expedient to avoid taking the name of Jahweh in vain. According to some scholars this word is of Egyptian origin and stands for Aton, a word that in ancient Egyptian is identified with the sun god of the Amarnian religion (1). The word Is-ra-el derives from the joining of three words, two of which, Is and Ra, are of Egyptians origin whereas el standing for “god”, is of Canaanite and therefore semitic origin. Ra in ancient Egyptian is identified with the sun god and Is with the grave. The grave did not have the meaning it has nowadays but meant definitive house, eternal dwelling, which all Egyptians aimed at after death. That given, the translation of Israel should be the sun god’s dwelling. However, since Israel identified with a country and a population, the most correct translation is the sun god’s land, homeland (2). The etymology of the words, the fact that both the religions were monotheist in a quite near, if not contemporary hystorical period – a very unusual thing during a time when the theological concept of monotheism was completely unknown -, all these elements have led me to analyse whether the two religions, the Jewish and the amarnian, were or not, directly or indirectly connected to one another and if so, on the basis of what elements.
1 – Cf. Ben Lyon Moses, ed. 1987 – Calif. USA. In the past the word adon (lord), from which the name of the Greek god Adone is derived, was constantly thought of Canaanite origin and consequently it belonged to Semitic language. A first mark of this word in West Semitic may be found in the Eblaite Adana. According to Edwards and Chantraine’s recent studies, the word could reliably derive from the Egyptian idn(w) whose meaning is that of commander, governor, delegate of a multitude. It is very likely that this term is identified with the substantially equivalent term itn-atn-atun (lord-god). Cf : R. Edwards, Kadmos the Phoenician: A Study in Greek Legends and the Mycenaean Age, Amsterdam ND, 1979 pag.77 n.70; P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, 4 voll. Paris 1968-75 vol.I pag.21.
2 – B. Lyon op.cit. pag.2 “…the son of Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, was supporting the invasion of Canaan. He was helping to create Is-ra-el, the Eternal House of Ra (Ra = sun god = creator god = Amenhotep III) the Highest God (El = Canaanite highest god).