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Phoenician philosophy.

  Philosophy emerged in Phoenicia in the IXth – VIIIth centuries B. C.  At the time, it was an early capitalist centre of the economy world, in the same way as were Athens in V-IVth centuries B. C., the cities of Northern Italy in the XIV-XVIth centuries or England in the XVIIIth century. Many features of a modern industrial society were pertaining to Phoenicia, such as the prevalence of the secondary sector in its economy, the democracy, and the supremacy of capitalist ship owners.

        At the time, Phoenicia was in the cultural vanguard of the whole world. A phonetic alphabet was worked out, concrete was invented, the first “modern-type” ships, multi-storied houses and war machines were built. It was also the birthplace of arithmetic as "the science of figures and measures”, and it is possible that it was here that the concept of “everything being the number” emerged. The thinkers of Phoenicia were the first to create natural philosophy. In particular, consider Mochus’s theory of atoms. It can be assumed, that it was based on the so called digital atomism, similar to the Pythagorean theory, which would logically give rise to the belief that reincarnation of souls as unchangeable digital entities is possible.

        Sanchuniathon was the first to put forward the rational theory of how religion arouse, which made him the founder of social philosophy. In particular, he stated that gods were either deified natural elements, or mortals, as a rule former rulers and famous inventors, who were rendered hommage after they died. It is generally common for him to view history as a succession of cultural achievements and inventions. At the same time, he has a well-grounded theory of matriarchy of the past, as well as of how cities emerged as a result of  the invention of written characters and sea-faring. In general, Sanchuniathon's cosmogony dwells upon the progressive evolution of matter, as well as a conception of life from moist silt and the subsequent increasingly complicated live creatures. That is a natural philosophic, rather than mythological, approach, which is characteristic of all Phoenician cosmologies we know of – “the want to find out how everything arouse”.

        Phoenicians also made a considerable contribution into the evolution of astronomy, astrology and mysticism of letters and figures. Their ideas influenced hermetism, cabbala, nuisarites sect theories and the mythology of the African Bambara people.

        Phoenician philosophers’ ideas along with their written literature were borrowed by the ancient Greeks and thus came to our notice as retold by Lynn, Pherecidus, Phales and Pythagoras. Pythagoreans also followed the example of the so called “prophets’ disciples’ schools”, Mochus’s followers in particular, as the social institute where philosophy emerged as a separate form of public consciousness.

        Phoenicia gave rise to the idea of social equity as God’s commandment. They were the first to develop theology as science, in particular, the theory that the Universe emerged out of shapeless matter, which they imagined as water, unified with Creator, seen as the world’s Wisdom, Word (logos) and Light.

        Phoenician spiritual impulse was received by the whole of the Near Asia, whose culture was similar to the Phoenician one. In particular, the ideas got assimilated by Judaic prophets. The Bible contains rational philosophical texts (consider Ecclesiastes, Job, partly Ion and Isaiah). The core of them should be attributed to IX-VII centuries B. C. Of particular interest is the theory of the world’s eternal existence as the never-stopping cyclical development. The idea of eternal recurrences served as the fundamental theory for astrology and was later assimilated by ancient Indian philosophers.

        There are good reasons to assume that Phoenicians repeatedly reached the shores of America and made a significant influence upon Mexican Indian culture, in particular, the myth of the Feathered Snake. Similar images can be found in the Bible and Greek mythology. Ophion, Phanes and Typhon can be said to be obviously congeneric with the initial Biblical image of Satan.

        Later on, the Phoenicians were placed under Assyrian and Persian authority. Later still, they themselves assimilated Greek culture. Yet, their impact upon the antique civilization remained significant. For instance, the main concepts of the stoics are of Phoenician origin. The first and only attempt ever to establish an all-national institute of representational democracy, similar to a parliament, was made in Phoenicia. They also made a valuable influence upon the forming of Christianity. To sum up, it was Phoenicians who lay the foundation of the subsequent western religion.

        The new level of cultural development was achieved due to the absorption and creative processing of the Bronze Age civilizations’ cultural achievements (Canaan, Ugaret,  the Aegean Sea, Babylon and especially Ancient Egypt belong here). There are all reasons to believe that Phoenician philosophical tradition of Secret Books is directly linked to the ancient Egyptian free-thinking, which resulted in Ikhnaton's religious reform. The hypothesis of monotheists escaping from Egypt to Phoenicia sheds light upon everything we know about non-Jewish biblical monotheistic theory.

        The above conclusions can be made based on the known historical sources provided that unscientific hyper-criticism is abandoned. The present paper is based upon  the following two interrelated principles: a presumption of trust in what regards historical sources and the principle of choosing a valid historical interpretation of an event based on the fullness of the content of the source.