1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sanchuniathon

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SANCHUNIATHON (Gr. form of Phoenician Sakkun-yathon, “the god Sakkun has given”), an ancient Phoenician sage, who belongs more to legend than to history. He is said to have flourished “even before the Trojan times,” “when Semiramis was queen of the Assyrians.” Philo Herennius of Byblus claimed to have translated his mythological writings from the Phoenician originals. According to Philo, Sanchuniathon derived the sacred lore from the mystic inscriptions on the Ἀμμουνεῖς (probably ḥammānim, “sun pillars,” cf. Is. xxvii. 9, &c.) which stood in the Phoenician temples. That any writings of Sanchuniathon ever existed it is impossible to say. Philo drew his traditions from various sources, adapted them to suit his purpose, and conjured with a venerable name to gain credit for his narrative. Porphyry says that Sanchuniathon (here called a native of Byblus) wrote a history of the Jews, based on information derived from Hierombal (i.e. Jeruba’al), a priest of the god Jevo (i.e. Yahveh, Jehovah), and dedicated it to Abelbal or Abibal, king of Berytus. The story is probably a pure invention; the reference to Berytus shows that it is late.

See Eusebius, Praep. Ev. i. 9 (Müller, Fragm. hist. Graec. iii. pp. 563 foll.).