(NEW YORK) — The Lebanese American University held a lecture Wednesday exploring evidence compiled by author Karim El Koussa, which suggests Jesus may be a Phoenician, according to his private studies.
The university hosted the Lebanese author at the LAU New York Academic Center, where university officials frequently host public forums and hold Arabic language courses, among others.
El Koussa said 40 people attended the lecture, which included a book signing for his publication “Jesus the Phoenician.” He admits the results of his studies often spark controversy because they contradict conventional beliefs that Jesus was a Jew.
“Some people are used to the traditional way of thinking that was imposed on them throughout their life and are definitely afraid to open their minds to controversial ideas in matter of religion and history,” El Koussa said, referring to points discussed in his book. “They usually react in a very fierce way as if they are threatened, although many of the reference I am using are coming from the New Testament itself.”
El Koussa, who has a degree in communications from NDU, said he spent years researching the origins of Jesus. He said he was inspired by a mentor, Father Youssef Yammine, the author of the Arabic book, “Christ was Born in Lebanon.”
“Many others understand and accept the logic behind the material used in the lecture and find it truly consistent and holding,” he said.
The Phoenicians were ancient tradesmen largely credited with creating the first widely used alphabet. Historians believe the Phoenicians were centered on the coastline of modern Lebanon, with some ports reaching the Western Mediterranean.
Some Lebanese historians believe the Lebanese speak a distinct language and have their own culture, separate from that of the surrounding Middle Eastern countries.
El Koussa said he hopes Lebanese nationals consider researching the origins of Jesus, especially readings that point to geographical evidence along the Lebanese coastline.
“Lebanon is one of the oldest countries in the world and is full of history, going back to more than 7,000 years BC,” he said. “Lebanese should be proud of their cultural heritage and should not at all forget that their ancestors played an important role—if not the most important one—in the formation of the human civilization.”
For more information about El-Koussa and his books, visit el-koussa.com.