Many of the Maori customs resemble Jewish practices - bientôt en français
The tradition of the last migration from Tahiti and adjacent islands is illuminating. The tohungas have preserved these facts in detail from the last of the Hawaikis up to the arrival of their ancestors to New Zealand. “Hawaiki” means “the distant home” and refers to any place from which the Maori came in their ancient wanderings.
The Polynesian ancestry may be traced back to a distant Hawaiki—probably to the northern shores of the Persian Gulf and to the early inhabitants of Asia. Mr. Cowan, in Maoris of New Zealand, says that the Maori-Polynesian is a branch, though a distant one, of the Caucasian race and that this view is now generally accepted by scientific investigators. If this is correct, the Maori can therefore claim a connection with the ancient Chaldeans, the Phoenicians, the Babylonians, the Hebrews and the Arabs.
Mr. R. J. Casey states that the ancestors of the Polynesians, in the dim past, came from Ur in Chaldea, the land of the two rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris.1 That there is some link of connection between the Maori and Hebrew and Semitic race is suggested by the Jewish features seen in some of the Maoris. Taiaroa of Otakou, for instance, had a striking Jewish cast of features. Many of the Maori customs resemble Jewish practices. The law of utu, satisfaction or payment for an injury, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” seems to compare with ancient Jewish traditions. Tapu, sacred, set apart or under restriction, is another resemblance.
Certain of the Maori customs remind one of the marriage customs described in the Old Testament. A comparison of the Jewish ceremonial law, as embodied in the Old Testament Scriptures, with the customs of the Maori people, presents many points of agreement.
The Rev. R. Taylor mentions some of the resemblances: “the younger brother taking his elder brother's widow as a wife. The nearest male relation marrying the widow of the deceased husband who had no brother living, as Obed married Ruth; the elder brother caring for his sister as his right; the touching of food; God present in the whirlwind; all unclean who touched a corpse; the custom of betrothing infants, and the weeping and lamentation over the death of a friend.”
Watkin writes in his Journal, “When a New Zealander dies his wife is taken by his brother.” Many other resemblances could be mentioned. The Rev. Charles Creed mentions that a priest “is particularly interested in Christianity and compares the sacred history with their own traditions, remarking on the traditional events which seem analogous to those in the sacred volume.”
The Rev. W. Wyatt Gill, B.A., who spent some years in the Polynesian Islands of the Pacific, in his book Life in the Southern Isles, has pointed out that the elder missionaries who worked in those islands were impressed with the similarity to the Hebrew in the conjugation of the verbs and in many of the primitive words such as mate, death; mara, bitter; rapaau, to heal; pae, side; ina, behold, etc. Most verbs have a causative active and causative passive form, resembling the Hebrew conjugation Hiphal, and its passive Hophal. Another remarkable resemblance: “These islanders,” he says, “like the Hebrews of old, place the seat of the affections and intellect in the bowels.” A parent giving vent to an excess of tenderness to a child will say, “My bowels are all gone out towards you.” In writing to an absent son, the father will use the expressive phrase: “My bowels are pained through grieving for you.” So too of the intellect. A native will praise after this fashion: “Your bowels are full of light,” viz., “You have a clear intellect” or the reverse, “Your bowels are dark indeed.” Similar expressions are found in the Bible, Genesis 43:30 “And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother and he entered into his chamber and wept there.” 1 Kings 3:26: “Then spake the woman whose living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, etc.” So also the New Testament: Colossians 3:12: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness, etc.” Philemon 7: “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.”
These resemblances, however, do not imply that there is any ground for the theory, put forth by some fanciful minds, that the Maori people are remnants of one of the supposed lost tribes of Israel. It does not suggest, moreover that the Maoris descended from the Hebrews, but it does seem to indicate that the Hebrews and the Polynesians of the South Seas had a common origin.
A Lire en ligne / Full book online
by Lazarus Morris Goldman 1958
La Vraie langue Celtique de H.Boudet 1886