Cyrus Gordon—the brilliant, maverick scholar—has spent a significant part of his professional life searching for connections between the early Greeks and Hebrews. His most popular effort in this area is a book entitled The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations (New York: Norton, 1966).
Long a professor at Brandeis University, Gordon now teaches at New York University. Although he is regarded as a leading Ugaritic scholar (he wrote the basic Ugaritic textbook), some of his other work is sometimes seen as tenuous, speculative and often wrong.
In a new book entitled Bronze Age Civilization—The Philistines and the Danitesa, a disciple of Gordon’s—Gordon wrote the foreword—carries on the effort to find connections between the Hebrews and the Greeks.
The author of this new book, Professor Allen H. Jones of Montgomery College, contends that the Philistines were originally Greeks who came to Palestine via Egypt.
Professor Jones gives a novel etymology to the name Philistine. “Phil”, he says, is derived from the Greek phyle (phylon), meaning “tribe” or a military contingent of some tribes. The latter part of the name Philistine, in Professor Jones’ own words, “could only refer to Hestia, or the Ionian Histie, goddess of the hearth.” In short, the Philistines were really “the tribe of Histie”, or perhaps a military contingent of the tribe.