ArDO expert to disclose disinformation about Maronites

(Letter from ArDO expert Joseph Saouk to Libanvision site regarding disinformation about the original language of Maronites)

Hi there!

I was surprised to find your site about the Maronites and their history. Thank you for the good job. However, I found one curious piece of information which surely risks to falsify the real identity of the Maronite People, it is about the original language of the Maronites. Your scribe refers to it as "L'Arabe Maronite", which is not found in any of the linguistic classifications of the numerous Arabic dialects (if not referring to Cyprus or Malta), and, more curiously, he refers to a precise number of speakers (170!) of this non-existing dialect, and here is the reference from your site:

"Les maronites parlaient à l'origine l’arabe maronite, une variété dialectale de l’arabe. Cette langue est considérée par certains comme un idiome hybride fortement influencé par le grec. Il ne resterait plus que 170 locuteurs de cette langue, toutes des personnes âgées." (http://www.libanvision.com/maronite.htm)

Your scribe seems to have confused the Maronites of Cyprus with all the Maronites of Lebanon and the world, because what is true of the influence of Greek (on their Arabic dialect) can only be said of the language of the Maronites in Cyprus. The historians of the Maronites and their Church (e g Fr. Boutros Daou, Mgr Debs, Mgr Feghali, Fr Hobeika, and many others) all refer to Aramaic/Syriac as the original language of the Maronites and their Church, as it also was the Lingua Franca in all the Middle East (between 600 BC and AD 600), included Lebanon and Syria, and that is why Aramaic was the language of Jesus and his environment. If the Maronites were Arabs and their language Arabic, then they should have been strangers in Lebanon whose language and place-names are Canaanite/Phoenician and Aramaic, but that is not the case.

I would be very grateful if your scribe could refer to the source from which he brought his information which led him to deviate from what is generally known and to "hypercorrect" all of these historians of the Maronite People/Church and stamp another language (Arabic) to their origins.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that spreading such unfounded hypotheses (regardless the intention of their creator) contributes to the decay and the loss of the real historical identity of the Maronites.

Best regards

Joseph Saouk

Stockholm University, Middle Eastern studies