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Is the Lost Atlantis Mentioned in the Bible?

mythical city of Atlantis in the Bible
Does the Bible, the best-selling and most translated book in all of history, mention Greek mythology’s Atlantis? Credit: Midjourney for GreekReporter

In the fourth century BCE, Plato wrote about the legend of Atlantis. The general belief is that he was the very first person to write about it. This has led many to claim that Plato invented the story. However, is it possible that the Bible makes reference to the story of Atlantis, too?

The Minoan Theory of Atlantis

One common theory about the origin of Atlantis is that it comes from distorted accounts of the Minoan civilization. This was a Bronze Age naval civilization centered on Crete. The Minoans had control over several other islands, and they also had colonies on the Anatolian mainland. This is just as Plato described the civilization of Atlantis. Various other similarities exist between the Minoans and Atlantis.

Although this Minoan theory is not universally accepted, there are many scholars who support it. It is even mentioned in the Encyclopedia Britannica as a possible source of the legend. However, one issue that has been brought against this theory is that Atlantis was said to have engaged in violent conquest. Plato describes how the men of Atlantis waged war against several of the Mediterranean nations.

Regarding the Minoans, archaeologists know that they did engage in war against the Greeks. However, while they had a grand trading empire, there is little evidence they engaged in violent conquest.

Nonetheless, the Bible provides support for this Atlantis theory by recording certain information pertaining to the activities of the Minoans. Let us examine what this evidence is and how it shows that the Bible does, in effect, mention Atlantis.

Caphtor, the Atlantis of the Bible

The Bible mentions the Minoans in that it references the Cretans of the Bronze Age. The ancient Hebrew name for Crete was Caphtor. This seems to be related to the ancient Egyptian name for Crete, which was Keftiu.

The Bible only mentions the Caphtorim, that is, the people of Caphtor, a handful of times. One of these mentions in the Bible may well be related to Plato’s story of Atlantis. It appears in the Book of Deuteronomy. The account is set in the time of Moses, who lived around 1500 BCE.

This was the era of the Minoan civilization and was only shortly before the Mycenaean Greeks overthrew it. The account itself describes events that occurred sometime before Moses’ day although it does not say exactly when they happened.

The Bible’s account of Minoan conquerors

Minoan & Mycenaean women
On the left is a fresco depicting a Minoan women and on the right, a plaster cast of a Mycenaean woman. Take note of the distinctive colors of the Mycenaean plaster, which may be representative of preferences for makeup. Credit: I Sailko / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Sharon Mollerus / CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons

The beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy provides an overview of the Promised Land, that is, the land of Canaan. In Deuteronomy 2:23, we find the following information about a certain region of it:

“As for the Avvim, they had dwelled in settlements as far as Gaza until the Caphtorim, who came out from Caphtor, annihilated them and settled in their place.”

According to this, the Caphtorim had “annihilated” the Avvim in southwestern Canaan and taken over their territory. It should be kept in mind that the Caphtorim are the men of Crete, and this account is set around 1500 BCE.

This would mean that the Caphtorim mentioned here are actually the Minoans. In other words, the Minoan civilization is identified with Atlantis. This is quite a significant assumption. It would mean that the Bible describes the Minoans attacking and conquering part of the mainland on the Mediterranean coast.

How the Bible supports the Minoan theory of Atlantis

This strongly supports the Minoan theory of Atlantis. It disproves the notion that the Minoans were not known conquerors. Even if the Bible is rejected as a historical source, as many would have it, this demonstrates at the very least that there was a tradition of the Minoans engaging in conquest during the Bronze Age.

There is, in fact, some archaeological evidence supporting Minoan presence in Canaan in that era and even earlier. One example is the presence of Minoan Kamares ware in the city of Ashkelon dating to around 1800 BCE.

However, regardless of historical facts, the Bible proves that the Bronze Age Minoans were remembered for being violent conquerors, which is the important thing when it comes to the legend of Atlantis. This provides strong support for the theory that the Minoans were the likely origin of the legend of Atlantis. This being the case, it would mean that the real Atlantis is indeed mentioned in the Bible.

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