Tea-Tephi Never Existed?
Sceptics claim that "Tea-Tephi never existed and was a made-up character. The British Israel World Federation even now admit she never existed. She was an invention of a British-Israel expositor named F.R.A. Glover in 1861 and the myth was perpetuated unchecked."
Articles 5-7 answer as a combined article, so please read them as a SINGLE UNIT. If you take one alone, you would miss the general point we make. We have studied these arguments CAREFULLY and are aware that we are well advised not to base “National Israel & Judah”, as we call it, on contradictory data. However, in order to also respond to some of the detailed points brought up by sceptics, we will reply to the question “Did Tea-Tephi really exist?”
The following is a summary of the arguments against Tea Tephi’s existence:
Here are a few answers on this difficult subject - difficult because we move away from the safe foundation of the Bible to traditions and histories which often don’t exactly harmonise with each other.
1. "Apparently the British Israel World Federation (BIWF) gave out an article in early 2001 in which they admit the Tea Tephi story was incorrect."
This is the current suggestion put forward by the BIWF. The BIWF, however, firmly asserts that one of the royal daughters mentioned in the book of Jeremiah WAS INDEED MARRIED TO A JUDAHITE and indeed contributed to the upholding of the royal, Davidic line. We have contacted Michael Clark, the Deputy President of the BIWF in London, in person, and he has given us permission to CLARIFY THE MISCONCEPTION that the BIWF had abandoned the idea of a royal princess moving to Ireland (some people had erroneously thought so).
2. "A certain Greg Doudna has written an article claiming that most British Israel authors draw their conclusions from former authors, but no first hand evidence is available."
Sadly, this statement is true for many BI authors - they take over from previous books without checking the source. However, there is a WEALTH OF INFORMATION available in museums, ancient documents and even on the Internet. Well-documented British Israel books DO exist.1 In the case of Tea Tephi the Irish Annals are available as a resource.
3. "Although the different characters are mentioned in the ancient Irish documents, they would appear 'many centuries apart', and are fitted together in a 'totally imaginary reconstruction'."
Later in this article we will tackle the arguments as to why a person called TEA or TEPHI could be the king’s daughter (who was together with Jeremiah), and why Jeremiah could be Ollam Fodhla. At this point we need to mention though, that the Irish chronologies, like many other ancient chronologies, use time spans that are GREATLY EXAGGERATED. That doesn’t mean that the characters mentioned never existed. For example, for a long time EGYPTIAN HISTORIANS ONLY HAD Manetho’s list of Pharaohs available to them as a reference. He was an Egyptian priest writing down the history of this ancient nation in Greek. It places the founding of Egypt with the Great Pyramid to about 6000 B.C. Modern archaeology, however, can pretty much narrow the dates down to about 2100 B.C. using all cross references and CUTTING OUT OVERLAPPING DATES. That does not make Manetho’s list less valuable as a source to Egyptian history.
O’Flaherty (one researcher in ancient Irish manuscripts), who carefully went over all the (Irish) chronology of the various reigns, reduces one monarch’s time, in the interval between OLLAM and the ruler Cimboath, from 150 to 21 years!2
4. "For example Ollam Fodhla is said to be Jeremiah, even though the Annals say he was a Milesian king."
More about “Ollam Fodhla” in article 7 “Ollam Fodhla and his Companion”
5. "The renowned British Israel pioneer F.R.A. Glover had fabricated the story of Tea Tephi, and it had slipped through the subsequent literature unchecked."
The following is a testimony on Mr. Glover by W.M.H. Milner 5: “Thousands in different parts of the English-speaking lands have thanked God for Mr. Glover’s discoveries. It was not till 1902 that anyone ventured to call his good faith in question, and it was because this was done in a very virulent fashion, misquotation and forgery being alleged against one who had become so highly esteemed, and his work so greatly valued, that the present writer, in the Spring of 1903, SPENT A FORTNIGHT READING in the British Museum Library, FOUND ALL MR. GLOVER’S AUTHORITIES, as well as other valuable matter now for the first time unearthed, AND WENT OVER LINE BY LINE, demonstrating their correctness and the general reasonableness of Mr. Glover’s conclusions.” Note,
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 CORINTHIANS 13:1). Mr. Glover was CHAPLAIN OF THE BRITISH CONSULATE at Cologne. His son, Sir John Glover, carried through the first Ashantee War (in West Africa) to a successful issue. These men don’t exactly sound like crooks trying to deceive anybody.
The following are some reasons WHY TEA COULD BE IDENTIFIED WITH ONE OF THE KING’S DAUGHTERS who Jeremiah took to Egypt. While we honestly admit that these are speculations which LACK ABSOLUTE PROOF, we nevertheless believe that there is some probability attached to them.
“Even men, and women, and children, AND THE KING'S DAUGHTERS… and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah. So they came into the land of Egypt… thus came they even to Tahpanhes” (JEREMIAH 43:6,7). This is the last thing the Bible tells us about the whereabouts of Jeremiah and his group. Whereas the Bible gives all the details of the uprooting of Zedekiah’s kingdom in Jerusalem, the question is: WHERE would Jeremiah fulfil his task of building and planting which was prophesied for him in JEREMIAH 1:10?
The city of Tahpanhes in Egypt served as a mercenary fortress: GREEK SOLDIERS KNOWN AS MILESIANS had been hired by Pharaoh Psammetich 6 and had their camps IN THE AREA OF TAHPANHES.
The Milesians had colonies from the Black Sea to Spain and throughout the Mediterranean. TRADE ROUTES also existed TO IRELAND AND ENGLAND at that time. Marseille was one of the Greek colonies founded in this period.
In the British Museum one can view a Philistine Seal from about 670 B.C. which had been found in Dundrum, Ireland. It PROVES THAT THE ROUTE BETWEEN IRELAND AND THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN WAS WELL-KNOWN already then.
The city of Tahpanhes would therefore have been an ideal place to start a voyage to Ireland.
Archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie dug at Tahpanhes in A.D. 1886 and found that the fortress mound was still called “Qasr Bint el Yehudi” meaning the "PALACE OF THE JEW’S DAUGHTER".
The Chronicles of Eri give an account of how the MILESIANS at one time lived at the banks of the Tehgris (Tigris) and Affreidgeis (Euphrates) until the “Eis Soir” (Assyrians) took them captive. After about 100 years “multitudes of the Gaal passed over the summits of Gaba-Casan” (Caucasus) to reach a resting-place in SCYTHIA, and some time later continued their journey to Spain and Ireland. Considering the fact that the FIRST ASSYRIAN INVASION, under Pul, happened around 771 B.C, the Milesians must have arrived some time during the 7th century B.C. in Ireland. 7
A lady called TEA is ASSOCIATED WITH THE MILESIANS at the time of their conquest of Ireland. 8 Not only that - she gets married to the Milesian prince Heremon in Spain and requests from him a favour. “Tea, daughter of Lughaidh, son of Itha, WHOM EREMHON MARRIED in Spain was the Tea who required of Eremhon a choice hill as a dower, in whatever place she should select it, that she might be interred therein, and that her mound and her gravestone might be thereon raised, and where every prince ever to be born of her race should dwell. The hill she selected, it is from her it was called, and in it she was interred.” 9
The Milesians RENAMED A CITY IN SPAIN “Caer Malcarth” to “Caer Teia” (CITY OF TEA) in honour of Princess Tea. This ancient settlement was near the Rock of Gibraltar and thus EVERY SHIP sailing past the Strait of Gibraltar was made familiar with this change of name.
The place Tea selected in Ireland was again called after her “Tea-mur” (the house or palace of Tea) which came to be shortened to TARA. Tara was going to be a place of learning, a college, or university of prophets.
Tea is sometimes called the daughter of Lughaid, sometimes the daughter of the Pharaoh.
One explanation for ‘Lughaid’ could be that in the Irish language “Lug” means God and “Aidh” means house. Therefore, TEA WOULD BE THE DAUGHTER OF GOD’S HOUSE - or “Bethel“ in Hebrew - from where Jacob got the Stone of Destiny on which all Hebrew kings were crowned (see Figure 1).
Tea may naturally have been thought to be the daughter of a Pharaoh of Egypt, since she started her journey from there. But it really could also mean that the Pharaoh mentioned in JEREMIAH 43:9 could have been the GUARDIAN of the royal princesses of Judah. That she is mentioned as daughter of Pharaoh is actually a strong argument for her identification with the king’s daughters.
IN SUMMARY SO FAR, the arrival of a Judahite princess, a stranger to Ireland, is WELL POSSIBLE from the historical data available to us. It is, however, difficult to make definite statements about the name. Tea and Tephi are thought of as being different persons 10, which does not discredit the possibility of the Davidic line carried over to Ireland. The Irish legends also have different accounts of the mother of Tea. Some state that SCOTA was her mother (more on Scota in article 6 "Was Scota One of the Royal Daughters").
- Allen, J.H., Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright, Destiny Publishers, Merrimac, Mass.
- Walsh, D.R., Lost Tribes of Israel Study Maps, Vol III, Celtica, Orange Park, Florida 1995
- Gray, Jonathan (1997), Ark of the Covenant, Jonathan Gray, Rundle Mall
- 1. Davidy, Y. (1993), The Tribes, Russell-Davis Publishers, Hebron, Israel (1) Milner, W.M.H. (1991), The Royal House of Britain - An Enduring Dynasty, Covenant Publishing, London, UK
- 2. Milner, The Royal House of Britain, p.11
- 3. Glover, F.R.A. (1861), “England, the Remnant of Judah, and the Israel of Ephraim”, Rivingtons, London, UK (http://www.abcog.org/glover.htm)
- 4. Cuan O’Lochain’s Poem, in: Milner, The Royal House of Britain, p.18
- 5. Milner, The Royal House of Britain, p.6-7
- 6. Herodotus, II, 154, 1
- 7. “Chronicles of Eri, being the history of the Gaal Sciot Iber, or the Irish People, translated from the original MSS. In the Phoenician dialect of the Scythian language, by Roger O’Connor.” 2 vols. London (1822)
- 8. Annals of Clonmacnoise, Mageoghagan’s Translation, p.27, in Milner, p.17
- 9. The Four Masters, 1st Year of Eremhon
- 10. Hughes, Reconciliation and the Double Witness