Canaan

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Canaan

Canaan (kāˈnən). 1 According to biblical ethnography, Canaan was the son of Ham and the ancestor for whom the Canaanites were named. 2 Territory, the same as ancient Palestine, lying between the Jordan, the Dead Sea, and the Mediterranean and sometimes including Transjordan. It was the Promised Land of the Israelites, and after their delivery from Egypt they subjugated it. The land held a number of pre-Israelite peoples listed in several passages in the Bible. See Ugarit; Asherah; Baal; Philistia; Phoenicia.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Canaan

 

the ancient name for the territory of Palestine, Syria, and Phoenicia, before the Israelite conquest. The etymology of “Canaan” has not been precisely determined. It has been suggested that the name meant “purple” and originally referred to Phoenicia, where purple dye was produced. Later, the name was extended to the entire region of Canaan. The population consisted chiefly of Canaanites; non-Semitic peoples included the Hurrians and Hittites.

The known history of Canaan begins in approximately the eighth millennium B.C. During the 16th and 15th centuries B.C., Canaan was politically and economically dominated by Egypt, whose influence began to wane in the 14th century. In the 13th century, after a war between Egypt and the Hittite kingdom, those powers divided Canaan into spheres of influence. The conquest of Canaan by Israelite tribes began in the 13th century B.C. The name “Canaan” was later applied to Phoenicia; the term “Canaanites” sometimes referred to the Poeni, who were the inhabitants of Phoenician colonies in North Africa.

REFERENCES

D’iakonov, I. M. Iazyki drevnei Perednei Azii. Moscow, 1967.
Bohl, F. M. T. Kanaanáer und Hebräer. Leipzig, 1911.
Gray, J. The Legacy of Canaan: The Ras Shamra Texts and Their Relevance to the Old Testament. Leiden, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Canaan

ancient region on Jordan river; promised by God to Abraham. [O.T.: Genesis 12:5–10]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Canaan

an ancient region between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean, corresponding roughly to Israel: the Promised Land of the Israelites
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005