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The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought$
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Katell Berthelot, Joseph E. David, and Marc Hirshman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199959808

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959808.001.0001

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“Canaanites” in Medieval Jewish Households

“Canaanites” in Medieval Jewish Households

Chapter:
(p.285) 12 “Canaanites” in Medieval Jewish Households
Source:
The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought
Author(s):

Evyatar Marienberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959808.003.0013

This chapter shows that in the Middle Ages, there were two ways of interpreting the notion of a “Canaanite slave”. For some Jewish commentators, all non-Jewish slaves, regardless of their ethnic or geographical origin, were called “Canaanite”; for others, the term “Canaanite” designated the actual biological descendants of the biblical Canaanites, whether they were free or enslaved. The rabbinic story of the Canaanites who went to Africa was used in this context, but also was further developed, so that the African Canaanites were said to have reached Central Europe, where they eventually become the slaves of both the descendants of Shem and the descendants of Japhet, thus fulfilling the curse of Genesis 9.

Keywords:   Jews, Canaanites, slaves, slavery, Middle Ages

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