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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2020

The Canaanites of Africa

The Canaanites of Africa

The Origins of the Berbers according to Medieval Muslim and Jewish Authors

(p.297) 13 The Canaanites of Africa
The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought

Paul Fenton

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that, from the Middle Ages onward, certain Arab historians came to identify the North African Berbers with the Middle Eastern Canaanites. Influenced by rabbinic traditions which upheld that the Canaanites emigrated to Africa, their accounts are mixed with other legends that represent the Berbers as descendants of Goliath, hero of the Philistines. According to fourteenth-century historian Ibn Khaldun, the Canaanites and the Philistines were all descendants of Ham, and the former helped the latter in their wars against the Israelites. The identification of the Berbers with the Philistines is also found in medieval Jewish sources; in later times, even the North African Jews originating from the Berber regions came themselves to be called Philistines.

Keywords:   Arab historians, North African Berbers, Canaanites, Goliath, Philistines, Ibn Khaldun

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