CANAANITES, ka'nort-its. The name given in the Old Testament to the people on the west of the Jordan who were dispossessed by the in vasion of the Ilebrews. The use of the term is somewhat vague, and in this respect is like the indefiniteness of Canaan as a ge4)graphi•al des ignation. The Canaanites are commonly enumer ated with a gninp of six other peoples. settled in Palestine prior to the Hebre•s—viz., delm Annnemiles, Girgashites. Hivites, Periz rites, and llittites—to which, in Gen. x. 15, four more are added—Kenites. Kenizites. Kadmonites. and Rephaim—Hivites being omitted; while else where the Girgashites and Ilivites are omitted. The grouping is not scientifie. The Ammonites represent, apparently. an older settlement than the Canaanites; the Eittites have no connection with Canaanites; while Jebusites and Girgashites are local or territorial designations. forming sub divisions of the Canaanites rather than indepen dent groups: and this may he true, likewise, of the Perizzites. A late tradition t II. Es. 21) is probably nearer to the ethnic facts in sepa rating the pre-Israelitish inhabitants of Pales tine proper into Canaanites and Perizzites. As to the relationship between the Perizzites and Canaanites we know nothing, they were probably closely akin. The Canaanites, name becomes general designation for the agricultural population whom the Hebrews found in Palestine, are well known through the ac counts which the 'Hebrew writers furnish. They , lived in a state of comparatively advanced culture. As an agricultural people they were rather a peaceful nation, who. however, showed great powers of nee in opposing the ad Unice of the Hebrews, being better equipped and able to protect themselves in their walled towns. Their religion was precisely of the kind that we would expect among an agricultural people. There was no centralized cult. Each locality had its deity. known as a 'Baal' (i.e. lord), to whom the ground was supposed to belong (see P,AAL) „ 111141 upon whose favor the fertility of the soil depended. Altars were erected to the hauls. usn ally on prominent places or in groves. The pole,
representing a tree and symbolizing fertility, stood by the altar. on which the first fruits were piled and coneiliatory presents elTered in days of distress. or when a failure of the crops was threatened. The festivals were, likewise, of an agricultural character, the three chief festival • seasons being in the spring, early summer, and autumn. They were occasions of merry-making, and the scenes, particularly of the harvest. fes tival, were of a hilarious character, culminating no doubt at times in riot, and perhaps were some what licentious. 3Iany of the religious customs of the Canaanites were taken up by the Hebrews upon their taking possession of the country. The invasion marked the change from a semi nomadic to an agricultural life for the latter. and they naturally looked to the baalim for pro tection and blessings of the soil. This amalga mation of Canaanitish worship with the Jehovis tie rites evoked the opposition of the ardent Je hovah worshipers, represented by Elijah and Elisha, in the Ninth Century B.C., and by the Hebrew prophets (Amos, Hosea, Micah. etc.) in the Eight) Century, which led finally to the abo lition of the old Canaanitish sanctuaries and the recognition of the temple at Jerusalem as the only legitimate seat of Jehovah worship. The language of the Canaanites, identical practically with the l'hcenician (q.v.), was adopted by the Hebrews upon their taking possession of the country. Canaanitish and Hebrew, therefore, as ordinarily understood. are synonymous terms. Among recent anthropologists, Sayre (ISSS) and Brinton (1590) consider the Canaanites a pre Semitic white race ( Phienieians, Amorites. etc.) of North African (Libyan) stock, and Sergi (1901) is of similar opinion. Others, looking upon 'Amorites' and as somewhat (as Brinton, in IS195, was inclined to do), ally them with the Semites. Keane (1896) uses Canaanites to designate a group of kindred Semitic peoples. which in eludes Phoenicians, Carthaginians. and others." The real Canaanites were probably a people of mixed Semitic and Aryan (possibly, also, Hamitic h blood.