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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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CANA (Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας) is mentioned four times in the Fourth Gospel. It was the scene of our Lord’s first miracle (John 2:1; John 2:11); the place to which ‘a certain king’s officer (βασιλικός), whose son was sick at Capernaum,’ came to find Jesus (John 4:46); and the native place of the disciple Nathanael (John 21:2). After the miracle, Jesus ‘went down’ (κατέβη) to Capernaum; and the king’s officer besought him to ‘come down’ (καταβῇ) to heal his son. Those references place Cana of Galilee on higher ground than Capernaum. There is no other direct evidence as to its position.

Josephus states (Vita, 16) that he resided for a time ‘in a village of Galilee which is named Cana.’ From this village he made a descent during the night upon Tiberias (17). Later (41) he speaks of residing in the great plain, the name of which was Asochis. If these residences are one and the same place, the Cana of Josephus may well be Khirbet Kâna or Kânat el-Jelîl, on the N. slopes of the plain of Buttauf, and about 8 miles N. of Nazareth. This, however, would not decide the site of St. John’s Cana. [The Κανά of Ant. xv. v. 1 should be, according to BJ i. xix. 1, Καναθά].

Etymology and tradition are divided between the above mentioned site on the plain of Buttauf and Kefr Kennâ, a hamlet on the direct road to the lake, and about 3½ miles N.E. of Nazareth, where there is a fine spring. Etymology certainly favours Khirbet Kâna, the doubling of the medial ‘nun’ being against Kefr Kennâ. Tradition is indecisive. The references in Placentinus (Itin. 4), Phocas, John of Würzburg, Quaresmius (Elucidationes, ii. 852f.), etc., favour Kefr Kennâ, where the monks of the Greek and Latin Churches have considerable ecclesiastical properties. On the other hand, the notices of Theodosius (a.d. 530), Saewulf, Brocardus, Fetellus, Marinus Sanutus (p. 253), and others, suit the northern site.

In later times, Robinson (BRP [Note: RP Biblical Researches in Palestine.] 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] ii. 348f., iii. 108) supports the claims of Khirbet Kâna, and is followed by Hitter, Thomson, Ewald, Socin, Keim, and others. Eusebius and Jerome (Onom. s.v. Κανα) identify Cana with Kanah* [Note: This Kanah is probably the modern village of Kana, 7 miles S.E. of Tyre (Encyc. Bibl. ii. 2652; Hastings’ DB ii. 831).] in Asher (Joshua 19:28). This could not be Kefr Kennâ, which is not in Asher, but might be Khirbet Kâna (Eneyc. Bibl. i. 638). Other recent writers contend for Kefr Kennâ, among whom are Guérin, de Saulcy, Porter, Tristram, etc. The balance of evidence is perhaps on the side of the northern site (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible i. 346 b). Conder (PEF [Note: EF Palestine Exploration Fund.] Mem. i. 288) suggests as a possible site a spot nearer to Nazareth than Kefr Kennâ, called ‘Ain Kânâ, and not far from Reineh. Dr. Sanday appears to support this, and claims Guthe as agreeing (Sacred Sites, 24 n. [Note: note.] ).

Literature.—Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible i. 346; Encyc. Bibl. i. 637; Robinson, BRP [Note: RP Biblical Researches in Palestine.] 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] ii. 348f., iii. 108; Conder, PEF [Note: EF Palestine Exploration Fund.] Mem. i. 288; Stanley, SP [Note: P Sinai and Palestine.] 368; Guérin, Galilée, i. 175 ff.; Thomson, Land and Book, 425 f.; Tristram, Land of Israel, 455; Socin, Pal. [Note: Palestine, Palestinian.] 358. 367; Murray, Pal. [Note: Palestine, Palestinian.] 366; Buhl, GAP [Note: AP Geographic des alten Palästina.] 219 f.; Ewald, Gesch. vi. 180 n. [Note: note.] ; Keim, Jesus of Nazara, iv. 116 n. [Note: note.] ; Ritter, Comp. Geogr. iv. 378f.

A. W. Cooke.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Cana'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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