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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Cananaean

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CANANaeAN.—‘Cananaean’ ( Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885, following the reading Καναναῖος adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, WH [Note: Hestcott and Hort’s text.] , and modern scholars generally) or Canaanite (Authorized Version, following the TR [Note: Textus Receptus.] reading Κανανίτης) is a description applied by St. Matthew (Matthew 10:4) and St. Mark (Mark 3:18) in their lists of the Twelve to the second of the two Apostolic Simons, who is thus distinguished from Simon Peter. There can be no doubt that ‘Canaanite,’ which means an inhabitant of Canaan, is a false rendering. The Gr. for Canaan is Χαναάν (Acts 7:11; Acts 13:19), and for Canaanite, Χαναναῖος (Matthew 15:22) not Κανανίτης. Transliterating the Κανανίτης of the TR [Note: R Textus Receptus.] , the Authorized Version should have spelled the word ‘Cananite,’ as indeed was done in the Geneva Version, and in some editions of the Authorized Version, though not in that of 1611. But it is practically certain that Καναναῖος (which in the text of Mk. especially is very strongly supported, e.g. by אΒΧΔΛΔ) is the correct reading. The word seems to be a construction from the plural form קַנָאָניָא of the late Heb. קַנְאָן, corresponding to the Biblical קַנָא, ‘jealous’ (see Schürer, HJP [Note: JP History of the Jewish People.] , i. ii. 80 f.; and note that the noun קנאָה, which in the Heb. text of the OT is used in the sense of ‘zeal’ as well as of ‘jealousy,’ is sometimes rendered in the LXX Septuagint by ζῆλος [Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 26:11]). This is borne out by the fact that St. Luke, on the two occasions on which he gives a list of the Apostles (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13), employs ὁ Ζηλωτής, instead of ὁ Καναναῖος, to describe Simon—which seems to show that the two epithets are synonymous.

Jerome, who in the Vulgate adopts the from ‘Cananaeus,’ in his Com. in Matt. interprets it ‘de vico Chana Galilaeae’; and he has been followed by many scholars in modern times, who have taken the name to be a corruption of Καναῖος, and to mean ‘a man of Cana, probably Cana in Galilee. This view, however, now obtains little support, though Cheyne (Encyc. Bibl. ii. col. 2624, iv. col. 4535) appears to favour it. Meyer (Com. on Matt. [Note: Matthew’s (i.e. prob. Rogers’) Bible 1537.] , in loc.), while holding that the form of the word makes the derivation from Cana impossible, maintains that it is nevertheless ‘derived from the name of some place or other’; and would explain its use in Mt. and Mk. from the fact that Simon, as a quondam zealot, ‘bore the surname קַנִאָני, ζηλωτής, a name which was correctly interpreted by Luke; but, according to another tradition, was erroneously derived from the name of a place, and accordingly came to be rendered ὁ Καναναῖος.’ This is ingenious, but seems needlessly far-fetched. It is quite arbitrary, too, to say that the form Καναναῖος must be derived from the name of a place. The termination -αῖος is common in the Grecized rendering of names of sects (e.g. Φαρισαῖος, Σαδδουκαῖος, Ἐσσαῖος; see Grimm-Thayer, Lexicon, s.v. Καναναῖος). And Καναναῖος from קַנאָנַיָא is as natural as Φαρισαῖος from פְּרִישַׁיָא, stat. emphat. of Aramaic פִּרִישִׁין for Heb. פְּוּשׁים (see Schürer, HJP [Note: JP History of the Jewish People.] ii. ii. 19).

J. C. Lambert.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Cananaean'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/c/cananaean.html. 1906-1918.

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