Ancient Israel: Canaanite Origins
An analysis by way of comparison is made to postulate ancient Israelite origins come from a pre-existing indigenous geopolitical group of people known as Canaanites, not an influx of freed Egyptians slaves miraculously delivered from their bondage, then conquering and occupying the “Promised Land” as documented in the Biblical account of Joshua. Comparisons will also be drawn from the similarities in basic theology to postulate Israel adopted a Canaanite god in developing its (Israelite) national deity, Yahweh.
Brief History of Canaan
The words “Canaan” and “Canaanite” are used in the Hebrew Bible somewhat indiscriminately to cover those areas of the ancient Near East, which eventually became the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, areas the Israelites mastered and subsequently socially constructed through their sacred literature as the “Promised Land.”1 The Canaanites actually occupied a much larger area, from the borders of Egypt in the South to the northern Syrian coast, including Lebanon, a natural land bridge between Egypt and Mesopotamia.2
This area had no centralizing feature, such as the Nile or Euphrates rivers, and was seldom a coherent political entity; in the second millennium BCE it was frequently under Egyptian control or influence; in the New Kingdom period (1500-1200 BCE) it was an Egyptian province.3 Beginning late in the thirteenth century BCE and continuing to the twelfth century, the territory of the Canaanite Empire was greatly reduced: the Sea Peoples, known as the Philistines occupied most of the coast and possibly some areas north of Phoenicia; Arameans, swept over eastern and northern Syria; the ancient Israelites (Hebrews) emerged from the east,
1 Magnusson, M. (1977). BC, the archaeology of the Bible lands. London: Bodley Head. p. 80.
2 Magnusson, p.81.
3 Magnusson, p.81.
spread quickly over the Judean hills, and eventually onto the coastal plains; this effectively...