Philistine

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Phil·is·tine / ˈfiləˌstēn; -ˌstīn/ • n. 1. a member of a non-Semitic (perhaps originally Anatolian) people of southern Palestine in ancient times, who came into conflict with the Israelites during the 12th and 11th centuries bc. 2. (usu. philistine) a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them: [as adj.] a philistine government. DERIVATIVES: phil·is·tin·ism / ˈfiləstēˌnizəm; fəˈlistə-/ n.

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Philistine a member of a non-Semitic people of southern Palestine in ancient times, who came into conflict with the Israelites during the 12th and 11th centuries bc. The Philistines, from whom the country of Palestine took its name, were one of the Sea Peoples who, according to the Bible, came from Crete and settled the southern coastal plain of Canaan in the 12th century bc.

The word (usually in the form philistine) has come to mean a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them. This sense arose as a result of a confrontation between town and gown in Jena, Germany, in the late 17th century; a sermon on the conflict quoted: ‘the Philistines are upon you’ (Judges 16), which led to an association between the townspeople and those hostile to culture.

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Philistine one of a people in ancient Palestine who harassed the Israelites; an enemy into whose hands one may fall XVI; †in Germany, one who is not a student at the university; person deficient in liberal culture XIX. — F. Philistin or late L. Philistīnus, also Palæstīnus, usu. pl. — late Gr. Philistînoi, Palaistînoi — Heb. pelištīm, rel. to pelešeth Philistia, Palestine.
Hence Philistinism XIX.

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Philistine Member of a non-Semitic people who lived on the s coast of modern Israel, known as Philistia, from c.1200 bc. They clashed frequently with the Hebrews, until decisively defeated by King David. Today, the term philistine may be applied to a person indifferent to culture.

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