Skip to main content

Caphtor

CAPHTOR

CAPHTOR (Heb. כַּפְתּוֹר, כַּפְתֹּר), place located either in the Aegean Sea area or on the southern coast of Asia Minor. According to Amos 9:7, Jeremiah 47:4, and possibly Genesis 10:14, the Philistines came from Caphtor prior to their penetration of southern Palestine. Deuteronomy 2:23 notes that the Caphtorim destroyed "the Avvim, that dwelt in villages as far as Gaza,, taking over their lands. In an Assyrian document, based upon an ancient Babylonian tradition, describing the empire of Sargon the Great, king of Akkad (24th century b.c.e.), Kaptara is located beyond the "upper sea," i.e., west of the Syria-Palestine coastline. In the *Mari texts the terms Kaptarû, Kaptarītum occur as names of precious goods apparently imported from the region of the Aegean Sea. According to Ugaritic texts, Kōthar (= Kōsar), the god of crafts, lived in Caphtor (Kptr). It is accepted that the Keftiu (Kftyw) mentioned in inscriptions of Egyptian kings and nobles in the second half of the second millennium is identical with Caphtor. Kftyw is known in Egyptian sources as a distant land accessible by ship.

The location of Caphtor or kftyw is in dispute. Most scholars consider Caphtor to be the ancient name for *Crete and the surrounding islands (cf. "islands" in lxx, Jer. 47:4). In Jeremiah 47:4 Caphtor is defined as an island. Furthermore, several verses place the origin of the Philistines among the Cretans (Ezek. 25:16; Zeph. 2:5), while elsewhere they are identified as coming from Caphtor. The descent of the Caphtorim from the Egyptians (Gen. 10:14) hints at the close relationship that existed between Egypt and Caphtor. Archaeological excavations in Crete have shown that the island was a center of Minoan culture in the second millennium b.c.e. and that the population traded with Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia. An Egyptian wall painting from the reign of Thutmosis iii shows men from kftyw bringing gifts to the Egyptian king. The name Caphtor may be preserved in the name of the island Karpathos, near Crete. Those who reject the identification of Caphtor with Crete look for it on the southern coast of Asia Minor, near Cilicia, on the basis of the Septuagint and Targum Onkelos which use the name Cappadocia (Gr. Καππαδοκία) in place of Caphtor.

bibliography:

G.A. Wainwright, in: vt, 6 (1956), 199–210; Pritchard, Texts, 248–9; em, s.v. (includes bibliography). add. bibliography: R. Hess, in: abd i:869–70.

[Bustanay Oded]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Caphtor." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Caphtor." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/caphtor

"Caphtor." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved May 24, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/caphtor

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.