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Definition of word.


In reference to culture, Near-Eastern is an adjective to describe a type of or an expression of culture (e.g., literature, music, art, fashion, foods, lifestyles, values, attitudes, customs, activities, sports, etc.) commonly associated with or originating from countries of the Near-East.  The adjective Near-Eastern is used synonymously with Middle-Eastern and is used to contrast Near-Eastern culture from Western culture or Far-Eastern culture.  The Near-Eastern countries are on the western half of the Orient.  The Near-Eastern countries include countries in north-eastern Africa and those countries east of Europe but west of India.  The Near-Eastern countries are those near and between the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Mediterranean Sea.

The following are a few Near-Eastern nations of today that are not named in Scripture:

  • Afghanistan,
  • Georgia,
  • Iran,
  • Iraq,
  • Morocco,
  • Turkey, and
  • Yemen.

The following are Near-Eastern nationalities of ancient antiquity which still exist today (with adjusted boundaries) that are named in Scripture:

  • Arabians,
  • Armenians,
  • Egyptians,
  • Israelites or Israelis,
  • Jordanians,
  • Lebanese,
  • Libyans, and
  • Syrians.

The following are Near-Eastern nationalities of ancient antiquity which no longer exist that are named in Scripture:

  • Amalekites,
  • Ammonites,
  • Amorites,
  • Anakims,
  • Assyrians,
  • Babylonians,
  • Canaanites,
  • Chaldeans,
  • Edomites,
  • Elamites,
  • Girgashites,
  • Hittites,
  • Hivites,
  • Jebusites,
  • Kenites,
  • Midianites,
  • Moabites,
  • Perizzites,
  • Philistines,
  • Zamzummims, and
  • Zidonians.

The following are Near-Eastern nationalities of classical antiquity which no longer exist (with the exception of the first) that are named in Scripture:

  • Cyprus,
  • Medes,
  • Parthians, and
  • Persians.

Israel is the national focus of the Old Testament.  The Old Testament is immersed in and permeated with ancient Near-Eastern culture.  The Old Testament is the foundation of the New Testament; furthermore, the Mosaic Law within the Old Testament guided much of English law and American law.  As a result, Western culture has been inseparable shaped by aspects of ancient Near-Eastern thinking and practices.

Today, the Near-Eastern nations are predominately Islamic, with the exception of Israel which is Jewish.  The religion of Islam (which developed during the Middle Ages) and the influence of Sharia law have spread Middle-Eastern dress, beliefs, and values to the northern half of Africa and to Muslim converts throughout Europe and America.

As an aside, the following are European nationalities of classical antiquity mentioned in the Bible:

  • Cretians,
  • Greeks (a.k.a., Grecians), and
  • Romans (modern Italy).

India is a Far-Eastern nation of classical antiquity mentioned in the Bible.

Author: Allen B. Wolfe

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