Cainan can refer to either:
  • A variant of the name Kenan
    Kenan , , or Cainan, was a Biblical patriarch first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible Book of Genesis as living before the Great Flood.- Family :...

    in the generations of Adam
    Generations of Adam
    "Generations of Adam" is a concept in in the Hebrew Bible. It is typically taken as name of Adam's line of descent going through Seth. Another view equates the generations of Adam with material about a second line of descent starting with Cain in Genesis 4, while Genesis 5 is taken as the...

    , the lists of antediluvian
    The antediluvian period meaning "before the deluge" is the period referred to in the Bible between the Creation of the Earth and the Deluge . The narrative takes up chapters 1-6 of Genesis...

     patriarchs given in the Torah
    Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...


  • Cainan, the son of the Arpachshad
    Arpachshad or Arphaxad or Arphacsad was one of the five sons of Shem, the son of Noah . His brothers were Elam, Asshur, Lud and Aram; he is an ancestor of Abraham. He is said by Gen...

     mentioned in most manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke
    Gospel of Luke
    The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

     3:36. This reference to Cainan is present in the Septuagint and Samaritan
    The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, an Abrahamic religion closely related to Judaism...

     versions of the Book of Genesis, as well as in the Book of Jubilees; however, the early Christian apologists Irenaeus
    Saint Irenaeus , was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire . He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology...

     and Eusebius believed it to be an error, as do many modern interpreters, mainly on the basis of his omission from the Masoretic (Hebrew)
    Masoretic Text
    The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...


According to the Book of Jubilees, Cainan was taught to read by his father, and he found, carved on the rocks by former generations, an inscription preserving the science of astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

 as taught by the Watchers, who had rebelled from God before the deluge. He is also stated to have married a daughter of Madai
Madai is a son of Japheth and one of the 16 grandsons of Noah in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. Biblical scholars have identified Madai with various nations, from the Mitanni of early records, to the Iranian Medes of much later records...

 named Milcah.

The Sefer ha-Yashar describes Cainan, the possessor of great astrological wisdom, which had been inscribed on tables of stone, as the son of Seth
Seth , in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is the third listed son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel, who are the only other of their children mentioned by name...

 and not of Arpachshad; i.e., the antediluvian Kenan.

In The Patriarchal Age: or, the History and Religion of Mankind (1854), George Smith writes:
"It is remarkable that, notwithstanding the omission of the name of Cainan from the Hebrew text, and the consequent general rejection of him by historians, there are more traditions preserved of him than of his son Salah. 'The Alexandrine Chronicle derives the Samaritans from Cainan*; Eustachius
Eustachius may refer to:*Saint Eustachius - Placidus; Eustace*Bartolomeo Eustachi , anatomist*Eustáquio van Lieshout , Dutch missionary in Brazil*Eustochius, fifth bishop of Tours from 443 to 460...

 Antiochenus, the Saggodians; George Syncellus
George Syncellus
George Syncellus was a Byzantine chronicler and ecclesiastic. He had lived many years in Palestine as a monk, before coming to Constantinople, where he was appointed syncellus to Tarasius, patriarch of Constantinople...

, the Gaspheni; Epiphanius
Epiphanius was the name of several early Christian scholars and ecclesiastics:*Epiphanius of Pavia *Epiphanius of Salamis , bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, author of the Panarion, or Medicine Chest against Heresies*Epiphanius of Constantinople, , Patriarch of Constantinople*Epiphanius Scholasticus ,...

 the Cajani. Besides the particulars already mentioned, it is said Cainan was the first after the flood who invented astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, and that his sons made a god of him, and worshiped his image after his death. The founding of the city of Harran
Harran was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is near the modern village of Altınbaşak, Turkey, 24 miles southeast of Şanlıurfa...

 in Mesopotamia is also attributed to him; which, it is pretended, is so called from a son he had of that name.' -Anc. Univ. Hist., vol. i, p. 96, note."

(* What the Latin Alexandrine Chronicle actually says is that "those who live east of the Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

" were derived from Cainan)
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