According to the early Christian bishop Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 315–403), Chaabou or Kaabu (Nabataean Aramaic: 𐢏𐢁𐢃𐢈; Greek: Χααβου[1]) was a goddess in the Nabataean pantheon—a virgin who gave birth to the god Dusares. However, a few modern scholars claim without proof that Epiphanius may have mistaken the word kaʿbu ("cube", etymologically identical to the name of the Kaaba), referring to the stone blocks used by the Nabateans to represent Dusares and possibly other deities, for the proper name of a goddess.[2][3] His report that Chaabou was a virgin was likely influenced by his desire to find a parallel to the Christian belief in the virgin birth of Jesus, and by the similarity of the words ka'bah and ka'ibah ("virgin") in Arabic, the native tongue of the Nabataeans.[3][4]

See also


  1. ^ W. Robertson Smith (1907). Lectures on the Religion of the Semites. London: Adam and Charles Black. p. 68, footnote 3.
  2. ^ Stephen Herbert Langdon (1964) [first published 1931]. Semitic Mythology. The Mythology of All Races. Vol. 5. New York: Cooper Square Publishers. p. 16.
  3. ^ a b Eugene D. Stockton (1971). "Petra revisited: a review of a Semitic cult complex" (PDF). Australian Journal of Biblical Archaeology. 1 (4): 57.
  4. ^ Roger D. Woodard (2008). The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia. Cambridge University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-139-46934-0.