Japhetite (also Japhethitic, Japhetic) in Abrahamic religions is a historical obsolete term for the peoples supposedly descended from Japheth, one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible. The other two sons of Noah, Shem and Ham, are the eponymous ancestors of the Semites and the Hamites, respectively.
In medieval ethnography, the world was believed to have been divided into three large-scale racial groupings, corresponding to the three classical continents: the Japhetic peoples of Europe, the Semitic peoples of Asia and the Hamitic peoples of Africa.
The term has been used in modern times as a designation in physical anthropology, ethnography and comparative linguistics. In anthropology, it was used in a racial sense for "white people" (the Caucasian race). In linguistics it was used as a term for the Indo-European languages. These uses are now mostly obsolete. In a linguistic sense, only the Semitic peoples form a well-defined family. The Indo-European group is no longer known as "Japhetite", and the Hamitic group is now recognized as paraphyletic within the Afro-Asiatic family.
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