From Late LatinPhilistinus, from Late Ancient GreekΦυλιστῖνοι (Phulistinoi), from Hebrewפְּלִשְׁתִּים (p'lishtím), from פְּלֶשֶׁת (p'léshet, “Philistia”).
The sense relating to lack of education and culture was introduced to English by Thomas Carlyle and greatly popularised by Matthew Arnold. It is derived from German student use of the term Philister to refer to the burghers of the town. This apparently derived from the use of the biblical text "the Philistines be upon you, Samson" in a memorial service for a Jena university student who died as the result of a town vs. gown dispute in 1693.
Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. He was dressed out in broad gaiters and bright tweeds, like an English tourist, and his face might have belonged to Dagon, idol of the Philistines.