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Hebrews
Hebrews
(Hebrew: עברים or עבריים, Tiberian ʿIḇrîm, ʿIḇriyyîm; Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
ʿIvrim, ʿIvriyyim; ISO 259-3 ʕibrim, ʕibriyim) is a term appearing 34 times within 32 verses[1][2][3] of the Hebrew
Hebrew
Bible. While the term was not an ethnonym,[4][5] it is mostly taken as synonymous with the Semitic-speaking Israelites, especially in the pre-monarchic period when they were still nomadic. However, in some instances it may also be used in a wider sense, referring to the Phoenicians, or to other ancient groups, such as the group known as Shasu
Shasu
of Yhw on the eve of the Bronze Age collapse.[6] By the time of the Roman Empire, Greek Hebraios could refer to the Jews
Jews
in general, as Strong's Hebrew
Hebrew
Dictionary puts it "any of the Jewish Nation"[7] and at other times more specifically to the Jews living in Judea. In Early Christianity, the Greek term Ἑβραῖος refers to Jewish Christians
Jewish Christians
as opposed to the gentile Christians and Judaizers
Judaizers
(Acts 6:1 among others). Ἰουδαία is the province where the Temple was located. In Armenian, Italian, Modern Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian, Romanian, and a few other modern languages, there is a pejorative connotation associated with the word corresponding to the word Jew; because of that, in each of these languages, the primary word used is that which corresponds to "Hebrew".[8][9][10] The translation of "Hebrew" is used also in the Kurdish language
Kurdish language
and was once used also in French. With the revival of the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
and the emergence of the Hebrew
Hebrew
Yishuv, the term has been applied to the people of this new society or anything associated with it.

Contents

1 Etymology

1.1 Shasu
Shasu
of Yhw 1.2 Habiru 1.3 Hyksos

2 Use as synonym for "Israelites" 3 Use as synonym for "Jews"

3.1 Use in Zionism

4 Synonym for "convert from Judaism" 5 The United States 6 Name of the Hebrew
Hebrew
language 7 References

7.1 Bibliography 7.2 Notes

8 External links

Etymology[edit] The origin of the term remains uncertain.[11] The Biblical term Ivri (עברי; Hebrew
Hebrew
pronunciation: [ʕivˈri]), meaning to traverse or pass over, is usually rendered as Hebrew
Hebrew
in English, from the ancient Greek Ἑβραῖος and Latin
Latin
Hebraeus. In the plural it is Ivrim, or Ibrim.

Terracotta head of Semite, marked "Hebrew" by Petrie. From Memphis, Foreign Quarter, Egypt. Graeco-Roman Period. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

In Genesis 10:21 Shem, the elder brother of Ham and Japheth, first-born son of Noah, is referred to as the father of the sons of Eber
Eber
(עבר), which may have a similar meaning. Some authors argue that Ibri denotes the descendants of the biblical patriarch Eber
Eber
( Hebrew
Hebrew
עבר), son of Shelah, a great grandson of Noah
Noah
and an ancestor of Abraham,[12] hence the occasional anglicization Eberites. Shasu
Shasu
of Yhw[edit] Main article: Shasu

Egyptian representation of a captive Shasu

The hieroglyphic rendering of the Egyptian word š3sw (Shasu) means "those who move on foot". The name " Shasu
Shasu
of Yhw", e.g., the name rings from Soleb and Amarah-West, corresponds very precisely to the Tetragrammaton
Tetragrammaton
in the Hebrew
Hebrew
Bible.[13] The demonym 'Israel' can reasonably be referred to a Shasu
Shasu
enclave, and it can be concluded that the Shasu
Shasu
originated from Moab
Moab
and northern Edom
Edom
and eventually helped to constitute the nation of 'Israel' which later established the Kingdom of Israel.[14][15] The Shasu
Shasu
are mostly depicted hieroglyphically with a determinative indicating rather a land than a people, referencing people of that particular land.[16] Habiru[edit] Main article: Habiru Since the discovery of the second millennium inscriptions mentioning the Habiru, there have been many theories linking these to the Hebrews. Some scholars argue that the name "Hebrew" is related to the name of the seminomadic Habiru
Habiru
people, who are recorded in Egyptian inscriptions of the 13th and 12th centuries BCE as having settled in Egypt.[17] This is rebutted by others who propose that the Hebrews
Hebrews
are mentioned in older texts of the 3rd Intermediate Period of Egypt
Egypt
(15th century BCE) as Shasu
Shasu
of Yhw.[18] Writing in 1989, Anson F. Rainey concluded that attempts to relate apiru (Habiru) to the Hebrew
Hebrew
word ibri (Hebrews) were "wishful thinking."[19] Hyksos[edit] Main article: Origins of the Hyksos The Jewish historian Josephus
Josephus
maintains that the Hyksos
Hyksos
were in fact the children of Jacob
Jacob
who joined his son Joseph in Egypt
Egypt
to escape a famine in the land of Canaan. The Hyksos
Hyksos
first appeared in Egypt during the Eleventh Dynasty. They came out of the second intermediate period in control of Avaris
Avaris
and the Nile delta and ruled Lower Egypt as Semite kings (Fifteenth Dynasty). Kamose, the last king of the Theban 17th Dynasty, refers to the Hyksos
Hyksos
King Apophis as a Chieftain of Retjenu (Canaan). At the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty of Egypt, they were expelled by an ethnic Egyptian pharaoh. The term "Hyksos" derives from the Egyptian expression heka khasewet ("rulers of foreign lands"). Josephus
Josephus
records the false etymology that the Greek phrase Hyksos stood for the Egyptian phrase Hekw Shasu
Shasu
meaning the Shepherd Kings, which scholars have only recently shown means "rulers of foreign lands."[20] Use as synonym for "Israelites"[edit] See also: Israelites, Who is a Jew?, and History of ancient Israel and Judah

Greek painting of three Chaldeans with captive Hebrews

In the Hebrew
Hebrew
Bible, the term "Hebrew" is normally used by Israelites when speaking of themselves to foreigners, or is used by foreigners when speaking about Israelites.[21] In fact, the Torah
Torah
in parashat Lekh Lekha
Lekh Lekha
("go!" or "leave!", literally "go for you") calls Abraham Avram Ha-Ivri ("Abram the Hebrew"), which translates literally as "Abram the one who stands on the other side."[Gen. 14:13] Israelites
Israelites
are defined as the descendants of Jacob, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham. Eber, an ancestor of Jacob
Jacob
(seven generations removed), is a distant ancestor of many people, including the Israelites, Ishmaelites, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Midianites
Midianites
and Qahtanites. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia
Jewish Encyclopedia
the terms "Hebrews" and "Israelites" usually describe the same people, stating that they were called Hebrews
Hebrews
before the conquest of the Land of Canaan
Canaan
and Israelites
Israelites
afterwards.[22] Professor Nadav Na'aman and others say that the use of the word "Hebrew" to refer to Israelites
Israelites
is rare and when used it is used "to Israelites
Israelites
in exceptional and precarious situations, such as migrants or slaves."[23][24] Use as synonym for "Jews"[edit]

Moses (l) and Aaron (r) lead the Jews
Jews
across the Red Sea
Red Sea
while pursued by Pharaoh. Fresco from the Dura-Europos
Dura-Europos
synagogue in Syria, 244–256 CE

By the Roman period, "Hebrews" could be used to designate the Jews, who use the Hebrew
Hebrew
language.[25] The Epistle to the Hebrews
Epistle to the Hebrews
was probably written for Jewish Christians.[26] In some modern languages, including Armenian, Greek, Italian, Romanian, and many Slavic languages, the name Hebrews
Hebrews
survives as the standard ethnonym for Jews, but in many other languages in which there exist both terms, it is considered derogatory to call modern Jews "Hebrews".[citation needed] Among certain left-wing or liberal circles of Judaic cultural lineage, the word "Hebrew" is used as an alternatively secular description of the Jewish people (e.g., Bernard Avishai's The Hebrew
Hebrew
Republic or left-wing wishes for a "Hebrew-Arab" joint cultural republican state). Use in Zionism[edit] Beginning in the late 19th century, the term "Hebrew" became popular among secular Zionists; in this context the word alluded to the transformation of the Jews
Jews
into a strong, independent, self-confident secular national group ("the New Jew") sought by classical Zionism. This use died out after the establishment of the state of Israel, when "Hebrew" was replaced with "Jew" or "Israeli".[27] Synonym for "convert from Judaism"[edit]

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The word "Hebrew", in its secular sense, has also been used as ethnic self-descriptors by converts from Judaism
Judaism
to other religions. Hebrew Catholics, a community of converts from Judaism
Judaism
to Catholic Christianity, were so named by Elias Friedman, a Carmelite Catholic priest who founded the Association of Hebrew
Hebrew
Catholics. Similarly, " Hebrew
Hebrew
Christians" (better known as Jewish Christians) identify with their Hebrew
Hebrew
ethnicity while often embracing adaptations of Protestantism or any other form of Christianity. " Hebrew
Hebrew
Christians" are also known as "Messianic Jews", or "Completed Jews". The United States[edit] Early in its presence in the United States, Reform Judaism
Judaism
attempted to distance itself from terms such as "Jew" or "Jewish."[citation needed] The organization of reform congregations in the United States was known as the Union of American Hebrew
Hebrew
Congregations prior to 2003 when it was renamed the "Union for Reform Judaism." Name of the Hebrew
Hebrew
language[edit]

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The Hebrew language
Hebrew language
is a member of the larger group of Canaanite languages within Northwest Semitic. The language has been known as "Hebrew" in English since the 11th century, from Old French
Old French
Ebreu, in turn from Latin
Latin
Hebraeus and Greek Ἑβραῖος, whose alphabet is ultimately a loan from "Assyrian lettering" (Ktav Ashuri), the "square-script", by Ezra the Scribe following the Babylonian Exile. Since the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
makes a point of marking the Canaanites as peoples set apart from the Israelites, the extent of the distinction between the culture of the Canaanites and the Israelites
Israelites
is a matter of debate. It has been argued that the Israelites
Israelites
were themselves Canaanites, and that "historical Israel", as distinct from "literary" or "Biblical Israel" was a subset of Canaanite culture. It is also known that Israelites
Israelites
and later the subdivision of Israelites
Israelites
known as the Judeans spoke Hebrew
Hebrew
as their main language and it is still used in Jewish holy scriptures, study, speech and prayer. References[edit]

Jewish Encyclopedia Jewish History Resource Center

Bibliography[edit]

Ancient Judaism, Max Weber, Free Press, 1967, ISBN 0-02-934130-2

Notes[edit]

^ Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
#5680 ^ Step Bible ^ Brown; Driver; Briggs; Gesenius (1952). "The NAS Old Testament Hebrew
Hebrew
Lexicon". Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-198-64301-2. Retrieved 2014-09-06.  ^ Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, p.567, "Hebrew, Hebrews... A non-ethnic term" ^ Collapse of the Bronze Age, p.266, quote: "Opinion has sharply swung away from the view that the Apiru were the earliest Israelites
Israelites
in part because Apiru was not an ethnic term nor were Apiru an ethnic group." ^ The Electronic Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary s.v. SA-GAZ. The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago volume H (1956) p. 13 & p. 84; volume Š/1 (1989) p. 70. ^ Thayer's Lexicon ^ Administrator. "Jewish Museum of Venice - homepage". Museoebraico.it. Archived from the original on 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2012-08-04.  ^ "Jewish Ghetto of Venice". Ghetto.it. Retrieved 2012-08-04.  ^ Yann Picand; Dominique Dutoit. "translation of evreiesc in English Romanian-English dictionary". Translation.sensagent.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04.  ^ "Hebrew". Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago. 2009.  ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
Jewish Encyclopedia
article on Eber ^ Astour, Michael C. (1979). "Yahweh in Egyptian Topographic Lists." In Festschrift Elmar Edel, eds. M. Gorg & E. Pusch, Bamberg; (1979), p. 18 ^ Redford, Donald B. (1992). Egypt, Canaan
Canaan
and Israel In Ancient Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00086-7.  p. 272-3,275. ^ Rainey, Anson (2008). " Shasu
Shasu
or Habiru. Who Were the Early Israelites?" Biblical Archeology Review 34:6 (Nov/Dec). ^ Dermot Anthony Nestor, Cognitive Perspectives on Israelite Identity, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010 p.185. ^ entry in britannica.com ^ Rainey, Anson (November 2008). " Shasu
Shasu
or Habiru. Who Were the Early Israelites?". Biblical Archeology Review. Biblical Archaeology Society. 34 (6 (Nov/Dec)).  ^ Anson F. Rainey, Unruly Elements in Late Bronze Canaanite Society, in "Pomegranates and golden bells" ed. David Pearson Wright, David Noel Freedman, Avi Hurvitz, (Eisenbrauns, 1995) p.483 ^ Finkelstein, Israel and Silberman, Neil Asher, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, 2001, The Free Press, New York City, ISBN 0-684-86912-8 p. 54 ^ William David. Reyburn - Euan McG. Fry - A handbook on Genesis - New York - United Bible Societies - 1997 ^ Hebrews
Hebrews
entry in Jewish Encyclopedia ^ Carolyn Pressler (2009). "Wives and Daughters, Bond and Free: Views of Women in the Slave Laws of Exodus 21.2-11". In Bernard M. Levinson; Victor H. Matthews; Tikva Frymer-Kensky. Gender and Law in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. p. 152. ISBN 978-0567545008.  ^ Carvalho, Corrine L. (2010). Encountering Ancient Voices: A Guide to Reading the Old Testament. Anselm Academic. p. 68. ISBN 978-1599820507.  ^ entry in thefreedictionary.com ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: Hebrews, Epistle to the ^ Shavit, Yaacov (1987). The New Hebrew
Hebrew
Nation. Routledge. pp. xiv. ISBN 0-7146-3302-X. 

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Hebrews
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