The Info List - Jew (word)

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The English term Jew
originates in the Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
word Yehudi, meaning "from the Tribe of Judah", "from the Kingdom of Judah", or "Jew". It passed into Greek as Ioudaios and Latin as Iudaeus, which evolved into the Old French
Old French
giu after the letter "d" was dropped. A variety of related forms are found in early English from about the year 1000, including Iudea, Gyu, Giu, Iuu, Iuw, and Iew, which eventually developed into the modern word.


1 Etymology

1.1 Yehudi in the Hebrew Bible 1.2 Development in European languages

2 Modern use

2.1 Antisemitism

3 See also 4 References

Etymology[edit] Further information: Ioudaios

coin of John Hyrcanus
John Hyrcanus
(134 to 104 BCE) with the inscription "Hayehudim" (of the Jews). Obv: Double cornucopia. Rev: Five lines of ancient Hebrew script; reading "Yehochanan Kohen Gadol, Chever Hayehudim" (Yehochanan the High Priest, Council of the Jews.

Map of the region in the 9th century BCE

Yehudi in the Hebrew Bible[edit] According to the Book
of Genesis, Judah (יְהוּדָה‬, Yehudah) was the name of the fourth son of the patriarch Jacob. During the Exodus, the name was given to the Tribe of Judah, descended from the patriarch Judah. After the conquest and settlement of the land of Canaan, Judah also referred to the territory allocated to the tribe. After the splitting of the united Kingdom of Israel, the name was used for the southern kingdom of Judah. The kingdom now encompassed the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Simeon, along with some of the cities of the Levites. With the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel (Samaria), the kingdom of Judah became the sole Jewish state and the term y'hudi (יהודי‬) was applied to all Israelites. When the word makes its first appearance in writing (in the book of Esther) its meaning has already expanded to include converts to the Jewish religion as well as descendants of Israelites. The term Yehudi (יְהוּדִי‬) occurs 74 times in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible. The plural, Yehudim (הַיְּהוּדִים‬) first appears in 2 Kings 16:6 where it refers to a defeat for the Yehudi army or nation, and in 2 Chronicles 32:18, where it refers to the language of the Yehudim (יְהוּדִית‬). Jeremiah 34:9 has the earliest singular usage of the word Yehudi. In Esther 2:5-6, the name "Yehudi" (יְהוּדִי‬) has a generic aspect, in this case referring to a man from the tribe of Benjamin:

"There was a man a Yehudi (Jewish man) in Shushan
the capital, whose name was Mordecai
the son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish, a Benjamite; who had been exiled from Jerusalem
with the exile that was exiled with Jeconiah, king of Judah, which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had exiled."

The name appears in the Bible as a verb in Esther 8:17 which states:

"Many of the people of the land became Yehudim (in the generic sense) (מִתְיַהֲדִים‬, mityahadim) because the fear of the Yehudim fell on them."

In some places in the Talmud
the word Israel(ite) refers to somebody who is Jewish but does not necessarily practice Judaism
as a religion: "An Israel(ite) even though he has sinned is still an Israel(ite)" (Tractate Sanhedrin
44a). More commonly the Talmud
uses the term Bnei Yisrael, i.e. "Children of Israel", ("Israel" being the name of the third patriarch Jacob, father of the sons that would form the twelve tribes of Israel, which he was given and took after wrestling with an angel, see Genesis 32:28-29[1]) to refer to Jews. According to the Talmud
then, there is no distinction between "religious Jews" and "secular Jews." In modern Hebrew, the same word is still used to mean both Jews
and Judeans ("of Judea"). In Arabic
the terms are yahūdī (sg.), al-yahūd (pl.), and بَنُو اِسرَائِيل banū isrāʼīl. The Aramaic term is Y'hūdāi. Development in European languages[edit]

A page from Elia Levita's Yiddish-Hebrew-Latin-German dictionary (16th century) contains a list of nations, including an entry for Jew: Hebrew: יְהוּדִי‎ Yiddish: יוּד‎ German: Jud Latin: Iudaeus

The Septuagint
(reputedly a product of Hellenistic Jewish scholarship) and other Greek documents translated יְהוּדִי‬, Yehudi and the Aramaic Y'hūdāi using the Koine Greek
Koine Greek
term Ioudaios (Greek: Ἰουδαῖος; pl. Ἰουδαῖοι Ioudaioi), which had lost the 'h' sound. The Latin term, following the Greek version, is Iudaeus, and from these sources the term passed to other European languages. The Old French
Old French
giu, earlier juieu, had elided (dropped) the letter "d" from the Latin Iudaeus. The Middle English
Middle English
word Jew
derives from Old English where the word is attested as early as 1000 in various forms, such as Iudeas, Gyu, Giu, Iuu, Iuw, Iew. The Old English name is derived from Old French. The modern French the term is "juif". Most European languages have retained the letter "d" in the word for Jew. Etymological equivalents are in use in other languages, e.g., "Jude" in German, "judeu" in Portuguese, "jøde" in Danish and Norwegian, "judío" in Spanish, "jood" in Dutch, etc. In some languages, derivations of the word "Hebrew" are also in use to describe a Jew, e.g., Ebreo in Italian, Ebri/Ebrani (Persian: عبری/عبرانی‎) in Persian and Еврей, Yevrey in Russian.[2] (See Jewish ethnonyms for a full overview.) The German word "Jude" is pronounced [ˈjuːdə], the corresponding adjective "jüdisch" [ˈjyːdɪʃ] (Jewish), and is cognate with the Yiddish
word for "Jew", "Yid".[3] Modern use[edit] Further information: Who is a Jew?

Obverse of a Jewish silver Yehud coin from the Persian era, with falcon or eagle and Aramaic inscription "יהד" "Yehud" (Judaea)

In modern English, the term "Israelite" was used to refer to contemporary Jews
as well as to Jews
of antiquity until the mid-20th-century. Since the foundation of the State of Israel, it has become less common to use "Israelite" of Jews
in general. Instead, citizens of the state of Israel, whether Jewish or not, are called "Israeli", while "Jew" is used as an ethno-religious designation. Antisemitism[edit] Further information: Antisemitism The word Jew
has been used often enough in a disparaging manner by antisemites that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was frequently avoided altogether, and the term Hebrew was substituted instead (e.g. Young Men's Hebrew Association). Even today some people are wary of its use, and prefer to use "Jewish". Indeed, when used as an adjective (e.g. " Jew
lawyer") or verb (e.g. "to jew someone"),[4] the term Jew
is purely pejorative. According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2000):

It is widely recognized that the attributive use of the noun Jew, in phrases such as Jew
lawyer or Jew
ethics, is both vulgar and highly offensive. In such contexts Jewish is the only acceptable possibility. Some people, however, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of Jew
as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own. In a sentence such as There are now several Jews
on the council, which is unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like Jewish people or persons of Jewish background may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew
has a negative connotation when used as a noun.[5]

In much the same manner, the Yiddish
term for Jew
(איד,ייִד) Yid, (singular), ייִדן Yidn (plural)) — originally a benign term — was once used as an ethnic slur, but now is often used by Jews
in praise, to describe an upstanding religiously observant Jew (e.g., "He's such a Yid, giving up his time like that") or to distinguish upstanding religiously observant Jews
from non-observant, with the implication that the latter would be better people if they were stricter in their observance (e.g., "Yidn wouldn't do such a thing").[citation needed] See also[edit]

Jewish ethnonym in various languages Ioudaioi, Greek


^ http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=1&CHAPTER=32 ^ Falk, Avner (1996). A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 131. ISBN 0-8386-3660-8.  ^ "Yiddish". Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.). Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster. 2004. p. 1453. ISBN 0-87779-809-5.  ^ "Notes". The Nation. New York: E. L. Godkin & Co. 14 (348): 137. February 29, 1872. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved December 7, 2009.  ^ "Jew". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Archived from the original on 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 

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