Who Is a Jew in the Gospels?

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Most English translations consistently translate the Greek word Ioudaioi as "Jews." But this inflexible translation has often contributed to an anti-Semitic interpretation of the New Testament.

Most English translations consistently translate the Greek word Ἰουδαῖοι (Ioudaioi) as “Jews.” But this inflexible translation often has contributed to an anti-Semitic interpretation of the New Testament.

The Bible Society’s modern Hebrew translation of the New Testament has not automatically translated Ioudaioi as יְהוּדִים (yehudim, Jews) in every case. It has taken into account both the internal context in which Ioudaioi occurs and the external context in which the New Testament was written.

Roots of Judah

Judah (יְהוּדָה, Yehudah) comes from a root meaning to praise, thank, or sometimes, confess, and was the name of Jacob’s fourth son. Judah’s mother Leah gave him that name because, she said, “This time I will praise the Lord” (Gen. 29:35).

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  • Ray Pritz

    Ray Pritz

    Ray Pritz writes and teaches study material at the Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies. He is the former director of the Bible Society in Israel. He is currently assigned to the Translations Department of the United Bible Societies preparing resource material for Bible…
    [Read more about author]

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