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Jayjg, Are you saying that Hebrew speakers never use "goy" in a derogatory fashion? That is certainly not true; ask any Israeli. --Zero 07:33, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It can certainly be used in a derogatory fashion. So can almost any word. A good example is "Jew", which has often been used that way. Jayjg 07:55, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
O.K., I've done what I can to clean the whole thing up, though its amazing how much nonsense and purely false information had been placed and left in this article. Since it's an article about the word "Gentile", I've left it at that, and linked it to the word "Goy", which I've also worked hard at cleaning up (similarly filled with nonsense, irrelevancies, and false information). I'll take another pass through goy now. Jayjg 08:41, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Jayjg, thank you for copyediting my editions to the LDS paragraph. ^_^ - Gilgamesh 09:26, 28 July 2004 (UTC)

You're welcome. I've done some more copyediting on the whole article since, cleaning up language, improving accuracy, and re-ordering to make more sense. Jayjg 15:39, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Should we write "Gentile" or "gentile" ? Capitalization of the word in inconsistent among different articles in wikipedia. It is neither a name of a nation nor a common world. Should maybe a note about correct capitalization be included in the artile. DariuszT 13:35, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I agree that the word does not qualify for capitalization under usual conventions. But it is listed in my dictionaries as sometimes being capitalized. Google won't help because it does not distinguish the two forms. Maybe this item is a candidate for an RfC. --Blainster 21:27, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I am disturbed to see that concepts such as Christian and Jew are always (without exception) written capitalized while Gentile, Heathen and Pagan are all written as if they are endowed with lesser respect. Surely this shows a certain arrogance on behalf of those who are not yet able to accept another's belief? What argument can they have to place a capital letter before THEIR religion and none before their "opponents"?!Kenneth Keen 23:53, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

"Gentile" is not a religion. Jayjg (talk) 17:19, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Just... lol.... just lol. Affirmative action at its most ridiculous. "WHY DO THEEEY GET A CAPITALIZNG!!"

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:06, 6 April 2007

Famous family[edit]

Can anyone explain what "Famous family at Tandil, Argentina. Descendants of italian inmigrants from San´t Elia a Pianisi, Campobasso, Italy." is there for? Jabencarsey

derogatory? (2)[edit]

Is there any evidence for the following claim "In addition, the word is often perceived as derogatory. Therefore in recent decades, this use of the term has fallen out of favor." The word "goy" is often percieved as derogatory, but I've never seen the suggestion that "gentile" is. There was an anti-Jewish periodical called "American Gentile", and we have the equally distinguished American Gentile Anti-Defamation League. [1] Paul B 00:56, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Well, no justification has been provided, so I'm removing it. Paul B 22:42, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I've never perceived the word gentile to have negative connotations. Pygmypony 21:42, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

yes, the word means Heathen. A heathen [Gentile] who pries into the Torah [and other Jewish Scriptures] is condemned to death, for it is written, it is our inheritance, not theirs. (Sanhedrin 59a) we are considered less than human to the jews according to the Talmud. Keltik31 14:46, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Is that so? In fact "gentile" is not even a Jewish (Hebrew) word. Paul B 14:49, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
True, 'gentile' is the Latin translation of 'goy' originally meaning 'animal'. Magi. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:42, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Nope, it originally meant no such thing. Try reading the article. Paul B (talk) 11:28, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Blacks are never...[edit]

refered to as Gentile in the Bible.

--Vehgah 02:18, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Really? Your point is...? Paul B 08:00, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Hebrews, The Kemet, and Ethiopians were virtually indestinguishable back then. Only Romans and Greeks where called gentile. --Vehgah 04:00, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Hebrews, Ethiopians and Egyptians were visually distinguished by the Egyptians themselves, who typically portrayed Caananites as very pale skinned and Nubians as very dark, with themselves in the middle (see Book of Gates). Tut's cane depicts enemies of the Egyptians as very pale on one side and very dark on the other.[] The Bible is also full of colour-related language which is largely consistent with this. The notion that only "white" people were gentiles is not easy to support from the text itself, but can be got from it by convoluted interpretation. However, the word goy/gentile is clearly used several times in Genesis to refer to Semitic people, including Jacob and Esau in Rebecca's womb. "Romans and Greeks" do not really figure in the Hebrew bible at all, only in the NT, which is in Greek, so goy never appears. The KJV "gentile" is typically a translation of the Greek word "ethnoi".
If this theory derives from from Afrocentrist writer or African-American religious ideology it might be notable enough for inclusion on that basis, if you can give the source. However, it's also worth adding that this view has also been embraced by Christian identity white supremacists (who argue that the NT advocates converting only "Judeans and Gentiles" = white people [2]). Paul B 09:08, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Linguists believe that the Semitic Languages originated in Africa. Das Baz, aka Erudil 16:43, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so. The Afro-Asiatic group in general probably did, however. Still, it's irrelevant whether it did or not. Paul B (talk) 18:10, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

That African peoples are close relatives of the Israelites is very relevant to the discussion at hand. Das Baz, aka Erudil 17:28, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

No it isn't, firsly because the ancient Israelites knew nothing about genetics and secondly because it isn't true. In any case the assertion is meaningless. "African peoples" comprises a vast, genetically diverse population most of which is about as unrelated to Israelites as to anyone else. In fact almost all non-African peoples are more closely related to one another than Africans are to each-other. See Genetic_history_of_Europe#Relation_between_Europeans_and_other_populations and [3] Paul B (talk) 18:54, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Not only the Afro-Asiatic group in general, but the Semitic group in particular, originated in Africa, according to Historic Linguistics. Das Baz, aka Erudil 18:44, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

There is no such consensus at all. See Semitic languages. Paul B (talk) 16:05, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

There is no unanimity about any matter of historical linguistics, but the African origin of Semitic languages is a well-supported hypothesis. Das Baz, aka Erudil 17:22, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

I fail to the relevance of this. It has nothing to do with race. Proto-Semitic grew from a variant of Afro-Asiatic. It may have first evolved in the Nile Delta or the Levant or Ethiopia. We don't really know. The distinction between Africa and Asia is a human construct. In reality it's just land extending, or one river or sea no different from others. It is meaningless to make generalised statements about "African peoples" being close relative of Isrealites. It's just as meaningful to say "European people" or "Asian People" are. Indeed more so, according to geneticists. Everyone came from Africa originally. Paul B (talk) 17:59, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

That's right, ultimately we all are Africans. So this is very relevant, as it applies to all of us. And language and "race" are not as closely connected as too many people think. I am just trying to get facts and ideas clear. I am not pushing any particular agenda. Das Baz, aka Erudil 22:06, 28 September 2011 (UTC)


I had heard the origin of the word "gentleman" can be found in Gentile. Apparently not the case? -- 20:13, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Opening needs a rewrite[edit]

The opening of this article reads a rewrite. After reading the article, I'm more confused about the term than when I started reading the article. That's certainly a bad thing.

What is the focus here? That gentile is a translation of a Hebrew word? If so, the opening line should be something like "Gentile is an English translation of several Hebrew words. Which Hebrew word it derives from depends on the specific context it's used in..."

Or if the focus is the religious connotations, the opening line should be something like "The word gentile is used by members of certain religions to refer to people who are not members of their religion. In Judism..."

Right now in the first paragraph, we have the latin the word came from, which doesn't help an English reader learn gentile's meaning, two Hebrew words that hold zero meaning for an English reader, a hedged and vague description of it being derivied from another latin word that has multiple meanings - again not terribly helpful to the reader, a call that it's often used in the plural which still doesn't nail down the meaning for the reader, and a vague statement that it means "heathen" or "pagan" with a dubious tag to boot!

In short, we've told the reader nothing and used an entire opening paragraph filled with difficult prose to do so. We can do better than this! --Don Sowell 18:59, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Not seen as a synonym for "non-Jew"?[edit]

"In multireligious and multiethnic societies the term is typically not seen as a synonym for "non-Jew", except in restricted contexts." Can this statement possibly be accurate? It contradicts all personal experience as a lifetime New Yorker. Given that contradiction, is there a more accurate description for what "restriced contexts" comprises? Bigsilverorb 23:41, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Gentiles are The Dogs in the bible[edit]

The dog doesn’t mean the four legged creatures in the bible it means any one who is Not Israelites( From blood line of Jacob),and specifically gentiles like that woman with great faith on Jesus.

Where I get that from ?

JESUS…when he said in Matthew 15:22-28 "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." .......It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs(KYNARIOIZ= Little dogs”/ KYNIEZ) ."…see also Mark 7:27. 14:30, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Mormons don't call Jews "Gentiles"[edit]

Hi all. It's actually not true that Mormons call Jews "gentiles." Most Mormons don't use the "gentile" terminology at all, but those who do usually specifically exclude "Jews" from that category. So in the dictionary of these few Mormons, the world is divided into "Mormon," "Jew," and "Gentile." Again, though, the vast majority of Mormons wouldn't use "gentile" at all unless referring to non-Jews, just as most English speakers would use the word. SLCMormon

Indeed, the word "gentile" is hardly ever used by Latter-day Saints anymore, except in discussions of scripture. Das Baz, aka Erudil 19:00, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Gentiles does not mean non Jews,but it means non Israelites[edit]

A Jew is someone who accept to believe in Jewish faith regard of his ethnicity, where as the Israelite is the one whom genetically blood descendants of man named Jacob.

So any Jew Not blood descendant of man named Jacob is considered to be a GOY/Gentile.

Judaism or Jewishness is a Religion and a way of life, NOT ETHNICITY OR RACE. The ethnic Race of People were the ISRAELITES (genetically blood descendants/seeds of man named Jacob/Israel) (talk) 07:27, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Gentile is a Latin-derived English word which has no "theologically correct" meaning. It means what it is used to mean, and mostly it is used to mean non-Jew. Paul B (talk) 09:55, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
If Jewishness is not Ethnic based, than why has it always been very easy for people from Israelite decendence to become a member of the Jewish society and has it been made so very very hard for people outside the Jewish/israelite group? (Until the media started spreading the holocaust story it was almost immposible for outsiders to become Jewish.) (talk) 07:11, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
It is essentially ethnic, but there have also been mass conversions in history. Paul B (talk) 08:54, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

The word 'GOYIM'[edit]

The word 'GOYIM' according to the biblical scriptures means all Non Israelites-all nations whom are NOT Israelites, not biological blood descendants of man name Jacob .JEWS are NOT Israelites, Israelites were the biological blood descendants of man name Jacob,while jews are different Races (do not share the same DNA between themselves let alone be biological blood descendants of ArabIsraelites. Jews are different groups of human race whom sharing the same Faith(Judaisim) just like Christians and Muslim Religions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:02, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

- This is for the most part incorrect and like much of the misinformation here, stems from the continued deliberate attempts by Christians to make Jewish scriptures fit in with their beliefs. A true Jew IS a descendent of Jacob who was indeed a "Israelite". All descendants of Jacob are Jewish whether they are practising or not. You can be a person borne of the Israel region yet not a Jew just as you can be a Jew without ever having stepped foot in Israel. So you either are a Jew or you are not. are not a Jew, you can not "become a Jew". - Source: I am a Jew — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:01, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Of couse you can become a Jew. See conversion to Judaism. Equally, all descendents of Jacob are not Jewish. See Lost tribes of Israel. Also, you are confusing Israelite with Israeli. Apart from that...Paul B (talk) 12:52, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

- Again misinformation. If you are not of Jewish decent or have not a extensive knowledge of our scriptures, you do not qualify to make definitive statements on our religion which is inseparably linked to our community and genealogy. One thing that really gets on the nerves of many Jewish people, hence the evolution of words such as goy, is this obsessive fascination Christian people have with trying to 1) Deliberately confuse what it means to be Jewish 2) Redefine our society and culture by reinterpreting / editing our scriptures and spreading misinformation. Just because the scriptures describe ten 'lost' tribes of Israel (also descended from Jacob) doesn't automatically 'entitle' you to become a member of a lost tribe. I expect you wouldn't go to a neighbour's funeral asking their family members to be included in the division of assets because you have just decided to give yourself the title of honorary 'lost' son / daughter (Although I dont really want to give Christians any ideas here). Most real Jews have been warned against engaging Christians (or those whose perceptions of Judaism have been influenced by Christians) as these people are fundamentally immune to any kind of reason and generally will twist any aspect of our history, culture and religious teachings. I will leave the discussion here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:39, 16 September 2012

Being Jewish doesn't make you an expert on Judaism, anymore than being French makes you an expert on France. Bombastic self-proclamation of ones own supposed "knowledge" gets one nowhere. You need reliable sources if you wish to challenge any statements here or in the other articles I linked to. There is no "Christian" conspiracy to spread misinformation. The overwhelming majority of articles on Jewish topics are overseen by Jewish editors. However, Christian points of view, where applicable, should also be discussed in articles. Your bizarre pronouncements about lost tribes seem to be confusing the fringe ideology known as British Israelism with the unrelated fact that the overwhelming majority of Israelites became absorbed into populations that did not practice Judaism, and thus their descendents have not been Jews for thousands of years. Of course, strictly speaking tey were never jews to start with, because that term derives from the tribe of Judah, one of the tribes that never got lost! Paul B (talk) 01:39, 17 September 2012 (UTC)


The term "gentiles" in the New Testament is clearly referring to the Greek populations of Greece/Asia Minor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:08, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Type of Word?[edit]

Is there a special name for this type of word, that is, words that designate people (or other beings) who do not belong to specific groups, esp. the speaker's group?

Some other examples are: infidel, animal (in the common and original sense meaning all members of the Animal Kingdom except humans), ape (in the common and original sense meaning what biologists call non-human apes).

Is there a distinction between words like animal and Gentile, that designate a non-member of a specific group; and words like foreigner and non-believer, that designate non-members of the speaker's group, whatever it might be.Bostoner (talk) 20:41, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

You seem to be making a distinction between what you perceive to be derogatory words (infidel, animal etc) and more respectful ones. However, this is a matter of perception as much as reality. 'Infidel' means, literally, 'unfaithful' (as in marital infidelity). But 'unfaith' is just the same as non-faith (in-fidel), which means the same as 'non-believer'. The difference in connotation between 'infidel', 'unfaithful', 'non-believer' etc is a matter of shifting usage, especially as marital infidelity/unfaithfulness is not really about 'faith' in the sense of 'belief' at all. 'Gentile', like Infidel, is Anglicised Latin. The history of the word is covered in the article. It can be derogatory if it is used as such, but not if it isn't. There's nothing "inherent" in the "type of word" it is to make it so. Paul B (talk) 23:34, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

EVIL ?[edit]

So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil. —1 Macc 1:14-15

This suggests that real Jews don't do evil things but Gentiles do. This suggests gentiles are evil and Jews are not.

Does anybody know of other suggestions in this direction within the Jewish believe system? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:04, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Gentiles in this context means the same as "pagans". It just means that Jews have abandoned Judaism. You can find similar assertions among writers from other religions, lamenting loss of faith for some other "false" religion. Paul B (talk) 08:54, 28 May 2010 (UTC)t

'Gentile' as pagan or heathen[edit]

Dictionaries standardly give those as alternative synonyms.[4]* That needs to be incorporated in the article. Those are whom Thomas Aquinas's Summa contra Gentiles (c. 1264) was referring to: the (non-Christian) unbelievers (other than Hebrews).

* More generally, member "of the peoples": Latin: gentium (as in jus gentium, law of "the peoples" (other than Romans, as distinct from jus civilis -- law applicable to Romans: Geddes MacGregor (1991), Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy, p. 271). --Thomasmeeks (talk) 21:24, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

Gentiles as soulless servants[edit]

Aren't Gentlies the soulless servants of Jews, the winemakers and janitors or something like that according to the Hebrew Bible? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:44, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

No, that is total nonsense. It is anti-Semitic slander. Nowhere in in the Hebrew Bible, or anywhere else, is it said that Gentiles are "soulless" or soul-less. Das Baz, aka Erudil 19:04, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Nowhere in the Bible or Talmud does it say that Gentiles are supposed to be servants or janitors. What the Talmud does say is that "The righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come." In other words, the souls of righteous Gentiles go to Paradise. Das Baz, aka Erudil 16:41, 15 September 2011 (UTC)


Rowling's witches and wizards call non-magical people "Muggles," and this is another parallel to "Gentiles." Das Baz, aka Erudil 19:04, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Partial merge from Goy[edit]

To explain this, please see WP:EN and this example:

  • "ella fue a la fiesta" - sentence in a foreign language source
  • "she went to the fiesta" - use of a foreign language term in English
  • "she went to the party" - sentence in English.

In ictu oculi (talk) 03:44, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

What do you think should be merged? This article is about the term "goy", not the concept of a gentile. The term is used fairly frequently in English - it gets over 10,000,000 google hits. Jayjg (talk) 19:57, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
You appear to be saying that "gentile" is a merely translation of "goy", so should not have a distinct article. Well, that's not quite true. Firstly, it's an independent Latin term, in anglicised form. Secondly, it translates Greek words in the NT. Thirdly, it has its own history. Paul B (talk) 15:34, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

this article is not about the meaning of "goy"[edit]

Anyway, in the Tanch/Old Covenant anyone can check that "goy" refers only to heathens (nonjew tribes, or jew sections who went astray). The term what referrs jews is alsway "goy kaddesh". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:23, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

"Gentile" is NOT a Biblical word[edit]

Texts of the OT

Why is there no discussion of the fact that "Gentile", a Latin derivative, introduces distinctions into the Biblical text that are not part of the original text itself. If neither Hebrew nor Greek create through their own language use the distinctions that are described in this article (and they don't), then this entire article has documented a centuries' old tampering with the Biblical text without bothering to raise a red flag. While the word "selectively" is used in the article to describe this word's introduction into Latin and English translations, there is no attempt to question whether this practice has even a modicum of validity. Astounding. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:10, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

But there is discussion of how it has been used to translate Greek and Hebrew. All translations involve 'tampering' with the text, otherwise they wouldn't be translations. Paul B (talk) 18:12, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

What your limited response does not address, and seemingly dismisses, is the fact that the word "Gentile" is at the same time both an arbitrary and selectively deliberate distinction that is not represented in the original languages. While the word's historical usage stakes out a credible distinction, it is a distinction that is UNBIBLICAL because it is a philological and conceptual anachronism. Let me repeat: the word "Gentile" is an out-of-place anachronism where the Bible is concerned. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

I agree this is a very interesting point. We would need sources to underpin your point though, if we are to add it into the article. The chart on the right suggests that one of the Vulgate's sources is lost, so you never know - "gentile" could have been translated as it is based on that lost source. Oncenawhile (talk) 08:43, 18 March 2015 (UTC)