Talk:Jew (word)

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This article was nominated for deletion on 11 December 2005. The result of the discussion was KEEP. An archived record of this discussion can be found here.

The 'ish'[edit]

Where did the 'ish' come from? Yiddish? To me, 'ish' seems to connote 'like'. Does the 'ish' in 'Jewish' have any implication of 'Jew-like'? Sorry for this sheer ignorance. (talk) 15:03, 1 April 2008 (UTC) R.E.D.

I don't know were the -ish comes from but it's probably similar to the Ir-ish or Scott-ish. (Nazrael (talk) 06:57, 9 June 2009 (UTC))

Other languages[edit]

It would be helpful to include a list of the different words for "Jew" in various languages, and the sources of their etymologies. An example of such a list (for "Germany") can be seen at Names for Germany. - Emiellaiendiay 00:38, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Or, just go to --Keeves 01:27, 17 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. A link then, maybe? That pages is helpful, but unfortuantely it provides no explanation for the origins of some (e.g. the Slavic and related ones) that are so different from the usual. -Emiellaiendiay 01:35, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Jew is from Jewry?[edit]

A much less common view is that the word Jew is from Jewry, from the Greek Ἑβραῖοι (evrei) meaning Hebrews, which some speculate comes from the ancient Egyptian hiberu or habiru, which meant "stranger". -- Who says this? Does the word "citizen" come from "citizenry"? Is this WP:OR or WP:UNDUE? Note WP:WEASEL as well. ←Humus sapiens ну? 08:38, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

And how about Jewess?[edit]

"Jewess" is a term meaning "female Jew", following along the same lines as "hostess" and "stewardess". Someone ought to make mention of that version of "Jew". (talk) 04:52, 3 July 2008 (UTC)


1. The article uncritically repeats at some length what the Bible has to say about Judah, without referring to the views of non faith-driven academics that (i) the genealogical material in Genesis, including the table of nations and the placing of the twelve tribes into a family relationship is typical of the use of eponymy in ancient works, and should not be considered historical; (ii) that there likely never was an original central "allotment" of territory (iii) that explanations of names such as "Judah" are folk-etymologies, constructions created long after the names had become current, to retrospectively explain them; (iv) that archaeologists increasingly question whether there ever was a "United Monarchy" that extended any further north than the territory of the Gibeonites. For these reasons I've tagged the article with {{BibleAsFact}}.

2. It is cavalier to equate "Yehudim" with "Jews". Academics, including Jewish scholars, generally reserve the word Jew for the religion as it became under the infuence of Rabbinic Judaism, after the destruction of the Temple in CE 70. Before that date it may be more appropriate to translate "haYedudim" as "the Judahites" or "the Judeans". Jheald (talk) 21:28, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi Jheald; Rabbinic Judaism dates back to the middle of the second Temple era, and the Talmud is replete with the reference Yehudi/Yehudai to Jews. The Historians of the time refer to the Jews as Jews. There is a Roman coin from about 150 BCE with the inscription Bacchius Judaeas referring to the Jews. The Judaea Capta coins referring to the Jews of not only Judaea but from Samaria and the Galilee too, have on them the inscription of "Judaea Capta" (Judaea was captured) or "Judaea devicta" (Judaea was defeated) in Latin and Greek. The Hashmonean coinage are inscribed with the inscription "head of the Yehudim/Jews in the ancient Hebrew script, clearly calling the inhabitants of Judaea and beyond as "Jews". Earlier the Yehud coinage struck in the Persian era are inscribed with "Yehud" and "Yehude"; struck in Yehud/Judaea, and for Yehude/Jews. All this is more then a thousand years before the Khazars. So when we find that in the Scroll of Esther it mentions "Yehudim"/Jews many times, and calls a Benjamite as a Jew, then even if you consider it man-made, it still is at least twenty three centuries old, which means that almost 2500 years ago all Jews not only Judeans, even "Benjamites" regardless if there was a Benjamin son of Jacob, were actually called Jews. In summary, archeology & uninterrupted history tells us the origin of the word Jew. The Arabs who were always in the Levant, also uninterruptedly called the Jews "Yehud/Yehudi", so other then questioning that the Jews originated from Judaea which is a fringe theory created for the sole purpose of discrediting the Jews as Jews; I don't see why such a heavy-handed template needs to question a clear historical fact. The Bible in this case clearly is in sync with historical fact and even an honest atheist should admit it. Fiddler7 (talk) 22:42, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Fiddler, if you read what I wrote above, I am not disputing the word "Yehudim" was used. What I am disputing is whether one should not rather translate it as "people of Judea" instead of "Jews". My point is not whether the Jews came from Judea - clearly they did. Rather, many of the people of Judea weren't Jews in the way the term "Jew" later came to be understood, both because of the mix and diversity of religious views in Judea at that time, and also because of the differences between the temple worship of that time and later Judaism.
Secondly, as for the {{BibleAsFact}} template, that related specifically to the concerns I set out at point (1) above -- those concerns I notice you haven't addressed at all. Jheald (talk) 23:29, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Exactly, "Yehudim" means "the Jews of Judaea" just like "American" means "an American from America". Clearly on the Hasmonean coins the inscription "head of the Yehudim" means "Head of the Jews", and Jews/Yehudim is used exactly in the same context as today. Judaism hasn't changed until almost 200 years ago when Reform Judaism came into being, and even them the term Jew didn't change; Judaism for them changed. So the term Jew as Yehudi is confirmed outside of the Bible as being in existance close to 2500 years, hence my lack of understanding why this template is used.
BTW That is exactly what is wrong with this template as it will undoubtedly be used indiscriminately for everything and anything do discredit the Jews and anything associated with them; in short a tool for the prejudiced, POV pushers, anti-Semites, atheists, and just about anybody who wants to discredit the Jews, Christians, Muslims, or the Bible. Fiddler7 (talk) 00:04, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Fiddler, you're not reading what I'm writing. Firstly, I added the template {{BibleAsFact}} based on the considerations set out in paragraph (1) of my original post, not paragraph (2). You haven't addressed paragraph (1) at all.
Secondly, regarding the paragraph (2) points. Even if one glosses over the differences between Rabbinic Judaism and the earlier Second Temple religious strands (differences which aren't small, whatever you think - there were significant differences between the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, and still other contemporary Judean views; and differences between all of them and what was later solidified in the Talmud), the point remains that there are academic discussions about the proper translation of "Yehudim" for this period, and per WP:NPOV we should report those discussions. Even if you personally believe that every instance of "Yehudim" should be translated "Jews", reflect that there were some Judeans who were not religiously Jews, yet they still would have been classed as Judeans; just as not all Americans are Christians. There were also Jews who were not Judeans. There are subtleties here, and this article is where WP should discuss them.
Per WP:NPOV we have to reflect all views. For example, here is a book, found more or less at random from Google Books, explaining why it is going to make a point of translating the word in this period as Judean rather than Jew: [1]. This article should be explaining why some authors make that call. Here's another, reviewing the claim that the geographical meaning was primary in the Palestine of the period, with the confessional meaning a usage primarily outside Palestine and in the Diaspora [2]. Both from just the first page of Google Book searches for "Jews Judeans". Jheald (talk) 07:41, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Let me address your first issue. You say that you tagged this article with a disclaimer template because "this article uses the Bible as a primary source". This is what I understand you are arguing. So I'm saying that only part of the article uses the Bible as a source; the rest is independent of it. So using a template to label the entire article and suggest it as a fairy tale is plain wrong. Fiddler7 (talk) 16:38, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
The template reads "This article or section uses the Bible as a primary source, without referring to sources that analyze the assertions of the biblical narrative". Certainly there's other material there as well, but the problem flagged by the template is that the part of the article which is based on the Bible as a source treats the Bible narrative as historical fact, without referring to sources that analyze its assertions. As I have set out in (1) above, at least four of the assertions are questioned by at least some modern academics, so the article fails WP:NPOV by presenting them as unchallenged fact, and this needs to be fixed. Jheald (talk) 17:05, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
If NPOV is the problem, it can easily be rectified by qualifying a specific fact as only coming from the Bible. If interpretation is the problem, add another interpretation, as many interpretations as can be found; but labeling the whole article with such a provocative template, that is real POV, because it is pushing the POV that what you are reading is baloney, because it is coming from the Bible. The bottom line as many have already said, WP treats the Bible as a proper reference, and to me referencing it to the Bible is perfectly fine; putting disclaimers & big question mark boxes is plain wrong & pure POV. Fiddler7 (talk) 17:18, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
No. Go back and read WP:PRIMARY. Being a primary source, the Bible is an acceptable source for what the Bible says. But it is not acceptable as a source of historical fact. That's the policy. The template merely identifies that there is a problem here, and it needs to be fixed.
Many academics would say the Biblical account is baloney. Per WP:NPOV the article needs to be written with awareness to that view, as well as awareness of the Biblical view. It cannot simply disregard either one or the other. So long as the article does disregard either one or the other, it needs to be fixed, and so it gets a maintenance template. Jheald (talk) 17:56, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Now to your two links, I must tell you that they got it wrong too. Words printed in a book do not necessarily make it true. As a matter of fact, my gut feeling is that more false information was ever printed then true information.
I'm not against you adding another opinion even if it’s wrong, as long as it comes with a reference, but that doesn't mean that what is generally accepted information should be labeled as crap.
FYI I showed you that on the Hashmonean coins, they were inscribed with "of the Yehudim/Jews" and "head of the Yehudim/Jews" and nobody in the field of ancient numismatics translates it other then Yehudim meaning Jews. Even if you shall translate it "Head of the Judeans", Judeans in that sense means Jews, all Jews be it Pharisees or any other group of Jews. Even if you still disagree with me, you are standing against all experts in the field of ancient numismatics, with no one agreeing with you. And still I don't mind you also bringing another translation, if you can find one; but please don't tear down solid scholarship for wishful thinking. Fiddler7 (talk) 16:38, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
The Hasmoneans were head of the temple-state of Judea. Hence it is appropriate to call them "Head of the Judeans". But they did not have the same power outside Judea, so it is very questionable to call them head of the Jews in Galilee, still less those in Alexandria or further afield.
It is quite an interesting question, for the purposes of this article, to track the academic discussion (and the evidence presented) as to how the geographical sense of Yehudim = Judeans gave was joined by a wider cultural sense of Yehudim = Jews. Davies [3] makes the interesting assertion that the emergence of the word "Judaism" in 2 Maccabees as an "ism" contrasted with "Hellenism" and "foreign-ism" is a key sign that at least by that stage there was already "self-consciousness of a system of belief and/or practice". On the other hand, the Greek word "Judaios" in many places in the New Testament is used to indicate that somebody is geographically "Judean" rather than from another part of Palestine; even though "Jew" may indeed be a better translation at other places in the text. As I wrote above, rather than jumping to cavalier absolutes, it is a topic that could stand further analysis and discussion in the article. Jheald (talk) 17:40, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
The Hashmonean Kingdom did extend far beyond Judaea, and encompassed quite some area. As far as the term Jews; I really can't understand how you see it as cavalier, when the Talmud & the historians of the time such as Tacitus & Josephus and others all call, "all" the Jews, not only the ones residing in Judaea, as "Jews". To me this is an open & shut case, but for the sake of fairness, call it NPOV; let the article state "academic nonsense" too.
The main issue you haven't addressed, which is, why we need such a monstrous disclaimer of an entire article, and qualifying the information & giving references isn't enough. Fiddler7 (talk) 18:45, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
So, qualify the information, and give references, and then the maintenance tag can go away. Jheald (talk) 11:16, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Ok. Fiddler7 (talk) 21:15, 6 August 2008 (UTC)


Is it seriously not possible to find a map with the text in English? Tomertalk 22:31, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Earliest Reference to the Jews[edit]

Why are the earliest references to the word "Jew" said to be Esther 2:5 and 8:17? Are 2Kings 16:6, 2Chronicles 32:18 and Jeremiah 34:9 not earlier? Jeremiah wrote earlier than the Book of Esther, and even if some scholars think that the texts of these three other references were written after Esther, it may still be helpful to record the fact that the Bible uses the word Jew of an earlier period of history. As the article currently stands, it is easy to think that the first reference to the Jews in the Bible is in the Book of Esther, which is not so. Ergateesuk (talk) 19:11, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

I have been requesting some information on a different page re: Jews [[4]]. I am unclear on how a conflagration of the term Jew, and Judean or Israelite has occurred; and the evolution of the use of the word Jew for religious belief specifically. Msheflin (talk) 20:33, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Not a single source[edit]

This article doesn't cite a single source. What evidence is there for any of the claims in this article, expecially regatding the section on Usage_by_non-Jews? This section in particular is meaningless without any sources. (talk) 16:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Use by non-Jews[edit]

Comment moved here from article:

The part of the article labled "use by non-Jews" seems very biased as it is assuming that the claim by the Rastafarian is false without providing any evidence to back this staetement up. I can also, from this bias assume that the assertion is made by a counterclaiment. Under the heading it also states that said Rastifarian movement uses the term Israelite thus negating the heading "use by non-jews". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:30, 1 October 2010

Etymology of the word 'Jew'[edit]

Can anyone please provide sources as to when the Ivri word 'Yehudah' and it's proper Ivri derivatives 'Yehudi', 'Yehudim' etc. became 'Jew'? I've been taught that no dialect of the Ivri language - including the modernized version with the Aramaic script overlaying the Ivri letter pronunciations - has any letter or combination of letters that produce the 'JAY' pronunciation.

When did the term 'Jew' come into existence? What people/culture/language is first documented as having created/used this derivative? What time period did this word first come into being? Sources??

Thanks. (talk) 03:17, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Why the concern specifically with the word "Jew"? It would seem to be a problem for the many Biblical words including "Jerusalem", "Japheth", "Jezebel", "Jeremiah", "Jonathan", "Joshua", and even "Jesus". How did those words appear in English? Jayjg (talk) 02:09, 11 March 2011 (UTC)


Those who edit on this article may want to check out Ioudaios which an editor has done on the Greek term (from Septuagint-Philo etc.). It seems to have some reasonable content, but might duplicate what is in the Second Temple section here? In ictu oculi (talk) 06:59, 8 March 2012 (UTC)


Nearly every sentence in this article is lacking a source citation. Of the three sources cited, two are dubious. This article reads like original research. (talk) 04:21, 23 October 2012 (UTC)