Menu Was Jesus a Jew? 4020.12

New Testament Judaios = Judean or Jew?

"..Translating it as "Jews" has implications about the beliefs of the people whereas translation as "Judeans" emphasizes their geographical origin."

.. in this first occurrence of the term, Ioudaismos has not yet be reduced to designation of a religion. It means rather "the aggregate of all those characteristics that makes Judaeans Judaean (or Jews Jewish)." Among these characteristics, to be sure, are practices and beliefs that we would today call "religious," but these practices and beliefs are not the sole content of the term. Thus Ioudaïsmos should be translated not as "Judaism" but as Judaeanness."

"One complication in the translation question is that the meaning of the word evolved over the centuries:
(1) one of the descendants of the patriarch Judah, i.e. (if in the male line) a member of the tribe of Judah;
(2) a native of Judaea, a "Judaean";
(3) a "Jew", i.e. a member of Yahweh's chosen people, entitled to participate in those religious ceremonies to which only such members were admitted.
(4) a member of the Judaeo-Samaritan-Idumaean-Ituraean-Galilean alliance"

Academic publications in the last ten to fifteen years increasingly use the term Judeans rather than Jews. Most of these writers cite Steve Mason .. who argue that "Judean" is a more precise and a more ethical translation of Ioudaios than is "Jew". Much of the debate stems from the use of the term in the New Testament where Ioudaios is often used in a negative context. Translating Ioudaios as "Judeans" implies simply people living in a geographic area, whereas translating the term as "Jews" implies a legalistic religious and ethnic component which in later Christian works was characterized as a religion devoid of "grace", "faith", and "freedom". It is this later understanding which some scholars have argued was not applicable in the ancient world. They argue that the New Testament texts need to be critically examined without the baggage that Christianity has associated with the term "Jew".


SM) Any concept of Judea or Israel was long gone before Jesus was even born. The land had been occupied for a long time by other nations. Jesus spoke of a New Jerusalem that was spiritual, not of the Earth.

D) He wasn't a jew he was a galilean Israelite

MZ) Am I right that it depends on which book of the New Testament you read - some books portraying Jesus as Jewish and others being negative about the Judaioi and presumably not including Jesus in that term?

SM) The books weren't being against the race. Nor was Christianity against [all] of Judaism (although Jesus broke several laws of the OT ironically and encouraged others to do so too). What Jesus was against is the Oral Law of the Saducees and Pharasees. Today that law is followed by the most orthodox of Jews today and is also found in Kabalah too.

AW) Judea was itself a relatively recent term, referring to the Roman province that was created out of Hebrew Judah and Idumea, kingdom of the Edomites who had come to dominate both. The Herods were non Isralite Edomites. Jesus was a Judahite by family background (line of David, on both sides!), but as Danny says he was actually brought up Galliean.
The terms Jew and Judean have become confused as to a large degree they referred to the same people. The problem is more that the terms Jew and Judaism in our current day refer to the modern religion. Rabbinical Judaism developed out of the Pharisees and so only stems from one branch of Hebrew religion. Jesus wasn't a Pharisee, so can't be considered a Jew in the sense we mean it today. Maybe closer to a Karite, who are a tiny minority descended (probably) from the Pharisees.
Perhaps a more interesting question for this group is to what degree were the Pharisees (and by extension modern Judaism) influenced by Zoroastrianism?