There is a simple and powerful idea at the core of Baker’s argument. For some two millennia, the way in which we – whether Jewish or not – use and understand the word Jew (which Baker almost always writes in italics in order that it remain “provocative” (p. xiii)) those words in other languages that Baker identifies as its cognates (e.g., Jude, juif, guideo, Zsidó, yid, yehudi) has been and continues to be overwhelmingly shaped by Christians discourse. While prior to the first century CE the Hebrew term yehudi and Greek term ioudaios were used rarely and with an ambiguous meaning, from Paul forward Christian writers would use the term Jew – not Israel or Hebrews – as a signifier for the Other, often with evil or demonic overtones. ...Past PaleoJudaica posts on the book are here and links.
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