Hebrews (Hebrew: עברים or עבריים, Tiberian ʿIḇrîm, ʿIḇriyyîm; Modern Hebrew ʿIvrim, ʿIvriyyim; ISO 259-3 ʕibrim, ʕibriyim) is a term appearing 34 times within 32 verses of the Hebrew Bible. While the term was not an ethnonym, it is mostly taken as synonymous with the Semitic-speaking Israelites, especially in the pre-monarchic period when they were still nomadic. However, in some instances it may also be used in a wider sense, referring to the Phoenicians, or to other ancient groups, such as the group known as Shasu of Yhw on the eve of the Bronze Age collapse.
By the time of the Roman Empire, Greek Hebraios could refer to the Jews in general, as Strong's Hebrew Dictionary puts it, "any of the Jewish Nation", and at other times more specifically to the Jews living in Judea. In early Christianity, the Greek term Ἑβραῖος refers to Jewish Christians as opposed to the gentile Christians and Judaizers (Acts 6:1 among others). Ἰουδαία is the province where the Temple was located.
In Armenian, Italian, Modern Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian, Romanian, and a few other modern languages, there is a pejorative connotation associated with the word corresponding to the word Jew; because of that, in each of these languages, the primary word used is that which corresponds to "Hebrew". The translation of "Hebrew" is used also in the Kurdish language and was once used also in French.
The definitive origin of the term "Hebrew" remains uncertain. The Biblical term Ivri (עברי; Hebrew pronunciation: [ʕivˈri]), meaning "to traverse" or "to pass over", is usually rendered as Hebrew in English, from the ancient Greek Ἑβραῖος and the Latin Hebraeus. The Biblical word Ivri has the plural form Ivrim, or Ibrim.
Some authors argue that Ibri denotes the descendants of the biblical patriarch Eber (Hebrew עבר), son of Shelah, a great-grandson of Noah and an ancestor of Abraham, hence the occasional anglicization Eberites.
Since the 19th-century CE discovery of the second-millennium BCE inscriptions mentioning the Habiru, many theories have linked these to the Hebrews. Some scholars argue that the name "Hebrew" is related to the name of those seminomadic Habiru people recorded in Egyptian inscriptions of the 13th and 12th centuries BCE as having settled in Egypt. Other scholars rebut this, proposing that the Hebrews are mentioned in older texts of the 3rd Intermediate Period of Egypt (15th century BCE) as Shasu of Yhw.
In the Hebrew Bible, the term "Hebrew" is normally used by Israelites when speaking of themselves to foreigners, or is used by foreigners when speaking about Israelites. In fact, the Torah in parashat Lekh Lekha ("go!" or "leave!", literally "go for you") calls Abraham Avram Ha-Ivri ("Abram the Hebrew"), which translates literally as "Abram the one who stands on the other side."[Gen. 14:13]
Israelites are defined as the descendants of Jacob, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham. Eber, an ancestor of Jacob (seven generations removed), is a distant ancestor of many people, including the Israelites, Ishmaelites, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Midianites and Qahtanites.
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia the terms "Hebrews" and "Israelites" usually describe the same people, stating that they were called Hebrews before the conquest of the Land of Canaan and Israelites afterwards. Professor Nadav Na'aman and others say that the use of the word "Hebrew" to refer to Israelites is rare and when used it is used "to Israelites in exceptional and precarious situations, such as migrants or slaves."
In some modern languages, including Armenian, Greek, Italian, Romanian, and many Slavic languages, the name Hebrews survives as the standard ethnonym for Jews, but in many other languages in which there exist both terms, it is considered derogatory to call modern Jews "Hebrews". Among certain left-wing or liberal circles of Judaic cultural lineage, the word "Hebrew" is used as an alternatively secular description of the Jewish people (e.g., Bernard Avishai's The Hebrew Republic or left-wing wishes for a "Hebrew-Arab" joint cultural republican state).
Beginning in the late 19th century, the term "Hebrew" became popular among secular Zionists; in this context the word alluded to the transformation of the Jews into a strong, independent, self-confident secular national group ("the New Jew") sought by classical Zionism. This use died out after the establishment of the state of Israel, when "Hebrew" was replaced with "Jew" or "Israeli".
Media related to Hebrews at Wikimedia CommonsAntilegomena
Antilegomena, a direct transliteration of the Greek ἀντιλεγόμενα, refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History (c. 325) used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed", literally "spoken against", in Early Christianity before the closure of the New Testament canon. It is a matter of categorical discussion whether Eusebius divides his books into three groups of homologoumena ("accepted"), antilegomena, and 'heretical'; or four, by adding a notha ("spurious") group. The antilegomena or "disputed writings" were widely read in the Early Church and included the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Book of Revelation, the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas and the Didache. The term "disputed" should therefore not be misunderstood to mean "false" or "heretical". There was disagreement in the Early Church on whether or not the respective texts deserved canonical status.Astarte
Astarte (Greek: Ἀστάρτη, Astártē) is the Hellenized form of the Middle Eastern goddess Astoreth (Northwest Semitic), a form of Ishtar (East Semitic), worshipped from the Bronze Age through classical antiquity. The name is particularly associated with her worship in the ancient Levant among the Canaanites and Phoenicians. She was also celebrated in Egypt following the importation of Levantine cults there. The name Astarte is sometimes also applied to her cults in Mesopotamian cultures like Assyria and Babylonia.Authorship of the Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles are the fourteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle, although many dispute the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews as being a Pauline epistle.There is nearly universal consensus in modern New Testament scholarship on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is rarely contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Several additional letters bearing Paul's name are disputed among scholars, namely Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether or not Colossians and 2 Thessalonians are genuine letters of Paul. The remaining four contested epistles – Ephesians, as well as the three known as the Pastoral epistles (1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus) – have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars. Some scholars have proposed that Paul may have used an amanuensis, or secretary, in writing the disputed letters.There are two examples of pseudonymous letters written in Paul’s name apart from the New Testament epistles, the Epistle to the Laodiceans and 3 Corinthians.
The Epistle to the Hebrews is actually anonymous, but it has been traditionally attributed to Paul. The church father Origen of Alexandria rejected the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, instead asserting that, although the ideas expressed in the letter were genuinely Pauline, the letter itself had actually been written by someone else. Most modern scholars generally agree that Hebrews was not written by the apostle Paul. Various other possible authorships have been suggested.Black Hebrew Israelites
Black Hebrew Israelites (also called Black Hebrews, African Hebrew Israelites, and Hebrew Israelites) are groups of Black Americans who believe that they are descendants of the ancient Israelites. Black Hebrews adhere in varying degrees to the religious beliefs and practices of both Christianity and Judaism. With the exception of a small number of individuals who have formally converted to Judaism, they are not recognized as Jews by the greater Jewish community. Many choose to identify themselves as Hebrew Israelites or Black Hebrews rather than Jews in order to indicate their claimed historic connections.At the end of the 19th century, Frank Cherry and William Saunders Crowdy both claimed that African Americans are descendants of the Hebrews in the Bible; Cherry established the Church of the Living God, the Pillar Ground of Truth for All Nations in 1886 and Crowdy founded the Church of God and Saints of Christ in 1896.Consequently, Black Hebrew groups were founded in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from Kansas to New York City, by both African Americans and West Indian immigrants. In the mid-1980s, the number of Black Hebrews in the United States was between 25,000 and 40,000. In the 1990s, the Alliance of Black Jews (which is no longer operating) estimated that there were 200,000 African-American Jews; this estimate was based on a 1990 survey conducted by the Council of Jewish Federations. The exact number of Black Hebrews within that surveyed group remains unspecified.Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews, or Letter to the Hebrews, or in the Greek manuscripts, simply To the Hebrews ( Πρὸς Ἑβραίους) is one of the books of the New Testament.
The text is traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle, but doubt on Pauline authorship in the Roman Church is reported by Eusebius. Modern biblical scholarship considers its authorship unknown, perhaps written in deliberate imitation of the style of Paul. Although the writer's style reflects some characteristics of Paul's writing, there are some differences.
Scholars of Greek consider its writing to be more polished and eloquent than any other book of the New Testament, and "the very carefully composed and studied Greek of Hebrews is not Paul's spontaneous, volatile contextual Greek". The book has earned the reputation of being a masterpiece. It has also been described as an intricate New Testament book. Scholars believe it was written for Jewish Christians who lived in Jerusalem. Its purpose was to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. At this time, certain believers were considering turning back to Judaism (the Jewish system of law) to escape being persecuted for accepting Christ as their saviour, now following this system of grace (saved by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross). The theme of the epistle is the doctrine of the person of Christ and his role as mediator between God and humanity.
The epistle opens with an exaltation of Jesus as "the radiance of God's glory, the express image of his being, and upholding all things by his powerful word".[1:1–3] The epistle presents Jesus with the titles "pioneer" or "forerunner", "Son" and "Son of God", "priest" and "high priest".The epistle casts Jesus as both exalted Son and high priest, a unique dual Christology.Gospel of the Hebrews
The Gospel of the Hebrews (Greek: τὸ καθ' Ἑβραίους εὐαγγέλιον), or Gospel according to the Hebrews, was a syncretic Jewish–Christian gospel. The text of the gospel is lost with only fragments of it surviving as brief quotations by the early Church Fathers and in apocryphal writings. The fragments contain traditions of Jesus' pre-existence, incarnation, baptism, and probable temptation, along with some of his sayings. Distinctive features include a Christology characterized by the belief that the Holy Spirit is Jesus' Divine Mother and a first resurrection appearance to James, the brother of Jesus, showing a high regard for James as the leader of the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem. It was probably composed in Greek in the first decades of the 2nd century, and is believed to have been used by Greek-speaking Jewish Christians in Egypt during that century.It is the only Jewish–Christian gospel which the Church Fathers referred to by name, believing there was only one Hebrew Gospel, perhaps in different versions. Passages from the gospel were quoted or summarized by three Alexandrian Fathers – Clement, Origen and Didymus the Blind; it was also quoted by Jerome, either directly or through the commentaries of Origen. The gospel was used as a supplement to the canonical gospels to provide source material for their commentaries based on scripture. Eusebius included it in his list of disputed writings known as the Antilegomena, noting that it was used by "Hebrews" within the Church; it fell out of use when the New Testament canon was codified at the end of the 4th century. The original Aramaic/Hebrew gospel used by the Jewish sect of Ebionites did not contain the genealogical records now appended to the Greek gospels, which omission is explained by Epiphanius as being because "they insist that Jesus was really man."Modern scholars classify the Gospel of the Hebrews as one of the three Jewish–Christian gospels, along with the Gospel of the Nazarenes and the Gospel of the Ebionites. Others suggest that these three titles may have been referring to one and the same book. All are known today only from fragments preserved in quotations by the early Church Fathers. The relationship between the Jewish–Christian gospels and a hypothetical original Hebrew Gospel remains a speculation.Gospel of the Nazarenes
The Gospel of the Nazarenes (also Nazareans, Nazaraeans, Nazoreans, or Nazoraeans) is the traditional but hypothetical name given by some scholars to distinguish some of the references to, or citations of, non-canonical Jewish-Christian Gospels extant in patristic writings from other citations believed to derive from different Gospels.Israelites
The Israelites (; Hebrew: בני ישראל Bnei Yisra'el) were a confederation of Iron Age Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the tribal and monarchic periods. According to the religious narrative of the Hebrew Bible, the Israelites' origin is traced back to the Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs Abraham and his wife Sarah, through their son Isaac and his wife Rebecca, and their son Jacob who was later called Israel, whence they derive their name, with his wives Leah and Rachel and the handmaids Zilpa and Bilhah.
Modern archaeology has largely discarded the historicity of the religious narrative, with it being reframed as constituting an inspiring national myth narrative. The Israelites and their culture, according to the modern archaeological account, did not overtake the region by force, but instead branched out of the indigenous Canaanite peoples that long inhabited the Southern Levant, Syria, ancient Israel, and the Transjordan region through the development of a distinct monolatristic—later cementing as monotheistic—religion centered on Yahweh, one of the Ancient Canaanite deities. The outgrowth of Yahweh-centric belief, along with a number of cultic practices, gradually gave rise to a distinct Israelite ethnic group, setting them apart from other Canaanites.In the Hebrew Bible the term Israelites is used interchangeably with the term Twelve Tribes of Israel. Although related, the terms Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews are not interchangeable in all instances. "Israelites" (Yisraelim) refers specifically to the direct descendants of any of the sons of the patriarch Jacob (later called Israel), and his descendants as a people are also collectively called "Israel", including converts to their faith in worship of the god of Israel, Yahweh. "Hebrews" (ʿIvrim), on the contrary, is used to denote the Israelites' immediate forebears who dwelt in the land of Canaan, the Israelites themselves, and the Israelites' ancient and modern descendants (including Jews and Samaritans). "Jews" (Yehudim) is used to denote the descendants of the Israelites who coalesced when the Tribe of Judah absorbed the remnants of various other Israelite tribes. Thus, for instance, Abraham was a Hebrew but he was not technically an Israelite nor a Jew, Jacob was both a Hebrew and the first Israelite but not a Jew, while David (as a member of the Tribe of Judah) was all three, a Hebrew, an Israelite, and a Judahite (Yehudi, Jew). A Samaritan, on the contrary, while being both a Hebrew and an Israelite, is not a Jew.
During the period of the divided monarchy "Israelites" was only used to refer to the inhabitants of the northern Kingdom of Israel, and it is only extended to cover the people of the southern Kingdom of Judah in post-exilic usage.The Israelites are the ethnic stock from which modern Jews and Samaritans originally trace their ancestry. Modern Jews are named after and also descended from the southern Israelite Kingdom of Judah, particularly the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Simeon and partially Levi. Many Israelites took refuge in the Kingdom of Judah following the collapse of the Kingdom of Israel.Finally, in Judaism, the term "Israelite" is, broadly speaking, used to refer to a lay member of the Jewish ethnoreligious group, as opposed to the priestly orders of Kohanim and Levites. In texts of Jewish law such as the Mishnah and Gemara, the term יהודי (Yehudi), meaning Jew, is rarely used, and instead the ethnonym ישראלי (Yisraeli), or Israelite, is widely used to refer to Jews. Samaritans commonly refer to themselves and to Jews collectively as Israelites, and they describe themselves as the Israelite Samaritans.Melchizedek
Melchizedek, Melkisetek, or Malki Tzedek (; Hebrew: מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶֿק malkī-ṣeḏeq, "king of righteousness"; Amharic: መልከ ጼዴቅ malkī-ṣeḏeq; Armenian: Մելքիսեդեք, Melkisetek), was the king of Salem and priest of El Elyon (often translated as "God most high") mentioned in the 14th chapter of the Book of Genesis. He brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram and El Elyon.Chazalic literature—specifically Targum Jonathan, Targum Yerushalmi, and the Babylonian Talmud—presents the name (מלכי־צדק) as a nickname title for Shem, the son of Noah.In Christianity, according to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jesus Christ is identified as "a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek", and so Jesus assumes the role of High Priest once and for all.
It is speculated that the story of Melchizedek is an informal insertion into the narration, possibly inserted in order to give validity to the priesthood and tithes connected with the Second Temple. His name indicates he may have worshipped Zedek, a Canaanite deity worshipped in pre-Israelite Jerusalem.Papyrus 114
Papyrus 114 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 114, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Letter to the Hebrews, containing verses 1:7-12 in a fragmentary condition. The manuscript has been paleographically assigned by the INTF to the 3rd century CE. Papyrologist Philip Comfort dates the manuscript to Middle-Late 3rd century CE. The manuscript is currently housed in the Papyrology Rooms (P. Oxy. 4498) of the Sackler Library at Oxford.Papyrus 116
Papyrus 116 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 116, is a copy of part of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Letter to the Hebrews. The surviving text of Hebrews are verses 2:9-11; 3:3-6. They are in a fragmentary condition. The manuscript palaeographically has been assigned by the INTF to the 6th century (or 7th century).
The text of the codex was edited by A. Papathomas in 2000.
The Greek text of this codex is too small to determine its textual character.
The codex currently is housed at the Austrian National Library (Pap. G. 42417) at Vienna. The fragments are also commonly referred to as P. Vindob. G 42417.
As of June 2017, Martin Shkreli bought the fragments for an unknown price.Papyrus 12
Papyrus 12 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), α 1033 (in the Soden numbering), designated by siglum 12, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Hebrews, it contains only Hebrews 1:1. The manuscript palaeographically has been assigned to ca. 285. It may have been a writing exercise or an amulet.Papyrus 126
Papyrus 126 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by siglum 126, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Hebrews.Papyrus 13
Papyrus 13, designated by siglum 13 or P13 in the Gregory-Aland numbering, is a fragmented manuscript of the New Testament in Greek. It was copied on papyrus in the 3rd century at approximately 225-250 CE.Papyrus 17
Papyrus 17 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), signed by 17, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but only contains verses 9:12-19. The manuscript has been paleographically assigned to the 4th century. However, according to Philip Comfort it is from the late 3rd century.Papyrus 79
Papyrus 79 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 79, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The surviving texts of Hebrews are verses 10:10-12,28-30.
The manuscript palaeographically has been assigned to the 7th century.
The text was not corrected. The letters have Coptic shape.
The Greek text of this codex is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland placed it in Category II.
It is currently housed at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Inv. no. 6774) in Berlin.Papyrus 89
Papyrus 89 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 89, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The surviving texts of Hebrews are verses 6:7–9,15–17.
The manuscript palaeographically has been assigned to the 4th century.
The Greek text of this codex is too brief for classification. Aland did not place it in any Category of New Testament manuscripts.
It is currently housed at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (PL III/292) in Florence.Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen books of the New Testament, composed of letters which are largely attributed to Paul the Apostle, although authorship of some is in dispute. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of early Christianity. As part of the canon of the New Testament, they are foundational texts for both Christian theology and ethics. The Epistle to the Hebrews, although it does not bear his name, was traditionally considered Pauline for a thousand years, but from the 16th century onwards opinion steadily moved against Pauline authorship and few scholars now ascribe it to Paul, mostly because it does not read like any of his other epistles in style and content. Most scholars agree that Paul really wrote seven of the Pauline epistles, but that four of the epistles in Paul's name are pseudepigraphic (Ephesians, First Timothy, Second Timothy, and Titus); scholars are divided on the authenticity of two of the epistles.The Pauline epistles are usually placed between the Acts of the Apostles and the general epistles in modern editions. Most Greek manuscripts, however, place the General epistles first, and a few minuscules (175, 325, 336, and 1424) place the Pauline epistles at the end of the New Testament.Priscilla and Aquila
Priscilla ( Greek: Πρίσκιλλα, Priskilla) and Aquila (; Greek: Ἀκύλας, Akylas) were a first century Christian missionary married couple described in the New Testament. Aquila is traditionally listed among the Seventy Disciples. They lived, worked, and traveled with the Apostle Paul, who described them as his "fellow workers in Christ Jesus" (Romans 16:3 NASB).Priscilla and Aquila are described in the New Testament as providing a presence that strengthened the early Christian churches. Paul was generous in his recognition and acknowledgment of his indebtedness to them (Rom. 16:3-4). Together, they are credited with instructing Apollos, a major evangelist of the first century, and "[explaining] to him the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18:26).
It is thought by some to be possible, in light of her apparent prominence, that Priscilla held the office of presbyter . She also is thought by some to be the anonymous author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.