Re: Starozakonny = Old Testament #general

Judith Romney Wegner

The Polish work Starozakonny means Old Testament or Orthodox Jew .
Well. There were no others than only "Orthodox" Jews around in the 19th
century Poland.
Dear Alex,

You are of course correct. Not only that, but the phrase “Old Testament or
Orthodox Jew” is itself an oxymoron. There were no “Orthodox” Jews around in
Old Testament times! In fact, except in the latest written biblical books
(those written at or after the time of the Babylonian Exile) there were no
“Jews” at all—only Israelites. In particular, the word “Jew” does not appear
anywhere in the Torah. In the interests of accuracy, it is important to use
these terms with precision.

Even in the later-written books, such as Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther,
where the term “Yehudi” t appears frequently, it is used as a “gentilic”—
i.e., it means “a Judaean”—i.e. an inhabitant of the southern kingdom of
Judah or a person who came >from that country—and not “Jew “ in the religious
sense at all. (Even the term “mityahadim” that appears in the Book of Esther
refers more to joining the religion but to joining the ethnic group.)
The religion we call Judaism (as opposed to the Israelite religion) was a
development that occurred in the late 2nd temple period and the subsequent
mishnaic period -- in other words, entirely post-biblical. The religion
described in the laws of the Hebrew Bible (“Old Testament”) is the ancient
Israelite religion—not “Judaism” at all. That is a later historical
development based in part but not entirely on the biblical Israelite doctrines
and practices.

Judith Romney Wegner

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