Hebrews

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Hebrews (Hebrew: עברים or עבריים, Tiberian ʿIḇrîm, ʿIḇriyyîm; Modern Hebrew ʿIvrim, ʿIvriyyim) is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible. It is mostly taken as synonymous with Israelites, especially in the pre-monarchic period when they were still nomadic, but in some instances it may also be used in a wider sense, referring to the Semitic nomads known to the Egyptians as Habiru or Shasu during the Egyptian Empire on the eve of the Bronze Age collapse.

By the Roman era, Greek Hebraios could refer to the Jews in general, but more specifically to the Jews living in Judea. In Early Christianity, the Greek term refers to Jewish Christians, as opposed to the gentile Christians (Acts 6:1).[1]

Contents

Etymology

The origin of the term remains uncertain.[2] The biblical word Ivri (Hebrew: עברי), meaning to traverse or pass over, is usually rendered as Hebrew in English, from the ancient Greek Ἑβραῖος and Latin Hebraeus. In the plural it is Ivrim, or Ibrim.

In Genesis 10:21 Shem, the elder brother of Japheth and first son to Noah is referred to as the ancestor of the Hebrews.[citation needed]

Some authors believe Hebrew/Ibri denotes the descendants of the biblical patriarch Eber (Hebrew עבר), son of Shelah, a great grandson of Noah and an ancestor of Abraham,[3] hence the occasional anglicization Eberites.

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