James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Wed Jul 3 22:25:38 UTC 2002

>From the Jewish Encyclopedia, volume VII (1904), page 174 article "JEW (The
<begin quote>
...In [post-Biblical] usage the word is often applied to any person of the
Hebrew race, apart from his religious creed.  At one time during the
emancipation era there was a tendency among Jews to avoid the application of
the term to themselves; and from 1860 onward the words "Hebrew" and
"Israelite" were employed to represent persons of Jewish faith and race, as
in the titles "Alliance Israelite Universelle" and "United Hebrew Charities."
 At the present time [1904] the name "Jew" is being more commonly
employed..<snip>..Of the several terms derived from the word "Jew" the only
derivations in common use are "Jewess," "Jewish," and "Jewry"; but there are
several curious more or less obsolete forms, as "Jewhead" (1300), "Jewhood"
(Carlyle), "Jewishness," "Jewdom," "Jewism," and "Jewship," all used for the
religious system..<snip>..Symbolic epithets for the Jews are: "Chosen
People," "Poeple of the Book" (suposed to be derived from Mohammed, who,
however, used the term "Peoples of a Book" (or Scripture) as applying equally
to Jews, Christians, and Sabeans), "Peculiar People" (comp. M. K. 16b),
"Israel," "Jeshurun," "Keneset Yisrael," "Dove", "The Nation", "the Race,"
"The Lily".
     Slang names, given to the Jews by their opponenets, also occur, as
"Sheeny" in English, "Zit" in Russian, "Youtre" in French.  Among Russian
Jews a distinction is made between "Yehudi", a Jew of German origin, and
"Yid," one of Russian or Lithuanian extraction.
<end quote>

In 1904 there was much interest in races as opposed to ethnic groups, and a
number of the contributors to the JE write of Jews as a race.
"Chosen People" has the problem that it is easily interpreted as an insult to
Gentiles, and therefore is rarely used.  (Howeer, there is a synagogue in
Alaska which has a sign reading "Welcome to the Frozen Chosen").
"People of the Book" is fairly widely used, by both Jews and Gentiles
Note that in 1904 an ethnic slur was considered to be "slang".

       - Jim Landau

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