Israelites vs. Hebrews vs. Jews . . . ? (Jason Staples)

What do we mean when we say that “Jesus was a Jew?” How do we understand the terms Israelites vs. Hebrews vs. Jews? Scripture uses a lot of labels to refer to God’s chosen people, including “Israelite,” “Judahite,” “Hebrew,” and, of course, “Jew.” In this episode, Jason Staples helps us sort through the etymologies, histories, ethnicities, and nationalities behind these labels, examining the earliest usage of “Jew” in the Hebrew Bible, its role in the Second Temple Period, and its interpretations in the modern era. He also considers key Bible passages that use these labels and helps debunk a common assumption about “Jew” as a pejorative term.

Jason Staples teaches at North Carolina State University in the areas of biblical literature, early Judaism and Christianity, and modern issues in ethics and religion. He is the author of The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism: A New Theory of People, Exile, and Israelite Identity. In addition to his scholarly work, Jason has worked in sports media and voiceover narration.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 The history of the word “Jew”
  • 3:54 “Jew” versus “Israelite” in Scripture and beyond
  • 9:12 Jewish nationality and ethnicity after the exile
  • 14:33 What happened to the other tribes?
  • 15:50 Jesus was a Jew
  • 20:23 “King of the Jews” and King of the universe
  • 21:58 “The Israel of God”
  • 26:09 Paul as an Israelite and a Hebrew

Show notes by Micah Long

Image created by Rubner Durais

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