Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 168 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HEBREW LANGUAGE. The name " Hebrew " is derived, through the Greek 'E(3paios, from 'ibhray, the Aramaic equivalent of the Old Testament word 'ibhri, denoting the people who commonly spoke of themselves as Israel or Children of Israel from the name of their common ancestor (see JEws). The later derivative Yisra'eli, Israelite, from Yisra'el, is not found. in the Old Testament.2 Other names used for the language of Israel are speech of Canaan (Isa. xix. 18) and Yehudhith, Jewish, (2 Kings xviii. 26). In later times it was called the holy tongue. The real meaning of the word 'ibhri must ultimately be sought in the root 'abhar, to pass across, to go beyond, from which is derived the noun 'ebher, meaning the " farther bank " of a river. The usual explanation of the term is that of Jewish tradition I There were several journals of this name, the best known of the others being that edited by Lemaire. In 2 Sam. xvii. 25 Israelite should be Ishwnaelite, as in the parallel passage 1 Chron. ii. 17, 13

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