Isaiah 7.14 and Matthew

Jan Britten janbritten at
Mon Feb 5 14:42:37 EST 2001

From: "Jonathan D. safren" <yonsaf at>
Subject: Re: Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew

> The word "racial" has been used twice by Ian
Hutchesson in two successive
> postings concerning the Jewishness/non-Jewishness of
> Perhaps Ian would like to clarify what he means by
"racial"? Is he referring
> to some anthropological or other scientific or
non-scientific definition?
> Y-chromosome studies, perhaps? Clarification,

and again

> Let me point out that in the 1st century CE (and
before and afterwards, for
> that matter), Jews did not distinguish between their
nationality and their
> religion.

I am sure that in the light of history we would all
prefer to avoid the word "racial", or to use it only
with great care.

The Hebrew Bible however presents the faith of Jews as
being a special relationship with God on the basis of
common descent from a single forefather - Abraham, and
contrasts their position with those not so descended.

What word would you choose for this - using the words
very carefully, and fully aware of the long record of
history, which we all deplore? The modern usage of
"national" hardly fits. The modern idea of a "nation"
has very little connection with descent or origins.
Anyway "nationalism" has an almost equally awful
history. Perhaps there are some questions which should
not be raised, even among careful and restrained
scholars. And yet this issue is at the heart of the

Jan Britten

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