Archive for March, 2009

27
Mar
09

Gentile(s) = Talmudic Interpolation?

Has the church fallen prey to Talmudic interpolation?

“The seminal study of gôy is E.A. Speiser, ” ‘People’ and ‘Nation’ of Israel,” JBL 79 (1960) 157-63; see also R.E. Clements and G.J. Botterweck, TDOT, 2:426-33, esp. their disclaimer on p. 432 that “there is no support in the OT for the usage which emerged in Talmudic Hebrew where the sing. goy could denote an individual member of a non-Israelite nation.”

Footnote #19 on pg. 62 of “The Book of Genesis” by Victor P. Hamilton* where he had just stated:

“The ancient versions rendered gôy in this passage as “people” (Targ. Onqelos: (h’m zk’y tqtwl, “will you slay people even though innocent”) and as “nation” (LXX: (éthnos qgnooún kaí díkaiov apoleís; Vulg.: num gentem ignorantem et instam inferficies, “will you destroy an ignorantly [sinning] and just nation?”).

While reading through Judges 4 I came across, in my KJV translation, 3 instances where goy was translated “gentiles” (vv. 2, 13, 16) and it got me to wondering where else this English transliteration of the Latin “gens” (which means “nation” or “race”) – which has no etymology in either Hebrew or Greek and is arbitrarily inserted into our English translations – was used in the O.C.

The Hebrew “goy(im)” [H1471] appears 559 times in 512 verses and is variously rendered: gentiles, heathen, nation, nations or people. Sometimes it refers to nations other than Israel and sometimes it refers to Israel. Less than 10% of the time is it translated by the word “gentiles”. The only difference that I can find is an arbitrary rendering of the Text to suit a particular agenda or presupposition. The same appears to be true of the Greek counterpart “ethnos” [G1484] in the N.C.

So, has the church fallen prey to apostate Jewish, Talmudic interpolations?

*Dr. Victor P. Hamilton (Ph.D., Brandeis University) is professor of Bible and theology at Asbury College.