January 20, 2017 3:47 am at 3:47 am #619058
That’s what a rabbi said today in a shiur: Gentiles are atheists or polytheists. Monotheistic nonJews are Noahides.
Why didn’t anyone tell me this? Is this a common consensus?
I thought Gentile was another word for someone who is of another religion/nonJewish. I had no clue that it was describing someone’s specific beliefs.
Thank youJanuary 20, 2017 6:11 am at 6:11 am #1210693Lilmod UlelamaidParticipant
LB -this is a chiddush to me as well. I think it’s probably a matter of semantics.
I never heard the term Noachide used until relatively recently. I think that the term Gentile used to be the only term used for non-Jews.
I guess now that the term Noachide exists, some people have redefined the word Gentile. However, I am not sure that the definitions you were given make sense.
I think that in order to be a Noachide, one has to keep all 7 Mitzvos bnei Noach and be doing it because G-d said to (there may be other qualifications, but I don’t know).
What if someone only believes in One G-d but doesn’t keep all the other 7 Mitzvos? What would he be then?January 20, 2017 6:42 am at 6:42 am #1210694MRS PLONYParticipant
Can you just ask the rabbi who said it to clarify?January 20, 2017 6:48 am at 6:48 am #1210695👑RebYidd23Participant
Zoroastrianism is usually considered monotheistic, and Zoroastrians are not Noachides. And the dictionary definition of “gentile” is anyone who is not Jewish.January 20, 2017 6:55 am at 6:55 am #1210696WinnieThePoohParticipant
Islam is monotheistic, but I would find it hard to say that they fill all 7 Mitzvos bnei Noach.January 20, 2017 7:12 am at 7:12 am #1210697
Online shiurJanuary 20, 2017 7:17 am at 7:17 am #1210698
Monotheism thing aside… Main point is that “Gentile” means a nonbeliever of one G-d.
Gentiles = Non-monotheistic (rights to non-monotheistic not exclusive)
That was the message.January 20, 2017 7:18 am at 7:18 am #1210699Lilmod UlelamaidParticipant
WTP – lol, I was thinking of that. There may be some that do, but certainly many that don’t.January 20, 2017 7:54 am at 7:54 am #1210700SoftwordsParticipant
[gentile (n.) Look up gentile at Dictionary.com
“one who is not a Jew,” c. 1400; earlier “one who is not a Christian, a pagan” (late 14c.), from Late Latin noun use of Latin gentilis “of the same family or clan, of or belonging to a Roman gens,” from gens (genitive gentis) “race, clan” (see genus, and compare gentle).
The Latin adjective also meant “of or belonging to the same nation,” hence, as a noun, gentiles (plural) might mean “men of family; persons belonging to the same family; fellow countrymen, kinsmen,” but also “foreigners, barbarians” (as opposed to Romans), those bound only by the Jus Gentium, the “law of nations,” defined as “the law that natural reason establishes among all mankind and is followed by all peoples alike.”
The Latin word then was used in the Vulgate to translate Greek ethnikos (see ethnic), from ta ethne “the nations,” which translated Hebrew ha goyim “the (non-Jewish) nations” (see goy). Hence in Late Latin, after the Christianization of Rome, gentilis also could mean “pagans, heathens,” as opposed to Christians. Based on Scripture, gentile also was used by Mormons (1847) and Shakers (1857) to refer to those not of their profession. – etymonline]
Based on most of what’s stated here the word “Gentile” means “Nations” which would be an English translation for the word “Goyim”. Thus the word purely would mean “Non-Jew” when we as Jews use it. However, there is the ability to use the expression to allude to “pagans” even though that is not the strict meaning of the word.
I’m assuming that the Rabbi who made that statement distinguishing between “Gentiles” (pagans) and “Noahides” (believers in one G-d) was doing so in context of Halachah where a distinction many times exist, but often is misunderstood by laymen due to their not distinguishing between the two categories (“Gentiles” (pagans) and “Noahides” (believers in one G-d)). He was most likely trying to clarify that in Halachah the term “Gentile” is often referring to “Pagans”, not “Believers in one G-d”.January 20, 2017 1:20 pm at 1:20 pm #1210701Avi KParticipant
The word “gentile” ‘derives from Latin gentilis, which itself derives from the Latin gens … meaning clan or tribe” (Wikipedia). The word “goy” in Biblical Hebrew means “nation”. In fact, we are referred to as a goy kadosh. In Rabbinic Hebrew the word “goy” came to mean an idolater whereas a non-Jew who was not an idolater was called a ger toshav (without getting into the discussion regarding accepting them today). Ben Noach in the Gemara and Mishne Torah clearly is a general term for non-Jews. The Gemara (Megilla 13a) says that anyone who denies idolatry is called “Yehudi” (from meyahed – unite). In fact, the Gemara never refers to us a Yehudim (the use in Megillat Esther apparently refers to the fact that they were from Shevet Yehuda) but as Yisrael.
However, today the academic term “Noahide” has come to mean a non-Jew who has taken the sheva mitzvot upon himself. There are several Noahide organizations, each with its own website (you can google “Noahide” to find them).January 20, 2017 1:21 pm at 1:21 pm #1210702lesschumrasParticipant
LB, you really have to stop accepting what every rabbi says as the final word on the subject, especially, as in cases like this where he is merely expressing an opinionJanuary 20, 2017 1:34 pm at 1:34 pm #1210703lesschumrasParticipant
Mormons call non Mormons gentilesJanuary 20, 2017 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #1210704
Softwords: Thank you. Wow. See I never knew that there was a difference or distinction of the meaning of Gentile, which also was so pronounced in halacha.
Weird because I also thought the word gentleman was derived from gentileman (and gentle as well from gentile), and it was generally understood as a good thing.January 22, 2017 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #1210705yehudayonaParticipant
RY23, there’s certainly some question about the claim that Zoroastrianism is monotheistic. In some senses, it’s dualistic.January 23, 2017 2:57 am at 2:57 am #1210706
You’re right. That’s one reason why I come to the CR, to see if this stuff is the norm. If a rabbi is saying something, I assume he is coming from an educated position and has reputable sources to back this up.
In this case, I looked up gentile and there is a definition of “pagan and heathen.”
Just remembered though that other rabbonim refer to nonJews as gentiles.
We even refer to nonJews with high merits as Righteous Gentiles.
If someone was a good person and saved the lives of many Jews in the Holocaust, would he/she still be a Righteous Gentile if he/she was an adamant polytheist/atheist/idolator/non-monotheist?January 23, 2017 6:24 am at 6:24 am #1210707Avi KParticipant
Lightbrite, according to Rambam (Hilchot Melachim 8,11) a righteous Noahide is someone who keeps the sheva mitvot because Hashem said so. A wise Noahide keeps them because he thinks that it is proper.January 24, 2017 2:03 am at 2:03 am #1210708
I think a Righteous Gentile/Noahide can hold the same title without even knowing the 7 mitzvot, yet performing them intuitively, or according to his/her monotheistic religion
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