"What Thank They the Jews"? (2 Nephi 29:4): A Note on the Name "Judah" and Antisemitism

Title

"What Thank They the Jews"? (2 Nephi 29:4): A Note on the Name "Judah" and Antisemitism

Publication Type

Journal Article

Year of Publication

2014

Authors

Journal

Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship

Pagination

111-125

Volume

12

Terms of use

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Bibliographic Citation

Bowen, Matthew L. ""What Thank They the Jews"? (2 Nephi 29:4): A Note on the Name "Judah" and Antisemitism" In Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, Vol. 12. 2014:111-125.

Abstract

The Hebrew Bible explains the meaning of the personal and tribal name “Judah”—from which the term “Jews” derives—in terms of “praising” or “thanking” (*ydy/ydh). In other words, the “Jews” are those who are to be “praised out of a feeling of gratitude.” This has important implications for the Lord’s words to Nephi regarding Gentile ingratitude and antisemitism: “And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them?” (2 Nephi 29:4). Gentile Christian antisemitism, like the concomitant doctrine of supersessionism, can be traced (in part) to widespread misunderstanding and misapplication of Paul’s words regarding Jews and “praise” (Romans 2:28-29). Moreover, the strongest scriptural warnings against antisemitism are to be found in the Book of Mormon, which also offers the reassurance that the Jews are still “mine ancient covenant people” (2 Nephi 29:4-5) and testifies of the Lord’s love and special concern for them.

Prophecy
Jews

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