Hebrews (or "Hebertes", "Eberites", "Hebreians", "
Habiru" or "Habiri"; Hebrew: "עברים" or "עבריים", Standard "unicode|ʿIvrim", "unicode|ʿIvriyyim" Tiberian "unicode|ʿIḇrîm", "unicode|ʿIḇriyyîm") are an ancient people defined as descendants of biblical Patriarch Eber(Hebrew עברי (ʿIḇrî) "traverse or pass over"), a great-grandson of Noah.
They were called Ibri, meaning the people from over on the other side of the
Jordan river. [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Hebrew] They lived in the Land of Canaan(the Levant). The Ibri people are also known in Africa, mainly Egypt and SudanFact|date=August 2008.
Other authors believe that Ivri is another name for
Abraham, and define the Hebrews as the descendants of this patriarch. [ [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/259033/Hebrew entry in britannica.com] ] Note however that Abraham is once referred to as "Abram the Hebrew" (Genesis 14:13).
Hebrews are known as the ancestors of the
Israelites, who used the hebrewlanguage. Israelites were the writers of the Hebrew Bibleand therefore the spiritual and historical forerunners of the Jews, Christiansand Muslims. In the Bible and in current language, the word Hebrews is often used as a synonym for Israelites, and sometimes for the users of the hebrewlanguage ( Jewsand Israelis).
Hebrews vs. Israelites vs. Jew
Israelitesare defined as the descendants of Jacob, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham. Eber, an ancestor of Jacob(6 generations removed), is a distant ancestor of many people, including the Israelites but also the Arabs, descendant from Ishmael. Among historical scholars, there is some disagreement about the relationship between the Hebrews and Israelites, the history and legacy of the Hebrew people. Jewsare all people of Jewish faith, regardless of ancestry.
The terms "Hebrews" and "Israelites" usually describe the same people, called Hebrews before the conquest of the Land of
Canaanand Israelites afterwards. [ [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=295&letter=I&search=hebrews Hebrews entry in Jewish Encyclopedia] ] [ [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/259033/Hebrew entry in britannica.com] ] Occasionally, "Hebrews" is used to designate the Jews, who use the hebrewlanguage. [ [http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Hebrews entry in thefreedictionary.com] ] The Epistle to the Hebrewswas probably written for Jewish Christians. The current State of Israel, a homeland for all Jews, is often nicknamed the " Hebrew state".
These areas were politically
Phoeniciaand of the Philistinesin Canaanwhen they first arrived in the area (this statement is matter of debate: some archaeologists believe that the Israelites simply arose as a subculture within Canaanite society). The Hebrews lived within this region in the 2nd millennium BCEand spoke a Canaanite dialect, which played a role in the Hebrew languages, the local Canaanite culture. The extent of the distinction between the culture of the Canaanites and the Hebrews is a matter of great debate, touching as it does on strong religious sensibilities.They were also known as the Israelites and Judeans. Hebrew is the main language traditionally used in Jewish holy scriptures and prayer, and since the early 20th century, has undergone a secular revival, to become the primary everyday language of Jews in Palestineand later in the State of Israel.
* [http://jewishencyclopedia.com/index.jsp Jewish Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.dinur.org/resources/resourceCategoryDisplay.aspx?categoryID=411&rsid=478 Biblical History] The Jewish History Resource Center
* David M. Rohl, Pharaohs and Kings, ISBN 0-609-80130-9
* "Ancient Judaism",
Max Weber, Free Press, 1967, ISBN 0-02-934130-2
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