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"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||Bowen, Matthew L.|
|Journal||Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture|
|Keywords||Antisemitism; Jews; Prophecy|
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.
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