Why are the Jews called the people of the Book? – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on October 30, 2020

Since time immemorial, the Jewish people have been known as the people of the Book. While historically the term originates from Islam, which categorized the Jews as people of the book meaning those who possessed an earlier revelation from God that was written down the term most often refers to the intimate connection between the Jews and the Torah the Hebrew Bible (Tanach), and the many books associated with it, such as the Talmud, commentaries, and codes of Jewish law. Judaism reveres the written word from the Torah scroll that is painstakingly written on parchment to the printed Talmud that contains the rabbinic explanations of the Bible. Jews were among the first to take advantage of the printing press when it was invented in the mid-1500s, and the Bible, Talmud, and prayer book (siddur) quickly became standard Hebrew printed works.

Jews have always had a special reverence and appreciation for books. Harry Wolfson, the early 20th century Harvard scholar and historian and the first chairman of aJudaic StudiesCenter in theUnited States, was once confronted by a colleague who said, Why do you Jews think you are so special? Wolfson is reputed to have responded: As far as I know, we are the only people who, when we drop a book on the floor, we pick it up and kiss it."

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Why are the Jews called the people of the Book? - The Jerusalem Post

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