Why does the TLV prefer speaking of “Judeans” instead of “Jews”?

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In New Testament times Judea had been long established as a Roman colony. Judaism, as we know it today (guided principally by rabbis, working with and through Jewish denominations–Orthodox, Conservative and Reform), by contrast, did NOT exist as such in Jesus’ day.

Today’s Judaism morphed out of a post-70AD conference held in Javne, Israel. With the Jerusalem Temple’s demise, Jewish culture lost its religious epicenter. To fill that void, rabbis got to work and sculpted the synagogue-based religion we know today: referred to as Judaism, with practitioners as Jews. In 33AD, however, pharisaic-based Judaism was one of a variety of philosophical Jewish schools, not the decisive voice for things Jewish. Because the term “Jews” denotes practitioners of a religion, today, and of a religion associated with a brand of Jewish thought that did not hold sway in Jesus’ day, I believe we’re best served to place emphasis were it belongs: referencing the people who live in the locale more so than individuals who practice a belief system.

Much as someone from Germany is referred to as a German, and someone from Switzerland is referred to as Swiss, so too is someone from Judea best seen as a Jew–thus the TLV’s preference.

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