Menu JTA Search

Orientalist Congress Closes Its Annual Sessions at Oxford

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

A new definition of the well known Hebrew term, Am Ha’Aretz, usually interpreted as meaning “ignorant” and “unreliable” was offered by Dr. Samuel Daiches of London, in a paper he read at the International Orientalists Congress which was in session during the week at Oxford. The Congress closed its sessions today.

According to Dr. Daiches the term Am Ha’Aretz. meaning literally “the people of the land” was originally the equivalent of the English expression, landlord. The Jews, in Bible times had a constitution similar to that of the English, he stated. The Am Ha’Aretz then meant landlord, or landed nobility, whose representatives were called B’nai Adam. Only after the land aristocracy fell, the Am Ha’Aretz became a disreputable name, Dr. Daiches suggested.

Profesor A. Kaminka of Vienna, in a paper he read, opposed the theory that Hebrew was originally written in Greek characters, pointing out that the oldest Greek Bible, Septuaginta, contains errors due to misreading of the Hebrew letters Daled and Reish which were confused thus showing that the Hebrew alphabet is older than the Greek.

NEXT STORY