What if We Got Rid of the Goy? Rereading Ancient Jewish Distinctions

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Ishay Rosen-Zvi Department of Hebrew Culture Studies Tel-Aviv University

Search for other papers by Ishay Rosen-Zvi in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


The goy has been present in Jewish discourses since antiquity. Despite this, its birth and history have received almost no scholarly attention. In this paper we shift the focus from the various historical attitudes towards the goy, to the very constitution of the concept and the dichotomy it constructs. We claim that scholars have been anachronistically reading Jewish (or Judaean) texts from the centuries before the common era as if they contained the Jew/goy distinction. Through a series of readings in texts like Jubilees, Pseudo-Aristeas, Joseph and Aseneth, 1-4 Maccabees, the Damascus Document, we seek to demonstrate the plurality of options for separation that existed before the Jew/goy discourse took over.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 639 125 22
Full Text Views 338 15 4
PDF Views & Downloads 162 16 1