The True Israel

Uses of the Names Jew, Hebrew and Israel in Ancient Jewish and Early Christian Literature

What do the names Jew, Hebrew, and Israel mean in the vernacular? That is, how did writers from 300 BCE to 200 CE use these names? What were they influenced by? And how did readers interpret them? Judaism was and continues to be culturally diverse, and writers sought to be clear and therefore “politically correct” even then. This book takes into account written as well as oral works that circulated during this 500-year period. Taking neither an etymological nor an archeological approach, Harvey instead uses the theory of associative fields to explore the full range of associations of the names in their actual context to better understand how the words were actually used. Divided into three parts, Jew, Hebrew, and Israel respectively, the volume especially examines Israel. Within each section, individual chapters are dedicated to specific literature. This book makes a significant contribution to Jewish self-definition, then and now.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

Paperback: List price

EUR €54.00USD $67.00

Biographical Note

Graham Harvey is a Lecturer at King Alfred’s College of Higher Education, Winchester.


Scholars and students interested in ancient Judaism and early Christianity, the literature surviving from that period and the foundational uses of the names discussed.

Index Card