עַם פֶּסַח


This glossary provides direct, short, explanations of words used on the Passover People website but which may not be familiar to the devotional reader of the English Bible.  As far as we are able, we avoid the use of both christian jargon and yiddish words.

Yakov Ya’aqov Genesis 32:22 – 30.  Grandson of Avraham and son of Yitzhak. Ya’aqov is re-named Yisra’el: he who contends with God.   Following the dream, Ya’aqov ‘s hip was damaged and he limped for the rest of his life.

Ye’shua (Yehoshua in full, Numbers 27:18-32)…is the transliteration (see list ) direct from Hebrew into English of the Hebrew name of the  Son of God meaning Yhwh saves, see  Matthew 1:21 and Acts 7:45.  Up to the beginning of the second century of the Common Era (ce) this was a familiar name among Jews in either its Hebrew or Greek form.  For much more detail see the Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon at G2424.  By using a chain link concordance you can trace the name Yehoshua (Joshua) through the Old Testament.

Yisra’el The descendants of Ya’aqov/Jacob are known by the name Yisra’el.  See Ya’aqov below.  This connexion with Ya’aqov makes them party to the covenant made between YHWH and Avram; YHWH and Yitskhaq/Isaac; YHWH and Ya’aqov/Jacob.

Yhwh The name of the one God (Exodus 3:14,15,16,18).  It is the name God gives himself.  It is not pronounced.  Jews of today say Adonai (Lord) or Ha Shem (The Name).

Adar The last month of the Hebrew year.

Aviv The first month of the Hebrew Calendar.  It is the month of the year when the Barley crop is on show and coming to ripeness.  It is the month which the God Yhwh appointed in which to demonstrate his power to Par’o, thus to break his grip on the Hebrew people.  The departure of Yisra’el out of Egypt (Mizrayim) began on the morning of 15th Aviv.

Avram was from Mesopotamia to the east of the Euphrates – the town of Ur of the Chaldees in what is now Southern Iraq.  He was living in Harran when God said to him Get up Get out of here  (Lech Lecha).  God made a covenant with him and many years later changed his name to Avraham, the more familiar name but he was Avram when God sent him out of Harran away from his family and made covenant with him, a process that was completed in two parts: Genesis 12:1-3 (pt1) and then :7&8 (pt2).  Note part one: the command + detail +blessings & curses + purpose; then in part two: the assurance of Land repeated + an altar.

Codex A collection of papyri or parchment pages, written on both sides and bound together much like a modern book.  The codex would seem to have been invented in the first Century ce (first referred to by Martial, Epigram 1.2 (84-86AD) and was used by the early Christians as it was easier to carry around than a scroll.

Codex Sinaiticus The earliest surviving manuscript of the complete Bible in Greek, dating from fourth century ce (after Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire). It was discovered at St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai by Constantine Tischendorf in 1844, presented to the Czar of Russia in 1859. The Soviets sold it to the British Library in 1933 for £100 000, it is estimated the skins of 360 sheep and goats were used in its production.

Covenant   An agreement made between a deity and the people that worship him.  Ancient covenants were often similar in form to treaties – agreements made between two kings.

DSS The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) is the name commonly given to a collection of approximately 670 extra-biblical religious texts and a total of 215 manuscripts of every Old Testament book except Esther and Nehemiah; found during the 1940‘s and fifties at Qumran and several other locations at the north western end of the Dead Sea.  Most of the Old Testament texts were very fragmentary, but included a complete scroll of Isaiah, 7.3m in length, has been preserved.  The scrolls date from circa 250bce up to the destruction of Qumran by the Romans in 68ce and have survived because of the extreme aridity of the environment.  Changes in handwriting style have enabled scholars to place the scrolls in a relative order, accurate to within one generation of scribes.

Genizah http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/taylor-schechter-genizah-research-unit

LXX/Septuagint   A Greek translation of the Tanakh begun about 250 years bce.

MSS Abbreviation for “manuscript”, a Latin word meaning “written by hand”.  Ancient manuscripts were written on papyrus or leather (parchment).

Menorah   The seven branched lamp-stand originally made for the mishkan (tabernacle) and later placed in the temple in Jerusalem.  It is depicted on the Arch of Titus (79-81 ce) in Rome; the Romans having carried it off as the spoils of war.

Mezuzah A device placed on the door posts of Jewish homes containing a small portion of Torah,  Deuteronomy 6:9, usually the Shema.

Moshe The man raised up by God to deliver Yisra’el from slavery in Egypt, known by Christians as Moses. YHWH gave to Moshe his torah on two separate occasions – once at Mount Sinai (Exodus and Leviticus Šemot and Way-yiqra) and secondly just before Moshe’s death on the Plains of Moab (Deuteronomy – Devarim).  Depending on dates given to the the exodus, the pivotal event of Moshe’s life, Moshe is variously dated to the 15th or 13th centuries bce.

Pharisees A Jewish sect that adhered strictly to the rules of the Mishnah.  They conducted debates about the Torah, considering how to codify it.  This was a process that began during the pre-Herodian era and went on until 500ce when the Mishnah was finally incorporated in the Babylonian Talmud.  The Mishnah effectively incorporated the traditions of the elders.

The debates between Ye’shua and the pharisees in the gospels are between Ye’shua defending Torah and pharisees preferring Mishnah (Mark 7).  It does, however,  provide insight into the behaviour of Jews at the time of Ye’shua.  Though they were not the dominant voice in Yudah let alone the rulers, they were influential.  At the time of Ye’shua the Mishnah had still not been written down.

Papyrus  Cypress Papyrus is a plant that grows along the banks of the Nile.  It was used to make a writing material, composed of several layers of strips from the pithy inside of the plant, orientated alternately in different directions. Normally papyrus was only written on one side and is only preserved in very dry conditions such as in Egypt or in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Sabbath After God had made the world in six days He rested (Genesis 2:2).  The weekly day of rest that he commanded Exodus 20:8-11 was and is observed by the Jews from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, the Sabbath.

Shema The words of YHWH to Yisra’el: “Hear, O Yisra’el. YHWH our God, YHWH is one, etc..”  preserved in Deuteronomy (Devarim 6:4)

Tanakh The name of the Hebrew Bible from Genesis to Chronicles known in the church as the Old Testament.  Each has the same books but in a different order.   They also differ in minor detail

Torah The first five books of instruction given to Yisra’el to guide them in how to live in The Land.

Transliteration   Many different writing systems were in use in the ancient world. The process by which Hebrew and Greek words are rendered into Roman / Latin script is called “transliteration”.  The same process is now a routine practice.  Hebrew/Greek words have in the past come to us via the circuitous route of Greek, Latin, English but can be carried directly from Hebrew into English, eg Moshe.

Vellum – parchment  Animal skins cleaned and impregnated with lime.  Parchment is actually named after Pergamon in W. Turkey, which developed and exported a high quality parchment, following a decision of the rulers of Hellenistic Egypt to ban the export of papyrus. Parchment all but replaced papyrus following the Arab conquest of Egypt in 641 ce.