Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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In Biblical and rabbinical literature, and hence in the Jewish conception, "faith" denotes not belief in a dogmatic sense (see see SAUL OF TARSUS), but either (a) faithfulness (from the passive form "ne'eman" = "trusted" or "trustworthy," Deut, c.; comp. Deuteronomy 32:4: "a god of faithfulness" ["emunah"; A. V. "truth"]; Psalms 36:6 [A. V. 5]; Proverbs 20:6, 28:20 "a man of faithfulness" [A. V. "a faithful man"]; Hosea 2:22 [A. V. 20]: "I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness"; Jeremiah 7:28: "faithfulness [A. V. "truth"] is perished"; Ecclus. [Sirach] xlvi 15) or (b) confidence and trust in God, in His word, or in His messenger (Habakkuk 2:4: "The just shall live by his faith"; comp. Genesis 15:5 [A. V. 6]: "He [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness"; 2 Chronicles 20:20: "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established"; Isaiah 7:9: "If ye will not believe [that is, have faith], surely ye shall not be established").

In this sense of perfect trust in God the Rabbis laud and insist on faith as highly meritorious (see the classical passage on "amanah" in Mek., Beshallaḥ, 6 with reference to Exodus 14:31); whereas those lacking faith ("meḥusare amanah," Mek., Beshallaḥ, Shirah, 2; comp. ὀλιγοπιτοὶ [= "men of little faith" = ], Matthew 6:30), are greatly blamed; the world's decline is brought about by the disappearance of "the men of faith" (Soṭah 9:12).

Only in medieval times did the word "emunah" (faith) receive the meaning of dogmatic belief, on which ARTICLES OF FAITH.


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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Faith'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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