( Hebrew Gôyîm ; Greek ethne, ethnikoi , Hellenes ; Vulgate Gentes, Gentiles, Graeci ).
A word of Latin origin and usually employed in the plural. In the English versions of both Testaments it collectively designates the nations distinct from the Jewish people. The basis of this distinction is that, as descendants of Abraham, the Jews considered themselves, and were in fact, before the coming of Christ, the chosen people of God. As the non-Jewish nations did not worship the true God and generally indulged in immoral practices, the term Gôyîm "Gentiles" has often times in the Sacred Writings , in the Talmud, etc., a disparaging meaning. Since the spread of Christianity, the word Gentiles designates, in theological parlance, those who are neither Jews nor Christians. In the United States, the Mormons use it of persons not belonging to their sect. See PROSELYTES.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online