A-Z: General definitions: Semitic


Referring to the language group that includes Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic, or to the speakers of the languages. Jews are known as a Semitic people because they are said to be descended from Noah’s son Shem (see Big ideas > Noah and the flood). In Genesis 11:10-32, the line of descent is traced from Shem to Abram, or Abraham, regarded as the father of the Jewish race. An anti-Semitic person is one who is prejudiced against Jews.

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