Ethnos

“Ethnos” (ἔθνος) is a Greek word whose variations appear 163 times in the New Testament. [1]

The word can have many meanings, but it generally refers to ethnicity and race. The word is normally translated “nation,” “race,” or “gentiles” (as in the non-Jewish ethnic groups). [1]

Strong’s Concordance defines ethnos: “A race, a nation, pl. the nations (as distinct from Isr.).” The Free Dictionary defines ethnos: “People of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture. Ethnic Group.” [2] Dictionary.com defines ethnos: “An ethnic group.” [3]

Wikipedia says: “Ethnos (in Greek: ἔθνος “nation”) may refer to: Ethnic group.” Under “Terminology” for “Ethnic Group” Wikipedia says: “The term ‘ethnic’ is derived from the Greek word ἔθνος ‘ethnos’ (more precisely, from the adjective ἐθνικός ethnikos, which was loaned into Latin as ethnicus.” [4]

No Greek translation is perfect, and few points can be drawn directly from Greek. However, some New Testament words have been transliterated into English rather than translated. Examples include “baptism,” “angels,” “deacons,” and “Satan.”

I would suggest that Identitarian Christians transliterate the word “ethnos” into the English language. Our Cultural Marxist enemies are prone to argue the Bible does not organize humanity into divided ethnic groups or races despite the fact that it explicitly does. Transliterating “ethnos” would immediately end this deception.

The confusion has arisen due to the shifting meaning of the English word “nation.” The word once meant ethnic group, or people descended from common genetic ancestors. [5] Today, however, the word is recklessly applied to any random political organization. The United States, for example, is often referred to as a “nation” despite its citizens having no common ethnic identity. When referring to the late Austro-Hungarian empire critics used the word “nation” correctly when they called it a “prisonhouse of nations.” [6]

We probably cannot save the word “nation,” but we can introduce a new word that is simultaneously more accurate and Biblical. By utilizing “ethnos” directly in the English language we can firmly tie our ideas to Bible language.

For this reason, I have usually abstained from using the term “race”. The Bible does not speak in the language of nineteenth century racial theory because the broad genetic categories of human “sub-species” were not known to Biblical authors. Limited as they were to the Mediterranean region, the inspired writers never encountered enough human biological diversity to understand the concept of race. They did, however, understand the concept of ethnicity, and they often spoke of it.

The Old Testament is the story of one ethnos, the children of Israel, descended from common ancestors and sharing common language, religion, and culture. In Acts, Paul said that God created the various ethnos and “set the boundaries of their habitation.” [7]

We must regain control of our language if we hope to regain control of our culture, theology, and social institutions.


NOTES

[1] “Ethnos.” Bible Hub. Accessed December 23, 2015. http://biblehub.com/greek/1484.htm.
EXCERPT: “Strong’s Greek 1484. 163 Occurrences. ἔθνη — 53 Occ. ἔθνει — 7 Occ. ἔθνεσιν — 32 Occ. ἐθνῶν — 46 Occ. ἔθνος — 18 Occ. ἔθνους — 7 Occ.” “Forms and Transliterations: ‘εθνει έθνει ἔθνει έθνεσι εθνεσιν έθνεσιν ἔθνεσιν εθνη έθνη ἔθνη εθνος έθνος ἔθνος εθνους έθνους ἔθνους εθνων εθνών ἐθνῶν ethne ethnē éthne éthnē ethnei éthnei ethnesin éthnesin ethnon ethnôn ethnōn ethnō̂n ethnos éthnos ethnous éthnous.’”

[2] “Ethnos.” The Free Dictionary. Accessed December 23, 2015. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ethnos.

[3] “Ethnos.” Dictionary.com. Accessed December 23, 2015. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethnos.

[4] Wikipedia contributors, “Ethnic group,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ethnic_group&oldid=696308570 (accessed December 23, 2015).

[5] Ancestry.com. “Discover the Family Story Your DNA Can Tell.” DNA Tests for Ethnicity & Genealogical DNA Testing. 2015. Accessed November 9, 2015. http://dna.ancestry.com/.
EXCERPT: “Discover the family story your DNA can tell. Uncover your ethnic mix, discover distant relatives, and find new details about your unique family history with a simple DNA test. When your results arrive, you’ll see a breakdown of your ethnicity—and it may contain a few surprises. Then, you can start learning more about the places where your family story began… “‘ProGenealogists recommends AncestryDNA as an indispensable tool for family history discoveries.’”

Wikipedia contributors. “Ethnic group.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 23 Dec. 2015.
EXCERPT: “An ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural or national experience. Unlike most other social groups, ethnicity is primarily an inherited status. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language and/or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art, and physical appearance.”

[6] Cohen, Nick. “The Prison of Nations.” The Spectator. October, 2011. Accessed December 23, 2015. http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2011/10/the-prison-of-nations/.
EXCERPT: “But in the 19th century [the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s] subject Italians, Serbs, Czechs and Slovaks could not see the future and insisted that they were living in the ‘Prison of Nations.’ The empire offered no real autonomy to its subject peoples.”

[7] Acts 17:26: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” (ESV)