1. The names by which Christians are called in the Talmud.
Article I. - The Names Given to Christians in the Talmud
As in our languages Christians take their name from Christ, so in the language of the Talmud Christians are called Notsrim, from Jesus the Nazarene. But Christians are also called by the names used in the Talmud to designate all non-Jews: Abhodah Zarah, Akum, Obhde Elilim, Minim, Nokhrim, Edom, Amme Haarets, Goim, Apikorosim, Kuthrim.
1. Abhodah Zarah—Strange worship, idolatry. The Talmudic Tract on Idolatry is thus entitled: Obhde Abhodah Zarah—Idol Worshippers. That Abhodah Zarah really means the cult of idols is clear from the Talmud itself: 'Let Nimrod come and testify that Abraham was not a server of Abhodah Zarah.' But in the days of Abraham there existed no strange cult either of the Turks or the Nazarenes, but only the worship of the true God and idolatry. In Schabbath (ibid. 82a), it says:
In the first part of this verse mention is made of idols made from gold and silver.
The learned Maimonides also clearly demonstrates that the Jews regarded Christians as Abhodah Zarah. In Perusch (78c) he says:
2. Akum—This word is made up of the initial letters of the words Obhde Kokhabkim U Mazzaloth—worshippers of stars and planets. It was thus that the Jews formerly styled the Gentiles who lacked all knowledge of the true God. Now, however, the word Akum in Jewish books, especially in the Schulkhan Arukh, is applied to Christians. This is evident from numerous passages:
In the Orach Chaiim (113,8) those who use a cross are called Akum. In the Iore Dea (148, 5, 12), those who celebrate the feasts of Christmas and New Year, eight days afterwards, are called worshippers of the stars and planets:
3. Obhde Elilim—Servers of idols. This name has the same meaning as Akum. Non-Jews are frequently called by this name. In the Orach Chaiim, for example (215, 5), it says:
But at the same time when the Schulkhan Arukh was written there were no worshippers of the stars and planets (Akum); there were no 'servers of idols' among those who lived with the Jews. Thus, for example, the author of the Commentary on the Schulkhan Arukh (entitled Magen Abraham), Rabbi Calissensis who died in Poland in 1775, in note 8, on No. 244 of the Orach Chaiim (where it is allowed to finish a work on the Sabbath with the help of an Akum) says: "Here in our city the question is raised about the price of hiring worshippers of the stars and planets who sweep the public streets when they work on the Sabbath."(34)
4. Minim—Heretics. In the Talmud those who possess books called the Gospels are heretics. Thus in Schabbath (116a) it says:
5. Edom—Edomites. Rabbi Aben Ezra, when he speaks about the Emperor Constantine who changed his religion and placed the image of him who was hanged on his banner, adds:
And Rabbi Bechai, in his Kad Hakkemach (fol. 20a, on Isaiah, ch. LXVI, 17) writes:
Likewise Rabbi Bechai, commenting on the words of Isaiah (loc. cit.), "those who eat the flesh of swine" adds: "These are the Edomites." Rabbi Kimchi, however, calls them "Christians." And Rabbi Abarbinel, in his work Maschima Ieschua (36d) says: "The Nazarenes are Romans, the sons of Edom."
6. Goi—Race, or people. The Jews also call a man a Goi—a gentile; they call a gentile woman a Goiah. Sometimes, but very rarely, Israelites are called by this name.(35) It is mostly applied to non-Jews, or idolators. In Jewish books which treat of Idolatry,(36) worshippers of idols are often called by this single word Goi. For this reason, in more recent editions of the Talmud(37) the use of the word Goi is purposely avoided and other words for non-Jews are substituted.
It is well known that in the Jewish language, the Jews call Christians among whom they live, Goim. Nor do the Jews deny this. Sometimes in their popular magazines they say that this word means nothing harmful or evil.(38) But the contrary can be seen in their books written in the Hebrew language. For instance, in Choschen Hammischpat (34,22), the name Goi is used in a depraved sense:
7. Nokhrim—strangers, foreigners. This name is used for all who are not Jews, and therefore for Christians.
8. Amme Haarets—People of the earth, idiots. There are some who say(39) that people of other races are not meant by this, but only crude and uneducated people. There are passages, however, which leave no doubt about the matter. In the Holy Scripture, Book of Esra, ch. X, 2, we read: We have sinned against our God, and have taken strange wives [nokhrioth] of the people of the earth. That people of the earth denotes idolators is clear from Zohar, I, 25a: "The People of the earth—Obhde Abhodah Zarah, idolaters.(40)
9. Basar Vedam—Flesh and blood; carnal men who are destined to perdition and who can have no communion with God. That Christians are flesh and blood, is proved from the prayer book:
"Whoever meets a wise and educated Christian can say: Blessed art thou O Lord, King of the Universe, who dispenseth of thy wisdom to Flesh and Blood," etc.
Likewise in another prayer, in which they ask God soon to restore the kingdom of David and to send Elias and the Messiah, etc., they ask him to take away their poverty so that they will have no need to accept gifts from "flesh and blood," nor to trade with them, nor to seek wages from them.(41)
10. Apikorosim—Epicureans. All are called by this name who do not observe God's precepts, as well as all those, even Jews themselves, who express private judgments in matters of faith.(42) How much more, therefore, Christians!
11. Kuthim—Samaritans. But since there are no longer any Samaritans, and since there are many references in recent Jewish books to Samaritans, who can doubt that this does not mean the Christians?
Furthermore, in this matter of naming those who are not Jews, it is to be particularly noted that Jewish writings apply these names indiscriminately and promiscuously when they speak of the same thing, and almost in the same words. For instance, in the Tract Abhodah Zarah (25b) the word Goi is employed, but in the Schulkhan Arukh (Iore Dea 153, 2) Akum is used. Kerithuth (6b) uses Goim; Jebhammoth (61a) uses Akum; Abhodah Zar. (2a) uses Obhde Elilim; Thoseph uses Goim and Obhde Ab., Choschen Ham (Venetian ed.) uses Kuthi; (Slav. ed.) Akum. And many more instances could be quoted.
Maimonides in his book on Idolatry indiscriminately calls all the following idolators: Goim, Akum, Obhde Kokhabhim, Obhde Elilim, etc.