The Shocking Truth Behind the Myth of Jews Having Horns

The Shocking Truth Behind the Myth of Jews Having Horns

How Mistranslating the Bible Has Fueled Anti-Semitism

In a world filled with misconceptions and anti-Semitic tropes, one disturbing myth has persisted for centuries: the idea that Jews have horns. Now, my four-year-old daughter would probably not object to this – so long as we could all have a shiny unicorn horn. How charming!  But putting her sparkly imagination aside, this bizarre notion has led to countless instances of persecution and discrimination against the Jewish people. 

But where did this absurd belief originate?

The answer lies in a stunning mistranslation of the Hebrew Bible that has had far-reaching consequences. In the iconic sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo, the prophet is depicted with horns protruding from his head. This artistic choice was not a mere flight of fancy but rather a direct result of a mistranslation of Exodus 34:29-30.

The Hebrew text describes Moses descending from Mount Sinai with his face radiant [karan] after speaking with God. However, the Douay-Rheims Challoner Bible, a widely used translation, erroneously rendered the word “karan” as “horned.” This mistake perpetuated the myth of Jews having horns, leading to centuries of unfounded anti-Semitic sentiment. 

2019, Columbia University’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter was accused for creating an anti-Semitic poster to help promote “Israel Apartheid Week.” The poster depicts the Jewish IDF soldier has having horns, a common antisemetic trope. Credit: Columbia SJP/Facebook.

But the truth is far from this harmful stereotype. As the Bible accurately translates, Moses’ face was radiant, not horned. The Hebrew word “karan” is used in a similar context in the traditional Avinu Malkeinu (“Our Father our King”) prayer, where it refers to the exaltation of Israel and the anointed one’s glory. “Our Father our King, raise up the glory (keren) of Your people Israel.”

In a groundbreaking, free Israel Bible Plus Webinar, Rabbi Rami delves into the importance of studying the Bible with those who genuinely understand Hebrew. He exposes how mistranslations like this have led to dangerous misunderstandings. Now more than ever, we face an urgent need for an accurate interpretation and understanding of the Hebrew Bible.

I’ll add my own personal plug to this. I am a fluent Hebrew speaker. I studied the Bible religiously, pun intended, for 16 years, including through University. Even with that background, I still find that it’s easy to get lost in the translation. I joined Rabbi Rami’s webinar last night out of my own curiosity. And I’m very glad that I had the chance to explore the Bible in a new light. 

From the emotional story of Judah and Joseph to the crazy mistranslation of “Thou shall not kill,” Rabbi Rami uncovers the true understanding of these critical Biblical verses.You can catch up on his webinar here. Don’t miss this eye-opening exploration of the Bible’s original Hebrew and its impact on our understanding of Judaism. Watch now and discover why studying the Bible in its original language is more crucial than ever before.

Has this piqued your interest? The Israel Bible Plus is a revolutionary way to study Bible. This webinar is just a taste of what you can access if you sign up for Israel Bible Plus Academy. With your subscription, you will gain access to hundreds of hours of exclusive video courses taught by our top teachers and Rabbis. This will definitely take your Bible learning to the next level. Additionally, with your subscription, you will also receive a beautiful, colored paperback, volume of the Israel Bible each month! Each monthly book corresponds to the courses being continuously released on Israel Bible Academy, and this mini Bible will be the focus of study for that month. 

Plus, it’s perfect for studying the Bible on the go! 

What are you waiting for? Take a look at what we have to offer, and sign up today!

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