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Is correct grammatically to say

"Jewish is the nation that Jesus came from!"

as a declarative sentence ?

I ask my question because of that's strange to me to see the end of the sentence ends with preposition (as you can understand by yourself, I'm not English native speaker...)

  • Btw, Israel (noun) is a nation, Jewish is an adjective applied to a person or thing of the Jewish religion. – JavaLatte Aug 27 '16 at 7:21
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It's perfectly OK to end a sentence on a preposition; but if you want to embed this statement in a fairly formal piece of writing you may write

... from which Jesus came.

(Note that you cannot use that as the immediate object of the preposition from.)

Jewish is the nation, however, is not acceptable English, because Jewish is an adjective, like French or Chinese or English itself. Those can be employed as nominals when they name a language or a people, but you can't even do that with Jewish: the language is Hebrew and the people are the Jews.

What you can say here will depend on what you want to say—and what you want to avoid saying. Nation does not mean the same thing in 1st century contexts that it does today. You probably don't want a territorial designation (Judaea, Palestine, Galilee); ethnically or religiously you're probably safest saying The Jews are the people from which/whom Jesus sprang; anything else (Israel, Judah, David, Abraham) is going to get you tied up in historical and theological controversy.

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  • In ordinary speech, the construction is not found since, as you point out, "Jewish" is an adjective. However, the construction is sometimes used, as in "Lucky is the man who knows his own father." – WhatRoughBeast Oct 20 '15 at 23:19
  • "It's perfectly OK to end a sentence on a preposition" -- You know what they say. – M.A.R. Nov 3 '15 at 17:06
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The sentence is grammatical, but it's not correct semantically because "Judaism" isn't a nation, it's a religion, and in general, one doesn't come from a religion.

You have a few options:

Simplify completely

Jesus was Jewish.

Keeping "Jewish" - This doesn't sound quite right to me

Jewish is the religious background that Jesus had.

Keeping "nation"

[country]1 is the nation that Jesus came from.

Not ending with a preposition (Grammar Myth)

Jesus came from the nation of [country].

or, more clumsily

[country] is the nation from which Jesus came.


1. I don't know where Bethlehem is/was during the time of the Bible.

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    Bethlehem was in the same place that it is now. What's moved is the national borders! When Jesus was born, Bethlehem was in the semi-independent nation of Judaea. When he was a boy it became the Roman province of Judaea. About a hundred years after he died the Emperor Hadrian renamed it Palestina. Today it is under the Palestinian Authority, which may or may not be a nation depending on who you ask and what your definitions are. – Jay Oct 19 '15 at 19:19
  • @James, I can guess that Jesus wouldn't want to hear that he came from Palestine nation, either because in the Jesus period was not nation in such name. I assume that you mean to Philistines and then that clearer that Jesus didn't belong them (read about them on the bible and you understand). Just to be clear, we are not talking about the Israelic Arabic today that they dosn't belong to Palestine nation (it's a nation that passed from the world a long before that the name "Palestine" was invented. You are invited to read the relevant article on Wiki. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philistines – Judicious Allure Oct 19 '15 at 19:36
  • @Assiduous, I did mean Palestine. I was pulling old knowledge of RE lessons and a quick Google of where Bethlehem is/was. However being irreligious and not a geography nor history buff, I wasn't certain. – James Webster Oct 20 '15 at 16:02
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It is acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition.

The sentence is grammatically incorrect in a different way. "Jewish" is an adjective, not a noun. Furthermore, a "Jew" is a person, not a "tribe" or "nation". "The Hebrews" were a group of Jewish tribes; they satisfied at least one definition of a "nation".

It would be grammatically correct to say:

  • Jesus was a Jew.
  • Nazareth was the town that Jesus came from.
  • Bethlehem is the town that Jesus was born in.

Sometimes it is natural to end a sentence with a proposition. In this case, it is not natural. You can shorten the last two sentences, and make them more natural:

  • Jesus came from Nazareth. (Or at the beginning of a sentence, "Jesus of Nazareth".)
  • Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
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As others have noted, it's perfectly okay to end a sentence with a preposition. But, again as others have noted, "Jewish" is an adjective and not the name of a nation.

What nation you would say Jesus did come from depends on your definition of "nation", and a full discussion of that is getting more into history than grammar. You could say "Israel is the nation that Jesus came from." In his time Israel was no longer an independent political entity, but the people thought of themselves as Israelis because of their history and culture, and dreamed of being an independent nation again. You could say "The Roman Empire is the nation" etc as that is the political entity that actually controlled the land where he was born at the time.

You could say "Jesus was Jewish" in either an ethnic or religious sense.

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