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Alternative forms[edit]


From Hebrew אֶפִּיקוֹרוֹס ('epikóros, heretic), from Ancient Greek Ἐπίκουρος (Epíkouros, Epicurus), but later associated with Aramaic אַפְקֵר (ʾap̄ḳēr, to abandon).


apikoros (plural apikorsim)

  1. A Jewish skeptic or apostate.
    • 1882, Paul Isaac Hershon (tr.), Treasures of the Talmud, page 48:
      And these are they that have no portion in the world to come: He who says that the revivification of the dead cannot be proved from the Law, and that the Law is not from heaven, and an Apikoros (that is, one that does not fully believe in the Law).
    • 1961, Daniel Bell, "Reflections on Jewish Identity", in Commentary Magazine
      A persistent fear worried the Jews of the early Diasporas and of Hellenistic times: the fear that a child of theirs might grow up to be an am-haaretz—a peasant, ignorant of Torah; or, even worse, an apikoros—a sophisticated unbeliever who abandons Jewish faith to indulge in rationalistic speculation about the meaning of existence.
    • 1967, Chaim Potok, The Chosen
      “How can you do that if you don't believe in God?” “I believe in God. I never said I didn't believe in God.” “You don't sound like a Hasid, though,” I told him. “What do I sound like?” “Like a—an apikoros.”
    • 2005, Ruth Fredman Cernea (ed.), The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate, page 203:
      Others prefer cherry, apricot, or apple, but even these innovations are rejected by the modern apikoros, the child raised in America who sees chocolate as the only possible substance that should be stuffed inside the hamantash.

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