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Sabbath


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A day of religious observance and abstinence from work (the Sabbath), kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday; the idea that the Lord's Day is a ‘Christian Sabbath’ or a substitute for the Sabbath occurs in theologicial writings from the 4th century onwards, but was not popularly current before the Reformation. In English, Sabbath as a synonym for ‘Sunday’ did not become common until the 17th century.

Recorded from Old English, the name comes via Latin and Greek from Hebrew šabbāṯ, from šāḇaṯ ‘to rest’. ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy’ is the fourth (or in medieval reckoning, the third) of the Ten Commandments.

Sabbath day's journey the distance (equivalent to 1225 yards) which (according to Rabbinical prescription in the time of Christ) was the utmost limit of permitted travel on the Sabbath.

See also witches' sabbath.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.


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