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AKKUM (Heb. עַכּוּ״ם), abbreviation consisting of the initial letters of עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת ("worship of stars and planets") or עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָלוֹת ("worshipers of stars and planets"). It was originally applied to the Chaldean star worshipers but it was later extended to apply to all idolaters and forms of idolatry. This word is not found at all in the oldest editions of the Mishnah, Talmud, the Yad of Maimonides, or the Shulḥan Arukh. Most editions of these works have a note to the effect that the laws against Akkum refer only to ancient idolaters and not to Christians.


J.S. Bloch, Israel and the Nations (1927), 65–75, 85–86, 100; D. Hoffmann, Der Schulchan Aruch (1894), 129–50, 160–78; H.L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (1931), 262, n.66.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.