What does Proselyte mean in the Bible?

Dictionary

People's Dictionary of the Bible - Proselyte
Proselyte, a stranger, sojourner. In the later Jewish sense this term designates a convert from Paganism to Judaism. Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:11; Acts 6:5; Acts 13:43. The Rabbins distinguish two kinds of proselytes. 1. Perfect proselytes, who, submitting to circumcision, embraced the Jewish religion in its full extent, and enjoyed all the rights and privileges of Jewish citizenship. Exodus 12:48; Exodus 20:10; Josephus Ant. xx. 2. 4. 2. Proselytes of the gate, i.e., foreigners, dwelling among the Jews, who, without being circumcised, conformed to certain Jewish laws and customs. Proselytes were found in great numbers, not only in Judea, but in all the principal cities of the empire. Acts 13:43; Acts 16:14; Acts 17:4; Acts 17:17; Acts 18:7.
Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words - Proselyte
1: προσήλυτος (Strong's #4339 — Adjective — proselutos — pros-ah'-loo-tos ) akin to proserchomai, "to come to," primarily signifies "one who has arrived, a stranger;" in the NT it is used of converts to Judaism, or foreign converts to the Jewish religion, Matthew 23:15 ; Acts 2:10 ; 6:5 ; 13:43 . There seems to be no connection necessarily with Palestine, for in Acts 2:10 ; 13:43 it is used of those who lived abroad. Cp. the Sept., e.g., in Exodus 22:21 ; 23:9 ; Deuteronomy 10:19 , of the "stranger" living among the children of Israel.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Proselyte
Throughout the cities of the Roman Empire there were communities of Jews who kept the traditions of their ancestors and attended synagogues regularly. These were known as Jews of the Dispersion, or the scattered Jews (see DISPERSION).
Many Gentiles in these cities, being attracted to the Jewish religion by the morally upright lives of the Jews, attended the synagogue services and kept some of the Jewish sabbath and food laws. These people became known as God-fearers, or worshippers of God (Acts 10:1-2; Acts 16:14). Some went even further and were circumcised and baptized as Jews. They were known as proselytes, or converts to Judaism (Acts 2:10; Acts 6:5). Many of these Gentile proselytes and God-fearers, having already come to know and worship the God of Israel, readily became Christians when they first heard the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:43; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:4).
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Proselyte
Is used in the LXX. for "stranger" (1 Chronicles 22:2 ), i.e., a comer to Palestine; a sojourner in the land (Exodus 12:48 ; 20:10 ; 22:21 ), and in the New Testament for a convert to Judaism. There were such converts from early times (Isaiah 56:3 ; Nehemiah 10:28 ; Esther 8:17 ). The law of Moses made specific regulations regarding the admission into the Jewish church of such as were not born Israelites (Exodus 20:10 ; 23:12 ; 12:19,48 ; Deuteronomy 5:14 ; 16:11,14 , etc.). The Kenites, the Gibeonites, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites were thus admitted to the privileges of Israelites. Thus also we hear of individual proselytes who rose to positions of prominence in Israel, as of Doeg the Edomite, Uriah the Hittite, Araunah the Jebusite, Zelek the Ammonite, Ithmah and Ebedmelech the Ethiopians. In the time of Solomon there were one hundred and fifty-three thousand six hundred strangers in the land of Israel (1 Chronicles 22:2 ; 2 Chronicles 2:17,18 ). And the prophets speak of the time as coming when the strangers shall share in all the privileges of Israel (Ezekiel 47:22 ; Isaiah 2:2 ; 11:10 ; 56:3-6 ; Micah 4:1 ). Accordingly, in New Testament times, we read of proselytes in the synagogues, (Acts 10:2,7 ; 13:42,43,50 ; 17:4 ; 18:7 ; Luke 7:5 ). The "religious proselytes" here spoken of were proselytes of righteousness, as distinguished from proselytes of the gate.
The distinction between "proselytes of the gate" (Exodus 20:10 ) and "proselytes of righteousness" originated only with the rabbis. According to them, the "proselytes of the gate" (half proselytes) were not required to be circumcised nor to comply with the Mosaic ceremonial law. They were bound only to conform to the so-called seven precepts of Noah, viz., to abstain from idolatry, blasphemy, bloodshed, uncleaness, the eating of blood, theft, and to yield obedience to the authorities. Besides these laws, however, they were required to abstain from work on the Sabbath, and to refrain from the use of leavened bread during the time of the Passover.
The "proselytes of righteousness", religious or devout proselytes (Acts 13:43 ), were bound to all the doctrines and precepts of the Jewish economy, and were members of the synagogue in full communion.
The name "proselyte" occurs in the New Testament only in Matthew 23:15 ; Acts 2:10 ; 6:5 ; 13:43 . The name by which they are commonly designated is that of "devout men," or men "fearing God" or "worshipping God."
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Proselyte
A new convert to some religion or religious sect. Among the Hebrews, proselytes were distinguished into two sorts: the first called proselytes of the gate, because suffered to live among them, and were those who observed the moral law only, and the rules imposed on the children of Noah; the second were called proselytes of justice, who engaged to receive circumcision, and the whole law of Moses, and enjoyed all the privileges of a native Hebrew.
The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Proselyte
The Hebrews called a proselyte Ger, or Necher, which signifies a stranger. And as a proselyte, meant a proselyte of the gate, one converted from heathenism to the truth, and admitted into what was called the court of the Gentiles, no doubt the name was very proper. Such was the honest centurion, Cornelius. (Acts 10:1-48)
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Proselyte
The name given to any from among the nations who embraced Judaism. Acts 2:10 ; Acts 6:5 ; Acts 13:43 . The name may be said to be a Greek word, derived from 'to come to.' It is used by the LXX where the Hebrew has 'the stranger' that sojourneth among you. Exodus 12:48,49 ; Leviticus 17:8,10,12-15 ; Numbers 9:14 ; etc. Such, if all the males in the family were circumcised, might eat the Passover and offer a burnt offering or sacrifice. The Rabbis say that there were two classes of proselytes.
1. 'Proselytes of righteousness,' such as those mentioned above; and
2. 'Proselytes of the Gate,' those spoken of as 'strangers within thy gates.'
The Rabbis also assert that in N.T. times and later the proselytes were received by circumcision and baptism; but it is very much disputed as to when the baptism was added, there being no mention of it in the O.T. Some hold that it was introduced when the emperors forbade their Gentile subjects to be circumcised, but others think it must have been earlier, which seems confirmed by John 1:25 .
History shows to what an extent proselytising was abused. The Jews held that on a Gentile becoming a proselyte, all his natural relationships were annulled: he was 'a new creature.' Many became proselytes in order to abandon their wives and marry again. This, with other abuses, caused the emperors to interfere; the stricter Jews also were scandalized, and repudiated such proselytes. The Lord describes such a proselyte as the Scribes and Pharisees would make, as "twofold more the child of hell" than themselves. Matthew 23:15 .
Webster's Dictionary - Proselyte
(1):
(v. t.) To convert to some religion, opinion, or system; to bring over.
(2):
(n.) A new convert especially a convert to some religion or religious sect, or to some particular opinion, system, or party; thus, a Gentile converted to Judaism, or a pagan converted to Christianity, is a proselyte.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Proselyte
Προσηλυτος , signifies a stranger, a foreigner; the Hebrew word גר , or גכר , also denotes a stranger, one who comes from abroad, or from another place. In the language of the Jews, those were called by this name who came to dwell in their country, or who embraced their religion, being not Jews by birth. In the New Testament they are called sometimes proselytes, and sometimes Gentiles, fearing God, Acts 2:5 ; Acts 10:2 ; Acts 10:22 ; Acts 13:16 ; Acts 13:50 . The Jews distinguish two kinds of proselytes. The first, proselytes of the gate; the others, proselytes of justice or righteousness. The first dwelt in the land of Israel, or even out of that country, and, without obliging themselves to circumcision, or to any other ceremony of the law, feared and worshipped the true God, observing the rules imposed on Noah. These were, according to the rabbins,
1. To abstain from idolatry;
2. From blasphemy;
3. From murder;
4. From adultery;
5. From theft;
6. To appoint just and upright judges;
7. Not to eat the flesh of any animal cut off while it was alive.
Maimonides says, that the first six of these precepts were given to Adam, and the seventh to Noah. The privileges of proselytes of the gate were, first, that through holiness they might have hope of eternal life. Secondly, they could dwell in the land of Israel, and share in the outward prosperities of it. It is said they did not dwell in the cities, but only in the suburbs and the villages; but it is certain that the Jews often admitted into their cities, not only proselytes of habitation, but also Gentiles and idolaters, as appears by the reproaches on this account, throughout the Scriptures.
Proselytes of justice or of righteousness were those converted to Judaism, who had engaged themselves to receive circumcision, and to observe the whole law of Moses. Thus were they admitted to all the prerogatives of the people of the Lord. The rabbins inform us that, before circumcision was administered to them, and before they were admitted into the religion of the Hebrews, they were examined about the motives of their conversion; whether the change was voluntary, or whether it proceeded from interest, fear, ambition, &c. When the proselyte was well proved and instructed, they gave him circumcision; and when the wound of his circumcision healed, they gave him baptism, by plunging his whole body into a cistern of water, by only one immersion. Boys under twelve years of age, and girls under thirteen, could not become proselytes till they had obtained the consent of their parents, or, in case of refusal, the concurrence of the officers of justice. Baptism in respect of girls had the same effect as circumcision in respect of boys. Each of them, by means of this, received, as it were, a new birth, so that those who were their parents before were no longer regarded as such after this ceremony, and those who before were slaves now became free.
Many, however, are of opinion that there appears to be no ground whatever in Scripture for this distinction of proselytes of the gate, and proselytes of righteousness. "According to my idea," says Dr. Tomline, "proselytes were those, and those only, who took upon themselves the obligation of the whole Mosaic law, but retained that name till they were admitted into the congregation of the Lord as adopted children. Gentiles were allowed to worship and offer sacrifices to the God of Israel in the outer court of the temple; and some of them, persuaded of the sole and universal sovereignty of the Lord Jehovah, might renounce idolatry without embracing the Mosaic law; but such persons appear to me never to be called proselytes in Scripture, or in any ancient Christian writer." He also observes that "the term proselytes of the gate is derived from an expression frequent in the Old Testament; namely, ‘the stranger that is within thy gates;' but I think it evident that the strangers were those Gentiles who were permitted to live among the Jews under certain restrictions, and whom the Jews were forbidden ‘to vex or oppress,' so long as they live in a peaceable manner." Dr. Lardner says, "I do not believe that the notion of two sorts of Jewish proselytes can be found in any Christian writer before the fourteenth century or later." Dr. Jennings also observes that "there does not appear to be sufficient evidence in the Scripture history of the existence of such proselytes of the gate, as the rabbins mention; nor, indeed, of any who with propriety can be styled proselytes, except such as fully embraced the Jewish religion."
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Proselyte
In the Jewish sense, a foreigner who adopted the Jewish religion, a convert from heathenism to Judaism. The laws of the Hebrews make frequent mention of "the stranger that is within thy gates," Leviticus 17:8-16 24:16 Numbers 15:14-16 , and welcomed him to all the privileges of the people of God. Our Savior rebukes the blind zeal of the Pharisees to make proselytes to ceremonial Judaism, without caring for the circumcision of the heart, Matthew 23:15 Romans 2:28,29 .
According to the later rabbins, there were two species of proselytes among the Jews. The first were called "proselytes of the gate," and were foreigners, either bond or free, who lived among the Jews and conformed to their customs in regard to what the rabbins call "the seven precepts of Noah;" that is, they abstained from injurious language in respect to God, from idolatry, homicide, incest, robbery, resistance to magistrates, and from eating blood, or the flesh of animals killed without shedding their blood. The other class were called "proselytes of justice;" that is, complete, perfect proselytes, and were those who had abandoned their former religion, and bound themselves to the observance of the Mosaic Law in its full extent.
These according to the rabbins, by means of circumcision, baptism, and an offering, obtained all the rites of Jewish citizenship, Exodus 12:48-49 . This distinction, however, is not observable in the Bible. Proselytes were numerous in our Savior's day, and were found in many places remote from Jerusalem, Acts 2:10 8:27 . Many converts to Christianity were gathered from among them, John 12:20 Acts 6:5 13:43 17:4 .
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Proselyte
PROSELYTE
1. The character and the history of the proselyte . The character and the history of the proselyte are somewhat obscured by the fact that the name ‘proselyte’ occurs only in the NT, and there in the final meaning of a convert to Judaism, as if he were a product of NT times alone. But the same Greek word that stands for ‘proselyte’ In the NT is very largely used in the LXX [1] , where EV [2] has ‘ stranger .’ Even the Hebrews themselves are described by the LXX [1] as ‘proselytes’ in Egypt ( Exodus 22:21 ; Exodus 23:9 , Leviticus 19:34 , Deuteronomy 10:19 ). The ‘ stranger ’ of the OT becomes the ‘proselyte’ of the NT. For the history that lies behind the use of the word see art. Stranger. By the 4th cent. b.c. the ‘stranger’ had become a member of the Jewish Church a proselyte in the technical sense (Bertholet, Stellung der Israeliten , p. 178).
Other expressions are used in the NT to indicate a more or less close sympathy with Jewish religious thought and life without implying absolute identity with and inclusion in Judaism. These are ‘fearers of God ’ ( phoboumenoi ton Theon , Acts 10:2 ; Acts 10:22 ; Acts 13:16 ; Acts 13:26 ; Acts 13:50 etc.), and ‘worshippers of God’ ( sebomenoi ton Theon , Acts 16:14 ; Acts 17:4 ; Acts 17:17 etc.). They were such as were drawn from heathenism by the higher ideals and purer life of Judaism. They were dissatisfied with the religious teaching of their nation, and found in Judaism an Intellectual home and a religious power they sought in vain elsewhere. But a study of Acts 10:11 , esp. Acts 11:3 , shows that these were not proselytes; they refused to take the final step that carried them into Judaism viz. circumcision ( EGT [4] vol. ii. p. 250 f.; Ramsay, Expositor , 1896, p. 200; Harnack, Expansion of Christianity , i. p. 11). They lived on the fringe of Judaism, and were, it seems ( Luke 7:5 , Acts 10:2 ), often generous henefactors to the cause that had lifted them nearer to God and truth.
2. Proselytizing activity of the Jews . Up to the time of the Exile and for some time after, the attitude of the Hebrews towards ‘strangers’ was passive: they did not invite their presence into their community, and did not encourage them to be sharers of their faith. But before the 3rd cent. b.c. a change of outlook and national purpose had taken place, which had converted them into active propagandists. There appear to have been three reasons for this change. (1) The Hebrews were no longer concentrated in one narrow land where a homogeneous life was followed, but were scattered over all parts of the civilized world, and found themselves in contact with peoples who were religiously far inferior to themselves, however otherwise they might be placed, and who excited, it may be, their disdain, but also their pity. (2) Many of those in the Gentile world who were dissatisfied with the intellectual results and the religious conditions of their time saw in Judaism, as lived and taught before their eyes, something finer and nobler than they had found elsewhere; and were drawn to its practical teaching and life without committing themselves to the ritual that offended their sense of fitness and decency (cf. Harnack, op. cit. i. 10 f.). (3) The Hebrews themselves seem to have responded to their opportunity with a quickened enthusiasm for humanity and a higher ideal of their national existence, in the providence of God, among the nations of the earth. It does not appear that the Hebrews have ever been so powerfully moved towards the peoples lying in darkness as in this time subsequent to the Exile (Harnack, op. cit. i. 11, 12). They were convinced of the claim of God to the homage of men everywhere, the universalism of their revelation of truth and duty, and their own fitness to bring the world to God. The needs of the world moved them powerfully, and the thoughts that found expression in such passages as Psalms 33:8 (‘Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him’) Psalms 36:7-9 , Psalms 64:10 , Psalms 65:8 etc., filled them with a burning zeal to make the world their offering to God. (Bertholet, op. cit. p. 191 f.). Perhaps we may not be wrong in regarding the Septuagint as a product of, as it certainly was an aid to, this missionary effort.
This spiritual enthusiasm for God’s honour and man’s salvation continued till about the time of the Maccabees, when the tenderer springs of the Jewish spirit were dried up, and the sword became the instrument of national idealism, and whole cities and tribes were given the option of circumcision or exile, if not slaughter ( 1Ma 2:46 ; 1Ma 13:48 ; 1Ma 14:14 ; 1Ma 14:36 ; Jos. [5] Ant. XIII. ix. 1, xi. 3, xv. 4). Of course, this was a means that was not available outside their hereditary home. This propaganda went on till the 1st cent. of our era, when the dissatisfaction of the Jews with the Roman supremacy culminated in insurrection. In their conflict with Rome their numbers were greatly reduced by slaughter, and their power of religious expansion was checked by the decree of Hadrian, modified later by Antoninus, in forbidding circumcision. By this time, however, Judaism had won a large following in every town of size and importance (cf. Acts 2:9-11 ; Jos. [5] BJ VII. iii. 3, c. Apion . ii. 11, 40; Seneca, ap . August, de Civitate Dei , vi. 11; cf. ‘victi victorious leges dederunt’; Harnack, op. cit . i. 14; Schürer, HJP [7] ii. ii. 304 ff.). But now bloodshed and persecution produced the twofold result of closing and steeling the heart of Judaism to the outside world, so that proselytes were no longer sought by the Jews, and the tenets and the practices of Judaism became crystallized and less amenable to Hellenistic influences, and so less fitted to win the Gentile spirit.
3. Admission of the proselyte . The ritual conditions imposed on the proselyte on entering Judaism were three: (1) circumcision, (2) cleansing or baptism, (3) sacrifice. Baptism took place after the healing of the wound caused by circumcision. Some have sought to discover in it an imitation of Christian ritual. But there is no foundation for such a claim. Cleansing or baptism lay in the very nature of Judaism, the heathen was unclean and so had to be cleansed by washing in water before admission into Judaism. Sacrifice was both an expression of thanksgiving and an individual participation in Jewish worship. With the fall of the Temple sacrifice lapsed, though at first it was made a burden on the proselyte to lay aside enough to pay for the sacrifice, should the Temple again be restored; but even this demand was in course of time allowed to lapse, as the prospect of restoration vanished. These three conditions seem of early origin, though we may not have specific reference to them till the 2nd cent. a.d.
Among individual Jewish teachers there was difference of opinion as to the necessity of circumcision and baptism, but all early usage seems to confirm their actual observance. It is true that Izates, king of Adiahene, for a time refrained from circumcision under the guidance of his first Jewish teacher, Ananias, but this counsel was given, not because it was at the time deemed unnecessary for a proselyte to be circumcised, but because circumcision might alienate the sympathies of his people from Izates and endanger his throne. And Ananias wisely laid greater stress upon the moral than upon the ritual side of conversion. All through the Dispersion we find the same disposition to conciliate the Gentiles who were willing to share in the Jewish faith in any measure, by relaxing the ritual demands. And we cannot withhold our appreciation of the action of the Jews, for they wisely discriminated between the real and the formal side of their religion. They never did anything, however, to lower or compromise the moral demands of their faith. They rigorously insisted on the recognition of God from all their proselytes with all His claims upon their service (Harnack, op. cit. i. 72). It does not appear that conversion enhanced the reputation of the proselytes; for although they could not but win the esteem of the finer minds of their nation by their higher moral life, yet they seemed to the people to display a type of daily life lacking in domestic reverence and civic and national patriotism (Tac. Hist . v. 5. 8; Juv. Sat . xiv. 103 4).
4. Place of the proselyte in the growth of the Christian Church . Those proselytes who had embraced Judaism in its entirety seem to have accepted the attitude of the Jews generally towards Christianity. Most of them would oppose it, and those who accepted it would make the Law the necessary avenue to it, and so they acted rather as a hindrance than as a help to the progress of the gospel. If the experience of Justin be any indication of the general attitude of the proselytes to the Church, they must have deemed it a duty to their adopted faith to manifest a violence of speech and an aggressiveness of action unsurpassed by the Jews themselves; for he says, ‘the proselytes not only do not believe, but twofold more than yourselves blaspheme His name, and wish to torture and put to death us who believe in Him’ ( Dial . 122).
But the proselytes must always have formed a very small minority of those amongst the Gentiles who had lent an ear to Jewish teaching. There were many who were attracted to the synagogue by the helpfulness of its worship and the purity of its teaching, who had no sympathy with its ritual. Amongst these the gospel had a different reception; it was readily accepted and eagerly followed. They found in it all that drew them to the synagogue, and a great deal more. With historical Judaism they had nothing to do, and loyalty and nationality did not appeal to them as motives to maintain it against Christianity. Amongst the Jews both the proselyte and the devout worshipper occupied an inferior place, but here was a faith that made no distinction between Jew or Gentile, a faith whose conception of God was tenderer and whose ethical standards were higher, that made love and not law the interpreter of duty and the inspiration of service, that lived not in an evening twilight of anticipation of a glorious Messianic morning, but in warm fellowship with a Personality that was the evidence of its power and truth. It is easy to understand how quickly the gospel would be adopted by these adherents of Judaism. Every synagogue would become the seed-plot of a Christian church. And so it was specially to these that St. Paul addressed himself on his missionary journeys, and from them he formed the beginnings of many of his churches and received so much kindness (Acts 13:16 ; Acts 13:42 ; Acts 16:14 ; Acts 16:16 etc.). One can easily understand with what feelings of combined jealousy and hate the Jews would see these worshippers detached from the synagogue and formed into a church. But Judaism had nothing to offer the Gentile that was not better provided by the Christian Church, and so it recoiled from the attack on Christianity like the spent waves from the rock-bound coast, angry but baffled. Failure drove the Jews in sullenness upon themselves. They left the field to Christianity, restricted their vision to their own people, and left the outer world alone.
J. Gilroy.
Smith's Bible Dictionary - Proselyte
(a stranger, a new comer ), the name given by the Jews to foreigners who adopted the Jewish religion. The dispersion of the Jews in foreign countries, which has been spoken of elsewhere [1], enabled them to make many converts to their faith. The converts who were thus attracted joined, with varying strictness, in the worship of the Jews. In Palestine itself, even Roman centurions learned to love the conquered nation built synagogues for them, (Luke 7:5 ) fasted and prayed, and gave alms after the pattern of the strictest Jews, (Acts 10:2,30 ) and became preachers of the new faith to the soldiers under them. (Acts 10:7 ) Such men, drawn by what was best in Judaism were naturally among the readiest receivers of the new truth which rose out of it, and became, in many cases, the nucleus of a Gentile Church. Proselytism had, however, its darker side. The Jews of Palestine were eager to spread their faith by the same weapons as those with which they had defended it. The Idumaeans had the alternative offered them by John Hyrcanus of death, exile or circumcision. The Idumeans were converted in the same way by Aristobulus. Where force was not in their power, they obtained their ends by the most unscrupulous fraud. Those who were most active in proselytizing were precisely those from whose teaching all that was most true and living had departed. The vices of the Jew were engrafted on the vices of the heathen. A repulsive casuistry released the convert from obligations which he had before recognized, while in other things he was bound hand and fool to an unhealthy superstition. It was no wonder that he became "twofold more the child of hell," (Matthew 23:15 ) than the Pharisees themselves. We find in the Talmud a distinction between proselytes of the gate and proselytes of righteousness,
The term proselytes of the gate was derived from the frequently occurring description in the law the stranger that is within (Exodus 20:10 ) etc. Converts of thy gates this class were not bound by circumcision and the other special laws of the Mosaic code. It is doubtful however whether the distinction made in the Talmud ever really existed.
The proselytes of righteousness, known also as proselytes of the covenant, were perfect Israelites. We learn from the Talmud that, in addition to circumcision, baptism was also required to complete their admission to the faith. The proselyte was placed in a tank or pool up to his neck in water. His teachers, who now acted as his sponsors, repeated the great commandments of the law. The baptism was followed as long as the temple stood, by the offering or corban.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Proselyte
1. Meaning of the term.-The word προσήλυτος is not found in classical Greek. It is still an open question whether those who formed the word from προσέρχομαι thought of the verb in its primary sense of ‘advenio,’ or in its religious sense of ‘(deum) adeo’ (cf. Hebrews 7:25, τοὺς προσερχομένους διʼ αὐτοῦ τῷ Θεῷ). In the former case, προσήλυτος originally meant advena, ‘new-comer’ (for which the classical equivalent is ἔπηλυς); in the latter, it meant ‘proselyte’ in the sense of ‘one who comes or draws near to God.’ In his exhaustive study of προσήλυτος in the LXX_ (Exp_, 4th ser., x. 264 ff.), W. C. Allen argues from the fact that the word is correctly used in a majority of cases for the ðÌÅø to whom certain rights were conceded in Israel (Oxf. Heb. Lex., s.v. ðÌÅø 2 [1]), that its meaning was from the first that of ‘proselyte’-the meaning of ‘stranger’ being secondary, and arising from the proselyte’s having his home ‘in a strange land’ (like the Israelites themselves in Egypt: hence they are called προσήλυτοι, Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9, Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19): The statement of Philo (de Monarch. 1. 7, τούτους δὲ καλεῖ προσηλύτους ἀπὸ τοῦ προσεληλυθέναι καινῇ καὶ φιλοθέῳ πολιτείᾳ), and also the words of Josephus (Ant. XVIII. iii. 5, νομίμοις προσεληλυθυῖα τοῖς Ἰουδαικοῖς), are in favour of this view. What prevents us, however, from giving it our full adhesion is that the LXX_ does not use προσήλυτος in all the passages where ðÌÅø seems to mean or to approximate in meaning to ‘proselyte,’ but has sometimes πάροικος. This, of course, may be due to different hands having been employed in the work of translation. Valuable for guidance is W. R. Smith’s note (OTJC_2, p. 342): ‘In the Levitical legislation the word Gêr is already on the way to assume the later technical sense of proselyte’ (cf. Driver, ICC_, ‘Deuteronomy,’ p. 165).
The distinction drawn between ‘the proselyte of the gate’ , who accepted the ‘Seven Noachian Laws’ (ERE_ iv. 245a), and ‘the proselyte of righteousness’, who by complete adoption of Israel’s laws became incorporated with the covenant people (HDB_ ii. 157a), belongs to Rabbinical Judaism (ERE_ vii. 592b), and is not found in Scripture. It had its precedents, however, in the differences of religious standing observable among the in Israel; while the σεβόμενοι τὸν θεόν mentioned by Josephus (Ant. XIV. vii. 2), and frequently in Acts, may roughly represent the ‘proselytes of the gate’ of the Gemârâ. It has been suggested that the of Psalms 22:23; Psalms 115:11; Psalms 115:13; Psalms 118:4; Psalms 135:20 are identical with the φοβούμενοι τὸν θεόν of Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26, but A. B. Davidson has shown that the general usage of the OT is against the identification (ExpT_ iii. 491). While Bertholet and others maintain that προσήλυτοι, οἱ φοβούμενοι τὸν θεόν and οἱ σεβόμενοι τὸν θεόν are synonymous (EBi_ iii. 3904), the view of Schürer (HJP_ II. ii. 314 ff.) that the first term means proselytes in the technical sense, and the other two those who, without having submitted to the rite of circumcision, joined in Jewish worship, has gained a wider acceptance. The adherence of Gentiles to Judaism in the centuries immediately preceding and following the fall of Jerusalem ‘ranged over the entire gamut of possible degrees,’ depending upon ‘the different degrees in which the ceremonial precepts of the Law were observed’ (Harnack, The Mission and Expansion of Christianity2, i. 12, 10). The following passage from Theodore Reinach well illustrates this:
‘Judaism possessed the prudence and tact not to exact from its adepts [2] at the outset full and complete adoption of the Jewish Law. The neophyte was at first simply a “friend” to the Jewish customs, observing the least enthralling ones-the Sabbath and the lighting of a fire on the previous evening; certain fast-days; abstention from pork. His sons frequented the synagogues and deserted the temples, studied the Law, and contributed their oboli to the treasury of Jerusalem [3]. By degrees habit accomplished the rest. At last the proselyte took the decisive step: he received the rite of circumcision, took the hath of purity …, and offered, doubtless in money, the sacrifice which signalized his definitive entrance into the bosom of Israel. Occasionally, in order to accentuate his conversion, he even adopted a Hebraic name.… In the third generation, according to Deuteronomy 23:8, there existed no distinction between the Jew by race and the Jew by adoption’ (JE_ iv. 570).
‘The bath of purity’ here spoken of refers to the baptism of proselytes. This is described by W. Brandt (ERE_ ii. 408) as ‘a practice of ceremonial ablution altogether new,’ which ‘we may safely assume … was not of later origin than Christian baptism.’ It is not mentioned in the OT, and the traces of it found by Talmudic scholars in Genesis 35:2, Exodus 19:10 are quite imaginary. It is referred to by Epictetus (who taught till a.d. 94) in his conversations as a matter of common knowledge: ‘When a man,’ he says, ‘takes upon himself the arduous life of the baptized and the elect (τοῦ βεβαμμένου καὶ ᾑρημένου), then he is really what he calls himself, a Jew’ (Arrian, Diss. Epicteti, ii. 9). The Babylonian Talmud reports that about the end of the 1st cent. two famous Rabbis disputed with one another as to its necessity, which shows that at that period it was not universally regarded as indispensable. It was designated in later times ‘the immersion of proselytism,’ and the manner of its administration was as follows: ‘The individual who desired to become a Jew was conducted to the bath, and there immersed himself in the presence of the Rabbis, who recited to him portions of the Law’ (cf. Plummer, art._ ‘Baptism,’ HDB_ i. 239 f. for other references).
2. NT passages referring to proselytes.-(1) Matthew 23:15. Grätz’s conjecture that this verse refers to an actual incident, the voyage of R. Gamaliel, R. Eliezer, R. Joshua, and R. Akiba to Rome, where they converted Flavius Clemens, the cousin of Domitian (cf. ERE_ vii. 592b), would imply that the saying is not justly attributed to our Lord. It is probable, as Adolf Jellinek, the famous Austrian Rabbi and scholar (1821-1893), suggested, that what is here condemned is the Pharisees’ practice of winning over every year at least one proselyte each (E. G. Hirsch, JE_ x. 221). (2) There were proselytes among the multitude who witnessed the miracle of Pentecost (Acts 2:10), some of whom may have been added to the Church; the selection of ‘Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch’ (Acts 6:5) as one of the seven deacons indicates that there was a certain proportion of men of his class in the primitive Christian community. (3) In Acts 13:43 τῶν σεβομένων προσηλύτων is perhaps a conflate reading (EBi_ iii. 3902), but the phrase appears to be a popular designation of ‘God-fearing proselytes’-the same whom St. Paul twice appeals to (Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26) as οἱ φοβούμενοι τὸν θεόν. (4) Acts 8:27. The chamberlain of Candace is included by Reinach among the ‘distinguished recruits’ of the Jewish faith (JE_ iv. 570b). (5) Cornelius was one of the φοβούμενοι τὸν θεόν (Acts 10:2; Acts 10:22; Acts 10:35); note that in v. 35 St. Peter’s words have not the breadth often assigned to them-he only goes the length of recognizing the manifest signs of God’s acceptance of a Gentile who ‘feareth him, and worketh righteousness.’ (6) Lydia (Acts 16:14), Titus Justus (Acts 18:7), and the σεβόμενοι of Thessalonica and Athens (Acts 17:4; Acts 17:17) illustrate the important aid that members of this class gave to St. Paul in his travels. He did not, however, always find the σεβόμεναι γυναῖκες favourable to the gospel (Acts 13:50). It was partly owing to the fact of the Christian faith having found so many adherents among the σεβόμενοι τὸν θεόν that the class of ‘half-proselytes’ or ‘half-converts’ came to be regarded by Rabbinical teachers with doubtful approval.
3. Outline of the history of proselytism.-Conversions to Judaism went on unimpeded in NT times, both before and after the Jewish war (Parting of the Roads, pp. 285, 305). The chief source of our information on this point is Josephus, whose historical accuracy is now generally admitted (HDB_ v. 466). Some of the proselytes whom he mentions by name were acquisitions of very doubtful value, as the kings Azizus of Emesa and Polemo of Cilicia, who were prompted to embrace Judaism by the desire to contract advantageous marriages with Herodian princesses (Ant. xx. vii. 1, 3), and the Empress Poppaea, whom he calls θεοσεβής (ib. XX. viii. 11). On the other hand, the conversions of Helena, queen of Adiabene, and her son, Izates, seem to have been due to sincere conviction, and the chapters in which the historian records their life and virtuous deeds are some of the most attractive of his great work (ib. XX. ii-iv).
The bitterness engendered by the persecution which followed the failure of the rising against Hadrian (a.d. 132-135), and the growth of the Christian Church, were joint causes which led the Rabbis to make conversion to Judaism more difficult. ‘Qualified conversions to Judaism’ were ‘regarded with increasing disfavor,’ R. Joḥanan declaring ‘that if after a probation of twelve months the ger toshab did not submit to the rite of circumcision, he was to be regarded as a heathen’ (E. G. Hirsch, JE_ x. 222a). But the ðÌÅø öÆåÆ-he who, in St. Paul’s words, ‘by receiving circumcision, became a debtor to do the whole law’ (Galatians 5:3)-was always admitted with fervour. ‘That proselytes are welcome in Israel and are beloved of God is the theme of many a rabbinical homily’ (Hirsch, loc. cit.).
It should be mentioned that in two passages of the LXX_ where a proselyte proper is meant (Exodus 12:19, Isaiah 14:1) ðÌÅø is rendered, not by προσήλυτος but by γειώρας, an Aramaic word derived from ðÌÅø (HDB_ iv. 133a; Exp_, 4th ser., x. 269; cf. HDB_ ii. 157a).
Literature.-W. C. Allen, ‘On the meaning of προσήλυτος in the Septuagint,’ in Exp_, 4th ser., x. [4] 264 ff.; Arrian, Dissertationes Epicteti, ii. 9; Oxf. Heb. Lex., s.v. ðÌÅø, p. 158; A. B. Davidson, ‘They that fear the Lord,’ in ExpT_ iii. [5] 491; HDB_ v. 466; S. R. Driver, ICC_, ‘Deuteronomy’2, Edinburgh, 1896, p. 165; W. Brandt, art._ ‘Baptism (Jewish),’ in ERE_ ii. 408; H. Hirschfeld, art._ ‘Creeds (Jewish),’ ib. iv. 245; H. Lcewe, art._ ‘Judaism,’ ib. vii. 592; H. Grätz, Die jüdischen Proselyten im Römerreiche, Breslau, 1884, p. 30; A. Harnack, Mission and Expansion of Christianity2, London, 1908, pp. 10, 12; T. Reinach, art._ ‘Diaspora,’ in JE_ iv. 570; E. G. Hirsch, art._ ‘Proselyte,’ ib. x. 221, 222; A. Jellinek, Beth-ha-Midrasch, Vienna, 1853-78, pt. v. p. xlvi; A. Plummer, art._ ‘Baptism,’ in HDB_ i. 239, 240; F. C. Porter, art._ ‘Proselyte,’ ib. iv. 132 f.; W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen, London, 1895, p. 43; E. Schürer, HJP_ II. ii. [6] 311 f., 315; J. A. Selbie, art._ ‘Ger,’ in HDB_ ii. 157a; W. R. Smith, OTJC_2, London, 1892, p. 342; W. R. Smith and W. H. Bennett, art._ ‘Proselyte,’ in EBi_ iii. 3902, 3904; The Parting of the Roads, ed. F. J. Foakes Jackson, London, 1912, pp. 286, 305.
James Donald.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Proselyte (2)
PROSELYTE
1. Derivation of the name.—προσήλυτος (from προσέρχομαι) means lit. ‘one who has arrived at a place,’ hence ‘a stranger,’ ‘a sojourner.’ In the LXX Septuagint it is frequently used as the equivalent of the Heb. נֵּר (see Expos. iv. x. [1] p. 264). By NT times it had acquired the technical meaning of ‘one who was a convert to Judaism from heathendom,’ without any indication of place of residence being involved. This special meaning had also been gradually acquired by נֵּר (see W. R. Smith, OTJC [2] 2 [3] p. 342 n. [4] ; also Oxford Heb. Lex. s.v. נֵּר), and also by the Aramaic נִּיוֹרָא (LXX Septuagint γειώρας).
2. Classes of proselytes.—In the time of Christ many foreigners had fully embraced Judaism, and were called ‘proselytes’; there were also others, far more numerous, who had partially adopted Jewish doctrines and customs. The latter are indicated in the NT by σεβόμενοι (Acts 13:43; Acts 16:14; Acts 17:4; Acts 17:17; Acts 18:7) and φοβούμενοι [5] (Acts 10:2, Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26). These words indicate that they reverenced Israel’s God and in part obeyed the Law, but had not fully entered into the fellowship of Israel. These divisions correspond to those of the Mishna, where נֵּר is a fully admitted proselyte, and the term נֵּר תּוֹשָׁב (lit. a resident alien) is applied to those who were more loosely attached to the Jewish worship. Later Rabbis expressed the same distinction by the phrases ‘proselyte of Righteousness’ (נֵּר הַצֶּדָק), as contrasted with ‘proselyte of the Gate’ (נֵּר הַשַּׁעַר).
(a) Proselytes properly so called (NT προσήλυτος; Mishna נֵּר; Rabbinic name נֵּר הַצֶּדֶק). These were heathen by birth, who had been admitted to full fellowship in Jewish worship. Three observances were required for their admission: (1) Circumcision. (2) Baptism, which was analogous to the ceremonial purifications so frequently required of the Jews (Schürer, HJP [3]3 ii. ii. 321; also Edersheim, LT [7].] ii. 745). Some have maintained that the baptism of proselytes did not originate so early as the time of Christ, but the Mishna incidentally refers to it as if it had been long in use. (3) The offering of a sacrifice, by which atonement was made for the sins of the proselyte. Those thus admitted undertook to observe the whole Law (cf. Galatians 5:3), and they were granted privileges almost equal to those of an Israelite. Such are referred to in Matthew 23:15, John 12:20, Acts 2:10; Acts 6:5; Acts 13:43.
(b) Those denominated in the NT σεβόμενοι or φοβούμενοι (Mishna נֵּר תּוֹשָׁב; by the Rabbis נֵּר הַשָׁעֵר). The Talmud represents these as keeping what were denominated ‘the seven precepts of Noah’—comprising the duties which were considered incumbent upon all men, even outside Israel (Aboda Zara, 64b). These precepts were: (1) obedience to those in authority; (2) reverence to the name of God; (3) abstinence from idolatry, (4) from fornication, (5) from stealing, (6) from murder, (7) from flesh with the blood in it (Sanh. 56b). [8].
Since נֵּר תּוֹשָׁב means one permanently dwelling in the country of Israel, the Talmud involves that all who were allowed to dwell in Palestine were required to keep the precepts of Noah; but this was never actually enforced—it was theoretical only.
Persons who, without becoming full ‘proselytes of Righteousness,’ inclined to a greater or less extent towards Jewish doctrines and practices are referred to in the NT, Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10, Acts 10:2; Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26; Acts 13:43; Acts 13:50; Acts 16:14; Acts 17:4; Acts 17:17; Acts 18:7.
3. Proselytizing in the time of Christ.—The religious restlessness of heathenism, which favoured the introduction of Oriental creeds into the West, afforded an opportunity for Jewish proselytizing. The moral earnestness and monotheism of Judaism commended it to those who, having lost faith in heathen deities, were seeking a more rational and ethical creed. The Greek-speaking Jews, who were to be found in all the great cities of the Roman Empire, carried the Knowledge of the Mosaic Law into the midst of heathendom, and presented their faith in a form calculated to win the approval of their neighbours. This accommodation to their surroundings in the way of representing their creed was partly unconscious, through their contact with Gentile thought, and partly an intentional emphasizing of the moral side of Judaism, while merely national and ceremonial features which might repel inquirers were minimized (Schürer, ii. ii. 297). Hence, in spite of the scorn which Roman writers heaped upon the Jews (Tac. Hist. v. 2–8; Juv. Sat. vi. and xiv.; Cic. pro Flacco, 28), numerous adherents were gained, who either fully or partially accepted Judaism (Josephus c. [2]3 Apion. ii. 40, Ant. xx. ii. 3). Many of these converts were women (Josephus BJ ii. xx. 2; also Acts 13:50; Acts 16:14; Acts 17:4).
From these proselytes a very considerable revenue was received by the Temple authorities (Josephus Ant. xiv. vii. 2). This pecuniary advantage from the spread of Judaism stimulated activity in proselytizing, such as that noticed by Christ in Matthew 23:15. Some Jews fraudulently enriched themselves from the gifts of proselytes (Josephus Ant. xviii. iii. 5). Such unworthy motives for proselytizing were condemned by Jesus (Matthew 23:15).
Illustrations of the fanatical zeal of the Jews in making proselytes are found in Josephus Life, 23, Ant. xiii. ix. 1, xi. 3, xv. 4, xx. ii. 1, BJ ii. xvi. 10, XVII. x.
The account of the Acts shows that proselytes often became converts to Christianity, and this was an important factor in the establishment of the Gentile Christian Church. The struggle between St. Paul and the Judaizers (Acts 15 and Ep. to Galatians) was an attempt on the part of Christian Pharisees to compel Gentile Christians to become ‘proselytes of Righteousness.’
4. Moral quality of Jewish proselytes.—Proselytes who had accepted Judaism from pure motives must have been men of high character; nevertheless proselytes are spoken of slightingly by the Talmud. Thus we read (Bab. [10] Middah, fol. 13. 2): ‘Proselytes and sodomites hinder the coming of the Messiah.’ This is explained to mean that proselytes often erred through ignorance of the Law. We can readily imagine that insistence upon the minutiae of Pharisaic tradition (cf. Matthew 23:4) would tend to produce a debased character such as is charged against some in Matthew 23:15. Edersheim, however, suggests (LT [7].] ii. 412) that the word ‘proselyte’ in this passage may signify the winning of a convert to Pharisaism, rather than a convert from heathendom to Judaism.
5. Christ’s relations with proselytes.—Although the number of proselytes in Palestine must have been very great, references to them in the Gospels are few. We find: (1) The centurion (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10), who was an officer in the army of Herod Antipas. There is no reason to think of him as a ‘proselyte of Righteousness,’ for in that case (a) he need have had no hesitation in asking Jesus to go to his house, and (b) the words of Jesus (Matthew 8:11) would not be so suitable. But from the fact that he had built a synagogue (Luke 7:5), he was clearly one of the wider class of adherents to Judaism, called in later days ‘proselytes of the Gate’ (see Edersheim, LT [7].] i. 546).—(2) The Greeks (John 12:20). From the fact that these came to attend the Feast, they would appear to have been ‘proselytes of Righteousness.’ (Geikie, however, Life of Christ, ii. 434, considers that they were ‘proselytes of the Gate’).—(3) On Matthew 23:15 see preceding paragraphs on ‘Proselytizing’ and ‘Moral quality.’—(4) Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19). Tradition (earliest recorded in the Gospel of Nicodemus, ch. 2) asserts that Pilate’s wife was a ‘proselyte of the Gate.’ Origen says that she became a Christian.
Literature.—Selden, de Jure Nat.et Gent., Lib. ii.; Buxtorf, Lex. Talmud. et Rabbin. 8.v. נֶּר; Schürer, HJP [3]3 ii. ii. 291–327; Harnack, Expansion of Christianity, ii. 1–24; Hausrath, NT Times: Time of Apostles, i. 123; Allen In Expos. 4th ser. x. (1894) 264; art. ‘Proselyte’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible and in EBi [14] .
F. E. Robinson.

Sentence search

Proselyte - The Hebrews called a Proselyte Ger, or Necher, which signifies a stranger. And as a Proselyte, meant a Proselyte of the gate, one converted from heathenism to the truth, and admitted into what was called the court of the Gentiles, no doubt the name was very proper
Proselyted - ) of Proselyte...
Proselyting - ) of Proselyte...
Unproselyte - ) To convert or recover from the state of a Proselyte
Targum onkelos - "translation"); classic Aramaic translation and paraphrase of the bible by the second-century Proselyte, Onkelos...
Nicolas - The victory of the people, a Proselyte of Antioch, one of the seven deacons (Acts 6:5 )
Nicolas - A Proselyte of Antioch, one of the seven chosen to look after the poor saints at Jerusalem
Nicolas - Nicolas, one of the Seven appointed to look after the ministration of alms to the Hellenist widows, is described in the Acts as a Proselyte of Antioch (Acts 6:5). As far as we know, no Proselyte, i. 172) quotes the description of him as a Proselyte of Antioch as a proof that this section of the Acts was probably derived from an Antiochene source-surely a very uncertain inference
ti'Tus Jus'Tus - (The form given in the Revised Version, of the Proselyte Justus, at whose house in Corinth Paul preached when driven from the synagogue
Niger - ) Probably an African Proselyte, because he is associated with Lucius of Cyrene in Africa
Ethio'Pian Eunuch, the, - a Jewish Proselyte, (Acts 8:26 ) etc
Nicolas - Among the Seven chosen in Acts 6:1-15 to minister to the Hellenists or Greek-speaking Jews, was Nicolas, a ‘proselyte of Antioch. ’ The remaining six, we infer, were of Jewish birth, for ‘ Proselyte ’ is the emphatic word ( Acts 6:5 ). At a later age the Jews divided converts to Judaism into two classes, ‘proselytes of righteousness,’ who were circumcised and who kept the whole Law, and ‘proselytes of the gate,’ who had only a somewhat undefined connexion with Israel. If the view here stated be true, there were three stages in the advance towards the idea of a Catholic Church: (1) the admission of Nicolas, a full Proselyte, to office in the Christian Church, followed by the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch, also probably a full Proselyte ( Acts 8:27 ); (2) the baptism of Cornelius, a ‘God-fearing’ Proselyte, i
Nicolas - A Jewish Proselyte of Antioch, who afterwards embraced Christianity, and was among the most zealous of the first Christians, so that he was chosen one of the seven to minister in the church at Jerusalem
Nicolas - A Proselyte of Antioch, that is, one converted from paganism to the religion of the Jews
Proselyte - ) A new convert especially a convert to some religion or religious sect, or to some particular opinion, system, or party; thus, a Gentile converted to Judaism, or a pagan converted to Christianity, is a Proselyte
Doeg - ' He may have been a Proselyte and had some vow upon him
Lydia - She was not a Jewess by birth, but had become a Proselyte to Judaism and "worshipped God
Jether - He may have been an Ishmeelite by birth, and have become a Proselyte
Nicolas - Nicolas was a Proselyte, that is, a Gentile convert to Judaism, from Antioch
Lydia - She was not a Jewess by birth, but a Proselyte, Acts 16:14-15 ; Acts 16:40
Nic'Olas - (victor of the people ), ( Acts 6:5 ) a native of Antioch and a Proselyte to the Jewish faith
Justus - ...
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A Jewish Proselyte at Corinth, in whose house, next door to the synagogue, Paul held meetings and preached after he left the synagogue (Acts 18:7 )
Proselyte - In the former case, προσήλυτος originally meant advena, ‘new-comer’ (for which the classical equivalent is ἔπηλυς); in the latter, it meant ‘proselyte’ in the sense of ‘one who comes or draws near to God. 158a]'>[1]), that its meaning was from the first that of ‘proselyte’-the meaning of ‘stranger’ being secondary, and arising from the Proselyte’s having his home ‘in a strange land’ (like the Israelites themselves in Egypt: hence they are called προσήλυτοι, Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9, Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19): The statement of Philo (de Monarch. What prevents us, however, from giving it our full adhesion is that the LXX_ does not use προσήλυτος in all the passages where ðÌÅø seems to mean or to approximate in meaning to ‘proselyte,’ but has sometimes πάροικος. 342): ‘In the Levitical legislation the word Gêr is already on the way to assume the later technical sense of Proselyte’ (cf. ...
The distinction drawn between ‘the Proselyte of the gate’ , who accepted the ‘Seven Noachian Laws’ (ERE_ iv. 245a), and ‘the Proselyte of righteousness’, who by complete adoption of Israel’s laws became incorporated with the covenant people (HDB_ ii. 2), and frequently in Acts, may roughly represent the ‘proselytes of the gate’ of the Gemârâ. ) that the first term means Proselytes in the technical sense, and the other two those who, without having submitted to the rite of circumcision, joined in Jewish worship, has gained a wider acceptance. At last the Proselyte took the decisive step: he received the rite of circumcision, took the hath of purity …, and offered, doubtless in money, the sacrifice which signalized his definitive entrance into the bosom of Israel. ...
‘The bath of purity’ here spoken of refers to the baptism of Proselytes. NT passages referring to Proselytes. It is probable, as Adolf Jellinek, the famous Austrian Rabbi and scholar (1821-1893), suggested, that what is here condemned is the Pharisees’ practice of winning over every year at least one Proselyte each (E. (2) There were Proselytes among the multitude who witnessed the miracle of Pentecost (Acts 2:10), some of whom may have been added to the Church; the selection of ‘Nicolas a Proselyte of Antioch’ (Acts 6:5) as one of the seven deacons indicates that there was a certain proportion of men of his class in the primitive Christian community. 3902), but the phrase appears to be a popular designation of ‘God-fearing Proselytes’-the same whom St. It was partly owing to the fact of the Christian faith having found so many adherents among the σεβόμενοι τὸν θεόν that the class of ‘half-proselytes’ or ‘half-converts’ came to be regarded by Rabbinical teachers with doubtful approval. Some of the Proselytes whom he mentions by name were acquisitions of very doubtful value, as the kings Azizus of Emesa and Polemo of Cilicia, who were prompted to embrace Judaism by the desire to contract advantageous marriages with Herodian princesses (Ant. ‘That Proselytes are welcome in Israel and are beloved of God is the theme of many a rabbinical homily’ (Hirsch, loc. ...
It should be mentioned that in two passages of the LXX_ where a Proselyte proper is meant (Exodus 12:19, Isaiah 14:1) ðÌÅø is rendered, not by προσήλυτος but by γειώρας, an Aramaic word derived from ðÌÅø (HDB_ iv. Grätz, Die jüdischen Proselyten im Römerreiche, Breslau, 1884, p. _ ‘Proselyte,’ ib. _ ‘Proselyte,’ ib. _ ‘Proselyte,’ in EBi_ iii
Proselytes - 1 Chronicles 22:2, "the strangers," in Septuagint "proselytes, i. ) Hezekiah's triumph over Sennacherib was followed by many bringing gifts: unto Jehovah to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:23); this suggested the prophecy in Psalm 87 that Rahab (Egypt) and Babylon (whose king Merodach Baladan had sent a friendly embassy to Hezekiah), Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia should be spiritually born (Psalms 51:5; Psalms 51:10; Psalms 22:31; Isaiah 66:8; John 3:3; John 3:5; both Old and New Testament teach the need of the new birth) in Jerusalem as Proselytes. ...
Tyre's alliance with David was a prophetic earnest of its future union with the kingdom of God, of which the Syrophoenician woman was a firstfruit (Mark 7:26), as Candace's eunuch the Proselyte (Acts 8) was a pledge of Ethiopia's conversion. ...
All the prophets anticipate the future sharing of Proselytes in the kingdom of God, and even in the Holy Land as "sojourners" (Ezekiel 47:22; Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 56:3-6; Micah 4:1), and meantime plead their cause (Jeremiah 7:6; Ezekiel 22:7; Ezekiel 22:29; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5). Roman centurions, a class promoted for military good conduct, were noble specimens of these Proselytes (Luke 7:5; Acts 10:2; Acts 10:7; Acts 10:30), and were most open to gospel truth. ...
But Jewish fanaticism sought Proselytes also by force and fraud, as John Hyrcanus offered the Idumeans the alternative of death, exile, or circumcision (Josephus, Ant. Casuistry released the Proselyte from moral obligations admitted before; and superstition chained him anew, hand and foot, e. Thus the Proselyte became "twofold more the child of hell" than the scribes themselves (Matthew 23:15). Considering that the end justified the means, the scribes "compassed sea and land to make one Proselyte," yet, when made, the Jews despised the Proselyte as a "leprosy cleaving (in perversion of Isaiah 14:1) to the house of Jacob"; "no wise man would trust a Proselyte to the 24th generation" (Jalkuth, Ruth f. They classed them into...
(1) "Love Proselytes," wishing to gain the beloved one. ...
(3) Esther Proselytes, to escape danger (Esther 8:17). ...
(4) King's table Proselytes, seeking to gain court favor, as under Solomon. ...
(5) Lion Proselytes, through dread of judgments: 2 Kings 17:26 (Gem. ...
The distinction between "proselytes of the gate" (from Exodus 20:10, "the stranger that is within thy gates") and "proselytes of righteousness" was minutely drawn by the talmudic rabbis and Maimonides (Hilc. The Proselytes of the gate were not bound to circumcision, only to the seven precepts of Noah, namely, the six said to have been given to Adam:...
(1) against idolatry,...
(2) blasphemy,...
(3) bloodshed,...
(4) uncleanness,...
(5) theft,...
(6) the precept of obedience to authorities, and...
(7) that given to Noah against "flesh with the blood"; but he had not the full Israelite privileges, he must not study the law nor redeem his firstborn. The presumed existence of this Proselyte baptism for males and females throws light on John's baptism and the priests' question, "why baptizest thou then?" (John 1:25) and John 3:5; John 3:10, the Lord's words to Nicodemus, "art thou a master (teacher) of Israel, and knowest not these things?" Nicodemus ought to have understood the deeper sense to which Christ applied the familiar phrase "new birth" in connection with "baptism" of Proselytes. ...
However, there is no mention of baptism of Proselytes in the Bible, the Apocrypha, Philo, Josephus, or the older targums. The centurion Cornelius was a Proselyte of a less strict kind, which the rabbis would call a Proselyte of the gate; otherwise a special revelation would not have been needed to warrant Peter's opening the gospel kingdom to him, as it had not been needed to open the gospel to Candace's eunuch (Acts 8; 10). "Proselyte" occurs in New Testament only Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:10; Acts 6:5; Acts 13:43
Lydia - She was not a Jewess but a Proselyte
Proselyte - The Rabbis say that there were two classes of Proselytes. 'Proselytes of righteousness,' such as those mentioned above; and...
2. 'Proselytes of the Gate,' those spoken of as 'strangers within thy gates. times and later the Proselytes were received by circumcision and baptism; but it is very much disputed as to when the baptism was added, there being no mention of it in the O. The Jews held that on a Gentile becoming a Proselyte, all his natural relationships were annulled: he was 'a new creature. ' Many became Proselytes in order to abandon their wives and marry again. This, with other abuses, caused the emperors to interfere; the stricter Jews also were scandalized, and repudiated such Proselytes. The Lord describes such a Proselyte as the Scribes and Pharisees would make, as "twofold more the child of hell" than themselves
Proselyte - Proselyte...
1. The character and the history of the Proselyte . The character and the history of the Proselyte are somewhat obscured by the fact that the name ‘proselyte’ occurs only in the NT, and there in the final meaning of a convert to Judaism, as if he were a product of NT times alone. But the same Greek word that stands for ‘proselyte’ In the NT is very largely used in the LXX [1] as ‘proselytes’ in Egypt ( Exodus 22:21 ; Exodus 23:9 , Leviticus 19:34 , Deuteronomy 10:19 ). The ‘ stranger ’ of the OT becomes the ‘proselyte’ of the NT. the ‘stranger’ had become a member of the Jewish Church a Proselyte in the technical sense (Bertholet, Stellung der Israeliten , p. Acts 11:3 , shows that these were not Proselytes; they refused to take the final step that carried them into Judaism viz. But now bloodshed and persecution produced the twofold result of closing and steeling the heart of Judaism to the outside world, so that Proselytes were no longer sought by the Jews, and the tenets and the practices of Judaism became crystallized and less amenable to Hellenistic influences, and so less fitted to win the Gentile spirit. Admission of the Proselyte . The ritual conditions imposed on the Proselyte on entering Judaism were three: (1) circumcision, (2) cleansing or baptism, (3) sacrifice. With the fall of the Temple sacrifice lapsed, though at first it was made a burden on the Proselyte to lay aside enough to pay for the sacrifice, should the Temple again be restored; but even this demand was in course of time allowed to lapse, as the prospect of restoration vanished. It is true that Izates, king of Adiahene, for a time refrained from circumcision under the guidance of his first Jewish teacher, Ananias, but this counsel was given, not because it was at the time deemed unnecessary for a Proselyte to be circumcised, but because circumcision might alienate the sympathies of his people from Izates and endanger his throne. They rigorously insisted on the recognition of God from all their Proselytes with all His claims upon their service (Harnack, op. It does not appear that conversion enhanced the reputation of the Proselytes; for although they could not but win the esteem of the finer minds of their nation by their higher moral life, yet they seemed to the people to display a type of daily life lacking in domestic reverence and civic and national patriotism (Tac. Place of the Proselyte in the growth of the Christian Church . Those Proselytes who had embraced Judaism in its entirety seem to have accepted the attitude of the Jews generally towards Christianity. If the experience of Justin be any indication of the general attitude of the Proselytes to the Church, they must have deemed it a duty to their adopted faith to manifest a violence of speech and an aggressiveness of action unsurpassed by the Jews themselves; for he says, ‘the Proselytes not only do not believe, but twofold more than yourselves blaspheme His name, and wish to torture and put to death us who believe in Him’ ( Dial . ...
But the Proselytes must always have formed a very small minority of those amongst the Gentiles who had lent an ear to Jewish teaching. Amongst the Jews both the Proselyte and the devout worshipper occupied an inferior place, but here was a faith that made no distinction between Jew or Gentile, a faith whose conception of God was tenderer and whose ethical standards were higher, that made love and not law the interpreter of duty and the inspiration of service, that lived not in an evening twilight of anticipation of a glorious Messianic morning, but in warm fellowship with a Personality that was the evidence of its power and truth
Cornelius - A ‘proselyte of the gate’ or ‘devout man’ ( Acts 10:1 , see art
Christian - But a new epoch arose in the church's development when, at Antioch, idolatrous Gentiles (not merely Jewish Proselytes from the Gentiles, as the eunuch, a circumcised Proselyte, and Cornelius, an uncircumcised Proselyte of the gate) were converted
Proselyte - Proselyte, a stranger, sojourner. The Rabbins distinguish two kinds of Proselytes. Perfect Proselytes, who, submitting to circumcision, embraced the Jewish religion in its full extent, and enjoyed all the rights and privileges of Jewish citizenship. Proselytes of the gate, i. Proselytes were found in great numbers, not only in Judea, but in all the principal cities of the empire
Agabus - ) Josephus records that Helena, queen of Adiabene, a Proselyte then at Jerusalem, imported provisions from Egypt and Cyprus, wherewith she saved many from starvation
Proselyte (2) - PROSELYTE...
1. Classes of Proselytes. —In the time of Christ many foreigners had fully embraced Judaism, and were called ‘proselytes’; there were also others, far more numerous, who had partially adopted Jewish doctrines and customs. These divisions correspond to those of the Mishna, where נֵּר is a fully admitted Proselyte, and the term נֵּר תּוֹשָׁב (lit. Later Rabbis expressed the same distinction by the phrases ‘proselyte of Righteousness’ (נֵּר הַצֶּדָק), as contrasted with ‘proselyte of the Gate’ (נֵּר הַשַּׁעַר). ...
(a) Proselytes properly so called (NT προσήλυτος; Mishna נֵּר; Rabbinic name נֵּר הַצֶּדֶק). Some have maintained that the baptism of Proselytes did not originate so early as the time of Christ, but the Mishna incidentally refers to it as if it had been long in use. (3) The offering of a sacrifice, by which atonement was made for the sins of the Proselyte. ...
Persons who, without becoming full ‘proselytes of Righteousness,’ inclined to a greater or less extent towards Jewish doctrines and practices are referred to in the NT, Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10, Acts 10:2; Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26; Acts 13:43; Acts 13:50; Acts 16:14; Acts 17:4; Acts 17:17; Acts 18:7. ...
From these Proselytes a very considerable revenue was received by the Temple authorities (Josephus Ant. Some Jews fraudulently enriched themselves from the gifts of Proselytes (Josephus Ant. ...
Illustrations of the fanatical zeal of the Jews in making Proselytes are found in Josephus Life, 23, Ant. ...
The account of the Acts shows that Proselytes often became converts to Christianity, and this was an important factor in the establishment of the Gentile Christian Church. to Galatians) was an attempt on the part of Christian Pharisees to compel Gentile Christians to become ‘proselytes of Righteousness. Moral quality of Jewish Proselytes. —Proselytes who had accepted Judaism from pure motives must have been men of high character; nevertheless Proselytes are spoken of slightingly by the Talmud. 2): ‘Proselytes and sodomites hinder the coming of the Messiah. ’ This is explained to mean that Proselytes often erred through ignorance of the Law. 412) that the word ‘proselyte’ in this passage may signify the winning of a convert to Pharisaism, rather than a convert from heathendom to Judaism. Christ’s relations with Proselytes. —Although the number of Proselytes in Palestine must have been very great, references to them in the Gospels are few. There is no reason to think of him as a ‘proselyte of Righteousness,’ for in that case (a) he need have had no hesitation in asking Jesus to go to his house, and (b) the words of Jesus (Matthew 8:11) would not be so suitable. But from the fact that he had built a synagogue (Luke 7:5), he was clearly one of the wider class of adherents to Judaism, called in later days ‘proselytes of the Gate’ (see Edersheim, LT [7]. From the fact that these came to attend the Feast, they would appear to have been ‘proselytes of Righteousness. 434, considers that they were ‘proselytes of the Gate’). 2) asserts that Pilate’s wife was a ‘proselyte of the Gate. ‘Proselyte’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible and in EBi Rabshakeh - He was the chief spokesman; and from the fact of his being able to speak in the Jews' language, he is supposed to have been either a Proselyte or an apostate Jew
Septuagint - This version was revised by Theodotion, a Jewish Proselyte, Origen, and others
Egyptian, the - ...
Such a sizeable following suggests that either an Egyptian Jew or a Proselyte to Judaism was the leader of the revolt rather than a pagan Egyptian
Convert, Conversion - Examples of conversion, outside the New Testament, emerge when one looks at the term "proselyte, " the convert from a Gentile way of life to Judaism. Technical terminology for turning does not occur here, but the example of the Proselyte coming to Yahweh from Gentile origins does. Tobit 1:8,13:11 recognize the presence of such Proselytes in the synagogue. The term for Proselyte is the Hebrew term for "alien" ( ger [2]). Such Proselytes would be circumcised, picture their cleansing by engaging in a baptismal washing, offer sacrifices, and would be expected to live a life of moral virtue in contrast to their pagan past
Lydia - A seller of purple-dyed garments at Philippi, probably a widow and a ‘proselyte of the gate’ (see art
ca'Leb - It is probable that Caleb was a foreigner by birth, --a Proselyte, incorporated into the tribe of Judah
Sabina, Poppaea - She was almost certainly a Jewish Proselyte, as the language of Josephus, Θεοσεβὴς γὰρ ἦν ( Ant
Hellenist - Hellenists in many provinces became Christians, along with many God-fearing Greeks (Acts 8:1; Acts 8:4; Acts 11:19-21; Acts 13:43; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:1-4; Acts 17:10-12; Acts 18:5-8; see also DISPERSION; Proselyte)
Sisera - From this great enemy sprang Israel's great friend, Rabbi Akiba, whose father was a Syrian Proselyte of righteousness; he was standard bearer to Bar Cocheba in the Jewish war of independence (Bartolocci 4:272)
Doeg - At Nob (1 Samuel 21:7) "detained before the Lord" by some act of purification or vow, which as a Proselyte he was performing, when Ahimelech gave David Goliath's sword and the shewbread
Ethiopian Eunuch - He was not actually a Proselyte, and in any case his physical condition probably disqualified him
Philip the Evangelist - In one an Ethiopian eunuch or chamberlain of Candace, a" Proselyte of righteousness" (not as Cornelius, for whose admission to Christian fellowship a special revelation was needed, a "proselyte of the gate"), was returning from worship at Jerusalem
Ethiopia - Some Ethiopians attended the Jewish synagogues and became worshippers of the God of Israel (see DISPERSION; Proselyte)
Aquila - 24), that he was a Proselyte to the Jewish faith—a statement confirmed by Eusebius ( Demonst. From this circumstance he is frequently called "Aquila the Proselyte
Proselyte - Thus also we hear of individual Proselytes who rose to positions of prominence in Israel, as of Doeg the Edomite, Uriah the Hittite, Araunah the Jebusite, Zelek the Ammonite, Ithmah and Ebedmelech the Ethiopians. Accordingly, in New Testament times, we read of Proselytes in the synagogues, (Acts 10:2,7 ; 13:42,43,50 ; 17:4 ; 18:7 ; Luke 7:5 ). The "religious Proselytes" here spoken of were Proselytes of righteousness, as distinguished from Proselytes of the gate. ...
The distinction between "proselytes of the gate" (Exodus 20:10 ) and "proselytes of righteousness" originated only with the rabbis. According to them, the "proselytes of the gate" (half Proselytes) were not required to be circumcised nor to comply with the Mosaic ceremonial law. ...
The "proselytes of righteousness", religious or devout Proselytes (Acts 13:43 ), were bound to all the doctrines and precepts of the Jewish economy, and were members of the synagogue in full communion. ...
The name "proselyte" occurs in the New Testament only in Matthew 23:15 ; Acts 2:10 ; 6:5 ; 13:43
Antioch - Nicolas the deacon was a Proselyte of Antioch
Stranger - ]'>[1] and to other parts of the OT which belong to the same stage of history and religion, we find the ‘sojourner’ almost on an equal footing with the native Israelite, he is fast becoming, and is almost become, the Proselyte of NT and Rabbinical times. See Proselyte
Titus Justus - As a Proselyte, he heard St
Cornelius - He had made the most of his spiritual opportunities; for coming to the Holy Land a heathen, when he knew of the true God there he became a true Proselyte. This left no doubt as to the propriety of baptizing these Gentile Proselytes of the gate with Christian baptism
Festus, Porcius - The Roman emperor under the influence of Poppaea, a Proselyte, decided on appeal in favor of the Jews
Bath, Bathing - ’ Nay, Proselyte baptism must be earlier than the NT, and it requires a bath, tĕbîlâh (tâbal is used in one unambiguous OT passage, the miracle of Naaman’s cleansing, 2 Kings 5:14)
Proselyte - We find in the Talmud a distinction between Proselytes of the gate and Proselytes of righteousness,
The term Proselytes of the gate was derived from the frequently occurring description in the law the stranger that is within (Exodus 20:10 ) etc. ...
The Proselytes of righteousness, known also as Proselytes of the covenant, were perfect Israelites. The Proselyte was placed in a tank or pool up to his neck in water
Soldiers - In Matthew 8:9 and Luke 7:8 the centurion (no doubt a Proselyte, though a Roman officer; cf
Lydia - ’ The implication is that Lydia was more or less closely attached to the Jewish religion-a ‘proselyte of the gate,’ in later Rabbinic phraseology
Hebrew - only in Acts 6:1 to distinguish the Greek-speaking Jews from those of Palestine, and in 2 Corinthians 11:22 and Philippians 3:5 concerning the ancestors of Paul, wherein, to meet the cavilling of the Judaising teachers, he calls himself a Hebrew of the Hebrews, one who had descended without any Gentile or Proselyte blood
Foreigner - They could join in some of Israel’s ceremonies (Numbers 15:14; Deuteronomy 26:11), but they could not join in the Passover unless they had formally become members of the covenant people (Exodus 12:38; see CIRCUMCISION; Proselyte)
Gentile - Only by becoming converts to the Jewish religion could they have hope of salvation (Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:10; see Proselyte)
Lydia - ’ The implication is that Lydia was more or less closely attached to the Jewish religion-a ‘proselyte of the gate,’ in later Rabbinic phraseology
Lydia - A Jewish Proselyte ("which worshipped God"
Hellenists - But if this be all that the phrase imports, there seems to be very little occasion for the Apostle's using it immediately after having declared, that he was "of the stock of Israel, and the tribe of Benjamin;" which, on Godwin's supposition, is the same as a Hebrew of the Hebrews; for the Jews were not allowed to marry out of their own nation; or if they sometimes married Proselytes, yet their number was comparatively so small among them, especially while they were under oppression, as they were at that time by the Romans, that methinks Paul would hardly have mentioned it as a distinguishing privilege and honour, that neither of his parents were Proselytes. John's Gospel, as being come to Jerusalem at the passover to worship in the temple, John 12:20 , and likewise those mentioned in the Acts, as worshipping along with the Jews in the synagogues, Acts 14:1 ; Acts 18:4 ; they were doubtless Greeks by birth and nation, yet Proselytes to the Jewish religion. There is a distinction made between Jews and Proselytes, Acts 2:10 ; but none between Hebrews and Proselytes, because a Proselyte might be either a Hebrew or a Hellenist, according to the language in which he performed public worship. Those among them who belonged to the Pharisees gave themselves much trouble to obtain Proselytes; and the loss of respect for the old popular religion, and the unsatisfied religious wants of multitudes, farthered their views. " The Jewish Proselyte-makers, "blind leaders of the blind,"...
who had themselves no conception of the real nature of religion, could give to others no insight into it. They often allowed their converts to take up a kind of dead monotheism, and merely exchange one kind of superstition for another; they taught them, that, by the mere outward worship of one God, and outward ceremonials, they were sure of the grace of God, without requiring any change of life; and they gave to them only new means of silencing their conscience, and new support in the sins which they were unwilling to renounce: and hence our Saviour reproached these Proselyte- makers, that they made their converts ten times more the children of hell, than they themselves were. But we must here accurately distinguish between the two classes of Proselytes. The Proselytes in the strict sense of the word, the Proselytes, of righteousness, who underwent circumcision and took upon themselves the whole of the ceremonial law, were very different from the Proselytes of the gate, who only bound themselves to renounce idolatry, to the worship of the one God, and to abstinence from all Heathenish excess, as well as from every thing which appeared to have any connection with idolatry. What Justin Martyr says to the Jews, holds good of these Proselytes: "The Proselytes not only do not believe, but they calumniate the name of Christ twice as much as you, and they wish to murder and torture us who believe on him, because they are desirous to resemble you in every thing. " The Proselytes of the gate, on the contrary, had taken many of the most admirable truths out of Judaism. To these Proselytes of the gate, (the φοβουμενοι τον Θεον , the ευσεβεις of the New Testament,) passed therefore, according to the Acts, the preaching of the Gospel, when it had been rejected by the blinded Jews; and here the seed of the divine word found a fitting soil in hearts desirous of holiness. There were, however, doubtless, among the Proselytes of the gate, some who, wanting in proper earnestness in their search after religious truth, only desired, in every case, an easy road to heaven, which did not require any self-denial; and who, in order to be sure of being on the safe side, whether power and truth lay with the Jews or the Heathens, sometimes worshipped in the synagogue of Jehovah, sometimes in the temples of the gods, and who, therefore, fluttered in suspense between Judaism and Heathenism
Brother - The Jews distinguished a "brother" as an Israelite by birth, and a "neighbor" a Proselyte, and allowed neither title to the Gentiles
Hexapla - The first of those versions, or (reckoning the Septuagint) the second, was that of Aquilla, a Proselyte Jew, the first edition of which he published in the 12th year of the emperor Adrian, or about the year of Christ 128; the third was that of Symmachus, published, as is commonly supposed, under Marcus Aurelius, but, as some say, under Septinius Severus, about the year 200; the fourth was that of Theodotion, prior to that of Symmachus, under Commodus, or about the year 175
Levites - Clement of Alexandria wrote that Jesus, ‘on His interlocutor inquiring, “Who is my neighbour?” did not, in the same way with the Jews, specify the blood-relation, or the fellow-citizen, or the Proselyte, or him that had been similarly circumcised, or the man who uses one and the same law
Herod the Great - He was the son of Antipater an Idumaean, who was a Proselyte to Judaism
Hexapla - The first of those versions, or, reckoning the Septuagint, the second, was that of Aquila, a Proselyte Jew, the first edition of which he published in the twelfth year of the Emperor Adrian, or about A
Proselyte - In the New Testament they are called sometimes Proselytes, and sometimes Gentiles, fearing God, Acts 2:5 ; Acts 10:2 ; Acts 10:22 ; Acts 13:16 ; Acts 13:50 . The Jews distinguish two kinds of Proselytes. The first, Proselytes of the gate; the others, Proselytes of justice or righteousness. The privileges of Proselytes of the gate were, first, that through holiness they might have hope of eternal life. It is said they did not dwell in the cities, but only in the suburbs and the villages; but it is certain that the Jews often admitted into their cities, not only Proselytes of habitation, but also Gentiles and idolaters, as appears by the reproaches on this account, throughout the Scriptures. ...
Proselytes of justice or of righteousness were those converted to Judaism, who had engaged themselves to receive circumcision, and to observe the whole law of Moses. When the Proselyte was well proved and instructed, they gave him circumcision; and when the wound of his circumcision healed, they gave him baptism, by plunging his whole body into a cistern of water, by only one immersion. Boys under twelve years of age, and girls under thirteen, could not become Proselytes till they had obtained the consent of their parents, or, in case of refusal, the concurrence of the officers of justice. ...
Many, however, are of opinion that there appears to be no ground whatever in Scripture for this distinction of Proselytes of the gate, and Proselytes of righteousness. Tomline, "proselytes were those, and those only, who took upon themselves the obligation of the whole Mosaic law, but retained that name till they were admitted into the congregation of the Lord as adopted children. Gentiles were allowed to worship and offer sacrifices to the God of Israel in the outer court of the temple; and some of them, persuaded of the sole and universal sovereignty of the Lord Jehovah, might renounce idolatry without embracing the Mosaic law; but such persons appear to me never to be called Proselytes in Scripture, or in any ancient Christian writer. " He also observes that "the term Proselytes of the gate is derived from an expression frequent in the Old Testament; namely, ‘the stranger that is within thy gates;' but I think it evident that the strangers were those Gentiles who were permitted to live among the Jews under certain restrictions, and whom the Jews were forbidden ‘to vex or oppress,' so long as they live in a peaceable manner. Lardner says, "I do not believe that the notion of two sorts of Jewish Proselytes can be found in any Christian writer before the fourteenth century or later. Jennings also observes that "there does not appear to be sufficient evidence in the Scripture history of the existence of such Proselytes of the gate, as the rabbins mention; nor, indeed, of any who with propriety can be styled Proselytes, except such as fully embraced the Jewish religion
Slave - ...
The slave was encouraged to become a "proselyte" (doulos ) (Exodus 12:44)
Baptism - Also, soon after the time of our Saviour, we find it to have been the custom of the Jews solemnly to baptize, as well as to circumcise, all their Proselytes. For if no Jew could approach the tabernacle, or temple, after the most trifling uncleanness, without washing, much less would it be thought proper to admit a Proselyte from a state so impure and unclean as Heathenism was conceived to be, without the same mode of purification. The antiquity of this practice of Proselyte baptism among the Jews, has been a subject of considerable debate among divines. Would they begin to Proselyte persons to their religion by baptism in imitation of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they held accursed? And yet if this Proselyte baptism were adopted by the Jews since the time of Christ, it must have been a mere innovation in imitation of Christians, which is not very likely
Neighbor - Jewish practice had come to the general conviction that a "neighbor, " in purely legal terms, was a Jew or Proselyte to Judaism
Targums - The name of this Targum owes its origin to a passage in the Babylonian Talmud ( Megillah , 3 a ), in which it is said: ‘The Targum to the Pentateuch was composed by the Proselyte Onkelos at the dictation of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua’; and in the Jerusalem Talmud ( Megillah , 71 c ) it is said: ‘Aquila the Proselyte translated the Pentateuch in the presence of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua
Synagogue - Where the Jews were not in sufficient numbers to be able to erect and fill a building, there was the proseucha ( proseuche ), or place of prayer, sometimes open, sometimes covered in, commonly by a running stream or on the seashore, in which devout Jews and Proselytes met to worship, and perhaps to read. Sometimes it was built by a rich Jew, or even, as in ( Luke 7:5 ) by a friend or Proselyte
Versions, Ancient, of the Old And New Testaments, - The first of these was made by Aquila, a native of Sinope in Pontus, who had become a Proselyte to Judaism
Baptize, Baptism - Ancient Jewish discussions (echoed in 1 Corinthians 10:2 ) support a pre-Christian date for this Proselyte baptism. ...
John's practice added to Proselyte baptism a still stronger emphasis on repentance, a firm background of moral teaching (Luke 3:3,10-14,33 ), and initiation into a community ("John's disciples") preparing for Messiah's advent (Luke 3:16-17 ). " The second metaphor relates to circumcision, another "cleansing" required of Jewish Proselytes, sometimes explained as "a putting off of the flesh
the Ethiopian Eunuch - OUR Lord gave the Pharisees of His day this praise, that they would compass sea and land to make one Proselyte. Now, this Ethiopian eunuch was one of their Proselytes. And it would be in his business relations with the heads of some of the trading and banking houses that the Jewish merchants had set up in Ethiopia, that Queen Candace's treasurer came into contact with the worshippers of Jehovah, till it all ended in his becoming a Proselyte of the gate
Thyatira - Paul’s earliest European convert, the Proselyte Lydia, is described as ‘a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira’ (Acts 16:14)
Jew, Jewess - ...
The Jew is also contrasted with the Proselyte who was a Jew by his adopted religious beliefs, but not by birth (Acts 2:10)
Pilate - )...
He had a fear of offending the Jews, who already had grounds of accusation against him, and of giving color to a charge of lukewarmness to Caesar's kingship, and on the other hand a conviction of Jesus' innocence (for the Jewish council, Pilate knew well, would never regard as criminal an attempt to free Judas from Roman dominion), and a mysterious awe of the Holy Sufferer and His majestic mien and words, strengthened by his wife's (Claudia Procula, a Proselyte of the gate: Evang
John the Baptist - ...
(c) Another historical moment which should not be lost sight of is the Proselyte baptism of the Jewish Church. It may now be regarded as certain that the baptism of Proselytes had been the rule in Israel long before NT times (see especially Schürer, HJP Baptism, Christian - When a Proselyte was received into membership, he could not enter without bringing his children with him
Scribes - A Proselyte begged of Shammai instruction in the law, even if it were so long as he could stand on his foot
Synagogue - Sometimes a wealthy Jew or a Proselyte built the synagogue (Luke 7:5)
Mary - Luke, and called in the English translation "a sinner," had formerly been a Heathen; but whether subsequently a Proselyte to Judaism or not, is uncertain; and that, having been brought to the knowledge of Christian truth, and having found mercy from the Redeemer, she pressed into Simon's house, and gave the strongest proofs of her gratitude and veneration by anointing the Saviour's feet, bedewing them with her tears, and wiping them with the hairs of her head:—that by a wilful and malicious misrepresentation, the Jews confounded Mary Magdalene with Mary the mother of Jesus, and represented her as an infamous character;—and that, from the blasphemous calumny of the Jews, a stigma of infamy has been affixed to the name of Mary Magdalene, and caused her to be regarded in the false light of a penitent prostitute
Language of Christ - The strict, orthodox Jews, who were opposed to Hellenism, and compassed sea and land to make one Proselyte, would lose no opportunity of re-occupying their fatherland, from Jerusalem in the south to the north of Galilee, and would take with them the ancient customs and the ancestral tongue
Acts of the Apostles - They include the Day of Pentecost (the birthday of the Church); the appointment of the Seven (among them Nicholas, a ‘proselyte of righteousness, i. Paul; the episode of Cornelius (who was only a ‘proselyte of the gate,’ or ‘God-fearing,’ one who was brought into relation with the Jews by obeying certain elementary rules, such, probably, as those of Acts 15:29 , but not circumcised Moab - Ruth married Naomi's son, but became a Proselyte
the Angel of the Church in Pergamos - Whether the minister of Pergamos found all that heathen environment as full of delight and edification to himself, and to his Proselyte people, in his day as it is to us in our day, is another matter
Antioch - We hear, however, of one Nicolas, a Proselyte of Antioch (Acts 6:5 ), and there may have been more
Church Government - One of the Seven was only a Proselyte, and we have here a very early illustration of the expansive power of the Church
Philippi - Paul won his first European convert, the Proselyte (σεβομένη τὸν θεόν, Acts 16:14) Lydia
Lois And Eunice - For Eunice's lover, like so many of our own lovers, would begin to attend the synagogue-services for her sweet sake, till he was almost persuaded to become a Proselyte of the gate for her sweet sake
Baptism - The Targum of Jonathan on Exodus 12:44 is the earliest authority for the common notion that the Jews baptized male (besides circumcising them) and female Proselytes. In the case of Jewish Proselytes from Ishmaelites and Egyptians, who were already circumcised, some such rite would be needed. Probably it was at first merely the customary purificatory washing before the sacrifice offered in admitting the Proselyte, whence Philo and Josephus would omit mentioning it as being usual at all sacrifices
Antioch - … They made Proselytes of a great many of the Greeks perpetually, and thereby, after a sort, brought them to be a portion of their own body’ (Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) vii. ‘Nicolas a Proselyte of Antioch,’ who was early won to Christianity, and is named among the Seven of the Jerusalem Church (Acts 6:5), was evidently one of that great number of Antiochene Greeks who had previously felt the spell of the Jewish faith. Paul found many ‘devout Proselytes’ in Antioch (Acts 13:43), and his presence attracted ‘the whole city’ to the synagogue (Acts 13:44)
Apostle - Caesarea was the scene in which the Apostle Peter was to open his commission for this purpose; and Cornelius, one of the devout Gentiles, and a man distinguished by his piety and charity, was the first Proselyte to Christianity
Priscillianus And Priscillianism, Priscillian - He became at once an ardent Proselyte; an apostle of the Oriental doctrines
Baptism - ...
Baptism has been supposed by many learned persons to have had its origin from the Jewish church; in which, they maintain, it was the practice, long before Christ's time, to baptize Proselytes or converts to their faith, as part of the ceremony of their admission. " Others, however, insist, that the Jewish Proselyte baptism is not by far so ancient; and that John the Baptist was the first administrator of baptism among the Jews
Universalism (2) - From the first, apparently, a Proselyte might have the benefits of Buddhism without renouncing the practices of his former faith; and at this hour many of the population of China are said to practise concurrently the three religions—Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism
Ebionism And Ebionites - They even asserted that by birth he was not a Jew but a Gentile (wresting his words in Act_21:39 who had become a Proselyte in the hope of marrying the High Priest's daughter but that having failed in this he had severed himself from the Jews and occupied himself in writing against circumcision and the observance of the sabbath (Epiph
Synagogue - The former was built for the Jews by the Roman centurion, a Proselyte (Luke 7:5-6). Throughout Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece and its islands, in cities such as Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, and Corinth, the synagogues, being the gathering-places for Jews and ‘God-fearing’ half-proselytes (Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26; Acts 13:43; Acts 17:17), offered a sphere of activity to St
Missions - and in the time of our Lord (‘Ye compass sea and land to make one Proselyte,’ Matthew 23:15) is a partial outcome of ideas and instincts which were long inherent in the race
Paul - and religious Proselytes . "...
After the congregation was broken up many Jews and Proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, and heard more of "the grace of God. The Gentiles rejoiced, and many believed; but the Jews influenced their Proselyte women of the higher class, and chief men, to drive Paul and Barnabas away. If Paul had proselytized Gentiles as the Jews always received Proselytes, namely, with circumcision, persecution would have ceased
Samaria, Samaritans - Acts 5:38), was, however, inclined to accept such testimony, and at a later period we occasionally meet with a less bitter tone; for, while some of the Rabbis, remembering 2 Kings 17:25; 2 Kings 17:28, called them ‘proselytes of the lions,’ Rabbi ’Akiba was ready to recognize them as true Proselytes (Bab. 7:5b), while others said it was permitted to have dealings with one who became a true Proselyte (Jerus
Ethics (2) - A glaring light is thrown likewise upon the propaganda of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:15): under their tutelage a Proselyte becomes a child of hell, twice as wicked as themselves (or, as it was probably spoken at first, twice as wicked as he was before)
Jerusalem - Julius Caesar, having defeated Pompey, continued Hyrcanus in the high priesthood, but bestowed the government of Judea upon Antipater, an Idumaean by birth, but a Jewish Proselyte, and father of Herod the Great