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CHAP. IV.

Shewing how far the various distinctions of the

Jews, which happen to be spoken of in the Acts, are confirmed by other authors.

H. 1. I PROCEED now to the second thing proposed, which is, to shew you how far the various distinctions among the Jews, mentioned in the history of the Acts, are confirmed by other authors. The first is, that of Jews and proselytes. This is a distinction so well known, that it is almost needless to tell you, that by proselytes are understood those of other nations who embrace the Jewish religion either in whole or in part. Those who embraced it wholly were in most things esteemed Jews, as much as if they had descended from the sons of Jacob. In some few things they, their offspring, and all their descendants, unless they sprang from marriages with women who were of the race of Israel, had different laws and customs; whereby there was always a distinction kept up between the posterity of proselytes and the native Jews". The children of proselytes, their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so down to all generations, were under the same laws as were the first converted, and therefore were deemed proselytes. If, indeed, any of them married with women of the Jewish race, the children sprung from that marriage were Jews in the strictest sense of the word, as being descendants from Jacob.

Those who embraced the Jewish religion in part a Maim. Issure. Biah, c. 14. Vid. Seld. de Jur. Nat. 1. 2. C. 4. p. 194-5-6. 1. 5. c. 20. p. 590-1-2.

only, were such who, from among other nations, forsook the idolatry they had been educated in, and worshipped the one only living and true God, the God of the Jews, and observed what are called the seven precepts of Noah. When the Jews were under their own government, they permitted no foreigners to live in the holy land, though it were for never so short a time, if they did not thus far conform to the Jewish religion. Of the first sort of proselytes was Nicolas the deacon, said, in the history of the Acts, to be a proselyte of Antioch. Of the second sort was Cornelius the centuriond, and of this latter sort is frequent mention made, by the names of religiouse or devout persons', of persons that fear God 5, or who worship Godh. That there were many who had embraced the Jewish religion about that period of time which is the subject of the history of the Acts, is fully evident from almost all the authors who have wrote of that time, and are now extant; such as Tacitusi, Suetoniusk, Dio', Josephus ", and several of the Roman poets, as Horace, Juvenal, Persius.

We read in several parts of the Acts of women proselytes", more especially of the chief and honourable women'. That the Jews were not a little dili

d Ch. x.

b Maim. de Reg. et rebus eorum bellicis, c. 8. 9. 9, 10. Vid. Seld. de Jur. Nat. l. 2. c. 3. p. 185, 186. – Chap. vi. 6. e Acts xiii. 43

| Acts xiii. 50.

and xvii. 4. 17. 8 Ch. X. 2. and xiii. 16. 26. h Ch. xvi. 14. and xviii. 7. called by the Talmudists, hasidei omoth haolam. Maim. de Reg. c. 8. §. u. Light. V. 2. p. 689.

i Hist. 1. 5. n. 5. k In Tib. 36. 2. L. 36. p. 37. B.

m De Bell. 1. 7. c. 3. §. 3. at Antioch in particular ; contra Apion. I. 2. §. 10. 1 Ch. xvi. 13, 14.

• Ch. xiii. 50. and xvii.

p. 1372. 1. 28. 4. 12.

gent in gaining over the fair sex to their religion, and particularly such who were of figure and eminence, we learn from the account Josephus has given us of the conversions of HelenaP and Fulvia', the former a queen, the latter a Roman matron, wife of Saturninus, a favourite of the emperor Tiberius. And that very many women were prevailed with to become proselytes, appears from what he tells us of the citizens of Damascus, who, having formed a design to kill all the Jews in that city, were obliged, with great solicitude, to conceal it from their wives, because they were well nigh all addicted to the Jewish religion".

It is said, Acts ii. 10, that there were at that time in Jerusalem strangers from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; that is, Jews and proselytes who were by birth or habitation Romans, but now sojourned at Jerusalem. That there were great multitudes of Jews who dwelt at Rome, is evident, not only from Josephuss, but from Diot, Suetonius", Tacitus“, and I think I may say all the Roman authors of that time, not excepting even the poets ; and that there were not a few in that great city proselyted to the Jewish religion, sufficiently appears from the satires of Horace?, Juvenala, and Persius b.

§. 2. Another distinction we meet with in the history of the Acts is that of Hellenists and He

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P Antiq. I. 20. C. 2. §. 4. and the women of king Abennerigus as well as Helena. 9 Antiq. I. 18. c. 4. 5. 5. De Bell. 1. 2. C. 20. 9. 2. Antiq. 1. 18. c. 4. §. 5.

+ L. 36. p. 37. B. u In Tib. 36. 2.

x Annal. I. 2. 85. prop. fin. y Vid. Juv. Sat. 3. 13, &c. 6. 541, &c.

2 L. 1. Sat. 4. ver. ult. a Sat. 14. v. 96, &c. b Sat. 5. 179, &c.

brews. Our translators have rendered the word Grecians; but that rendering is far from conveying the true idea of it to the readers. By the Hellenists are to be understood the dispersion among the Greeks, as they are called, John vii. 35. or all those Jews dispersed in the west, who, not understanding the language spoken in Judæa, were obliged to recite their sentences and prayers, and to have the Bible interpreted to them in the Greek language. The language which was at this time usually spoken in the land of Judæa, though not the ancient Hebrew, but, in truth, a dialect of the Chaldee, yet went under the name of the Hebrew language. Such, therefore, who understood this, and to whom the Law and the Prophets, when read in their synagogues, were interpreted in this Chaldaic dialect, went under the name of Hebrews, in contradistinction to those who were named Hellenists. It is true, we meet not with this distinction in express words, either in Josephus or any other Jewish writer. But we find in them those things which were the foundation of it, and which evidently lead to the sense I have now given hereof a.

Ch. vi. 1. and ix. 29. and xi. 20. But the best copies in this last place read "Enques. V. Grot. in loc.

d There are several learned men who understand by Hellenists, proselytes, such as Beza, Selden, Basnage; but I cannot see the least shadow of a reason to support their opinion. The word Hellenists comes from 'Ezanviču, Græco more me gero, or Græce loquor ; 'EXAMISTÀS qui Græcisat, vel Grace loquitur; and thus is it translated in the Syriac version, Acts ix. 29. The Jews speaking the Greek tongue. Had St. Luke meant proselytes, its much he should not use the name proselytes here as well as elsewhere; or he might have called them “Έλληνες Ιουδαίζοντες, or “Εβραϊσται, that is, Greeks who imitated the Hebrew manners; but there

That the Law and the Prophets, though read in their synagogues in the ancient Hebrew, were, by an interpreter, rendered into the language then commonly spoken in Judæa, is fully evident from the Talmudists. They tell us, that in the Prophets three verses were read by the reader, and then those three translated by the interpreter, and then three more read and translated, and so on; but that in the Law no more than a single verse was read, and then interpreted, for fear of a mistakef. The reason they gave why the Law and the Prophets were thus interpreted, was, because the ancient Hebrew being no longer the language in common use, this method was necessary to their understanding them. Is not this reason of full as much force when applied to the Jews who understood no other language than the Greek, that they ought to have both interpreted to them in that language? There is no doubt, therefore, but that the Law and the Prophets were interpreted to them in Greek; nor am I sensible that this is a fact disputed by any h. can be no reason in nature assigned why they should be called “Ελληνισταί.

e Vid. Vitrin. de Synag. vet. I. 3. p. 2. c. 12. p. 1015, &c. Buxtorf. Lex. Chald. in voc. Targem, p. 2642. fin. et in voc. Turgeman, 2643. fin. i Vitr. ibid. p. 1019.

8 Vitr. ibid. p. 1020. fin. et 1021. h Learned men differ much in their opinion whether the Targum and LXX translation were read in the Jewish synagogues during that period of time we are treating of. Buxtorf. Lex. Chald. voce Elinistin. Grotius in Act. vi. 1. and Prideaux, Conn. vol. 2. p. 414. 425. (who quotes Elias Levita, as saying, in his Methurgeman, pref. p. 246. that the Targum was read, in his time, in the synagogues in Germany) think they were ; Vitringa and Lightfoot, that they were not. And it is very certain, if the Talmudists are to be credited, that they were not read. The

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