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Synagogue of the Libertines

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In Biblical history, the Synagogue of the Libertines, were a group of Hellenistic Jews who attacked Saint Stephen (Acts vi. 9).

The passage reads, “ανεστησαν δε τινες των εκ της συναγωγης της λεγομενης λιβερτινων και κυρηναιων και αλεξανδρεων και των απο κιλικιας και ασιας συζητουντες τω στεφανω,” and opinion is divided as to the number of synagogues named here. The probability is that there are three, corresponding to the geographical regions involved, Rome and Italy, North East Africa, and Asia Minor. In this case the Synagogue of the Libertines is the assembly of the Freedmen from Rome, descendants of the Jews enslaved by Pompey after his conquest of Judaea 63 n.c. However, “λιβερτινων και κυρηναιων και αλεξανδρεων” taken closely together, the first name must denote the people of some city or district. The obscure town Libertum (inferred from the title Episcopus Libertinensis in connection with the synod of Carthage, A.D. 411) is less likely than the reading “λιβιων” underlying certain Armenian versions and Syriac commentaries. The Greek towns lying west from Cyrene would naturally be called Libyan. Consequently, these returned Jews, instead of being liberalized by their residence abroad, were more tenacious of Judaism and more bitter against Stephen than those who had never left Judaea.

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Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Synagogue of the Libertines. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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