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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Hellenists

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A term occurring in the Greek text of the New Testament, and which in the English version is rendered Grecians, Acts 6:1 . The critics are divided as to the signification of the word. Some observe, that it is not to be understood as signifying those of the religion of the Greeks, but those who spoke Greek. The authors of the Vulgate version render it like our Graeci; but Messieurs Du Port Royal, more accurately, Juifs Greca, Greek or Grecian Jews; it being the Jews who spoke Greek that are here treated of, and who are hereby distinguished from the Jews called Hebrews, that is, who spoke the Hebrew tongue of that time. The Hellenists, or Grecian Jews, were those who lived in Egypt, and other parts where the Greek tongue prevailed: it is to them we owe the Greek version of the Old Testament, commonly called the Septuagint, or that of the Seventy. Salmasius and Vossius are of a different sentiment with respect to the Hellenists: the latter will only have them to be those who adhered to the Grecian interests. Scaliger is represented in the Scaligerana as asserting the Hellenists to be the Jews who lived in Greece and other places, and who read the Greek Bible in their synagogues, and used the Greek language in sacris; and thus they were opposed to the Hebrew Jews, who performed their public worship in the Hebrew tongue; and in this sense St. Paul speaks of himself as a Hebrew of the Hebrews, Philippians 3:5-6 .i.e. a Hebrew both by nation and language. The Hellenists are thus properly distinguished from the Hellines, or Greeks, mentioned John 12:20 . who were Greeks by birth and nation, and yet proselytes to the Jewish religion.

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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Hellenists'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/h/hellenists.html. 1802.

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