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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
LIBERTINES. Acts 7:8 brings the Libertines forward as a group or synagogue amongst the Hellenistic Jews concerned in the prosecution of Stephen. There is no sufficient reason for emending the text. And, the text standing as it is, the conclusion at once follows that the men in question came from Rome. The ‘Libertines,’ or ‘Freedmen’ of Rome, were a considerable class. Among the vast bodies of slaves composing the imperial and aristocratic households, emancipation was a common occurrence. The Freedmen frequently held positions of great influence, and sometimes played a noble, oftener an ignoble, part. Amongst the Libertines were found many Jews, not a few of them being the descendants of the Jerusalemites, carried away by Pompey. Some of these latter, having bought their freedom and returned to the Holy City, would probably be men of more than average force and earnestness. Hence they were natural leaders in the opposition to Stephen’s destructive criticism of Jewish institutionalism.
Henry S. Nash.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Libertines'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/l/libertines.html. 1909.