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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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or GREECE, both names occurring in the English Scriptures. The boundaries of the country which received this name differed under the different governments which ruled over it. Thus the Greece of the Old Testament is not exactly the same as that of the New: the former including Macedonia, Thessaly, Epirus, Hellas or Greece Proper, and the Peloponnesus or Morea; while the latter excludes Macedonia, Thessaly, and Epirus. But the Romans, in the time of the Apostles, had, in fact, made two divisions of these countries. The first, which was that of Macedonia, included also Thessaly and Epirus; and the other, that of Achaia, all the rest of Greece, which is, properly speaking, the Greece of the New Testament. But the term Greek admits of a larger interpretation, and applies not only to the inhabitants of Greece Proper, but to those of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, over nearly the whole of the former of which countries, and great part of the two latter, Grecian colonies and the Grecian language had extended themselves. In fact, in the two books of the Maccabees, and in those of the New Testament, the word Greek commonly implies a Gentile.

2. The Scripture has but little reference to Greece till the time of Alexander, whose conquests extended into Asia, where Greece had hitherto been of no importance. Yet that some intercourse was maintained with these countries from Jerusalem, may be inferred from the desire of Baasha to shut up all passage between Jerusalem and Joppa, which was its port, by the building of Ramah; and the anxiety of Asa to counteract his scheme, 1 Kings 15:2 ; 1 Kings 15:17 . Greece was certainly intended by the Prophet Daniel under the symbol of the single-horned goat; and it is probable that when he calls Greece Chittim, he spoke the language of the Hebrew nation, rather than that of the Persian court. After the establishment of the Grecian dynasties in Asia, Judea could not but be considerably affected by them; and the books of the Maccabees afford proofs of this. The Roman power, superseding the Grecian establishments, yet left traces of Greek language, customs, &c, to the days of the Herods, when the Gospel history commences. By the activity of the Apostles, and especially by that of St. Paul, the Gospel was propagated in those countries which used the Grecian dialects: hence, we are interested in the study of this language. Moreover as Greece, like all other countries, had its peculiar manners, we are not able to estimate properly an epistle written to those who dwell where they prevailed, without a competent acquaintance with the manners themselves, with the sentiments and reasonings of those who practised them, and with the arguments employed in their defence by those who adhered to them.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Grecia'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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