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A group of Jews who read the scriptures in the LXX translation rather than in Hebrew and who spoke Greek rather than Aramaic. For nearly two centuries there had been an uneasy relationship between Jews who welcomed Hellenistic culture and those who defended conservative Hebrew customs and distinctions. In NT times Hellenistic Jews in Jerusalem may have had their own synagogue (Acts 6: 9) and possibly Stephen was a member who succeeded in converting some of them to Christianity. They were probably already inclined to interpret the law less rigorously than the ‘Hebrews’ (Acts 6: 1) and were persuaded by Stephen to look beyond Moses and the Temple. Thus such a group of Hellenists could have proved a point of growth for the Church as it spread beyond its Jewish origins into the Greek-speaking Gentile world.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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