02.01.10 Hellenists

Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 19, 2016  -  Comments Off on 02.01.10 Hellenists

02.01.10 Hellenists. The Hellenists were Jewish people who abandoned the laws of Judaism and accepted the Greek culture [1] (Hellenism comes from the Greek word Hellen meaning Greek).[2] They believed the laws of Moses prevented them from enjoying the full pleasures of life promoted by the Greeks and, later by the Romans. For example, young men at times desired to participate in the public baths or play in the Greek games to obtain the perfect body. But since the athletic games were played in the nude, they were embarrassed and could not assimilate into the Greek-Roman community.[3] Since the Gentiles believed circumcision was disgusting, some Jewish men endured a surgical procedure known as epispasm, in which the marks of circumcision were removed.[4] They could then participate in the Greek games and not be identified as being Jewish. For that reason orthodox Jews accused them of abandoning the holy covenant.

Hellenists were almost indistinguishable from their Greek neighbors. During the Maccabean Revolt they fought with the Greeks of Syria against the Hassidim and Hasmonean family. By the time of Jesus, their religious allegiance was with the Romans and Sadducees; and in fact, the Sadducees were Hellenistic.


[1]. Amir, “The Term IOUDAISMOS: A Study in Jewish-Hellenistic Self-identification.” 38;  See also  03.04.05 “334 – 63 B.C.  Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Period.”


[2]. Bietenhard, “Greek.” 2:124. See also Acts 6:1.


[3]. Niswonger, New Testament History. 24.


[4]. http://www.bibarch.com/glossary/MI/epispasm.htm; July 20, 2012.

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