Synagogue Of The Libertines

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'SYNAGOGUE OF THE LIBERTINES, a section of the Hellenistic Jews who attacked Stephen (Acts vi. 9). The passage reads, rives TWv crvvayw'yijS Atfieprivwv, Kai Kvpnvaicev Kai 'AX€ avop&ov, Kai TcOv are) KcXLKLaS Kai 'AciaS, and opinion is divided as to the number of synagogues here named. The probability is that there are three, corresponding to the geographical regions involved, (1) Rome and Italy, (2) N.E. Africa, (3) Asia Minor. In this case "the Synagogue of the Libertines" is the assembly of "the Freedmen" from Rome, descendants of the Jews enslaved by Pompey after his conquest of Judaea 63 B.C. If, however, we take Ac13EpTLvwv Kai Kvprivaiwv Kai AXE avbpLov closely together, the first name must denote the people of some city or district. The obscure town Libertum (inferred from the title Episcopus Libertinensis in connexion with the synod of Carthage, A.D. 411) is less likely than the reading (.431/coy or) ALOvarivow underlying certain Armenian versions and Syriac commentaries. The Greek towns lying west from Cyrene would naturally be called Libyan. In any case the interesting point is that these returned Jews, instead of being liberalized by their residence abroad, were more tenacious of Judaism and more bitter against Stephen than those who had never left Judaea.

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