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Flashcards in Bible Dictionary Terms 2 Deck (13):


A religious party among the Jews. The name denotes separatists. They prided themselves on their strict observance of the law and on the care with which they avoided contact with things gentile. Their belief included the doctrine of immortality and resurrection of the body and the existence of angels and spirits. They upheld the authority of oral tradition as of equal value with the written law. The tendency of their teaching was to reduce religion to the observance of a multiplicity of ceremonial rules and to encourage self-sufficiency and spiritual pride. They were a major obstacle to the reception of Christ and the gospel by the Jewish people.



A party or caste among the Jews. The name is probably derived from Zadok, the high priest in Solomon’s time. The party consisted of old high-priestly families who came to the front during the Maccabean war. They formed the Jewish aristocracy and were powerful, though quite small in numbers. In their treatment of religious questions they held to the letter of the Mosaic revelation and denied the authority of ancient tradition; they taught complete freedom of the will in moral action; they were opposed to the Pharisees as to the belief in angels and spirits; they refused also to accept the doctrine of immortality as a necessary part of the Jewish faith. It was through their influence that Greek culture spread in Israel. Their opposition to our Lord was the result of His action in cleansing the temple, which they regarded as an infringement of their rights. They opposed the work of the Apostles because they preached the Resurrection



A sect of the Jews, not mentioned in the New Testament, dwelling principally in secluded settlements on the shores of the Dead Sea. They practiced an ascetic form of life, abstaining from marriage, wine, and animal food. They took no part in the temple worship, having priests and ministers of their own. Our principal sources of information about the Essenes are Josephus, Philo Judaeus, and Pliny the Elder. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls may be their records.


Dead Sea Scrolls




Dispersion. This refers to the scattering of the house of Israel into lands other than Palestine. In many instances those scattered remained in those lands and did not return. The Jews in particular penetrated all the large cities of the Roman Empire and established centers of Judaism, with synagogues, although they retained strong ties with Jerusalem, making frequent pilgrimages there at the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, etc. In these countries the Jews often adopted many traits of Greek and Roman culture. Paul was a Jew of the diaspora, as was also Aquila.



A title applied to all Israelites who remained settled in foreign countries subsequent to the decree of Cyrus. The Epistle of James is addressed to them. One result of this dispersion was the existence in many different parts of the world of Jewish synagogues, which became of great service to the spread of Christianity. All Jews, wherever they might be, regarded the temple at Jerusalem as the center of their worship and contributed the usual half-shekel toward its maintenance. The Jews of Babylonia spoke an Aramaic dialect similar to that spoken in Palestine. The Jews of Syria, Egypt, and Italy adopted the Greek language and along with it many Greek ideas. For their use, the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint was made.


Roman Empire

In the apostolic age the Roman Empire was the one great power of the world. It included everything between the Euphrates, the Danube, the Rhine, the Atlantic, and the Sahara desert. Palestine became a client state in 63 B.C., when Pompey took Jerusalem; and at the banishment of Archelaus (A.D. 6) Judea was placed under a Roman prefect...



The Zealot. A name of Simon, one of the Twelve Apostles. Matthew and Mark in their lists call him “the Cananean” (not Canaanite as in the KJV), which is formed from an Aramaic word (Kanan), of which Zelotes is the Greek and Zealot the English equivalent. The Zealots were a party among the Jews (so called from their zeal for the law) who were determined to resist Roman or any foreign authority in Palestine.



The title is used to describe the people who inhabited Samaria after the captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel. They were the descendants of (1) foreign colonists placed there by kings of Assyria and Babylonia; (2) Israelites who escaped at the time of the captivity. The population was therefore partly Israelite and partly gentile. Their religion was also of a mixed character, though they claimed, as worshippers of Jehovah, to have a share in the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem. This claim not being allowed, they became, as the books of Ezra and Nehemiah show, bitter opponents of the Jews, and started a rival temple of their own on Mount Gerizim. When Nehemiah ejected from Jerusalem a grandson of the high priest Eliashib on account of his marriage with a heathen woman, he took refuge with the Samaritans, taking with him a copy of the Pentateuch, and according to Josephus became high priest at Gerizim. There are several references in the New Testament to the antagonism between the Jews and Samaritans; but the people of Samaria were included among those to whom the Apostles were directed to preach the gospel, and a very successful work was done there by Philip.



A Jewish meetinghouse for religious purposes. The furniture was generally simple, consisting of an ark containing the rolls of the law and other sacred writings, a reading desk, and seats for the worshippers. Its affairs were managed by the local council of elders, who decided who should be admitted and who should be excluded. The most important official was the Ruler of the Synagogue, who was generally a scribe, had care of the building, and superintended the various services. There was also an attendant who performed clerical duties. The Sabbath morning service was the most important in the week and included a fixed lesson and two lessons for the day, one from the law and the other from the prophets. A sermon was generally preached in explanation of one of the lessons. The existence of synagogues in every town in which Jews were living, both in Palestine and elsewhere, was a great help to the spread of the gospel, early Christian missionaries being generally able to get a hearing there, and the synagogue worship provided in many respects a model for early Christian worship.



The Jewish senate and the highest native court in both civil and ecclesiastical matters. Under the presidency of the high priest it regulated the whole internal affairs of the Jewish nation...


Temple on Mount Gerizim

Josephus gives the following account of the erection of this temple: Manasseh, brother of Jaddua the high priest, was threatened by the Jews with deprivation of his priestly office because of a marriage he had contracted with a foreign woman...


Law of Moses

The name assigned to the whole collection of written laws given through Moses to the house of Israel, as a replacement of the higher law that they had failed to obey...