Diaspora is the term used for Jews dispersed outside the land of Israel. The word is used for both the people and their communities.


Delos, on that island in the Aegean Sea (first century B.C. to second century A.D.); Ostia, in Italy (fourth century A.D.; the earliest synagogue may be as early as the first century A.D.); Dura-Europos, in Syria (the building is second century A.D. to 256 A.D.); Sardis, in Asia Minor (second or third century A.D. to 616 A.D.); Stobi, in Macedonia (fourth century A.D.; earlier synagogues at the site date to the third century A.D. or earlier); Priene, in Asia Minor (third or fourth century A.D.).


For more on the Aphrodisias inscription, see “Jews and God-Fearers in the Holy City of Aphrodite” by Robert F. Tannenbaum, in this issue.



K. G. Kuhn and H. Stegemann, “Proselytes,” in Pauly-Wissowa, Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1893– ), suppl. ix (1962), p. 1260, cf. pp. 1248–1283.


Encylopaedia Judaica, vol. 10, s.v. “Jewish Identity,” p. 55.


Michael Avi-Yonah, The Jews of Palestine (Oxford, 1976), p. 37.


David Flusser, “Paganism in Palestine,” in Compendia Rerum Judaicarum ad Novum Testamentum I.2, ed. S. Safrai and M. Stern (Arsen, 1976), p. 1097.


Martin Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism (Philadelphia, 1975), vol. 1, p. 313.


A. Thomas Kraabel, “Greeks, Jews and Lutherans in the Middle Half of Acts,” in Christians Among Jews and Gentiles: Essays in Honor of Krister Stendahl, ed. G. W. E. Nickelsburg (Philadelphia, Fortress, 1986).


Robert Maddox, The Purpose of Luke-Acts (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1982), p. 16; Kraabel, “The Disappearance of the ‘God-Fearers,’” Numen 28 (1981).


In the past half-century some of the most influential treatments of this issue have been K. Lake’s “Proselytes and God Fearers” in F. Foakes Jackson and Lake, The Beginnings of Christianity I. The Acts of the Apostles, vol. 5 (London, 1933), pp. 74–96 and the extended note to Acts 13:16 in H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, vol. 2 (Munich, 1924), pp. 715–723. More recent studies include: Louis H. Feldman, “Jewish ‘Sympathizers’ in Classical Literature and Inscriptions,” Transactions of the American Philological Association 81 (1950), pp. 200–208. P. Markus, “The Sebomenoi in Josephus,” Journal of Semitic Studies 14 (1952), pp. 247–250; M. Wilcox, “The God-fearers in Acts: A Reconsideration,” Journal for the Study of the N.T. 13 (1981), pp. 102–122; Kraabel, “The Disappearance of the ‘God-Fearers,’” pp. 113–126; Thomas M. Finn, “The God Fearers Reconsidered,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 47.1 (1985) pp. 75–84.


Kraabel, “The Diaspora Synagogue: Archaeological and Epigraphic Evidence Since Sukenik,” Aufstieg und Niedergang der romischen Welt II. 19 (1979), pp. 477–510; and “Social Systems of Six Diaspora Synagogues,” in J. Gutmann, ed., Ancient Synagogues: The Current State of Research (Chico, CA, 1981), pp. 79–91. Kraabel and Eric M. Meyers, “Archaeology, Iconography and Non-Literary Written Remains,” Chapter 9 of Early Judaism and Its Modern Interpreters, edd. R. A. Kraft and A. W. E. Nickelsburg, vol. II, The Bible and Its Modern Interpreters, ed. D. A. Knight, forthcoming.


Texts are assembled in M. Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism I–III (Jerusalem, 1974–1984).


M. Rostovtzeff, Dura-Europos and its Art (Oxford, 1938).


Joyce Reynolds, letter to Hershel Shanks, 1984.


In Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 4.26.5, 7.


For an introduction and further bibliography, see N. Peterson, Literary Criticism for New Testament Critics (Philadelphia, 1978), pp. 81–92.


V. Vaananen, Graffiti del Palatino, I: Paedagogium, no. 246 (Helsinki, 1966), pp. 209–212.


Kraabel, “The Roman Diaspora: Six Questionable Assumptions,” Journal of Jewish Studies 33 (1982), particularly pp. 453–454.


Kraabel, “Impact of the Discovery of the Sardis Synagogue,” in Sardis from Prehistoric to Roman Times, ed. G. M. A. Hanfmann, (Cambridge, MA, 1983), pp. 178–190.


Michael Grant, The Jews in the Roman World (London, 1973), p. 61.


Hengel, Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity (Philadelphia, 1980), p. 107.


See Kraabel, “The Disappearance of the ‘God-Fearers,’” p. 120.


On Sardis see Kraabel, “Diaspora Synagogue,” pp. 483–488; Kraabel, “Impact of the Discovery,” pp. 77ff.; C. Foss, Byzantine and Turkish Sardis (Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, Monograph 4; Cambridge, MA, 1976), with further bibliography.