Steve Friesen/with permission of Aphrodisias Excavations

Between paganism and Judaism. This third-century C.E. Greek inscription, found in the ruins of the city of Aphrodisias in southwestern Turkey, attests to the close ties between the local gentile and Jewish communities. The inscription, which states that it came from a “memorial building … for the relief of suffering in the community,” lists 72 Jewish names who donated money for the building’s construction, along with 54 gentile donors in a separate register headed “God-fearers.”

“God-fearers,” a term also found in the Book of Acts, were gentiles who stood in some close relationship with the Jewish community but who stopped short of full conversion. The Jewish religion and society clearly appealed to many gentiles during the first few centuries C.E. However, there is no evidence that these God-fearers were actively recruited by Jews.