A family of proselytes living at Jerusalem in the first century B.C., which had been in prosperous circumstances, but was afterward reduced to poverty. From allusions to them contained in four Talmudic passages, in which the spelling of the family name is corrupted (Yer. Peah, viii. 21a; Tosef., Peah, iv. 11; Sifre, Deut. 303, 110), Grätz restores the name to the Greek form, Agathobulos. It appears that, being unable to maintain their old standard of life, they proposed to emigrate. The representatives of Judaism, however, who at that time regarded hopefully the influx of heathen into the Jewish faith (Schürer, "Lehrbuch der Neutestamentlichen Zeitgeschichte," pp. 644 et seq.), did not like to see proselytes emigrating for lack of the means of subsistence; and the matter was submitted to the rabbis (), who awarded () the family a certain sum. In three of the above-quoted passages this sum is said to have been six hundred talents of gold, which amount seems too exorbitant to be credible, in view of the fact that a talent weighed about sixty pounds. In another passage it is recorded that six hundred gold shekels (about $2,000) were awarded; and this would appear to be more probable. The rabbis based their decision on Deut. xxvi. 12 (R.V.): "Thou shalt give it unto the Levite, to the stranger [ = proselyte] . . . that they may eat within thy gates"; laying stress on the words "thy gates," and interpreting this expression to mean that the Israelites must take care not to allow proselytes to emigrate when in needy circumstances. This account of the treatment received by the Antibla at the hands of the rabbis throws an interesting light on the attitude of the Synagogue toward proselytes.

  • Grätz, in Monatṣschrift, 1881, pp. 289-294.
M. B.
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