Libertines
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Smith's Bible Dictionary
Libertines

This word, which occurs once only in the New Testament-- (Acts 6:9) --is the Latin libertini , that is, "freedmen." They were probably Jews who, having been taken prisoners by Pompey and other Roman generals in the Syrian wars, had been reduced to slavery and had afterward been emancipated, and returned, permanently or for a time, to the country of their fathers.

ATS Bible Dictionary
Libertines

Acts 6:9. This word is from the Latin libertinus, which signifies a freedman, that is, one who, having been a slave, either by birth or capture, has obtained his freedom; or one born of a parent who was a freedman. The "synagogue of the Libertines" stands connected with the Cyrenians and Alexandrians, both of whom were of African origin; it is therefore supposed by some, that the Libertines were of African origin also. It is, however, most probable that this word denotes Jews who had been taken captive by the Romans in war, and carried to Italy; and having there been manumitted, were accustomed to visit Jerusalem in such numbers as to erect a synagogue for their particular use; as was the case with Jews from other cities mentioned in the context. They originated the persecution against Stephen, which resulted in his martyrdom. See SYNAGOGUE

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
LIBERTINES

lib'-er-tinz, li-bur'-tinz (Libertinoi): These were among Stephen's opponents: "There arose certain of them that were of the synagogue called (the synagogue) of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen" (Acts 6:9).have a deeper and nobler meaning than is generally conveyed by the English word. In Proverbs 11:25, the liberal soul (nephesh berakhah) means a soul that carries a blessing. In Isaiah 32:5, the American Standard Revised Version has "bountiful" where the King James Version has "liberal," and in Isaiah 32:8 "noble" takes the place of "liberal" (nadhibh). The principal Greek words are haplotes literally, "simplicity," "sincerity," and charis, "grace," "favor." In 1 Corinthians 16:3, "bounty" substitutes "liberality." It is well to bear in mind that a Biblical liberality can spring only out of a noble soul, and is Godlike in its genesis and spirit.

1. "Synagogue of the Libertines":

How many synagogues are denoted? The answer may aid in the interpretation of "Libertines":

(1) The words may be read as denoting one synagogue (Calvin). However

(a) the number of worshippers would be extremely large,

(b) the bond of union is not obvious,

(c) rabbinic tradition speaks of 480 synagogues in Jerusalem.

(2) The double ton ("of them") seems to denote two parties, the one consisting "of them that were of the synagogue called (the synagogue) of Libertines and Cyrenians and Alexandrians," the other "of them of Cilicia and Asia", (Winer, Wendt, Holtzmann). But the second ton is dependent on synagogue. "As Cyrenians and Alexandrians both belong to towns.... a change of designation would be necessary when the Jews of whole provinces came to be mentioned: this being the case, the article could not but be repeated, without any reference to the ton before" (Alford).

(3) There were three synagogues:

(a) that of the Libertines,

(b) that of the Cyrenians and Alexandrians and

(c) that "of them of Cilicia and Asia" (Alford). There is no grammatical reason for this division, but it is based on an interpretation of "Libertines." There were "Libertines," Africans and Asiatics.

(4) Each party had a separate synagogue (Schurer, Hausrath). The number of worshippers, their different origin and connections, and the number of synagogues in Jerusalem give weight to this view.

2. Interpretation of "Libertines":

(1) They are "freedmen," liberated slaves or their descendants. Against this it is held that the Greek equivalent (apeleutheroi) would have been used in this case. However, the Roman designation would be common all over the empire. In what sense were they "freedmen"? Various answers are given:

(a) they were freedmen from Jewish servitude (Lightfoot);

(b) they were Italian freedmen who had become proselytes;

(c) they were "the freedmen of the Romans" (Chrysostom), the descendants of Jewish freedmen at Rome who had been expelled by Tiberius. In 63 B.C. Pompey had taken prisoners of war to Rome. These, being liberated by those who had acquired them as slaves, formed a colony on the banks of the Tiber (Philo, Legat. ad Caium). Tacitus relates that the senate decreed (19 A.D.) that a number of Jewish Libertines should be transported to Sardinia, and that the rest should leave Italy, unless they renounced, before a certain day, their profane customs (Ann. ii, 85; see also Josephus, Ant, XVIII, iii, 5). Many would naturally seek refuge in Jerusalem and build there a synagogue.

(2) They are an African community. There were two synagogues, one of which was Asiatic. In the other were men from two African towns (Cyrene and Alexandria), therefore the Libertines must have been African also, all forming an African synagogue. Various explanations are given:

(a) They were inhabitants of Libertum, a town in Africa proper: an "Episcopus Ecclesiae Catholicae Libertinensis" sat in the Synod of Carthage (411 A.D.).

(b) Some emend the text; Wetstein and Blass, following the Armenian VS, conjecture Libustinon, "of the Libystines." Schulthess reads for "Libertines and Cyrenians" (Libertinon kai Kurenaion) "Libyans, those about Cyrene" (Libuon ton kata Kurenen) (compare Acts 2:10).

These emendations are conjectural; the manuscripts read "Libertines." It seems, therefore, that 2, (1) (c) above is the correct interpretation.

S. F. Hunter

SYNAGOGUE OF LIBERTINES

See LIBERTINES.

Library

Acts vi. 8
... Edd. thes legomenes) Libertines, and of the Cyrenians and Alexandrians,
and of them of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. ...
/.../chrysostom/homilies on acts and romans/homily xv acts vi 8.htm

The Preface
... as much Zeal in the defence of them and their great Author, and be as industrious
to recommend both his Writings and Example, as Atheists and Libertines are to ...
/.../beveridge/private thoughts upon a christian life/the preface.htm

Progress of Calvinism
... Meanwhile Geneva was torn by disputes between two factions, the Libertines as they
were called, who were opposed to Calvin, and the Guillermins, who clamoured ...
/.../chapter iii progress of calvinism.htm

The General Epistle of Jude
... False brethren had crept into the church who were, it would seem, practical libertines,
enemies of the cross of Christ, who abused their Christian liberty ...
/.../drummond/introduction to the new testament/the general epistle of jude.htm

Preface.
... And of the strickness and exemplariness of the whole course of his life, he says,
"I might here challenge the whole tribe of Libertines to come and view the ...
/.../the evidences of the christian religion with additional discourses/preface.htm

The Blessed Hope and Its Power
... early history of thought in and around the Church, reminds us of this; for while
many Gnostics were severe ascetics, others were practical libertines; and the ...
/...//christianbookshelf.org/moule/philippian studies/chapter x the blessed hope.htm

Away in Paris, a Vast Concourse of People were Assembled Round an ...
... Libertines of all classes from kings to commoners, do this kind of thing
every day, and deem it but a small fault of character. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/corelli/the master-christian/xxxii away in paris a.htm

Concerning the Power of the Civil Magistrate in Matters Purely ...
... to avoid this extreme of encroaching upon men's consciences, so on the other hand
we are far from joining with or strengthening such libertines as would ...
/.../proposition xiv concerning the power.htm

The Folly and Danger of Being not Righteous Enough
... be prodigals, consuming our substance upon harlots; neither would they have us rakes
(a dissolute [loose in morals or conduct] person) or libertines, but they ...
/.../whitefield/selected sermons of george whitefield/the folly and danger of.htm

Regeneration by Faith. Of Repentance.
... 14. Another objection of the Anabaptists and Libertines to the continuance of
repentance throughout the present life. An answer disclosing its impiety. ...
/.../the institutes of the christian religion/chapter 3 regeneration by faith.htm

Thesaurus
Libertines (1 Occurrence)
... Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia LIBERTINES. lib'-er ... 1. "Synagogue of the
Libertines": How many synagogues are denoted? The answer ...
/l/libertines.htm - 11k

Alexandrians (1 Occurrence)
... ALEXANDRIANS. al-eg-zan'-dri-ans (Alexandreis): Jews of Alexandria, who had,
with the Libertines and Cyrenians, a synagogue in Jerusalem. ...
/a/alexandrians.htm - 7k

Jude (4 Occurrences)
... DESCRIPTION OF THE LIBERTINES AND APOSTATES IV. ... Obviously they are distinct from
the libertines of whom he speaks with such solemn condemnation. ...
/j/jude.htm - 40k

Liberty (32 Occurrences)

/l/liberty.htm - 20k

Libertine

/l/libertine.htm - 7k

Including (90 Occurrences)
... Acts 6:9 But some of those who were of the synagogue called "The Libertines," and
of the Cyrenians, of the Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia arose ...
/i/including.htm - 33k

Disputing (13 Occurrences)
... Acts 6:9 But some of those who were of the synagogue called "The Libertines," and
of the Cyrenians, of the Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia arose ...
/d/disputing.htm - 10k

Disputed (10 Occurrences)
... Acts 6:9 and there arose certain of those of the synagogue, called of the Libertines,
and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia, and Asia ...
/d/disputed.htm - 9k

Provinces (40 Occurrences)
... Acts 6:9 But some of those who were of the synagogue called "The Libertines," and
of the Cyrenians, of the Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia arose ...
/p/provinces.htm - 21k

Belonged (105 Occurrences)
... Acts 6:9 But some of those who were of the synagogue called "The Libertines," and
of the Cyrenians, of the Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia arose ...
/b/belonged.htm - 36k



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