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The Second Temple era was a time when many people converted to Judaism as noted in the Encyclopaedia Judacia 13:1182. It is interesting to know that during this period, the term “ger,” which means stranger or alien, became associated with proselyte. The book of Matthew in the New Testament mentions Pharisees who “compassed sea and land to make one proselyte” in Matthew 23:15. However, it is possible this might have been an exaggeration by the rabbis. They took this claim as an opportunity to assert that their most prominent figures were descended from proselytes. What is particularly fascinating is the differing approaches of Hillel and Shammai to teaching potential proselytes the principles of Judaism. We can see this in various incidents such as in Shabb.31a. These incidents highlight the fact that religious conversion was a crucial and prevalent topic during the era of the Second Temple, making it a fascinating time to study.

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  • Abodah Zarah
    Page 313 Tal. 64b …’Who is ger toshavגר תושבger: “foreigner” or “alien” + toshav: “resident”,”resident alien”is a halakhic term used in Judaism to designate the legal status of a Gentile (non-Jew) living in the Land of Israel who does not want to convert to Judaism but agrees to observe the Seven Laws of Noah? Any […]
  • Proselytes
    The Second Temple era was a time when many people converted to Judaism as noted in the Encyclopaedia Judacia 13:1182. It is interesting to know that during this period, the term “ger,” which means stranger or alien, became associated with proselyte. The book of Matthew in the New Testament mentions Pharisees who “compassed sea and […]
  • Yebamoth
    Talmud 47b The Master said, “If a man desires to become a proselyte… he is to be addressed as follows: ‘What reason have you for desiring to become a proselyte..’ and he is made aquainted with some of the major commandments.” What is the reason? — In order that if he desires to withdraw let […]
  • Proselytes (law of conversion)
    From The Encylopaedia Judacia 13:1183-1184 The procedure, established by the tannaim, according to which a non-Jew may be into the Jewish faith, was elucided as follows: “in our days, when a proselyte came to be converted we say to him: ‘What is your objective? Is it not known to you that the people of Israel […]
  • Proselytes
    The Encyclopaedia Judaica 13:1182 contains a fascinating analysis that provides extensive evidence of an increasingly common trend towards the conversion to Judaism during the Second Temple period. This period, especially in its later stages, witnessed a marked rise in the use of the term “ger”, previously reserved for referring to strangers or aliens, to denote […]

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