Alisgema (ἀλίσγημα), a Hellenistic word (Stephens, Thes. Gr. s.v.) which occurs in Ac 15:20, Auth. Vers. "pollution" (comp. ver. 29 and 1 Corinthians 8), with reference to meat sacrificed to idols, and there means defilement, pollution. The apostle in these passages alludes to the customs of the Gentiles, among whom, after a sacrifice had been concluded and a portion of the victim had been assigned to the priests, it was usual to hold a sacrificial feast in honor of the god, on which occasion they ate the residue of the flesh (comp. Homer, Odys. 3, 470). This feast might take place either in the temple or in a private house (see Smith's Dict. of Class. Ant. s.v. Sacrificium). But there were many who, from need or avarice, salted and laid up the remnants for future use (Theoph. Char. c. x), or even gave them to the butchers to sell in the shambles (Schottg. Hor. Heb. ad Act. 15, 20; 1 Corinthians 8). This flesh, having been offered to idols, was held in abomination by the Jews; and they considered not only those who had been present at these feasts, but also those who ate the flesh which had been offered up, when afterward exposed for sale in the shambles, as infected by the contagion of idolatry (q.v.). The council at Jerusalem, therefore, at the suggestion of James, directed that converts should refuse all invitations to such feasts, and abstain from the use of all such meat, that no offense might be given to those Christians who had been Jews. See Kuinol, ad Act. 15, 20. SEE DECREE.

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