Dispersed (διασπορά, scattering, Joh 7:37; "scattered," Jas 1:1; 1Pe 1:1; comp. Tob. 3:4; in Hebrews usually some form of נָפִוֹ, naphats', to break up, Isa 11:12; or פּוּוֹ, puts, Zep 3:16, to scatter, as often rendered) JEWS, or, as they are most frequently styled technically and simply, THE DISPERSION (ἡ Διασπορά, 2 Macc. 1:27; Judith 5:19; Josephus, Ant. 12:13, etc.), is the general epithet applied to those Jews who remained settled in foreign countries after the return from the Babylonian exile, and during the period of the second Temple. The Hebrews word originally applied to these foreign settlers (גָּלוּת, "captivity," comp. Jer 24:5; Jer 28:4, etc., from גָּלָה, to strip naked; so "sons of captivity," Ezr 6:16) conveys the notion of spoliation and bereavement, as of men removed from the Temple and home of their fathers; but in the Sept. the ideas of a "sojourning" (μετοικεσία) and of a "colony" (ἀποικία) were combined with that of a "captivity" (αἰχμαλωσία), while the term "dispersion" (διασπορά, first in De 28:25, for זִ וָה; comp. Jer 34:17), which finally prevailed, seemed to imply that the people thus scattered "to the utmost parts of heaven" (De 30:4), "in bondage among the Gentiles" (2 Macc. 1:27), and shut out from the full privileges of the chosen race (Joh 7:35), should yet be as the seed sown for a future harvest (comp. Isa 49:6 Heb.) in the strange lands where they found a temporary resting-place (1Pe 1:1, παρεπίδημοι διασπορᾶς). The schism which had divided the first kingdom was forgotten in the results of the general calamity. The dispersion was not limited to the exiles of Judah, but included "the twelve tribes" (Jas 1:1, at αἱ δώδεκα φυλαὶ αἱ ἐν τῇ διασπορᾶ'/), which expressed the completeness of the whole Jewish nation (Ac 26:7, τὸ δεδεκάφυλον). SEE TRIBE.
The distinction of an Oriental and Occidental Diaspora, or Dispersion (Otho, Lex. Rabb. page 76 sq.), is erroneous; but that the Jews, sometimes by constraint, sometimes voluntarily, had their residence among heathen, cannot be denied ( Da 9:7; Jer 33:3; Eze 36:24, etc.), as well as that the deported Jewish colonies voluntarily remained in exile during the period in question (see Groot, De migrationibus Hebreor. extra patriam ante Hieros. a Romanis deletam, Gronin. 1817). In the time of our Savior there was scarcely any land of the ancient world in which Jewish residents were not to be met with (Joseph. War, 7:3, 3; Ant. 14:7, 2; Philo, Opp. 2:524, 587). We may appropriately distinguish four groups of the dispersed Jews. SEE CAPTIVITY.
1. Those in Assyria, Media, Babylonia, and Persia, or the Trans- Euphratean (οἱ ὑπὲρ Εὐφράτην ἀπῳκισμένοι Ι᾿ουδαῖοι, Joseph. Ant. 15:3, 1), descended from the Jews and Israelites transported to these countries by the exile, between whom and the Palestinian Jews all distinctive prejudice gradually wore away. Many thousand Jews lived in these countries (Joseph. Ant. 15:2, 2; 3, 1; Philo, Opp. 2:578), in good circumstances, as it would seem. With their native land (Palestine) they had religious connection through regular transmittance of the annual Temple-
tax and firstlings (Joseph. Ant. 14:7, 2; 18:9, 1; Philo, Opp. 2:578). There was even at one time a Babylonian high-priest at Jerusalem (Joseph. Ant. 15:2, 4; 3, 1); and the Talmud speaks in respectful terms (see Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. page 1031) of this branch of the Dispersion, which went under the general denomination of the Babylonian (ἡ διασπορὰ τῶν Βαβυλωνίων). Their freedom had been confirmed by Alexander the Great (Joseph. Ant. 11:8, 5; compare Apion, 1:23). Under the Seleucid kings they were, for the most part, favored on account of their zealous promotion, by military service, of the undertakings of those princes; and Antiochus the Great regarded them as such approved subjects, that he planted an entire colony by means of them in Asia Minor (Joseph. Ant. 12:3, 4). Nevertheless there were not wanting collisions with the native Babylonians; bloody scenes ensued; and in the Roman period, under the emperor Caligula, the Babylonian Jews were compelled to emigrate to the then flourishing Seleucia, where, however, they soon drew upon them the ill- will of the inhabitants (Joseph. Ant. 18:9). SEE BABYLONIA.
2. In age and importance the next to the Babylonian was the Egyptian colony of Jews; indeed, in influence, this even stands the highest (comp. Strabo in Joseph. Ant. 14:7, 2). On the first immigration of Palestinian Jews thither, which began with the intimacy under Solomon, and was cherished by the Egyptizing party during the latter days of the Hebrew monarchy (see 2Ki 18:21,24; Isa 39:8; Isa 30:2 sq.; 31:1; 36:6), and confirmed (see Gesenius, Jesaias, 1:826, 967) as a support against Assyria (compare Herod. 2:141), and still more (2Ki 18; 2Ki 22:20,20) against Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki 24:7) by an actual league with Hophra (Eze 17:15), on whose subjugation of Judaea many Jews took refuge in Egypt (Jer 2:18; Jer 41:17-18), as the only safe retreat (Ewald, Gesch. Isr. 1:268 sq.), see Von Bohlen (Genesis, page 33, Einl.). Nebuchadnezzar appears, however, during his irruption into Egypt, to have carried off to Babylon the Jews who had retired thither (Joseph. Ant. 10:9, 7). On the other hand, Alexander the Great placed a considerable number of Jews in the Alexandria founded by him, and bestowed upon them equal rights with the Egyptian citizens (Joseph. Apion, 2:4; comp. Ant. 19:5, 2). Ptolemy Lagi entrusted Jews with military positions, allowed a portion of the Jewish population to settle in Cyrene (Joseph. Apion, 1. c.), and strengthened the Egyptian colonies by the transmigration of many Palestinian Jews thither (Joseph. Ant. 12:1), B.C. 320. Ptolemy Philadelphus (B.C. 284) is said to have caused the Jewish book of the law to be translated into Greek at a great expense for the Alexandrian library (Joseph. Ant. 12:2; Apion, 2:4). SEE SEPTGUAGINT. With this favor towards the Jews their inhuman treatment by Ptolemy Philopator stands in most lamentable contrast, according to the third book of Maccabees (q.v.). But the truth of this circumstance is very doubtful, and Josephus (Ap. 2:5, only extant in the Latin) ascribes this procedure to Ptolemy Physcon. Under Ptolemy Philometor (B.C. 180 sq.) and his regent-mother Cleopatra the Jews were very favorably treated; high offices, namely in the army, were in their hands, and the court granted them the greatest confidence (Joseph. Ap. 2:5). Even the erection of a proper Jewish temple at Leontopolis was allowed (Joseph. Ant. 13:3; War, 7:10, 2), and on the eastern border of the kingdom a Jewish town (῎Ονιον) was founded (Joseph. War, 1:9, 4; Ant. 14:8, 1), Which was important in a military point of view. After Egypt fell under the Roman sway, the associate Jews enjoyed, under the first emperors, continued prosperity (comp. also Philo, Opp. 2:563) and freedom, although they experienced occasional violations of their rights on the part of the Greek inhabitants, who were, on the other hand, provoked by the encroachments of the Jews (Joseph. Ant. 14:7, 2); and even Augustus found it necessary to protect the Jews in Cyrene by a special edict (Joseph. Ant. 16:6, 1 sq.). But a terrible vengeance of the Greeks against the Jews, who were continually incurring the deepening hate of the community, took place under the emperor Caligula. The Jews in Alexandria and other parts of Egypt were attacked with bloody violence, their synagogues demolished, their rights trampled upon (including the exemption from the bastinado [q.v.], Philo, Opp. 2:528); the Roman governor Flaccus Anilius himself was in league with the mob against the Jews. Only the intercessions of the Jewish king Herod Agrippa, who informed the emperor of these outrages, rescued the Jews for a moment from the persecution. The quarrel soon broke out afresh, and even an embassy, which the well-known Philo headed, resulted for the Jews only in scorn; their existence in Egypt appeared to be at an end. At this juncture Caligula died (A.D. 41), and the Jews breathed more freely again under Claudius (see Joseph. Ant. 16:8, 1; especially Philo adv. Flaccum, in his Opp. 2:517 sq.; also περὶ ἀρετῶν or ad Caium, Ib. page 545 sq.). Their rights and freedom were restored by a special ordinance of this emperor (Joseph. Ant. 19:5,2). But under Nero (A.D. 54), the old enmity between the Greeks and Jews in Alexandria again manifested itself; a great massacre in as committed by the Roman military that became involved, the Jews were greatly reduced in numbers, and many came to beggary (Joseph. War, 2:18, 7 sq.), To add to these misfortunes, their temple at Leontopolis was at last shut up against them (Joseph. War, 7:103). SEE EGYPT, The Jews, however, for a long period (at the time of Philo, about a thousand years; see his Opp. 2:525) enjoyed great privileges in Egypt; indeed, not unfrequently they were better off there than in Palestine itself. No other colony could exhibit a temple and priesthood of their own. Alexandria contained several synagogues, one of which was very splendid (Philo, Opp. 2:565; Vitringa, De synogoga, page 256). Two of the five quarters of the city were occupied almost exclusively by Jews (Philo, Opp. 2:525), and these made up well-nigh one half the population (ib. page 523). The religious connection with Palestine, however, was not on that account abandoned, since Alexandrians had a peculiar synagogue in Jerusalem itself with the Cyrenians (Ac 9:6); and the Egyptians, like the Cyrenian Jews, transmitted the yearly Temple-tax (Philo, Opp. 2:568, 646; Joseph. Ant. 16:6, 1, 5: on the dependency of the priesthood at Leontopolis upon that at Jerusalem, see Joseph. Apion, 1:7; comp. Grossman, De philosophia Sadducaeorum, 1:6). The chief officer of the Egyptian Jewish colonies was an ethnarch (q.v.), probably the highest judge of his people (Strabo in Joseph. Ant. 14:7, 2). He had his seat at Alexandria, and was called an -alabarch (q.v.), ἀλαβάρχης (Joseph. Ant. 18:8, 1; 19:5, 1; 20:7, 3; comp. Rhenferd, Opera philol. page 584 sq.), with which the patriarch of the modern Oriental Christians may be compared. He was supported by a council of elders (γερουσία), according to the arrangement instituted by Augustus (Philo, Opp. 2:527). SEE SANHEDRIM. These Jews had completely adopted Greek under the Ptolemies: it was their ecclesiastical as well as social language. But the Greek learning, i.e., philosophy, which flourished in Alexandria, also found admission to them: the Alexandrian Rabbins were among the most learned Jews; they formed for themselves a peculiar religious philosophy, based upon the Jewish Scriptures, and exercised with the utmost acuteness the allegorical interpretation of the Bible which was essentially connected with it. Philo's writings afford ample evidence of this system (comp. Difhne, Geschichtl. Darstellung d. jiud. alexandr. Rel.qionsphilos. Halle, 1834, volume 2; also Grossman. De theologiae Philonisfontibus et auctoritate, Lips. 1824; and De Pharisaismo Jud. Alex. Lips. 1846; Colln, Bibl. Theol. 1:353 sq.). The Jewish colony in Cyrene (Cyrenaica) was derived from Egypt, enjoyed like privileges with the other inhabitants, and had a synagogue likewise in Jerusalem (Ac 6:9). Ptolemy Lagi, who subjugated Cyrene (Justin. 22:7), appears to have become himself the founder of this colony, and to have sought to secure this province to himself by these means (Joseph. Ap. 2:4). Under the later Roman emperors of the first century, however, the Jewish population sought to acquire a pre-eminence over the other inhabitants, and thus brought on bloody contests, which ended in the expulsion of the Jews from Cyrene (see Munter, Letzer jud. Krieg, page 10 sq.; comp. generally Cless, De coloniis Judaeor. in AEgypt. terrasque c. AEgypto conjunctas post Mosen deductis, Stuttg. 1832). SEE CYRENE.
3. Syria was another place to which the Jews migrated after the time of Seleucus Nicator, and here they were granted by this prince equal rights, at Antioch and other cities, with the Macedonians (Joseph. Ant. 3:1). The following kings of this dynasty, likewise, with the exception of Antiochus Epiphanes (q.v.), favored the Jews (Joseph. War, 7:3, 3); :they lived in prosperity, could even make proselytes, had at Antioch their own ruler (ib.), and were in Damascus numerous (Joseph. War, 2:20, 2). Nevertheless here, too, the popular hate was inflamed against them; long restrained, it finally broke out under Nero (ib.), then under Vespasian with great violence, and, under the patronage of the Roman arms, inflicted every imaginable evil upon the Jews (Joseph. Life, 6). Yet Titus, after the destruction of Jerusalem, befriended these persecuted people, and restored to them their rights (Joseph. War, 7:5, 2). SEE ANTIOCH.
From Syria the Jews had found their way into Asia Minor (1Pe 1:1; Philo, Opp. 2:582). As early as Antiochus Theos, the Jews in Ionia were granted the privilege of citizenship (Joseph. Ant. 12:3, 2); but Antiochus the Great planted in Phrygia and Lydia, which had been overrun by him, colonies of Jews from Mesopotamia and Babylonia, amounting to 3000 families (ib. 3, 4). By Julius Caesar in the later times of the Roman republic, and by Augustus, there were issued a series of decrees (Joseph. Ant. 14:10; 16:6) to the most of the chief cities of Asia Minor, e.g. Ephesus, Sardis, Laodicea, Halicarnassus, etc., in which the unrestricted exercise of their religious worship, generally also freedom from military service, and the privilege of sending the Temple contribution and firstlings to Jerusalem, which even Roman governors had at times interdicted (ib. 16:2, 3), were assured to the Jews. See each of these cities in their place. SEE ASIA MINOR.
4. From Asia Minor, too, the first Jews may have been attracted to Greece (διασπορἁ τῶν ῾Ελλήνων, Joh 7:35) and Macedonia, where, in the apostles' time, we find in all the important cities, especially those of a maritime and commercial character, communities with synagogues or proseuche (Ac 16-18; Ac 20). SEE GREECE.
Rome and Italy had before Pompey no settled Jews; but from the Jewish prisoners of war, who had either been redeemed or dismissed on account of their impracticable habits (Philo, Opp. 2:568), there now grew up in Rome, by the influx of freeborn Jews from Palestine, Greece and regions, a numerous community, who had their abode in a separate Jewish quarter across the Tiber. SEE ROME. They were accorded full freedom of worship, and were even successful in making proselytes. They must soon have risen to prosperity, for the yearly Temple contributions (Philo, Opp. 2:568) of the Italian Jews (Cicero, Flacc. 28) was very considerable. They were once expelled from Rome under Tiberius, and again by Claudius (Ac 18:12). SEE CLAUDIUS. On their later fate, see Jost, Gesch. d. Isr. 2:326 sq., who, however, has here, as in his antecedent sections on the extra-Palestinian Jews, failed to give exact reference to the authorities. Of intrinsic value are the expositions of the public documents bearing on this subject in the two works, Decreta Rom. et Asiat. ad cult. div. per Asiae Min. urbes secure obeandum a Josepho collecta, restit. a J. Gronov. (Leid. 1712), and Decreta Romanor. pro Judaeis, etc. a J. T. Krebs (Lips. 1768). Comp. also Levyssohn, De Judaeor. sub Caesaribus conditione (L.B. 1828); and generally Remond, Vers. einer Gesch. der Ausbreit. d. Judenth. (Lips. 1789); Walch, Hist. patriarcharum Judaeorum (Jen. 1752). SEE JEWS.