Libertines, Synagogue Of The
LIBERTINES, SYNAGOGUE OF THE, a section of the Hellenistic Jews who attacked Stephen (Acts vi. 9). The passage reads, rives TUV rijs ffvvaydiy^ TTJS \tyonevris Aipfprlvuif, Kai KupTjvcucoi' Kai 'A\tt;a.v5pibiv, Kai rSiv air6 KtXt/das Kai 'Acrias, and opinion is divided as to the number of synagogues here named. The probability is that there are three, corresponding to the geographical regions involved, (i) Rome and Italy, (2) N.E. Africa, (3) Asia Minor. In this case " the Synagogue of the Libertines " is the assembly of " the Freedmen " from Rome, descendants of the Jews enslaved by Pompey after his conquest of Judaea 63 B.C. If, however, we take AifiepTivwv Kai Kv/ntvaicav Kai 'Aktfcvdptuv closely together, the first name must denote the people of some city or district. The obscure town Libertum (inferred from the title Episcopus Libertinensis in connexion with the synod of Carthage, A.D. 411) is less likely than the reading (Aifiiwv or) Aiftvarivciiv underlying certain Armenian versions and Syriac commentaries. The Greek towns lying west from Cyrene would naturally be called Libyan. In any case the interesting point is .that these returned Jews, instead of being liberalized by their residence abroad, were more tenacious of Judaism and more bitter against Stephen than those who had never left Judaea.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)