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Proselyte, from Greek προσήλυτος/proselytos, is used in the Septuagint for "stranger", i.e. a newcomer to Israel;[1] a sojourner in the land,[2] and in the New Testament (Strong's G4339) for a convert to Judaism from Paganism. It is a translation of the Hebrew word גר/ger (Strong's H1616).

Two kinds of proselyte in Judaism[change | change source]

There are two kinds of proselyte:

  1. Ger tzedek (righteous proselytes, proselytes of righteousness, religious proselyte, devout proselyte)
  2. Ger toshav (gate proselyte, proselytes of the gate, limited proselyte, half-proselyte)

A righteous proselyte[3] was a Gentile who had converted to Judaism, was bound to all the doctrines and precepts of the Jewish economy, and was considered a full member of the Jewish people.

A gate proselyte[4] was a "resident alien" who lived in the Land of Israel and followed some of the customs.

Proselytes in early Christianity[change | change source]

The "religious proselytes" spoken of in Early Christian writings were righteous proselytes, as distinguished from gate proselytes.

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