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Proselytes

Proselytes. Converts to a religion, and especially (because formally defined and controlled) to Judaism. Proselytism was widespread in the second Temple period. Once converted, the proselyte is given a new name and is described as ‘Ben’ or ‘Bat’ Avraham (son or daughter of Abraham). He is cut off from his previous family and must observe all the precepts which bind Jews. A female proselyte may not marry a priest (B.Yev. 60b), but may marry a mamzer (B.Kid. 4. 7); and a male proselyte may not be appointed to any Jewish public office (B.Yev. 45b). However, once the canons of the Christian Church had forbidden ‘Judaizing’, proselytism became increasingly rare.

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