( proselytos , stranger or newcomer; Vulgate, advena ).
The English term "proselyte" occurs only in the New Testament where it signifies a convert to the Jewish religion ( Matthew 23:15 ; Acts 2:11 ; 6:5 ; etc.), though the same Greek word is commonly used in the Septuagint to designate a foreign sojourner in Palestine. Thus the term seems to have passed from an original local and chiefly political sense, in which it was used as early as 300 B.C., to a technical and religious meaning in the Judaism of the New Testament epoch. Besides the proselytes in the strict sense who underwent the rite of circumcision and conformed to the precepts of the Jewish Law, there was another class often referred to in the Acts as "fearers of God " ( Acts 10:2, 22 ; 13:16, 26 ), "worshippers of God " ( Acts 16:14 ), "servers of God " ( Acts 13:43 ; 17:4, 17 ). These were sympathetic adherents attracted by the Monotheism and higher ideals of the Jewish religion. St. Paul addressed himself especially to them in his missionary journeys, and from them he formed the beginning of many of his Churches.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online