In this post, we are going to look at the meaning of Diaspora in Judaism.
It is important to note that there were many more Jews outside Palestine than those who were in it.
Deportations of the prisoners of war and especially commercial interest spread Jews in all directions from Palestine.
It is estimated that during the time of the early Roman Empire; there were about 2.5 million Jews in Palestine, 1 million in each of the areas of Egypt, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia; in addition to about 100,000 in Italy and North Africa.
The new testament gives reference to the dispersion in John 7:35, James 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1, Acts 2:5-11with many other references throughout the book of Acts.
The synagogue was inseparable from the dispersion; so together they established a natural base outside Palestine, for the missionary proclamation of the gospel.
The most important center of the dispersion was Alexandria in Egypt.
It was there that the Jews occupied whole quarters of the city.
It was also there that the Old Testament was translated into the Greek language in 250 BC. Making it available to the Greek-speaking world. It became known as the Septuagint.
In Alexandria also the Jewish intellectual life found its greatest spokesman in the famous philosopher Philo – about 20 BC to AD 42.
The meaning of Diaspora in Judaism.
Diaspora is a Greek word that means “Dispersion”, and in Hebrew, it means Galut (Exile).
After the Babylonian exile, the Jewish communities were scattered in exile outside Palestine or modern-day Israel; thus the Jews who found themselves among the Gentiles are being referred to as the Jews in Diaspora.
Even though the term refers to the physical dispersion of the Jews throughout the whole world; there also lies a religious, philosophical, political as well as eschatological meaning to it.
It is believed by theologians that the dispersal of the Jews was fostered by God to bring about pure monotheism across the whole world.