The biblical term “proselyte”, or “proselyte” comes from the Greek term koino προσήλυτος (proselytos) found in the Bible translation of the Septuaginta (Greek Old Testament) and denotes the “foreigner” the “stranger” who was not born in Israel, but is often shown to be a GOD-fearing person (as in Ps 115, 11) and in the New Testament for early converts (Acts 13, 16 & 13, 26), generally from classical Greek religion. It is a translation of the biblical Hebrew phrase גר תושב (Ger toshav).

Currently, the term “proselyte” also has the more general meaning of a new convert to any particular religion or doctrine.

Originally there were two types of proselytes in Rabbinic Judaism: Ger tzedek (righteous proselytes, proselytes in righteousness, religious proselytes, devout proselytes) and Ger toshav (resident proselytes, gateway proselytes, limited proselytes, half proselytes). A “righteous Proselyte” is a gentile who has converted to Judaism, is bound to all the doctrines and precepts of the Jewish religion, and circumcised as an adult (milah l’shem giur). Whereas a “proselyte of the gate” is a resident foreigner who lives in the Land of Israel and follows some of the Jewish customs, but is not required to be circumcised or conform to all Torah.

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