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Dispersion

A title applied to all Israelites who remained settled in foreign countries subsequent to the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1). The Epistle of James is addressed to them (James 1:1; see also John 7:35). One result of this dispersion was the existence in many different parts of the world of Jewish synagogues, which became of great service to the spread of Christianity (Acts 2:5–11; 6:9; 13:43–45; 14:1–2, 19; 16:3; 17:1, 10–13; 18:2, 12, 19; 19:13–17, 33; 28:17–29). All Jews, wherever they might be, regarded the temple at Jerusalem as the center of their worship and contributed the usual half-shekel toward its maintenance (Matt. 17:24). The Jews of Babylonia spoke an Aramaic dialect similar to that spoken in Palestine. The Jews of Syria, Egypt, and Italy adopted the Greek language and along with it many Greek ideas. For their use, the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint was made. See also Diaspora; Septuagint.