Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Hellenists. (1) Greeks (Hellenes) or foreigners who became Jewish proselytes. (2) Jewish settlers in foreign lands who adopted the Greek language and the Greek manner of life, then everywhere current, while they clung, to Hebrew tradition, and retained the Hebrew cast of mind. The word is translated "Grecians" in the Authorised, and "Grecian Jews" in the Revised Version. The opposition between "Hebrews" and "Hellenists" in the early Church at Jerusalem is mentioned in Acts vi. 1; cf. ix. 29. Alexandria was the great commercial centre in which the Hellenistic spirit received its fullest development. Here arose the dialect called Hellenistic Greek, in which Hebrew terms of thought appeared clothed in a Greek dress, thus giving rise to what was practically a new language with its own peculiarities of vocabulary, idiom, and construction. A literary monument of Hellenistic Greek is preserved in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. The speculations of Hellenistic philosophers such as Philo (q.v.) exercised much influence over Christian thought, and gave rise to many heresies. This application of the term "Hellenism" must not be confused with its use to denote Greek life generally under the monarchies succeeding Alexander the Great, when much of the East and Egypt became predominantly Greek in speech though not in population.