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METUENTES (lit. "fearing"):

Term used in the Latin inscriptions by Juvenal for Jewish proselytes. It corresponds to the Greek term σεβόμενοι τὸν Θεόν, which occurs in Josephus ("Ant." xiv. 72, ed. Niese) and in Acts x. 2, 22; xiii. 16, 26, 43, 50; xvi. 14; xvii. 4, 17; xviii. 7, and to the Hebrew "More Yhwh," which, at an early date, likewise seems to have denoted proselytes (see II Kings xvii. 28, xxxii. 33). In the Psalms the expression is used for the whole body of pious persons outside the house of Israel (Ps. cxv. 11, cxviii. 4, cxxxv. 20; comp. Esth. ix. 27; Isa. lvi. 6), or perhaps for certain Gentiles who had adopted some of the Jewish customs, notably the observance of the Sabbath and abstention from forbidden meat. Paul refers to such at Antioch, Thyatira, Thessalonica, and Athens. About the Black Sea a large number of inscriptions have been discovered relating to "worshipers of the Most High God" who were also of the same class, though possibly their Judaic practises were not so pronounced as in the cases nearer Palestine (see Hypsistarians). A mocking crucifix found on the Palatine Hill at Rome has the expression σεβετε Θεον (see Jew. Encyc. ii. 222, s.v. Ass-Worship). Mek., Mishpaṭim explains Isa. lvi. 6 as "those who fear Heaven." See Proselyte.

Bibliography:
  • Schürer, Gesch. 2d ed., iii. 103-105;
  • idem, Die Juden im Bosporanischen Reiche, etc., in Sitzungsberichte der Berliner Akademie, 1897, pp 200-225;
  • Bernays, Die Gottesfürchtigen bei Juvenal, in Gesammelte Schriften.
S. J.
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