descriptions reflected the range and complexity of options and the multiplicity of overlapping identities in the religious 'market place' of the Roman city.42 The word proselytos, another Septuagint coinage, is less ambiguous. Becoming a full Jew stood as a real option and, although converts seem rarely if ever during this period to have been actively sought by Jewish authorities, they were evidently not uncommon and often not unwelcome.43 The royal dynasty of Adiabene, converted as the result of the activities of a trader-missionary, went on to associate itself with important donations to the temple and assistance to Jerusalem, as well as to support the revolutionaries of 66-73 ce. But for the most part, personal contact or the local visibility of the synagogue brought people to Judaism. Philo praises the courage of proselytes who abandoned everything to journey to 'a better home'.44 Josephus writes that, of the many who joined, some 'lacked the necessary endurance and fell away again' (Ap. 2.123). It was not an easy route to take. But, whatever the numbers, this was a mainstream phenomenon. There is perhaps a paradox in the cultivation of such open boundaries by a group whose historic self-understanding fostered separation by choice.

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