but one term for such a collectivity. A marked fluidity in the terminology continued in Jewish circles, however, varying, as far as our evidence allows us to see, from place to place and group to group. Terms such as synodos, syllogos, laos (people) and the Latin universitas also occur, and some Jewish groups describe themselves in inscriptions simply as hoi ioudaioi, 'the Jews'. Proseuche, 'prayer house' (literally 'prayer'), a term apparently coined in Ptolemaic Egypt and appearing in texts from as early as the third century bce, is still found occasionally in the Roman period.29
The honorific titles for the leaders and post-holders of Jewish associations were also variable. Echoing the term by which the wider city described its magistrates, aJewish community often had its own archontes. The synagogue head, archisynagogos, continued through the period as a figure of great importance: the honorific and public role of this dignitary emerges from the inscriptions, where liturgical functions and associations are notably absent.30 The striking presence of some women post-holders in synagogues again has a counterpart in the wider society, in the unusual prominence ofindependent women in the cities of Roman Asia Minor.31
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