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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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(Ἀριστόβουλος, a Greek name frequently adopted by Romans and Jews, and borne by several members of the Maccabaean and Herodian families)

In Romans 16:10 St. Paul salutes ‘them which are of the household of Aristobulus’ (τοὺς ἐκ τῶν Ἀρισβούλου), i.e. the Christians in his familia or establishment of freedmen and slaves (perhaps known as Aristobuliani, for which the Greek phrase would be equivalent). Lightfoot thinks that Aristobulus was a grandson of Herod the Great, and brother of Agrippa and Herod. This Aristobulus lived and died in Rome in a private station (see Jos. Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) ii. xi. 6, Ant. xx. i. 2). After his death it is supposed that his ‘household’ passed over to the Emperor, but retained the name of their former master. The ‘household of Aristobulus’ would naturally include many Orientals and Jews, and therefore probably some Christians. The name Herodion (q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ), which immediately follows, suggests a connexion with the Herodian dynasty. If Lightfoot is right, the reference to the ‘household of Aristobulus’ is strong evidence for the Roman destination of these salutations. The Christians in the ‘household’ would naturally form one of the distinct communities of which the Church at Rome was apparently made up (cf. Romans 16:11 and the phrases in Romans 16:5-15). We have no knowledge as to whether the master himself was a convert. See Lightfoot, Philippians4, 1878, p. 174f.

T. B. Allworthy.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Abistobulus'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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