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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Town Clerk

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klûrk , klark ( γραμματεύς , grammateús ): The word "clerk," "writer," "town clerk," "scribe," is found in this meaning only in Acts 19:35 , "when the townclerk had quieted the multitude." Cremer defines the word as signifying a "public servant among the Greeks and the reader of the legal and state-papers" (Lexicon of the New Testament ). There was considerable difference between the authority of these "clerks" in the cities of Asia Minor and of Greece. Among the Greeks the grammateı́s were usually slaves, or at least persons belonging to the lower classes of society, and their office was a nominal, almost a mechanical, one. In Asia, on the contrary, they were officers of considerable consequence, as the passage quoted indicates (Thucidydes vii. 19, "the scribe of the city") and the grammateus is not infrequently mentioned in the inscriptions and on the coins of Ephesus (e.g. British Museum Inscriptions , III, 2, 482, 528). They had the supervision of the city archives, all official decrees were drawn up by them, and it was their prerogative to read such decrees to the assembled citizens. Their social position was thus one of eminence, and a Greek scribe would have been much amazed at the deference shown to his colleagues in Asia and at the power they wielded in the administration of affairs. See, further, Hermann, Staats Altertum , 127, 20; and EPHESUS .


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Town Clerk'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/isb/t/town-clerk.html. 1915.

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