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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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This term is used in the New Testament, as in classical writers, to denote other nations of the earth in distinction from the Greeks. 'I am debtor both to the Greeks and Barbarians.' In Colossians 3:11, 'Greek nor Jew—Barbarian, Scythian'—Barbarian seems to refer to those nations of the Roman empire who did not speak Greek, and Scythian to nations not under the Roman dominion. In 1 Corinthians 14:11 the term is applied to a difference of language: 'If I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian ('as of another language,' Geneva Vers.), and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian ('as of another language,' Geneva Vers.) unto me.' Strabo (xiv. 2) suggests that the word Bar-bar-os was originally an imitative sound, designed to express a harsh dissonant language, or sometimes the indistinct articulation of the Greek by foreigners.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Barbarian'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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