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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Alabarch

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(Ἀλαβάρχης , a term compounded apparently of some unknown foreign word, and ἄρχω, to rule; also ἀλάβαρχος ), a term not found in Scripture, but which Josephus uses repeatedly, to signify the chief of the Jews in Alexandria (Ant. 18, 6, 3; 8, 1; 19:5, 1; 20:5, 2; 7, 3). Philo calls this magistrate Γενἀρχης, genarch (q.v.), and Josephus, in some places, ethnarch (q.v.), which terms signify the prince or chief of a nation. Some believe that the term alabarch was given, in raillery, to the principal magistrate or head of the Jews at Alexandria, by the Gentiles, who despised the Jews. (See ALEXANDRIA).

The Jews who were scattered abroad after the captivity, and had taken up their residence in countries at a distance from Palestine, had rulers of their own. (See DISPERSION). The person who sustained the highest office among those who dwelt in Egypt was denominated alabarch; the magistrate at the heed of the Syrian Jews was denominated archon (q.v.). (See Jahn, Bibl. Archaol. § 239.) The dignity of alabarch was common in Egypt, as may be observed in Juvenal, Sat. 1, 130. It was perhaps synonymous with chief tax-gatherer (comp. Sturz, De Dial. Maced. p. 65 sq.). Thus Cicero (Ep. ad Attic. 17) calls Pompey an alabarch, from his raising taxes; but others here read arabarch (see Facciolati, Lat. Lex. s.v. Arabarches). (See JEWS).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Alabarch'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/a/alabarch.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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