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I've heard in some places the theory that Greek-speaking Jews in the ancient world practiced a religion that was closer to and evolved into Christianity, and that 'rabbinic' Judaism was a niche movement in ancient Judea that grew. There are a number of reasons why I think that can't be right, but one is that a number of rabbis came from the diaspora, including Hillel himself from Babylonia, but even some from the Greek and Latin speaking diaspora, such as Meir, who I believe was born in Asia Minor, in what would have been a Greek-speaking area far from Judea.

What are other examples of rabbis or major sages who were born in the Greek or Latin speaking diaspora of the ancient world (i.e., not Judea, Galilee or Babylonia), and what is the source in each case?

Thank you in advance.

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  • Why do we need to respond to someone's anti-historical theories? Some nutjob has a theory that goes against recorded tradition and we have to respond to it? The same sources that mention Hillel and R' Meir also say that this is just falsehoods.
    – N.T.
    Aug 4 at 8:52
  • If someone has evidence in the shape of Paul of Tarsus and Philo of Alexandria, I want to have the counter-evidence. This is not "some nutjob" either, but a credible academic historian.
    – Jm Lewin
    Aug 4 at 10:03
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    Academic historians don't have a lot of credibility in my book. They can speculate whatever they want and get it published.
    – N.T.
    Aug 4 at 11:07

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