(Greek > Latin: convert; stranger, one who has come over; to come to; to surrender; to associate with)

proselyte (s) (noun), proselytes (pl)
1. Someone who is a new convert to a doctrine or a religion: Adam was a recent proselyte who was convinced by a preacher's sermon to join the church and to become a devoted Christian.
2. Etymology: from Latin proselytus which came from Greek proselytos, "a person who comes to a place; having arrived".
proselytism (s) (noun), proselytisms (pl)
1. The attempt by any religion or religious individuals to convert other people to their beliefs: There are many active proselytisms conducted by Christian denominations which have evangelistic services to attract and to convince people that they should accept Jesus Christ as their savior and live moral lives of honesty and sincere concern for other people.
2. Actions to change people's minds to a different political point of view: Each candidate for President of the U.S. is presenting his or her proselytism in order to influence the thinking of the citizens.
proselytization (s) (noun), proselytizations (pl)
An advocating or promoting process involving convincing people to take a special course of action: The political candidates from the various parties were using all kinds of proselytizations to persuade people into voting for them.
proselytize (verb), proselytizes; proselytized; proselytizing
1. To urge others to join or to convert to a particular religion: There are some religious denominations that expect their members to proselytize other people into joining their congregations.
2. To convince someone to join or to embrace a particular political party or political philosophy: A certain minister proselytized hard for a particular presidential candidate by organizing huge stadium rallies and using his radio program to warn his millions of American listeners that not to vote would be a sin.
proselytizer (s) (noun), proselytizers (pl)
A person who is active in persuading others to change their religious or political beliefs: Abraham was a proselytizer who was very active as a missionary in Africa where he was dedicated to convincing people to become Christians.

In the Bible, a Proselyte Is Someone Who Has Changed from One Religious Belief or Group to Another One.

In biblical studies, this term refers especially to Gentiles (non-Jews) who became members of the Hebrew or Jewish religion.

In the Old Testament, many laws recognize the rights and places of resident aliens, or non-Israelites, living permanently in Israel; although they had to observe certain laws, could offer sacrifice and, if circumcised, could take part in Passovers or the religious festivals commemorating God's deliverance of the Jews from bondage when the Israelites left Egypt.

From the second century B.C. into the fourth century A.D., some evidence indicates that many Gentiles were attracted to Judaism because of its monotheism, moral ethics, and Sabbath observance.

—Compiled from information located in
Harper's Bible Dictionary by Paul J. Achtemeier, General Editor;
Harper & Row, Publishers; San Francisco; 1971; pages 830-831.

Gentiles were impressed by three features of Judaism.

  1. The concept of one God who creates, sustains, and rules all things was clearly superior to polytheistic views.
  2. Judaism stressed a life-style of moral responsibility with its monotheism.
  3. It was a religion of ancient and stable tradition in contrast to the various cults that were popular for short periods while they changed their myths from one concept to another.
—Compiled from information located in
Holman Bible Dictionary by Trent C. Butler, General Editor;
Holman Bible Publishers; Nashville, Tennessee; 1991; page 1144.