The Greek for dispersion, and used of Jewish people scattered round the world, outside Palestine. The emigration began with the deportations to Assyria (8th cent. BCE) and Babylon (6th cent. BCE). Many comfortable families preferred to remain in Babylon where they were successfully trading within the Persian Empire and with Egypt rather than take part in a Return to Jerusalem with the agreement of Cyrus. Their descendants between 500 and 600 CE produced the Babylonian Talmud. In the Roman Empire Jews were settled in every main city (John 7: 35) often (as at Alexandria) occupying their own quarter with their own local administration centred on a synagogue. Their language was Greek, and the Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint, LXX) was undertaken at Alexandria in the third cent. BCE.

The Jews of the Dispersion maintained links of loyalty with Jerusalem, paying a half-shekel tax and visiting the Temple when possible (Acts 2: 9–11). In the 1st cent. CE the tax was set at two drachmas per head. After the destruction of the Temple (70 CE), the Romans ordered the tax to be transferred to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and the discussion in Matt. 17: 24–7 may reflect the dilemma of the Church of that generation whether or not to pay it.