Vision of Cornelius the Centurion, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, 1664
Cornelius (Greek: Κορνήλιος) was a Roman centurion who is considered by Christians to be one of the first Gentiles to convert to the faith, as related in Acts of the Apostles.
Gentile (from Latin gentilis, by the French gentil, feminine: gentille, meaning of or belonging to a clan or a tribe) is an ethnonym that commonly means non-Jew. Other groups that claim Israelite heritage sometimes use the term to describe outsiders.
The term is used by English translators for the Hebrew גוי (goy) and נכרי (nokhri) in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek word ἔθνη (éthnē) in the New Testament. The term “gentiles” is derived from Latin, used for contextual translation, and not an original Hebrew or Greek word from the Bible. The original words goy and ethnos refer to “peoples” or “nations” and are applied to both Israelites and non-Israelites in the Bible. However, in most biblical uses, it denotes nations that are politically distinct from Israel. Since most of the nations at the time of the Bible were “heathens”, goy or gentile became synonymous with heathen, although their literal translations are distinct. The term gentile thus became identical to the later term Ummot ha-olam (nations of the world). Latin and later English translators selectively used the term “gentiles” when the context for the base term “peoples” or “nations” referred to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible.
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (19 August 1621 – 29 September 1674), was a Dutch Golden Age painter and a favourite student of Rembrandt. He was also an etcher, an amateur poet, a collector and an adviser on art.