By Dr Maijastina Kahlos
This ebook explores the development of Christian identification in fourth and 5th centuries via inventing, fabricating and polishing binary oppositions. Binary oppositions, akin to Christians - pagans; fact - falsehood; the single real god - the multitude of demons; the best faith - superstition, served to create and toughen the Christian self-identity. The booklet examines how the Christian argumentation opposed to pagans was once intertwined with self-perception and self-affirmation. Discussing the kinfolk and interplay among pagan and Christian cultures, this publication goals at widening old knowing of the cultural conflicts and the otherness in global background and hence, to give a contribution to the continuing dialogue in regards to the ancient and conceptual foundation of cultural tolerance and intolerance. This ebook bargains a helpful contribution to modern scholarly debate approximately past due vintage non secular heritage and the connection among Christianity and different religions.
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Extra resources for Debate and Dialogue (Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies)
J. ZEILLER, Paganus. Étude de terminologie historique, Fribourg 1917, 59–70. MATTHEWS 1989, 544, n. 3 remarks that by the later fourth century, paganus has come to mean country-folk. 50 OROS. hist. 1 prol. 9: praeceperas mihi uti adversus vaniloquiam pravitatem eorum qui alieni a civitate Dei ex locorum agrestium compitis et pagis pagani vocantur sive gentiles, quia terrena sapiunt. 51 B. ALTANER, ‘Paganus. Eine bedeutungsgeschichtliche Untersuchung’, ZKG 58 (1939), 130–41 (= B. ALTANER, Kleine Patristische Schriften, Berlin 1967, 582–96).
There was, however, no clear single term for pagan in Hebrew, Greek or Latin until the mid-fourth century. The Christian concept of pagan was inﬂuenced by Jewish tradition that distinguished between Jews and non-Jews. Israel needed ‘nations’ for the construction of its own self-identity. The Greek words ethne and ethnikoi referring to nonChristians and non-Jews are loan translations from the Hebrew gôyîm that refers to other, foreign, nations and tribes contrasted with Israel, God’s chosen people.
Orosius applies the term recurrently. 62 Paganus in the sense of non-Christian was a word of the popular language and was probably in common use before it appeared in literary texts and legislation. 63 Because of this double meaning, church fathers and legislative texts often clariﬁed the use of gentiles with explanatory remarks of pagani. There is a gradual 57 There are two unclear cases usually dated to the beginning of the fourth century. These are two funerary inscriptions erected by parents to their daughters: CIL X 7112 presents the deceased daughter as ﬁdelis facta and pagana nata and CIL VI 30463 states that the departed girl inter fedeles ﬁdelis fuit, inter [al]ienos pagana fuit.
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