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Honouring ancient pagans and paganism

“Pagan” and “Paganism” was early Christian slang, meaning “civilian” and not as some say, pejorative terms for “rustic” or “provincial”. Some of the most high profile “pagans” attacked by Christians in antiquity dwelt in sophisticated cities. For example the pagan martyr Hypatia, was from Alexandria, a city notorious to Christians, for its intellectual pagans.

Robin Lane Fox is always interesting, although he does share the tendency of many historians of his generation, who tend to view things either through the distorting filter of Greek philosophy/theology or from a Christian terminus. But we might ask, was everything in the ancient world just preparation for the coming of Christianity – or can it be examined as a set of ideas in its own right? We might therefore question some of his comments about “pagan” religion being all about “cult acts” and void of any notion of inner piety. As always this tends to avoid the “elephant in the room”. Ancient Egypt is now widely acknowledged as being a special case. The ancient Egyptians were renowned for their piety. But why do modern scholars never see things from their point of view when writing about “pagan” religion?

Read the original article at: Mogg Morgan

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