Re: Pagan versus Secular Greek

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Wed Apr 29 1998 - 01:57:18 EDT

On Tue, 28 Apr 1998 10:16:41 -0600 "Edgar M. Krentz" <>
>>I used to think the term "pagan" carried a derogatory connotation, but
>>later came to realilze its use does not necessarily mean that at
>>was the way I was using it recently, but it seems others are seeing a
>>derogatory sense in it. Perhaps "secular" is a better way to describe
>>non-sacred or non-canonical literature.
>Paul, I think the best term is "non-biblical."
>Much Greek literature is very religious in the ancient Greek world. All
>the great Greek drama, both tragic and comic was produced in honor of
>Dionysos. Pindar's Odes were filled with religious motifs. There are
>to Homer, etc.
>Fred Danker taught me to avoid the term pagan for non-Christian
>It originally mean "of the courntryside" as opposed to the city, id est,
>rude, uncultured. Christians applied it to non-Christians after
>Christianity became the dominant religion. At that time the cities
>primarily Christian, while the conservative country folk kept their
>religion, or transferred many of their non-Christian folk religion
>practices, and (to Christians) superstitious or magical rites into their
>Christian religion. The term is, as you suggest above, derogatory. Some
>religious scholars use the term profane for that, from the Latin pro
>meaning outside of, i.e. in front of the temple, that is
>The problem with non-Christian Greek literature was not that it was
>(in that derogatory sense), but TOO religious! "Secular" won't do
>that implies, at least to me, non-religious.
>Hence I use either "non-Christian" or "non-biblical" to describe the
>literature--if a descriptive adjective is needed.


Thank you for that enlightening history. I shall do my best to remember
to use "non-Christian" or "non-biblical," certainly accurate

Paul Dixon

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