CESNUR 2004 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
The growth of contemporary Paganism raises the question of Christian hegemony in the Western religious context. Dating back to Constantines conversion, Christianity has advanced the gospel by diverse means often at the expense of the very people it was attempting to proselytize. However, a pagan survival has historically been present in the church and is emerging into mainstream Western spirituality. The contemporary expression of pre-Christian religious belief is critiquing Christianitys superior position in Western society. As Gus diZerega suggests, Pagan traditions are challenging over 1,500 years of Christian hegemony, offering a different view of how we can appropriately relate to the Sacred.
This paper is based upon research that began in 2001. The research culminated in 48 ethnographic interviews in the United States and Great Britain with practitioners of Druidry detailing their phenomenological beliefs. The paper, after defining Paganism, will explore an issue that emerged during the course of research. Namely, proselytism in early Christianity after Constantine and the conflict it created with Pagans that lingers on until today. It will suggest that St. Pauls dialogical model for discourse with religious others is a model to facilitate inter-religious dialogue as well as suggest that any Christian/Pagan dialogue must begin from mutual respect and appreciation of humanitys quest for spirituality. In order for constructive dialogue to take place, Christians and Pagans must be able to listen to and understand their detractors.
The terms Pagan and Neo-Pagan were once thought of pejoratively; however, they are increasingly looked upon as terms of endearment. Michael York has noted, As a general designation in todays more cosmopolitan world, it is time to rescue paganism from its historically negative connotations to be a useful and more affirmative endorsement of a neglected practice and marginalized worldview. Those adherents to pre-Christian European traditional religions in one form or another are proud to be Pagan or neo-Pagan and do not shy away from using the terms. As one Christian observer has noted, the term is self-understood as:
An individual whose interest in the religious sphere lies in patterns of belief which are non-orthodox and non-traditional in Western society and which more specifically pre-date Western societys dominant belief system as represented, for example, by Christianity or Judaism.
York, former professor of sociology of religion at Bath Spa University College and practicing shaman, has broadly defined the contemporary understanding of Pagan as it relates to mystery and folk religions of various people around the world. Etymologically derived from the Latin paganus or perhaps pagani or pagus, meaning either one who lives in the country, a civilian or perhaps people of a place, the terms original usage described anyone who worshipped in the old religion of the Roman government. Ronald Hutton, professor of British History at University of Bristol and participant in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, nonetheless, notes that by the 19th century Pagan had come to be associated with people of the countryside.
Pagan, as understood by Prudence Jones, former president of the Pagan Federation, describes a religion that is a nature-venerating theophany personified in the great goddess and the god. Hutton comments that Jones definition of Paganism might be desirable. He states, To her it was not an invention of the forward-thinking imagination but an attempt to re-establish concepts and values which had existed in the ancient world and had survived vestigially in form which is appropriate for the present day. Then, in Jones understanding, the resurgence of Paganism, while reviving the positive aspects of ancient forms, is a contemporary expression of pre-Christian belief systems such as Druidry and Ásatrú.
Hutton notes that Pagans generally accept three components as representative to all Pagans. First is the component of the inherent divinity of the natural world. Second, all Pagans reject any dogma that prescribes the manner in which one should conduct life. Third is the acceptance of female as well as male deities. He comments, Pagans today are people who hold those tenets and turn from symbolism, kinship, and inspiration to the pre-Christian religions of Europe and the Near East. . . . York provides an instructive definition of Paganism when he writes, . . . paganism includes (1) a number of both male and female gods, (2) magical practice, (3) emphasis on ritual efficacy, (4) corpospirituality, and (5) an understanding of gods and humans as codependent and related.
According to York, neo-Paganism is generally found in the West and is expressed in regards to the degree in which it relies on folk traditions, reconstruction of ancient beliefs or new religions altogether. Furthermore, Jones and Pennick point out that neo-Pagan is a term generally used by American commentators for all contemporary practices related to Paganism of any form. However, York finds that most academics and even practitioners utilize the term as a self-identifier. With this in mind, Paganism is delimited to religious expressions having roots dating to the pre-Christian era.
I am an evangelical Christian who teaches at an evangelical institution of higher education as a professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries. You can imagine the surprise of a senior Druid when he received an email from me indicating my desire to learn more about his religious beliefs. He wrote,
Thank you for your inquiry. I was very pleased, albeit somewhat surprised, to receive your message. It is not often that a member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, let alone an instructor at one of their universities, shows an interest in the pre-Christian religions of the Indo-European peoples.
Let us be candid, the mission statement of the EFCA starts with: Our Mission Statement: As empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to make disciples of all nations by evangelizing the unreached and teaching Christians to obey everything Christ commanded.
This line alone would lead one to believe that members of the EFCA would be somewhat blind to any religious belief other than their own. So, again, I thank you for your inquiry and applaud your courage in your expressed wish to learn about a religious perspective other than the EFCA version of Christianity.
While everyone that I met, spoke with or emailed during the course of my research were extremely amicable with me as an evangelical Christian, a number of participants expressed their dislike for Christianity in general. It was not only a dislike, but also a distrust of Christians. One informant questioned me extensively regarding my motives for wanting an interview. Another American evangelical Christian, in what was thought to be a desire to learn more about Druid belief, had interviewed the informant a few years prior. However, a documentary was later televised and the interview was used in a pejorative manner. This same informant had also taken part in a Pagan/Christian dialogue, but after realizing that the Christians were not open to the views of others he decided to no longer attend. He stated, The Christians did not want to dialogue. They believed their religion was the right one and so what was the point of dialogue.
This attitude has only been exacerbated with comments by outspoken evangelicals. In the aftermath of 11 September 2001, Jerry Falwell commented on the television program 700 Club,
And, I know that Ill hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen. Pat Robertson responded: Well, I totally concur . . .
In the same time period James Dobson stated on his Focus on the Family radio program, I also pray that the Lord will bring a national revival that will sweep through our nation and pull us back from the wickedness and the Paganism thats engulfed us in recent years. While Falwell publicly apologized on national television, Pagans have taken comments like these seriously. They believe that it has only exacerbated the superior position of Christianity as the only acceptable religion. Ultimately, comments like these have made it all the more difficult to publicly discuss Jesus Christs message of love and grace when the messenger is thought to be intolerant and condemning.
Much of the aversion to Christianity comes out of the feeling that religious beliefs were oppressed when Christianity became the dominant religious voice in Europe. Some would agree that Christianity has continued to oppress the religious beliefs of others. On Samhain 1999 the Pagan community worldwide wrote a letter to Pope John Paul II requesting that his papal apology include Pagans. The letter stated the following:
The signatories to this letter have become aware that your advisors in the Vatican are working on a formal Apology to the Protestant Christians, Jews and Muslims for the persecution these groups suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church during the centuries of the Inquisition. It is our understanding that you will formally present this Apology at the opening of the Holy Year 2000 Grand Jubilee, following a penitential procession from the Basilica of Santa Sabina to Romes Circus Maximus, where you will call for forgiveness for the historic failings of the Church. This is a brave and laudable effort, heralding the beginning of a great healing between the Catholic Church and the groups that have, historically, been persecuted in its name.
We note however, that early news releases concerning this event have not indicated that those accused of being Witches, and those indigenous (i.e. Pagan) peoples who were forcibly converted by the Church will be included in your apology. This letter is a formal request for that omission to be rectified. As leaders of the contemporary Pagan/Wiccan community, we sincerely hope that Your Holiness will lead the way to mutual respect for all religions and spiritual paths by including all those who suffered from the tragedy of the Inquisition.
Modern Pagans, including many identified as Witches and Druids, comprise a global spiritual movement that draws its inspiration and traditions from indigenous pre-Christian religions. In the name of our spiritual ancestors who suffered persecution during the Inquisition, we respectfully request inclusion of Pagans and Witches in your Apology Address.
The letter was signed with 1649 signatures, not all of whom were Pagan. On 12 March 2000 the Pope offered his prayer for forgiveness on what the Vatican called the Day of Pardon. While it was general in nature and has caused considerable discussion regarding its efficacy, it seemed to satisfy the Pagan community.  However, the struggle of dialogue continues. It will help to situate the struggle historically.
After the conversion of Constantine the Christian church enjoyed a position of privilege unprecedented in its brief history. The religious edicts of toleration (AD 314 and AD 324) provided a milieu of religious pluralism; however, it was not long before the church began to suppress the religious beliefs of Pagans. Constantines actions of legalizing the church bolstered the authority of the clergy. The clergy would now be exempted from certain taxes and civic duties in order to concentrate fully on the responsibilities of their office. Bishops sat as judges in civil suits and were given authority equal to law. Almost as a foreshadowing of Enlightenment rationalism, Constantines heirs issued a law against superstitions and sacrifice (AD 341). Wilbert Shenk described the situation in terms of an emerging religio-political context that equated citizenship in the empire with membership in the church. Rodney Stark points out that Constantines conversion eliminated Christianitys dependence on volunteerism. It became an elite organization with state support.
Constantine and Christian emperors following him embarked upon a massive and spectacular building campaign to honor God just as Pagan emperors who dedicated buildings to Pagan gods. These basilicas were immense and costly. The church of St. John Lateran in Rome is but one example of the great expense of building a church according to imperial standards,
Around 500 pounds weight of it [gold] were needed at a cost of some 36,000 solidi. This sum, which might be translated into approximately £60 million today, could have fed about 12,000 poor for a year (according to calculations from Dominic Janes God and Gold in Late Antiquity). Another 22,200 solidi worth of silver (3,700 lbs.) was required for light fittings and another 400 pounds of gold for fifty gold vessels. 
These basilicas looked more like the great audience halls of emperors and Pagan temples than the house churches of the previous centuries. Horrified by the change in Christianity, St. Jerome would write, Parchments are dyed purple, gold is melted into lettering, manuscripts are dressed up in jewels, while Christ lies at the door naked and dying. By the end of the fifth century the church would accept its newfound wealth.
Priestly vestments came in line with the ornate churches and those of the deposed Pagan priests. Under Constantine, the office of bishop ultimately became the most powerful office in a city. Their influence was felt not only in religious matters, but also in social and political matters. The very fact that they were reprimanded for accepting gifts for penance or from those desiring to be ordained for personal profit demonstrated their power over a congregation and in a city.  The clergys newly attained authority negatively influenced their commitment to a discipline Christian life. This was far from the Christianity in Tertullians day, There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasure chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price.
In spite of the state and churchs efforts, from time to time Paganism enjoyed moments of revivals that sought to reinstate the priesthood and restore Pagan shrines. It was not until the Visigoth Alarics sack of Rome (AD 410) that organized Paganism in the Roman Empire ceased. However, the writings and decrees of history from Augustine to the antiquarians of the 19th century testify to what has been called pagan survivals among common people.
The privileged position that Christianity enjoyed after Constantines conversion summarily oppressed religious others. Less than a hundred years after his conversion, Augustine sought theological justification for the use of diverse means to convert heretics. Perhaps motivated by the Edict of Unity, which he viewed as an act of providence, his understanding of Luke 14:23 led him to coerce the conversion of heretics and unbelievers. He saw the justification of this type of conversion in St. Pauls experience with Christ on the road to Damascus.
You also read how he who was at first Saul, and afterwards Paul, was compelled, by the great violence with which Christ coerced him, to know and to embrace the truth; for you cannot but think that the light which your eyes enjoy is more precious to men than money or any other possession. This light, lost suddenly by him when he was cast to the ground by the heavenly voice, he did not recover until he became a member of the Holy Church.
According to Henry Kamen, he [Augustine] established a precedent which fortified the practice of repression by the mediaveval [sic] Church. Augustine regarded the punishment of Pagan practices as acceptable, For which of us, yea, which of you, does not speak well of the laws issued by the emperors against heathen sacrifices? In these, assuredly, a penalty much more severe has been appointed, for the punishment of that impiety is death. He believed that the church had a responsibility to weed out the tares from the wheat.
There is an unjust persecution which the ungodly operate against the Church of Christ; and a just persecution which the Churches of Christ make use of towards the ungodly . . . . The Church persecutes out of love, the ungodly out of cruelty.
It was Augustines justification that set the agenda for the advancement of Roman Christianity on the continent of Europe.
According to Jones and Pennick, adherents of Pagan religions suffered the death penalty if they did not submit to baptism or if they continued their religious practices. David Bosch notes that a Christian emperor could not reign over a Pagan people. Baptism was forced upon them in order for the emperor to justly rule. There was no distinction between political and religious loyalty.
Thomas Aquinas believed that Augustines justification of the use of force against those who opposed the Catholic Church was legitimate. Quoting from Augustines A Treatise Concerning the Correction of the Donatists as the theological basis for the churchs agenda to convert heretics, Aquinas affirms the Augustinian position,
None of us wishes any heretic to perish. But the house of David did not deserve to have peace, unless his son Absalom had been killed in the war which he had raised against his father. Thus if the Catholic Church gathers together some to the perdition of others, she heals the sorrow of her maternal heart by the delivery of so many nations.
Conversion in Europe was often politically motivated: whether fear of death or hope for victory at war and prosperity. It was also from the top down. After a kings conversion the people would follow. Emma Restall Orr, joint chief of the British Druid Order, might be correct when she asserts, The conversion of kings took place as an acknowledgement of a more powerful god of battle, not a move to a god of love. The result of this method of enticing Pagans to become Christian caused Pagan folk practices to go underground. Ultimately, a syncretized form of Christianity emerged and has precipitated the resurgence of pre-Christian religious practices in the West. This is far from what is seen in St. Pauls dialogical method for engaging religious others.
Dialogue is not a new method for communicating with religious others. The modern Christian use is often associated with the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Their respective meetings at New Delhi in 1961 and Second Vatican Council from 1962-1965 set the tone for inter-religious dialogue. The inclusiveness of their form of dialogue leaves evangelicals wrestling with the degree to which dialogue leads to syncretism. According to David Hesselgrave, witness and dialogue have been combined in such a way as to make world evangelization by ecumenists unlikely if not impossible. In the pluralistic theology of religions of John Hick and Paul Knitter, dialogue has become a euphemism for universalism as it devalues the uniqueness of any religious expression.
The English word dialogue comes from the Attic Greek dialogoj and means conversation. In the NT we see a few cognates such as dialegomai, dialogizomai, dialogismoj. Of these only diale/gomai is used ten of 13 times in Lukes Acts of the Apostles. All of the uses in Acts deal with the Apostle Paul. When Luke uses it to describe what Paul was doing, it is often translated in the New American Standard Bible as reasoning (6 times in Acts 17:2, 17; 18:4, 19; 19:8, 9), talking (2 times in Acts 20:7, 8) or discussion (2 times in Acts 24:12, 25). Consistent with Attic Greek, Dieter Kemmler agrees that the NT use of diale/gomai is best reflected as, Reasoned, or discoursed argumentatively, either in the way of dialogue . . . or in that of formal and continuous discourse. It seems apparent that Paul was conversing with various people and his conversation was dialogical probably in a Socratic manner. This is consistent with the understanding that Pauls itinerant work resembled that of traveling sophists and his instruction with that of the Hellenistic schools.
The manner in which St. Paul dialogued with religious others has several important characteristics that are highlighted in his encounter with classical Pagans. First, Paul respected the religious beliefs of others. While in Athens on his second missionary journey recorded in Acts 17, he seems to identify the searching for spirituality as a positive desire to know truth (Acts 17:22). The Lukan scholar, William Larkin, states, Here we have a respectful recognition of religious endeavors but not an acknowledgement that they lead to true, saving faith. Pauls respectful recognition of religious endeavors is not out of ignorance, Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols (Acts 17:16). Hans-Josef Klauck notes that the opening address at the Areopagus has the same structural elements as classical travel accounts. Pauls observing (the Greek qewre/w) was in response to something he had never encountered. The Greek here has the idea that in his observation he was also trying to understand what he encountered. His understanding of the religious beliefs of Athenians came not only from his observation, but also from knowledge of their literature. Twice Paul quotes from their own philosophers (Acts 17:28), In him we live and move and have our being, for we are indeed his offspring.
The second characteristic of St. Pauls encounter with religious others was his unpresuming attitude. He was invited into dialogue with religious others. It is after his observation that he receives an invitation and begins a dialogue with the philosophers of the city, Men of Athens, I observe (qewre/w) that you are a very religious in all respects, for while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with the inscription, To an Unknown God (Acts 17:22-23). Out of regard for the beliefs of others and what he has learned he respectfully acknowledged the spiritual journey of his hosts.
Finally, it appears that in Pauls dialogue with religous audiences in Acts he rarely addresses sin accompanied with the need for metanoia. We see his focus on sin in the epistles, but in the epistles he is addressing Christians. Instead, Paul gives instruction in a public forum that included the need to believe and turn from empty worship (Acts 14:15) that was done in agnoia (Acts 17:30) to the living God. His notion of conversion was consistent with his times. If people wanted to change their particular beliefs, it would be based upon their understanding of the instruction rather than through some evangelistic presentation or forced proselytism.
By the second century, philosophy replaced religion as the dominant aspect of the intellectual and spiritual life of the educated. The rise to prominence of philosophy suggested the need for conversion from a lower standard to a higher standard of life. Christians, considering that the Roman religion was untrue, saw continuity with philosophy as it posited the need for conversion. As a result, Christians hoped to reconcile philosophy with their own teaching. The conversion idea suggested by the philosophical movement of the time gave Christianity legitimacy in the manner in which it encountered classical Paganism.
The periegesis that is seen in Pauls interactions in Athens can be compared to the contemporary discipline of phenomenology of religion. Pauls dialogical method fits well with this classical genre of writers as they described their interactions with indigenous people through dialogue and observation. Paul did not have preconceived ideas about religious practice in Athens. If indeed he followed the pattern of itinerant educators it seems reasonable to suggest that he sought to understand phenomenologically the religious practices. This is precisely why we find him in the Agora of Athens.
The response from the Pagan philosophers was similar. Luke acknowledges that the Athenians enjoyed hearing new ideas (Acts 17:21). Paul happened to be the latest peripatetic coming through Athens. In order to understand what Paul was instructing they invited him to a dialogue. What he communicates was apparently interesting due to a subsequent invitation to further dialogue (Acts 17:32).
The discipline of phenomenology of religion seeks meaning as it leads the observer as close as possible to the beliefs of a religious people. While offering the dialogue partners opportunities to encounter religious beliefs different than their own, it is challenging for them to remain objective observers. Nevertheless, the observer must refrain from judgments of religious beliefs while the beliefs are observed as objectively as possible. This matter of bracketing or suspending judgment is crucial in opening dialogue with religious others. The objective of a phenomenology of religion should not be to judge the religious culture, but rather to understand it through observation and dialogue.
This paper has identified the ubiquitous problem of proselytism in Christianity with attempts to forcefully convert Pagan peoples after Constantines conversion. Pauls objective in dialogue was not conversion although conversion occurred. Instead, the objective was instruction through an informed understanding of religious others. The beginning point for a Christian/Pagan dialogue must be the recognition of the unfortunate results of well-meaning Christians. For dialogue to occur, Christians must recognize the injustice of early attempts to suppress religious others as well as the contemporary manifestations of similar means. As in St. Pauls dialogical method, conversations must take place in an environment of mutual respect with particular religious beliefs. While this does not justify one system of beliefs over another, it does lead to a suspension of judgment for the sake of objectivity. Through bracketing, respective practitioners can listen to conversations as instruction rather than proselytization.
Michael T. Cooper is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries in the School of Biblical and Religious Studies at Trinity International University. His current research is on the resurgence of Paganism in Western society. This article is adapted from his dissertation entitled, Prolegomena to a Christian Encounter with Contemporary Druidry: An Etic Perspective of a European Native Religion and Its Relationship to the Western Religious Landscape. Address: 2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015 USA.
Gus diZerega, Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience (St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn, 2001), xiv.
Loren Wilkinson, Circles and the Cross: Reflections on Neo-Paganism, Postmodernity, and Celtic Christianity, Evangelical Review of Theology 22 (1998): 30-31.
Michael York, Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion (New York: New York University Press, 2003), 6.
Quoted in Wilkinson, Circles and the Cross, 31.
See York, Pagan Theology.
Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick, A History of Pagan Europe (London: Routledge, 1995), 1; York, Pagan Theology, 6, 12. Cf. Ronald Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Witchcraft (Oxford: Oxford University, 1999), 4; Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (New York: Penguin, 1979), 9-10.
Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon, 4.
Ronald Hutton, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy (London: Blackwell, 1991), xvii.
Followers of specific paths within it such as Druidry, Wicca, and Ásatrú aim to live a contemporary form of those older religions which are described or hinted at in ancient writings. . . . Jones and Pennick, A History of Pagan Europe, 3.
Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon, 390.
York, Pagan Theology, 14.
York, Pagan Theology, 61.
Jones and Pennick, A History of Pagan Europe, 216. Cf. Carl E. Braaten, The Gospel for a NeoPagan Culture, in Either/Or: The Gospel or NeoPaganism, ed. Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 7-8.
York, Pagan Theology, 60.
Michael T. Cooper, What I Learned about Christianity from the Druids, Sacred Tribes (forthcoming).
As reported in Verbal Attacks on Pagans, etc. accessed 5 August 2003 from http://www.religioustolerance.org/reac_ter7.htm.
I have written to both Dobson and Falwell, but have only heard a reply from Dobsons media director. Interestingly enough, I received the phone call the day after I emailed him; however, he could not explain what Dobson meant by his comment.
The Pope said . . . Christians have often denied the Gospel; yielding to a mentality of power, they have violated the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and shown contempt for their cultures and religious traditions. . . . Information from http://www.lafond.us/pagans/Papal_Apology/index.htm, accessed 31 October 2003.
 Williston Walker, et al., The History of the Christian church (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1985), 184.
 Gerald Bonner, The Extinction of Paganism and the Church Historian, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 35, no. 3 (1984): 346.
Wilbert R. Shenk, Encounters with Culture Christianity, International Bulletin of Missionary Research (January 1994): 8.
Rodney Stark, Efforts to Christianize Europe, 400-2000, Journal of Contemporary Religion 16, no. 1 (2001): 107.
Charles Freeman, The Emperors State of Grace, History Today 51, no. 1, (2001): 19.
Jerome, Ep. 22, 32. Quoted in Freeman, The Emperors State of Grace, 13.
Henry Percival, ed., The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), 268.
Stark, Efforts to Christianize Europe, 107.
Tertullian, Apology 39.
Consider the Pagan emperors Julian ca. 361 and Eugenius ca. 391.
Jones and Pennick, A History of Pagan Europe, 72-73.
According to Hans von Campenhausen, it was a theological justification of force, (The Fathers of the Church [Peabody, Mas.: Hendickson, 1998], 239).
Augustine, Ep. 185, vii, 26.
And the master said to the slave, Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.
Augustine, Ep. 93, 5.
Henry Kamen, The Rise of Toleration (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1967), 14. It is important to note that it is from Augustine that we derive bellum justum as well as bellum Deo auctore.
Augustine, Ep. 93, 10.
Augustine, cited in Henry Kamen, The Rise of Toleration (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1967), 14.
Jones and Pennick, A History of Pagan Europe, 127.
David Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1991), 224.
Augustine, Ep 185, Chapter 8:32. As quoted in Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part II-II, Q 10, A 8, Rep 4. It is important to note that the Donatists were theologically orthodox. It was their unwillingness to accept the consecration of bishops ordained by those who had fallen in sin that caused Augustines reaction.
Lesslie Newbigin, A Word in Season: Perspectives on Christian World Missions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1994), 175-176.
Emma Restall Orr, Principles of Druidry (London: Thorsons, 1998), 39.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity (Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press, 1999), 16.
David Hesselgrave, Scripture and Strategy: The Use of the Bible in Postmodern Church and Mission (Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 1994), 90.
Dieter W. Kemmler, Faith and Human Reason: A Study of Pauls Method of Preaching as Illustrated by 1-2 Thessalonians and Acts 17, 2-4 (Leiden: Brill, 1975), 35-36.
I. Howard Marshall, The Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1980), 283; cf. Hans-Josef Klauck, Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity (Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress, 2003), 76.
Loveday Alexander, Paul and the Hellenistic Schools: The Evidence of Galen, in Paul in His Hellenistic Context, ed. Troels Engberg-Pedersen (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 61.
William J. Larkin, Acts (Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity, 1995), 255.
Klauck, Magic and Paganism, 75.
According to Klauck, There is not in fact a literal verbal parallel to this passage, but its components are found in early Greek philosophy, in the reflections about the being and the significance of Zeus, the highest god. In Magic and Paganism, 87.
Aratus, Phenomena 5 as cited in Larkin, Acts, 258; cf. Klauck, Magic and Paganism, 88.
The same can be said about Pagans. The pejorative treatment of Christians by Celsus is but one example.