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 What is a Pagan?

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Lunacin
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Registration date : 2008-04-01
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PostSubject: What is a Pagan?   Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:11 am

Found this thought i would share it and ask...what does it mean to you? Are you a pagan? Are you proud of it or ashamed?

Pagan

The term pagan is from Latin paganus, an adjective originally meaning "rural", "rustic" or "of the country." As a noun, paganus was used to mean "country dweller, villager." In colloquial use, it could mean much the same as calling someone today a 'Hillbilly'.

The semantic development of post-classical Latin paganus in the sense "non-Christian, heathen" is unclear. The dating of this sense is controversial, but the 4th century seems most plausible. An earlier example has been suggested in Tertullian De Corona Militis xi, "Apud hunc [sc. Christum] tam miles est paganus fidelis quam paganus est miles infidelis," but here the word paganus may be interpreted in the sense "civilian" rather than "heathen". There are three main explanations of the development:

(i) The older sense of classical Latin pāgānus is "of the country, rustic" (also as noun). It has been argued that the transferred use reflects the fact that the ancient idolatry lingered on in the rural villages and hamlets after Christianity had been generally accepted in the towns and cities of the Roman Empire; cf. Orosius Histories 1. Prol. "Ex locorum agrestium compitis et pagis pagani vocantur." From its earliest beginnings, Christianity spread much more quickly in major urban areas (like Antioch, Alexandria, Corinth, Rome) than in the countryside (in fact, the early church was almost entirely urban), and soon the word for "country dweller" became synonymous with someone who was "not a Christian," giving rise to the modern meaning of "Pagan." This may, in part, have had to do with the conservative nature of rural people, who may have been more resistant to the new ideas of Christianity than those who lived in major urban centers. However, it may have also resulted from early Christian missionaries focusing their efforts within major population centers (e.g., St. Paul), rather than throughout an expansive, yet sparsely populated, countryside (hence, the Latin term suggesting "uneducated country folk") until a bit later on.

(ii) The more common meaning of classical Latin pāgānus is "civilian, non-militant" (adjective and noun). Christians called themselves mīlitēs, "enrolled soldiers" of Christ, members of his militant church, and applied to non-Christians the term applied by soldiers to all who were "not enrolled in the army".

(iii) The sense "heathen" arose from an interpretation of paganus as denoting a person who was outside a particular group or community, hence "not of the city" or "rural"; cf. Orosius Histories 1. Prol. "ui alieni a civitate dei..pagani vocantur." See C. Mohrmann, Vigiliae Christianae 6 (1952) 9ff.

-- Oxford English Dictionary, (online) 2nd Edition (1989)
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Lunacin
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Registration date : 2008-04-01
Male
Location : Moonlit Paths, Deep Woods, Shadowed Alleys..all in OR
Number of posts : 45

PostSubject: Re: What is a Pagan?   Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:32 am

WOW you are one intelligent man there Lunacin! i could only wish to be as smart as your ego driven self has made you out to be! =)

ok that out of the way...

i am DAMN proud to be such an individual that nothing not even a religion can conform to my beliefs. i have found a goddess and recently a god has called to me so by BASE definition i am wiccan but i am far more pagan as i will not follow the rituals as i know the psychology of most religion
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