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Old 12-05-2001, 04:16 PM   #1
lpetrich
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Post "The Unknown God" in Acts

In Acts, there is mention of an altar to the "Unknown God" in the Areopagus; is there any mention of this deity outside of the New Testament? I'm not aware of any, and I like the theory that it was shorthand for "all the other gods" -- mentioning "all the gods" was common in the Hellenistic world.
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Old 12-05-2001, 06:38 PM   #2
Muad'Dib
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Such a practice was not uncommon in the ancient world: sacrifice to all the gods you know about, and add an extra altar to the Unknown in case you've missed any (just to avoid ticking him/her/them off). Although AFAIK we haven't found any such altars inscribed "To an Unknown God" in Athens to date, there are several references to them in writings dating to around the first century. In particular, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0674991044/ref=ase_internetinfidelsA/107-7649223-1801333" target="_blank">Pausanias</a>, a second-century CE traveller/historian, writes (IIRC) that Athens had several of these altars at the time of his visit.

[ December 05, 2001: Message edited by: Muad'Dib ]</p>
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Old 12-07-2001, 12:26 AM   #3
lpetrich
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Meaning that Paul had misunderstood that Unknown-God altar, or else tried to exploit it in order to make converts. Can anyone say

"All things to all people"

?
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Old 12-16-2001, 09:33 AM   #4
diana
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Quote:
Originally posted by lpetrich:
<strong>Meaning that Paul had misunderstood that Unknown-God altar, or else tried to exploit it in order to make converts. </strong>
This is the way I've always understood it, even as a brainwashed child. I never quite understood how Paul somehow knew "The Unknown God" they worshipped was the god he (Paul) preached, unless he was a mind-reader or something. The Unknown God is...uh...unknown.

Obviously, he was exploiting it. He saw a chance to witness, and the rest is hyperbol...history.

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