OT: Pagan vs. "pagan"
jean.dudley at gmail.com
Wed Apr 20 16:58:26 PDT 2005
With all due respect, Mr. Linden, Christian is a "generic description",
as well, but because it is a generic description of a collection of
specific (and non-related) religions, it is given the initial
capitalization. Your argument doesn't hold water. Further, "Xtian"
(alternatively "Xian") is a sobriquet used by early Christians
themselves, and is still being used as a respectful shorthand by
English-speaking Christian scholars the world over. As for those that
use the uncapitalized "judeo-christian", I'd say they are lacking in
knowledge of the use of capitalization, or are just plain ornery.
Yes, Pagan (then "pagan") was used pejoratively. It also meant
prostitute. Originally it meant "country dweller", with the
implication that these were the last outposts of indigenous religions
before pre-Christian Rome converted them to the religion of
Emperor-as-deity. The general connotation was "back-woods hick", I
believe. Now the word encompasses all of the reconstructed and
surviving indigenous religions. Including, I presume, the ones you
mentioned. And as such, it deserves capitalization.
It's good to know the historic uses of a word, the various flavors it
carried. It also helps to recognize new uses, and maintain the
standards of correct English usage.
As for sociological atlases, I'd disagree. There are lots of places
that Rome never conquered. Me, for example. *wry smile* How ironic
that the very term they used so pejoratively against others is now used
to describe them. Ever hear one of Garrison Keillor's "Lake Wobegone"
series, where the Lutherans denounce the Catholics as idolatrous
Yes, we're straying from the topic of religion and law, here. I'd be
happy to continue this discussion off-list, Mr. Linden, before Eugene
calls for our hanging and the burning of our corpses in the town
On Apr 18, 2005, at 9:59 PM, Will Linden wrote:
> At 09:25 AM 4/15/05 -0400, you wrote:
>> However, Wicca is a dogma-free religion. "An it harm none, do what
>> thou will" is one of the major beliefs. I suspect it's ignorance on
>> the part of the article's author--also you will note that "neo-pagan"
>> is used instead of Neo-Pagan. This is a common mistake, but the OED
>> and all American Dictionaries stipulate that proper names of
>> religions and religious groups are capitalized.
> Strongly disagree. "Neo-pagan" is a generic description. Are "Wiccan
> revivalists", neo-Hellenists like T. Taylor, Botkin's Church of
> Aphrodite, Norse revivalists, Slavic revivalists, and the group
> Chesterton found "carrying on the pious work of our ancestor King
> Penda" all a specific religion of "Paganism"?
> (And for most of its linguistic history, pejorative at that. That
> is why a sociological atlas will tell you that there are no more
> "pagans", only "animists".)
>> You don't see "judeo-christian", do you?
> Frequently, from the same sort of people who think they are scoring a
> tremendous point by writing "Xtian".
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