The Uprising

Many of the subtleties of St. Paul’s Greek, unfortunately, disappear in many English translations.  This is not necessarily the fault of translators.  For example, St. Paul refers to two different groups when he refers to “dead” without the article and “the dead” with the article.  Despite this, it is difficult to translate texts into English without translating both as “the dead.”  Liturgically singing that Christ is ‘risen from dead’ is awkward, at best, in English.  In other cases, English translations reflect accurately St. Paul’s wording, but two ideas are so closely related in English that St. Paul’s distinction is unclear.  So, for example, the apostle carefully distinguishes between “the Jews” and “Israel.”  This distinction is often lost, however, to English…

Christianity and Paganism

An area fraught with disagreement is the relationship of Christianity to what has been called paganism.  The latter term itself presents some difficulty as it is a later coinage used to describe earlier religious forms.  It is not a term used by the people whose practice it describes and it gathers together under one head a vast swathe of beliefs, practices, and ways of seeing and interacting with the world.  The very concept of ‘religions’ is a later, Western European Protestant one.  Ancient people did not think of themselves as members or practitioners of ‘a religion’ among others.  Nor did they distinguish between ‘religion’ and other areas of life like politics, philosophy, or some secular sphere. Nevertheless, paganism is used…