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Pagan/Paganism

(3,790 words)

Author(s): Kahlos, Maijastina
The concept of “pagans” was developed and used by ancient Christian writers to refer to their religious others. Pagans is a concept that only exists in relation to, and in most cases in contrast with, the concept of “Christians.” Christian authors made ample use of the term “pagans,” harnessing it to the project of constructing Christianity. Pagans were used to define the confines of being Christian. Thus, the development of the concept of pagans illustrates the evolving Christian self-conscious…
Date: 2020-12-17

Magic

(3,387 words)

Author(s): Kahlos, Maijastina
In Greco-Roman literature, the terms magoi and magi could refer to either the Persian priests or practitioners of magic, and occasionally to both (for the development of the term magoi/magi, see Bremmer, 1999, 1–9). Even the use of the terms magoi/magi was not unambiguously negative, but they could also be used in a neutral or even positive manner (Clem. Strom. 1.15).In general, “magic” and “magician” were labels imposed from outside; people did not usually apply the terms to themselves but rather used all the argumentation available to avoid the label. …
Date: 2020-12-17