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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Areopagus

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The hill of Mars, the seat of the ancient and venerable supreme court of Athens, called the Areopagites, Acts 17:19-34 . It was composed entirely of ex-archons, of grave and blameless character, and their wise and just decisions made it famous far beyond the bounds of Greece. Their numbers and authority varied greatly from age to age. They held their sessions by night. They took cognizance of murders, impieties, and immoralities; punished vices of all kinds, idleness included; rewarded or assisted the virtuous; and were peculiarly attentive to blasphemies against the gods, and to the performance of the sacred mysteries. The case of Paul, therefore, would naturally come before them, for he sought to subvert their whole system of idolatry, and establish Christianity in its place. The Bible narrative, however, rather describes an informal popular movement. Having heard Paul discoursing from day to day in the market place, the philosophic and inquisitive Athenians took him one day up into the adjacent hill, for a more full and quiet exposition of his doctrine. The stone seats of the Areopagus lay open to the sky; in the court stood Epicureans, Stoics, etc.; around them spread the city, full of idolaters and their temples; and little south-east rose the steep height of the Acropolis, on whose level summit were crowded more and richer idolatrous structures than on any other equal space in the world. Amid this scene, Paul exhibited the sin and folly of idol-worship with such boldness and power, that none could refute him, and some were converted.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Areopagus'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ats/a/areopagus.html. 1859.

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