By Luke Timothy Johnson

The query of Christianity’s relation to the opposite religions of the realm is extra pertinent and tough this present day than ever sooner than. whereas Christianity’s old failure to understand or actively have interaction Judaism is infamous, Christianity’s much more shoddy checklist with recognize to “pagan” religions is much less understood. Christians have inherited a nearly unanimous theological culture that thinks of paganism by way of demonic ownership, and of Christian missions as a rescue operation that saves pagans from inherently evil practices.

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Within the discourse of Christian theology, only three questions were addressed concerning tongues, with no real resolution reached on any of them. First, the nature of the phe­ nomenon: did people speak in real foreign languages or did they babble? 25 Because the conversation about this one religious phenomenon was reduced to claim and counterclaim, little headway could be made on actually understanding the religious significance of glossolalia. Religious studies, in contrast, is able to bring a variety of cross-cultural, social­ scientific, and literary perspectives to bear on the same phenomenon, not in or­ der to ask "is this good or bad," or " is it from God or the psyche," or "should we do it or not," but simply in the quest for understanding glossolalia as a human religious activity.

Within the discourse of Christian theology, only three questions were addressed concerning tongues, with no real resolution reached on any of them. First, the nature of the phe­ nomenon: did people speak in real foreign languages or did they babble? 25 Because the conversation about this one religious phenomenon was reduced to claim and counterclaim, little headway could be made on actually understanding the religious significance of glossolalia. Religious studies, in contrast, is able to bring a variety of cross-cultural, social­ scientific, and literary perspectives to bear on the same phenomenon, not in or­ der to ask "is this good or bad," or " is it from God or the psyche," or "should we do it or not," but simply in the quest for understanding glossolalia as a human religious activity.

First, the entire system of festivals and auguries and sacrifices might be A Preliminary Profile of Greco-Roman Religion 35 dismissed as relatively otiose because they are not discussed extensively in our extant religious literature. The opposite, however, is the case: what extant liter­ ary and archaeological evidence points us to is the realm of that which need not be discussed because it belongs to the realm of "what goes without saying" because it is so customary, so deeply entrenched in the culture.

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