In the ancient times, the newly-converted European cultures naturally reused their native "pagan" words to refer to some of the newly-acquired Christian concepts, rather then re-inventing the wheel. Were there, in the history of Early-Christianity, conservative priests or people who were opposed to such naming, mainly in the case of Latin people naming the Christian God "Deus" (which once had a "pagan" sense), by calling such thing an "heresy", "idolatry", "paganism", etc?

Other cases are Latin "Inferno" and Greek "Hades", formerly Roman and Greek mythology concepts, that came to refer to the Christian hell in the Latin and Greek languages, respectively (but I think those cases might be not as heretic as attributing the name of pagan god(s) to God). How strongly was this objected to?

  • 5
    Note that many of the Greek terms such as Hades were adopted by Hellenized Jews prior to the Christian era.
    – bradimus
    Sep 28, 2017 at 0:37
  • If you reject translating words and concepts, then what's the alternative? Transliterating Hebrew words? We have too much of that (and transliterated Greek) already.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 28, 2017 at 6:06
  • @curiousdannii I am not rejecting it, I am asking if early Christians rejected it.
    – Seninha
    Sep 28, 2017 at 6:09
  • 1
    "The first pope to change his name did so in the Sixth Century because he was named after the Roman god Mercury, and he thought it inappropriate to carry that name as pope." How Does The Pope Choose His Pope Name?
    – Ken Graham
    Sep 28, 2017 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


Even as early as apostolic times, there was use of the Greek word "theos" to speak about God, with no recorded opposition:

Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:

"You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, 'To an Unknown God.'

What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands ...

(Acts 17:22–24, NABRE)

That being the case it would be surprising to discover that subsequent Christians had any objections to the practice.

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