"To The Unknown God"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 178

Context: Paul, confronted by Christ on the Damascus Road, is converted to Christianity; just as he has ardently persecuted the Christians before his conversion, he now preaches the gospel of Jesus with equal fervor, principally in the Gentile lands. His missionary efforts are frequently met with strong opposition: some Jews of Thessalonica are not content with driving him from that city, but also stir up the people of Berea, so that Paul has to flee to Athens. In Athens Paul waits for Silas and Timothy to join him, and in the meantime, he preaches to the Athenians, who are so open-minded about religion that the city is filled with idolatry of all sorts, as well as with a number of schools of philosophy. Speaking to a highly educated audience at Mars' Hill, Paul begins:

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. . . Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

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