The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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On the Areopagus - 1 A New Series

Saturday, January 31, 2009
St Paul
Godzdogz has been marking the Year of St Paul in a number of ways including, the A-Z of Paul which we published last year. During February 2009 we will publish a new series called 'On the Areopagus'. This refers to Paul's preaching at Athens, recounted in Acts 17. The Areopagus was, like the Forum in Rome, a central meeting place for business, discussion and civil affairs. We are told that Paul there spoke to the philosophers and citizens of Athens, trying to make connections between their convictions and worship and the gospel of Christ.

His preaching went well for a long time, they were curious and interested, but it broke down when he began to speak about judgement and the fact that God had appointed one man, Jesus, to be judge, confirming his role as judge by raising him from the dead. At that point many laughed, others said they would listen again sometime, and a handful came to believe.

Our idea in 'On the Areopagus' is to try to imitate Paul in his preaching at Athens, making connections between the convictions and concerns of people in various areas of life and the gospel of Christ. Our hope is to show how Catholic teaching responds to contemporary questions in culture, politics, science, etc. starting, where possible, with texts of Paul himself. We want to show how the gospel sheds a distinctive light on human problems. We hope that it will be of interest to you and that it will offer answers, or at least further food for thought, about many of the questions you send our way.

The Areopagus as it is today

In launching the Vatican's YouTube channel, Pope Benedict referred to St Paul's preaching on the Areopagus. 'So that the Church and its message continue to be present in the great Areopagus of social communications as defined by John Paul II', he said, 'and so that it is not a stranger to those spaces where numerous young people search for answers and meaning in their lives, you must find new ways to spread voices and images of hope through the ever-evolving communications system that surrounds our planet' (see here).


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