Impiety  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Impiety is classically a lack of proper concern for the obligations owed to public religious observation or cult. Impiety was a main Pagan objection to Christianity, for unlike other initiates into mystery religions, early Christians refused to cast a pinch of incense before the images of the gods, among whom were the protective deified Emperors. Impiety in ancient civilizations was a civic concern, rather than religious. It was believed that it could bring down upon the whole res publica the wrath of the tutelary gods who protected the polis.

Socrates and Anaxagoras were put to death for impiety (against ancient Greek gods), and Aristotle was also charged with impiety after the death of Alexander the Great. According to the Vita Aristotelis Marciana, a much mutilated single manuscript in the Biblioteca Nazionale di San Marco in Venice, written about 1300, Aristotle left the city, saying, "I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy" (Vita Aristotelis, 41). The medieval Christian compiler has rendered the Athenians' crime as a "sin". However, sin was an alien concept to the Greeks and Romans. When Aramaic had to be translated into Greek in editing the New Testament, the Greek word hamartia came to be used. Hamartia ("missing the mark") is only very approximately translated as "sin."

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Impiety" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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