Catholic Dictionary


(Greek areopagus: hill of Mars or Ares) In general, anyone who speaks at the Areopagus, a small hill northwest of the Acropolis, in Athens; it was the site of a public court where cases were heard regarding complaints brought against teachers and other public lecturers; thus, Paul was summoned there on the charge that his teaching was "startling" (Acts 17:16-34); his defense is noteworthy for its more philosophical style and his appeal to the altar there dedicated to the "unknown god." One of the court members, Dionysius, converted to Christianity; he is usually called the Areopagite.

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