Monday, 22 January 2018

Pious (January)

Years ago I was surprised when a Roman Catholic acquaintance described certain devout faithful as pious. He didn’t mean it nicely; I thought pious meant religious, he meant too religious. In a Guardian review (19th January 2018): “Gibbon was a child of the European Enlightenment, and he viewed his task as a historian of early Christianity as a dispassionate, scientific one: to see things as they are, rather than as the pious would want them to be.” Snide, derogatory, and perjorative, the word has come to mean its opposite. No religious person would want to be caught dead being pious.

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