Ancient Churches Lexicon Entry:


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The most ancient method of writing was to represent subjects by using persons and words that really meant things that were quite different. Secular writers later composed their historical narratives in this way, including subjects that had to do with civic and moral life. In fact, they wrote them in such a way that nothing at all was to be taken literally as written, but something else was to beunderstood beneath the literal narrative. For example, they presented affections of every kind as gods and goddesses. But later, the ancient gentiles began to worship these symbols as actual gods and goddesses (AC 1756). They also attributed omnipotence to these divinities, and this gave rise to Greek myths (TCR 58). They called the greatest of their gods ‘Jupiter’ or ‘Jove’, a name that is possibly derived from ‘Jehovah’, and they filled his court with other divinities (TCR 9).

Swedenborg heard an angel teacher explaining to some boys that the ancient gentiles made so many gods because they thought materially of God and therefore of His attributes; out of every attribute they made a god (TCR 623, AR 611). The faith of the ancient gentiles in Jupiter and the others was a faith in false gods (TCR 655). But the philosophers of the following age, such as Plato and Aristotle, asserted that these were not so many gods, but so many properties, qualities and attributes of the one God (TCR 9).

See also:

Greece and Rome, Myths, Significatives, Writing

Passages relating to Gentiles and the Ancient Churches:

AC 1756; AC 2724; AC 4936; AR 611; TCR 9; TCR 58; TCR 623; TCR 655
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