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In the New Testament the phrase occurs only once, in the account of Paul’s experiences in Athens (Ac 17:18), when some of his auditors said, "He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods" (xena daimonia). Here the thought is clearly that by his preaching of Jesus he was regarded as introducing a new divinity, that is one who was strange or foreign to the Athenians and of whom they had never heard before. Like the Romans of this period the Athenians were doubtless interested in, and more or less favorable to, the numerous new cults which were coming to their attention as the result of the constant intercourse with the Orient. See preceding article.
Walter R. Betteridge
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