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Catholic Dictionary




A body of classical ideals associated with ancient Greece and including reason, the pursuit of knowledge, and the application of philosophy to the study of religion. Assuming the guiding hand of Providence, Hellenism played an important role in helping to shape, on its human and cultural side, the origins and development of Christianity. The language of the New Testament writings was Greek, the Gentile civilization into which the Church entered was Greek, and the thought patterns of the educated classes in the first-century Mediter-ranean world were Greek.