Origin: oe. Hethen, as. Hen, prop. An adj. Fr. H heath, and orig, therefore, one who lives in the country or on the heaths and in the woods (cf. Pagan, fr. Pagus village); akin to os. Hin, adj, D. Heiden a heathen, g. Heide, OHG. Heidan, Icel. Heiinn, adj, Sw. Heden, goth. Haipn, fem. See heath, and cf. Hoiden.
2. An irreligious person. If it is no more than a moral discourse, he may preach it and they may hear it, and yet both continue unconverted heathens. (v. Knox) The heathen, as the term is used in the Scriptures, all people except the Jews; now used of all people except Christians, jews, and Mohammedans. Ask of me, and i shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance. (Ps. Ii. 8)
Synonym: Pagan, gentile. See Pagan.
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... 2 Chapter 2] Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition. ...
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