Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Conscience, Freedom of
(2,942 words)

The English term “conscience” has its ancient predecessors in the Greek terms synesis, syneidesis, syneidos and in the Latin translation conscientia. The Greek prefix syn and the Latin prefix con imply that conscience is knowledge of a specific kind, not merely general consciousness, although it means that in certain contexts and logically presupposes the human capacity for self-awareness (Atkins, 2014; Bernard, 1987). Conscience is “with-knowledge” or “shared knowledge,” or in its verbal form, synoida, it denotes “to know together with.” Although there is some evide…

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Braun, Willi, “Conscience, Freedom of”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 25 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2021

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