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Piety (Pietas)
(402 words)

[German Version]

The term piety, from Lat. pietas, largely synonymous with Gk εὐσέβεια/eusébeia, OHG and Gothic fruma, and modern Ger. Frömmigkeit stands on the borderline between ethics and religion. It denotes an obedient and respectful attitude toward a person or object, usually considered a positive trait. Today it is often reduced to a person’s attitude toward the departed.

A shift of meaning is already visible in Latin: on the one hand, pietas denotes behavior in the interpersonal sphere, especially toward one’s parents (Cic. Partitiones oratoriae 78; De inventione 2.66); on…

Cite this page
Grethlein, Christian, “Piety (Pietas)”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 11 December 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1877-5888_rpp_SIM_124390>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013



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