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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

"Neo" means "new." So when someone chooses to use the word as a prefix to an established religious tradition, you can bet there are changes in store. The idea behind the use of the word is that traditions can easily get cemented in old-fashioned language and cultural habits. Things that made sense hundreds of years ago may sound, to twenty-first-century ears, quaint rather than intrinsically important.

Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656), for instance, thought the world was created over the course of one week in October in the year 4004 BCE (see Creationism). That was the orthodox view of his day, the early 1600s. Today there are people who disagree with his date, but not necessarily with his ideas about a higher power behind the creation of the universe. So they want to maintain certain Christian principles while updating their interpretation. In other words, they seek a "new" orthodoxy for today that unites eternal scriptural principles with modern scientific discoveries.

In the same way, orthodox pagans of ancient Europe probably personified deities of mountain and forest. Neo-pagans today are more apt to think in terms of nonpersonal forces at work in the cosmos. These powers are as real as gravity and electricity, but, unlike the ancient deities, they don't have faces and don't speak in an audible voice.

So whenever "neo" precedes a term describing a belief system, it reflects an attempt to maintain that belief system's underlying philosophical structure, perhaps even its practical application, while rethinking its language and cultural images.

References in periodicals archive ?
Neo-orthodoxy was passe in theology and theologians were debating the death of God.
Moreover, there is something extremely jarring about the smug note that creeps into his treatment of Christian neo-orthodoxy, a note that I believe those sharing Professor Marty's political views would call "triumphalism" Here, at last, he seems to be saying, is a way to have both left-wing politics and the gospel message of sin and redemption by a transcendent God.
Here are echoes of the neo-orthodoxy of Karl Barth and Hendrik Kraemer but also, explicitly, of Blaise Pascal and, later in the book, of Augustine of Hippo.
However, and deliciously, he opines that "Barth's strong neo-orthodoxy set a nearly impossible standard, even for himself (as some of his later writings show), but it served as an antidote to what he perceived as the excesses of the liberal, humanistic and existential theologies that by Barth's time had become very influential.
According to Silk, King wrote that he had begun his career as a thoroughgoing liberal but that reading Reinhold Niebuhr had tempered his optimism, though he had never succumbed to an "all-out acceptance of neo-orthodoxy," and indeed found himself in basic agreement with the Social Gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch, which he proposed to put into action with a "Gandhian satyagraha.
While Mbano provides some important groundwork for the church's self-understanding in relation to Judaism, he ultimately falls back on the inclusivism of Vatican II and Protestant neo-Orthodoxy, which, in the opinion of the reviewer, still has a clear ring of superiority.
Vissers finds similarities, "a family resemblance," between important neo-orthodox theologians at this point, but also notes that neo-orthodoxy is by no means a homogenous school.
In the nineteenth century it took root and flowered; in the early twentieth century it became the founding idea of a new theological establishment; in the 1930s it was marginalized by neo-orthodoxy theology; in the 1960s it was rejected by liberation theology; by the 1970s it was often taken for dead.
Like American neo-orthodoxy, the movement was concerned with the problem of theology and cultured.
Topical themes discuss his Calvinist childhood, which conflicted with the American way; his undergraduate years at Amherst; his graduate years at Union Seminary in New York, where he was influenced by the radical teachings of Paul Tillich, the neo-orthodoxy of Reinhold Niebuhr, and the teachings of Karl Barth; his conscientious objection to war, offset by his duties as a chaplain in World War II and rekindled in protests against the draft and the Vietnam War; his civil-rights activism in the U.
Barth's neo-orthodoxy is faulted because of its implication that revelation has been dropped from a divine source directly into the human community.
The next chapter gives familiar examples of each: conflict is exemplified by scientific materialism and Biblical literalism; independence by two-language approaches, neo-orthodoxy, and advocates of primary causality; dialogue by those pursuing limit-questions or "methodological and conceptual parallels"; and independence by practitioners of natural theology, theology of nature, and systematic synthesis.