Evangel - proclaimer of a religion

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Fri Oct 21 00:21:31 UTC 2011

The OED's citations for "evangel" (n.2) stop at 1878. The definition given is:

A proclaimer of the gospel; = evangelist n.

All definitions are related to Christianity.

There is a definition under "evangelist" that allows non-Christian use with citations in 1978 and 1988:

d. transf. A zealous advocate of a cause or promulgator of a doctrine.

I found a 1901 citation that uses "evangel" in relation to Buddha and Christ. I suppose the use with respect to Siddhartha Gautama might be considered to fit within the Christian meanings, though this suggests other examples might be found demonstrating "evangel" should be given a wider definition.

"The Lore of Cathay or The Intellect of China," W.A.P Martin, DD., LL.D., Fleming H. Revell Company: 1901, p. 251

Both are found to pursue a course exactly the reverse of that mapped out in a celebrated _dictum_ of Auguste Comte; their initial stage was not far removed from positivism, and yet both evolve a spiritual universe; one burst the bonds of Hindu caste, the other broke down the walls of Jewish isolation, and each stretched forth its hand to the nations with the offer of a new evangel. Beginning as wide apart in spirit as in geographical situation, they have gradually approached each other, so that they have come, in the course of ages, to occupy the same ground in both senses, and each to lend a tinge to the other.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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