Doxa (δόξα) is a Greek word meaning common belief or popular opinion, from which are derived the modern terms of orthodoxy and heterodoxy. Used by the Greek rhetoricians as a tool for the formation of argument by using common opinions, the doxa was often manipulated by sophists to persuade the people, leading to Plato's condemnation of Athenian democracy.
The word doxa picked up a new meaning between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC when the "Seventy" (evdomikonta) Hebrew scholars in Alexandria translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. In this translation of the Scriptures, called the Septuagint, the scholars rendered the Hebrew word for "glory" (kabot) as doxa. This translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was used by the early church and is quoted frequently by the New Testament authors. The effects of this new meaning of doxa as "glory" is evidenced by the ubiquitous use of the word throughout the New Testament and in the worship services of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Examples of elements of the doxa of our society include:
Pierre Bourdieu, in his pathbreaking Outline of a Theory of Practice , used the term doxa to denote what is taken for granted in any particular society. The doxa, in his view, is the experience by which “the natural and social world appears as self-evident” . It encompasses what falls within the limits of the thinkable and the sayable (“the universe of possible discourse”), that which “goes without saying because it comes without saying” . The humanist instances of Bourdieu's application of the doxa notion are to be traced in Distinction where doxa sets the limits on a social mobility within the social space through limits imposed on the characteristic consumption of each social individual: certain culture artefacts recognised through doxa as not appropriate to actual social position, hence doxa helps to petrificate social limits, the "sense of one's place", the true sense of belonging, closely connected with the idea of "this is not for us" (ce n´est pas pour nous). Thus individuals become voluntary subjects of those incorporated mental structures that deprive them from more deliberate consumption .
Doxa and opinion denote, respectively, a society's taken-for-granted, non-questioned truths, and the sphere of that which may be openly contested and discussed.