The Mystery-Religions

The Mystery-Religions

Language: English

Pages: 386


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This classic study offers an understanding of the ancient religious cults, exploring their appeal and eventual failure in the face of Christianity. Topics include the Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Greece; Asiatic cults of Cybele, the Magna Mater, and Attis; Dionysian groups; Orphics; Egyptian devotees of Isis and Osiris; Mithraism; and others.













that of the synagogue, the main focus of proselytism, and an energetic literary apologetic.66 The Jew was quick to realize that he was living in a world that had attained a remarkable degree of culture, and that he must attempt to persuade thinkers as well as the thoughtless masses. Hellenism was the heaviest counterweight to Judaism. In the Greek tongue spoken by all there was a religious and philosophical literature which he could not afford to overlook. When the merits of all the competing

Europe. Rome became acquainted with Greek civilization in Magna Graecia from 281 B.C. onwards, and in the last quarter of the same century she interfered in the affairs of Greece. The victory of Cynoscephalae, 196 B.C., gave Rome the upper hand over Macedonia, and the victories of Thermo-pylae and Magnesia forced Antiochus of Syria to yield the hegemony in 45 the Greek world to Rome. From this date Rome disposed of the countries of Asia Minor as she deemed best. Early in the first century B.C.

national religion, while their faith in themselves increased. They were even in a worse position than the Greeks, since their religion made no appeal to the imagination by a rich mythology nor to the aesthetic taste by a pantheon of lovely anthropomorphic divinities. The 50 ignorant had recourse to superstitions and foreign cults ; the learned turned to foreign philosophies, the noblest form of which was that Stoicism of Roman type founded by Panaetius and Posidonius, taught later by Seneca,

former occasion I would once more record my gratitude to Professor H. A. A. Kennedy, New College, Edinburgh, for valuable suggestions in revision of the manuscript. It is fair to add that in such a wide and controversial field the writer alone is responsible for the views expressed. As a Britisher I would take this occasion of expressing my grateful appreciation of American hospitality extended unstintingly during visits to Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburg, Southern Baptist Seminary,

disastrous to morality and religion. The wearers of these divine honours often vied with the Olympian gods in placing themselves above the recognized laws of morality. Their assumption of divine dignity accentuated their arrogance and cruelty, and contributed to the conversion of the principate of Augustus into the absolute despotism of Diocletian. This practice of deification was a retrograde step in the conception of the Divine and issued in the sceptical belief of Euhemerus that the gods were

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