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The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook : Sacred…
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The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook : Sacred Texts of the Mystery…

by Marvin W. Meyer

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A valuable anthology of ancient texts describing the Mystery Religions (or Mystery Cults) -- the Greek and Roman religions that held secret initiations where members experienced trials, saw sacred dramas, re-evaluated life and death, and learned secrets of the cosmos. Part fraternal organization, part passion play/sacred drama, part pilgrimage, these religions have largely kept their secrets because worshipers were sworn to silence.

This book collects the contemporary texts that describe (or at least give clues) about the Mystery Religions of Isis, Demeter, Bacchus, Cybele, Mithras, and others -- and has an intriguing final chapter on how these religions influenced Judaism and Christianity. (You will never read the letters of Paul in the same way...)

A wonderful glimpse into one of the most interesting corners of Greco-Roman religion -- which was not all somber processions, Etruscan divinations, or animal sacrifices. A vividly human look at how religions create grandeur and meaning and an essential companion to any of the many fine scholarly studies of these ancient religions.

-Kushana ( )
1 vote Kushana | Jan 30, 2009 |
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Book description
Gathers selections from Greek and Roman history, plays, and poetry that refer to the mystery religions, and briefly explains what is known about how these religions got their start
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 081221692X, Paperback)

Zeus and the other gods of shining Olympus were in reality divine only by popular consent. Over the course of time Olympian luster diminished in favor of religious experiences more immediate to the concerns of people living in an increasingly cosmopolitan ancient world. These experiences were provided by the mysteries, religions that flourished particularly during the Hellenistic period and were secretly practiced by groups of adherents who decided, through personal choice, to be initiated into the profound realities of one deity or another. Unlike the official state religions, in which people were expected to make an outward show of allegiance to the local gods, the mysteries emphasized an inwardness and privacy of worship within a closed band of initiates.

In this book, Marvin W. Meyer explores the sacrifices and prayers, the public celebrations and secret ceremonies, the theatrical performances and literary works, the gods and goddesses that were a part of the mystery religions of Greece in the seventh century B.C. to the Judaism and Christianity of the Roman world of the seventh century A.D.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Zeus and the other gods of shining Olympus were in reality divine only by popular consent. Over the course of time Olympian luster diminished in favor of religious experiences more immediate to the concerns of people living in an increasingly cosmopolitan ancient world. These experiences were provided by the mysteries, religions that flourished particularly during the Hellenistic period and were secretly practiced by groups of adherents who decided, through personal choice, to be initiated into the profound realities of one deity or another. Unlike the official state religions, in which people were expected to make an outward show of allegiance to the local gods, the mysteries emphasized an inwardness and privacy of worship within a closed band of initiates. In this book, Marvin W. Meyer explores the sacrifices and prayers, the public celebrations and secret ceremonies, the theatrical performances and literary works, the gods and goddesses that were a part of the mystery religions of Greece in the seventh century B.C. to the Judaism and Christianity of the Roman world of the seventh century A.D.… (more)

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