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Record Type: Review   ID: 690

The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook. Sacred Texts of the Mystery Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean World

Meyer, Marvin, W. (Ed.)

 This is an anthology of 40 texts of (primarily) the Greco-Roman mystery religions. Each text is preceded by an introductory essay by Meyer, which provides information about the text and a list of sources for further information. In the Introduction to the book, he notes that "one type of religion, the so-called ‘mysteries,’ flourished during the Hellenistic period and proved very popular among people seeking new and more satisfying religious experiences. ... The mysteries were secret religious groups composed of individuals who decided, through personal choice, to be initiated into the profound realities of one deity or another" for purposes of personal salvation (pp. 3-4). The experience of enlightenment, or "seeing the light," was the primary goal. The rituals which induced this experience, however, are still not known in detail though the statements used to describe the experience have been preserved and are included in this book. In the Introduction Meyer describes the features the various mysteries had in common. The selections included deal with the following mysteries (the number in parentheses is the number of texts included): The Greek Mysteries of the Grain Mother and Daughter, and Related Mysteries (7); The Andanian Mysteries of Messenia (2); The Greek Mysteries of Dionysos (8); The Anatolian Mysteries of the Great Mother and Her Lover, and the Syrian Goddess (7); The Egyptian Mysteries of Isis and Osiris (5); The Roman Mysteries of Mithras (7); and The Mysteries Within Judaism and Christianity (5).
Publisher Information:San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1987. 267p. Glossary: 255-263; 7 illus; Suggested Readings by chapter.
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