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eBook Mystery Cults in the Ancient World download

by Hugh. Bowden

eBook Mystery Cults in the Ancient World download ISBN: 0500251649
Author: Hugh. Bowden
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd (2010)
Language: English
Pages: 256
ePub: 1470 kb
Fb2: 1876 kb
Rating: 4.9
Other formats: docx rtf doc lrf
Category: History

Mystery Cults of the Ancient World is clearly written and richly illustrated, and gives a solid introduction to an extremely elusive phenomenon. --Richard Smoley, Parabola Magazine. Bowden's multi-discipline approach to studying the value of these cults in people's lives, rather than an attempt to piece together a list of rituals or practices from scattered sources, is refreshing. --Carey Fleiner, Canadian Journal of History.

An academic book regarding the mystery cults of the ancient Graeco-Roman World. The only critique I have about the book is that sometimes Bowden uses the absence of evidence to draw conclusions or make assumptions. Very readable, if you're used to academic tomes, this is an easy read. The author tries to keep the guessing down and only relate what is known. Such as the argued point that initiates valued their experiences with the mystery cults more than the knowledge gained. His argument defending this idea is that there is no evidence claiming that they valued knowledge more.

Mystery Cults in the Ancient World more. This is the first book to describe and explain all of the ancient world's major mystery cults-one of the most intriguing but least understood aspects of Greek and Roman religion

Mystery Cults in the Ancient World more. This is the first book to describe and explain all of the ancient world's major mystery cults-one of the most intriguing but least understood aspects of Greek and Roman religion.

Mystery cults are one of the most intriguing areas of Greek and Roman religion. This is the first book to describe and explain all the major mystery cults of the ancient world, cult by cult, reconstructing the rituals and exploring their origins.

Mystery cults are one of the most intriguing areas of Greek and Roman . Hugh Bowden is Senior Lecture in Ancient History at King’s College London. Among his other books are Classical Athens and the Delphic Oracle: Divination and Democracy and Herakles and Hercules /i.

This is the first book to describe and explain all of the ancient world's major mystery cults-one of the most intriguing but least understood aspects of Greek and Roman religion

This is the first book to describe and explain all of the ancient world's major mystery cults-one of the most intriguing but least understood aspects of Greek and Roman religion.

This is the first book to describe and explain all of the ancient world's major mystery cults-one of the most intriguing but least understood aspects of Greek and Roman religion.

Meet the Author: Hugh Bowden is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at King’s College, London and an expert on ancient religion.

Before that happened the expanding Roman empire had brought such cults as far as Britain. The book is filled with photographs of cult sites, cult objects, and depictions of ritual activity. Meet the Author: Hugh Bowden is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at King’s College, London and an expert on ancient religion. It makes plentiful use of artistic and archaeological evidence, as well as ancient literature and epigraphy.

Mystery cults are one of the most intriguing areas of Greek and Roman religion. They were an important part of life in the ancient Mediterranean world, but their actual practices were shrouded in secrecy, and much of what they were about has remained unclear until now. What participants did, and what they actually experienced, should be central to our understanding. This is the first book to describe and explain all the major mystery cults of the ancient world, cult by cult, reconstructing the rituals and exploring their origins. It makes plentiful use of artistic and archaeological evidence, as well as ancient literature and epigraphy. Greek painted pottery, Roman frescoes, inscribed gold tablets from Greek and South Italian tombs and the excavated sites of ancient religious sanctuaries all contribute to our understanding of ancient mystery cults. Making use of the most recent work on these cults, the book is also informed by crucial current work on the anthropology and cognitive science of religion. Richly illustrated and clearly written, it is a significant contribution to the study of these cults, but it is also accessible to a general readership. More than any other book on ancient religion, it allows the reader to understand what it was like to participate in these life transforming religious events.
Comments: (7)
VariesWent
Lots of interesting information, but it lacks excitement. Moreover, in the penultimate Chapter it dismisses the possibility of the relationship between Christianity and mystery religions, but without providing much evidence or discussion. I found that aspect somewhat biased. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading for the its informative content.
RUsich155
Bowden's "Mystery Cults of the Ancient World" is comprehensive and well researched. He investigates what we know of the different mystery cults in Greek and Roman times and how they developed over time, from the hints left in literature as well as remains of temples and meeting places. The work is well laid out and contains many illustrations and photos.

Interestingly, at the end of the book he tries to provide a sense of the "feel" of the cults by comparing some modern "cults" like Pentecostals and snake handlers, where estatic states are invoked through rituals and euphoric meetings. Perhaps a little speculative, but this is a minor criticism to an otherwise excellent study about what we know of the pre-Christian and Christian-era mystery cults.
Blackstalker
I'M A TEACHER IN GREAT AND ANCIENT RELIGIONS, THIS BOOK WAS VERY USEFULL FOR MY CLASSES AND MY WORK, EASY TO UNDERSTAND.I AM GLAD I BOUGHT IT.
Yggfyn
In the past decade, several books have come out that look at a variety of mystery cults. This one is aimed at a popular audience more than the others. However, I sometimes found it surprisingly difficult to grasp the overall picture from Bowden's detailed discussions—for example, when trying to picture the sequence of events in the Eleusinian mysteries. A slightly more academic book on the subject, Jan Bremmer's Initiation into the Mysteries of the Ancient World, was actually more readable for me in that respect.

The major advantage of this book is that its coverage is broader than the others. Bremmer covers much but not all of the same ground as Bowden and discusses less of the cultural context, and Romanising Oriental Gods is limited to the three "oriental" mystery cults. Bowden dedicates a chapter each to the Eleusinian Mysteries; the Kabeiroi and the mysteries of Samothrace; other Greek mysteries; the cult of Cybele (Magna Mater); the Dionysian or Bacchic mysteries; private initiation rites; the Orphic tablets connected with the Bacchic mysteries; the cult of Isis; and the cult of Mithras. That may not include all of the mystery cults in the Mediterranean (for example, there's some evidence for mysteries in the worship of the Roman emperor), but it certainly covers most of them. The next-to-last chapter describes the extinction of all the mystery cults and the possible interaction between them and Christianity.

The conclusion discusses the religious ecstasy that mystery rites seem meant to induce, which the initiates interpreted as contact with the gods. He lists a lot of modern parallels to this phenomenon before settling, rather strangely, on Pentecostal snake handling as his prime example. Bowden considers this ecstatic state the most important element of the rites, and he downplays the importance of secrets and symbolism in the mysteries. He implies that the symbols had no single authoritative interpretation, imparted no secret knowledge, and were deliberately vague in their meaning. Though Bowden doesn't quite say so, he seems to think that each initiate interpreted the rites differently based on this vague symbolism. One can disagree with that viewpoint, but it does counterbalance the more imaginative attempts to interpret the symbolism in the cults—Mithraic studies are particularly plagued by this kind of elaborate speculation.

Bowden's aversion to speculation is partly why the book is drier than you'd expect. He's reluctant to give a straightforward description of the mysteries because it's hard to piece one together using the evidence we have. Despite that flaw, I recommend either this book or Bremmer's as a starting point for understanding the mystery cults.
Gann
Warning: This book seriously misrepresents aspects of the Mystery cults it claims to elucidate.

Pg. 47-48: "There is also the importance of Persephone at Eleusis. She is Queen of the Underworld... We have already seen in the Introduction that the references to a happy afterlife do not imply that the Eleusinian Mysteries were explicitly concerned with the afterlife... We can also see that the Queen of the Underworld had little to do with the Mysteries either."

WHAT...!!?? The Queen of the Underworld, abducted by Hades (Death), had little to do with the afterlife or the Eleusinian Mysteries...??? Please read the 'Homeric Hymn to Demeter' for yourself, and explore the amazing iconography on the 4-foot tall vase in the New York Metropolitan Museum.

Pg. 161: "Isis was at times accompanied not by Osiris but by the god Sarapis. Scholars debate the origins of Sarapis, whose name is derived from Apis, a god who took the form of a bull..."

HUHHH...?!!! The name Serapis comes from Osir-Apis, with Osiris, the Egyptian king of the dead (equivalent to the Greek Hades), incarnating as the oracular bull Apis. Serapis was the Greek amalgam of Osiris and Hades, and his 3-headed dog Cerberus also guarded the gate to the afterlife, as shown on coins of the Roman emperors Trajan, Hadrian (see 'customer images'), Caracalla, etc. In other words, Serapis = Osiris = Hades (Pluto).

The hero Heracles was said to have been initiated at Eleusis before his trip to the underworld to bring back the 3-headed hellhound Cerberus. Why would Heracles need the Eleusinian Mysteries for his trip to the world beyond unless they were "explicitly concerned with the afterlife?"

And why would a book on the "Mystery Cults of the Ancient World" fail to mention that Heracles, the great hero and inspiration of the ancient world, was initiated in the Mysteries of Eleusis, a ritual that was open to ALL who spoke Greek over hundreds of years, and later to ALL citizens of the Roman Empire?

The answer to this puzzling question pops up on pg. 208:

"Christian rituals are referred to as 'mysteria' because, like everything else to do with Christianity, they were once secret, known only to God and hinted at by the prophets in the Hebrew Bible, but later revealed to all through Jesus. Indeed, by revealing God's mysteries to all, Christ is doing the opposite of what would be expected from those involved in mystery cults."

There we have it. Bowden's Christian bias reveals his evangelical agenda (stripping the pagan Mysteries of any relevant spiritual value), which of course negates any possible claim to scholarly objectivity.

But still, nice pictures.