The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World

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In the centuries following the conquests of Alexander the Great the dramatic unification of the Mediterranean world created exceptionally fertile soil for the growth of new religions. Christianity, for example, was one of the innovative religious movements that arose during this time. However, Christianity had many competitors, and one of the most remarkable of these was the ancient Roman "mystery religion" of Mithraism.
Like the other "mystery cults" of antiquity, Mithraism kept its beliefs strictly secret, revealing them only to initiates. As a result, the cult's teachings were never written down. However, the Mithraists filled their temples with an enigmatic iconography, an abundance of which has been unearthed by archaeologists. Until now, all attempts to decipher this iconography have proven fruitless. Most experts have been content with a vague hypothesis that the iconography somehow derived from ancient Iranian religion.
In this groundbreaking work, David Ulansey offers a radically different theory. He argues that Mithraic iconography was actually an astronomical code, and that the cult began as a religious response to a startling scientific discovery. As his investigation proceeds, Ulansey penetrates step by step the mysteries concealed in Mithraic iconography, until finally he is able to reveal the central secret of the cult: a secret consisting of an ancient vision of the ultimate nature of the universe.
Brimming with the excitement of discovery--and reading like an intellectual detective story--Ulansey's compelling book will intrigue scholars and general readers alike.

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The teachings of the ancient Roman 'mystery religion' of Mithraism--one of the most important competitors of early Christianity--were guarded with the utmost secrecy, reveled only to select initiates. While the Mithraists never wrote down their secret doctrines, they did leave a key to them in the arcane iconography which filled the walls of their underground temples. Until now, all attempts to decipher this iconography have proven fruitless. Most experts have been content with a vague hypothesis that these images somehow derived from ancient Iranian religion.

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David Ulansey is Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University.

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9780195054026: The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World

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ISBN 10:  0195054024 ISBN 13:  9780195054026
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1989
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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1991. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. David Ulansey s book breaks new scholastic ground by arguing that the Roman cult of Mithras did not originate in Persia, as previously thought. Instead, Ulansey suggests, the cult was triggered by the reaction of a group of Tarsian intellectuals to the discovery in 128 BCE, of the Precession of the Spheres. To these fatalistic Stoics the only possible explanation for this phenomenon was the existence of a divinity powerful enough to shift the heavens, and this was to become the revelation at the heart of the Mithraic mysteries. This information was then married to the astrology of the zodiac and to the symbolism of popular Tarsian myths surrounding Perseus to create the fabric of the religion. David Ulansey s study is an absorbing, carefully researched, and frequently beautiful description of an ancient cult which long fascinated scholars by virtue of the lack of written evidence concerning it and the paradoxical wealth of artefacts and iconography uncovered by archaeologists. Seller Inventory # AAV9780195067880

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1991. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.David Ulansey s book breaks new scholastic ground by arguing that the Roman cult of Mithras did not originate in Persia, as previously thought. Instead, Ulansey suggests, the cult was triggered by the reaction of a group of Tarsian intellectuals to the discovery in 128 BCE, of the Precession of the Spheres. To these fatalistic Stoics the only possible explanation for this phenomenon was the existence of a divinity powerful enough to shift the heavens, and this was to become the revelation at the heart of the Mithraic mysteries. This information was then married to the astrology of the zodiac and to the symbolism of popular Tarsian myths surrounding Perseus to create the fabric of the religion. David Ulansey s study is an absorbing, carefully researched, and frequently beautiful description of an ancient cult which long fascinated scholars by virtue of the lack of written evidence concerning it and the paradoxical wealth of artefacts and iconography uncovered by archaeologists. Seller Inventory # AAV9780195067880

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 168 pages. Dimensions: 8.2in. x 5.5in. x 0.5in.In the centuries following the conquests of Alexander the Great the dramatic unification of the Mediterranean world created exceptionally fertile soil for the growth of new religions. Christianity, for example, was one of the innovative religious movements that arose during this time. However, Christianity had many competitors, and one of the most remarkable of these was the ancient Roman mystery religion of Mithraism. Like the other mystery cults of antiquity, Mithraism kept its beliefs strictly secret, revealing them only to initiates. As a result, the cults teachings were never written down. However, the Mithraists filled their temples with an enigmatic iconography, an abundance of which has been unearthed by archaeologists. Until now, all attempts to decipher this iconography have proven fruitless. Most experts have been content with a vague hypothesis that the iconography somehow derived from ancient Iranian religion. In this groundbreaking work, David Ulansey offers a radically different theory. He argues that Mithraic iconography was actually an astronomical code, and that the cult began as a religious response to a startling scientific discovery. As his investigation proceeds, Ulansey penetrates step by step the mysteries concealed in Mithraic iconography, until finally he is able to reveal the central secret of the cult: a secret consisting of an ancient vision of the ultimate nature of the universe. Brimming with the excitement of discovery--and reading like an intellectual detective story--Ulanseys compelling book will intrigue scholars and general readers alike. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780195067880

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