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Mystery Cults

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Mystery Cults. Dionysus. 10. Religion. Example of mystery religion: Cult of Dionysus Orpheus was the founder of the cult of Dionysus Dionysus: god of the grapevine. Like the grapevine the god dies and revives every spring. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Mystery Cults

Mystery CultsDionysus

Example of mystery religion: Cult of DionysusOrpheus was the founder of the cult of DionysusDionysus: god of the grapevine.Like the grapevine the god dies and revives every spring.Death of the god: He was dismembered by the Titans. Titans: origin of the human race (original sin)Wine is produced from the dismembered body of the god (grapes) and therefore it contains the essence of the god.Son of Persephone (Queen of the Underworld) and therefore can intercede for his followers in the final judgment of their souls.

10. ReligionMithras



Egyptian Isis

IsisRoman Isis

Isis, Queen of Heaven, and Mary

Florence: Madonna del Latte

Saint Augustine, Florida

Nuestra Seora de la Leche y el Buen Parto(Our Lady of the Milk and Good Delivery)

Myth of Orpheus

Review: Religion in the Classical WorldAre the gods civic deities? Are their cults individual (sectarian) or collective (public) cults? Is traditional Greco-Roman religion dogmatic or ritualistic?Is there an afterlife (salvation, immortality, paradise)?What did the ancient Greeks and Romans beliefs about soul?

Gods behave like humans (immoral)Fear of the gods (forces of nature): need of prosperityReligion of the poleis: collective (Athena=Athens).Myths of foundation: ancestors Civic rituals bringing the citizens togetherReligion In the Classical period:

Mystery: secrets revealed only to the initiates.

Initiation was mandatory (requiring a ritual).

A dogma to be believed and directions to be followed.

Belief in the immortality of the human soul.

Purity/ immortality of the soul contrasts with sin/degradation of the mortal body.

Sense of virtue and sin and reward and punishment in an afterlife.

Various concepts of immortality: transmigration of souls, rebirth, reincarnation, resurrection, and redemption.

Mystery cults (Hellenistic times to Christian Era)Crime/ sin: the dismemberment of Dionysus by the Titans (of whose ashes the human race was born).Humans have to suffer punishment until they pay what is due (original sin)Lifelong purity can expiate the guilt: sexual abstinence, dietary taboos.

A dying and reborn god.Promise of immortality through sacrifice of a savior: Osiris, Dionysus, Orpheus, Mithras (Sunday, Dec, 25th)Dichotomies: body/ soul, sin/reward, good/evilRituals of initiation: baptism, communal mealIsis, Cybele (mother goddesses): Virgin MaryWorship of an intercessor in the final judgment: Dionysus, Isis, Mithras.

4. Christianity and Mystery Religions