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

Overview


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 ...
See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$18.23
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$19.99 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $13.35   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview


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.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Timothy O'Neill
David Ulansey's brilliant new book The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries ....is an absolutely spell-binding detective story of antique lore. [It] sets a new standard for both scholarly and popular works on Mithras.
A. M. Devine
This is a brilliant and fascinating little book which presents a totally new and entirely convincing explanation of the basic meaning of Mithraism. The reviewer had trouble in putting it down, and many others will also want to read it in one sitting - to discover the secret behind the Mithraic Mysteries! Ulansey's book will be of the utmost interest to students of ancient religion, classicists, historians of science, and patristic scholars.
Curtis Wilson
This book presents a new and remarkable thesis concerning the origin of Mithraism and the meaning of its iconography.... Ulansey has presented his interpretation with admirable succinctness and as a gradually unfolding argument; his book makes a very pleasurable read. In comprehensiveness his theory appears to have no rival. His persuasive fitting of Mithraism into a perspective of post-classical antiquity's search for salvation beyond the stars will henceforth, we predict, be an interpretation to be reckoned with.
A. T. Kraabel
There has indeed been a paradigm shift in our understanding of Mithraism.... This thrilling book is the account both of the shift and of its results. Ulansey rejects Franz Cumont's view, dominant for a century, that the origins of Roman Mithraism are to be found in the Iranian cult of Mithra. Instead, says Ulansey. "the Mithraic mysteries began as the response by a group of imaginative intellectuals to the unsettling discovery that the universe was not quite as simple as they had thought it to be." That unsettling discovery, in about 128 BCE by the astronomer Hipparchus was "the precession of the equinoxes," due to a slow, regular wobble in the earth's rotation on its axis. Viewed geocentrically, this translated into a new and unexpected movement of the structure of the entire cosmos in relation to the earth. The fixed stars and the axis of the cosmos, ancient symbols of permanence integral to traditional astrology, were not immutable after all! In response to this disturbing discovery "a group of Stoicizing intellectuals" conceived a powerful new divinity "capable of moving the structure of the entire cosmos." Bravo for Ulansey.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195067880
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 564,389
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)