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Bremmer, Jan N.

Ancient Mystery Cults

Series:Münchner Vorlesungen zu Antiken Welten

Open Access

    89,95 € / $126.00 / *

    To be published:
    June 2014
    See all formats and pricing


    Aims and Scope

    The ancient Mysteries have long attracted the interest of scholars, an interest that goes back at least to the time of the Reformation. After a period of interest around the turn of the twentieth century, recent decades have seen an important study of Walter Burkert (1987). Yet his thematic approach makes it hard to see how the actual initiation into the Mysteries took place. To do precisely that is the aim of this book.

    It gives a ‘thick description’ of the major Mysteries, not only of the famous Eleusinian Mysteries, but also those located at the interface of Greece and Anatolia: the Mysteries of Samothrace, Imbros and Lemnos as well as those of the Corybants. It then proceeds to look at the Orphic-Bacchic Mysteries, which have become increasingly better understood due to the many discoveries of new texts in the recent times. Having looked at classical Greece we move on to the Roman Empire, where we study not only the lesser Mysteries, which we know especially from Pausanias, but also the new ones of Isis and Mithras. We conclude our book with a discussion of the possible influence of the Mysteries on emerging Christianity.

    Its detailed references and up-to-date bibliography will make this book indispensable for any scholar interested in the Mysteries and ancient religion, but also for those scholars who work on initiation or esoteric rituals, which were often inspired by the ancient Mysteries.


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    J. N. Bremmer, University of Groningen.

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    Comments (3)

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    • An excellent and wise study.

      posted by: Francisco Diez de Velasco on 2014-07-08 06:40 PM (Europe/Berlin)

    • HOW DO I ACTUALLY obtain this book. it's not at all clear.

      posted by: DAVID REID on 2017-01-24 03:28 PM (Europe/Berlin)

    • Dear David Reid, it is an open access title, as such you can download it for free as either epub (the complete book in one file) or pdf (individual chapters only). Or you can order a hardcover copy by selecting hardcover within the menu 'see all formats and pricing' and placing the item in your cart. To download the book as a pdf file, please, navigate to the table of contents and select 'download full text pdf'on the desired chapters. Unfortunately there is no way to save the complete book in one pdf file. If you wish to download the whole book, please, select 'Download EPUB' on the left once you have clicked on table of contents.

      posted by: De Gruyter Online on 2017-01-25 11:38 AM (Europe/Berlin)