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This vintage learn bargains an figuring out of the traditional non secular cults, exploring their allure and eventual failure within the face of Christianity. issues comprise the Eleusinian mysteries of historic Greece; Asiatic cults of Cybele, the Magna Mater, and Attis; Dionysian teams; Orphics; Egyptian devotees of Isis and Osiris; Mithraism; and others.

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Through the production of the sort of contrast “ the race of mankind used to be lifted to the next aircraft while it got here to learn that purely the natural in middle can see God. ” 217 An lousy legal responsibility to perpetual secrecy as to what was once acknowledged and transacted at the back of closed doorways within the initiation right was once imposed—an legal responsibility so scrupulously saw ninety seven through the centuries that now not one account of the secrets and techniques of the holy of holies of the Mysteries has been released to gratify the interest of historians. 218 Apuleius219 might expose what used to be ‘said’ and ‘done ’ on the Isiac initiation if it have been lawful for the reader to listen to and for himself to reveal it, yet this kind of disclosure might inflict upon the reader and himself parem noxam. It was once against the law of the main heinous character220 to disclose the Mystery-secrets. Alcibiades was once stored from the results of his profanation of the Eleusinian Mysteries in basic terms by means of his reputation with the marines of the fleet. 221 This vow of secrecy didn't expand, in fact, to all of the components of a secret. 222 ‘It is illegal to speak the main points to the uninitiated. ’223 Apuleius gratifies the reader ‘ quod solum potest sine piaculo advert profanorum intellegentias enuntiari. ’ 224 Pausanias 225 narrates of the Mysteries of the Kabiri : ‘ Demeter deposited anything of their fingers, yet what that item was once, including the next approach, my sense of right and wrong forbids me to reveal. ’ The secrecy saved inviolate the main points of the ceremonial transactions of the revelation within the shrine, the precise enactment of the cult drama, and maybe the esoteric interpretation of its legend,226 the internal which means of the watchword (symbolum) of the brotherhood, the solemn formulae of the enlightenment, taboos, and we all know no longer how even more. The vow of secrecy having been administered, there fell upon the ears of the excited neophyte the proclamation of a few lousy deterrent formulae, that have been observed, often times at the least, by way of terrifying attractions, as we infer from Nero’s alarm on the preliminaries of initiation at Eleusis. 227 Olympiodorus informs us that now not all who wanted initiation have been granted it. The candidate needed to face a non secular ninety eight ceremony 228 of an admonitory personality comparable to the now nearly extinct “ fencing of the tables ” at a Presbyterian Communion carrier. Celsus charges or 3 such proclamations : ‘ whosoever has fresh fingers and an intelligible tongue ’ ; ‘whosoever is holy from each defilement and whose soul is aware of no evil ’; ’ whosoever has lived a righteous existence. ’ 229 Orphic formulae barred the doorways to the profane. 230 Homicides have been rather precluded. A extra exacting proclamation required ’ that nobody should still method until he used to be aware of his innocence. ’ 231Even a saintly guy like Apollonius of Tyana was once excluded by means of the hierophant from initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries simply because reputed to be a magician. 232 within the days of Libanius 233 initiation used to be for ’ the natural of soul. ’ Lucian’s parody of the Mysteries represents his fake prophet as starting with the utterance : ’ If any Atheist, or Christian, or Epicurean has come to secret agent upon our pageant, enable him begone,’ 234 later through ‘ Christians, avaunt.

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