Buy New
$15.90
Qty:1
  • List Price: $19.95
  • Save: $4.05 (20%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 19 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook of Sacred Texts Paperback – April 9, 1999


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$15.90
$11.55 $7.97

Frequently Bought Together

The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook of Sacred Texts + Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook
Price for both: $37.74

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press; 1st University of Pennsylvania Press Ed edition (April 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081221692X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812216929
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The ancient mysteries have remained all too mysterious because of the lack of ready access to them. . . . Now we have in one volume a fine collection of the sources that have survived. . . . This will be for many students the lifting of the veil for which they have been looking."—James Robinson, Institute of Antiquity and Christianity, The Claremont Graduate School



"The Ancient Mysteries contains a very balanced selection of sources for the study of the ancient so-called mystery religions, starting with Eleusis and ending with mysteries in Judaism and Christianity. . . . No other modern sourcebook exists in this field. Therefore this book fills a gap not only in the area of late antiquity and early Christianity, but also in the field of history of religions in general."—Kurt Rudolph, Philipps-Universitat Marburg, Germany



"Unlike most books on 'ancient mysteries,' this one is based on careful reading of the original texts in their original languages. It is a competent, intelligent, and sympathetic study of which the original conclusions deserve careful consideration."—Morton Smith, author of Jesus the Magician and The Secret Gospel

Language Notes

Text: English (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Marvin Meyer is one of the foremost scholars on gnosticism, the Nag Hammadi library, and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
11
4 star
0
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 12 customer reviews
A very useful source book, I use it often.
Abarax
Though my favorite is the Greek Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, due to Meyer's work, I now have the context within which I can place their Mysteries.
"cyrene7"
The book is informative and well presented.
S. Jean

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 170 people found the following review helpful By John Harrison on November 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A powerful book for serious students. You'll discover the evidence firsthand, right from the pens of ancient authors.
The Mysteries (the term comes from the Greek word for "initiation") were a group of Pagan religions, dating from roughly 600 BC, that were distinct from the more familiar Pagan temple worship. The Gods of the Mystery religions had differing names and myths, but the faiths themselves had features in common: their Gods died and came back to life; they were personal religions entered into voluntarily via initiation ceremonies that reenacted the God's death and rebirth and were often described as giving salvation and even eternal life; they had ritual celebrations including food and drink that reenacted a holy meal established by the God; their teachings brought the faithful closer to an understanding of God.
Although you don't hear about them in Sunday School, mystery religions are an established part of modern religious scholarship. This book, complied by a mainstream scholar, is made up of a concise introduction to the Mysteries, followed by extended excerpts from ancient sources. You'll read about: the pagan god "incognito, disguised as a man"; pagan Gods dying and being reborn with the meaning that "the God is saved, and we shall have salvation."; initiation ceremonies described as "a voluntary death"; sacred meals; ceremonial washing; pagan miracles; the pagan god who changed water into wine; the pagan version of the great flood. And much more.
Not always easy reading, but a powerful book for serious students. Highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
78 of 78 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Gibbard VINE VOICE on February 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Marvin W. Meyer's "The Ancient Mysteries: A sourcebook of Sacred Texts" is a splendid resource for original texts pertaining to the ancient Greco-Roman mystery cults. Meyer covers the full range of mystery cults, from the mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, through the mysteries of Dionysos, the Great Mother, Isis, Osiris, and Mithras, finishing with the mysteries within Judaism and Christianity. The texts span a wide spectrum of viewpoints and sources, from relatively objective accounts by period historians, to manuals from within the cults governing discipline and worship, to actual hymns and stories by initiates such as Apuleius's "The Golden Ass." My favorite selection was his excerpts from the Orphic Hymns, reproduced from the incomparable translation by Apostolos Athanassakis, which inspired me to obtain and read the entire book.

Meyer provides a brief introduction to each form of the mysteries that he discusses, along with brief introductions to the excerpts he provides. This book is an excellent introduction to what the mysteries were, and how they were seen and experienced by initiates, dramatists and historians during the period when they flourished.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
82 of 86 people found the following review helpful By "cyrene7" on October 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of my most cherished books in my home library. It has given me an understanding of the various Mystery Religions in the ancient Mediterranean World. Author Marvin Meyer has collected stories, verse, history, and magical tracts from an abundance of sources within the ancient world. Though my favorite is the Greek Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, due to Meyer's work, I now have the context within which I can place their Mysteries. From the Mysteries of Dionysus and Isis and Osiris, to those of Judiasm and Christianity, and more, I have gained a sense of how the ancients might have related one type of Mystery to another. My deepest appreciation to this wonderful author.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on May 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
As Marvin M. Meyer explains in his excellent introduction, the Mysteries (from the Greek myein = to close) were associations of individuals: 'The Mysteries were secret religious groups composed of individuals who decided, through personal choice, to be initiated into the profound realities of one deity or another. They joined an association of people united in their quest for personal salvation.'

Unlike the Catholic Church or State religions, the Mysteries had no power base and no organized structure. They were an easy target for those who considered them as enemies or serious rivals in their power search. The Catholic Church attacked them fanatically in speech, picture and scripture. After becoming the official religion under Constantine the Great, the Roman Church convinced emperor Theodosius the Great to commit one of the most savage crimes against humanity: he ordered in A.D. 391 the abolition of all pagan mysteries and the destruction of their sanctuaries, giving at the same time a religious monopoly to the Pope.

This book contains excerpts of very well known works like 'Bakchai' by Euripides or 'The Golden Ass' by Apulejus, but also texts which are difficult to find.

The editor wrote a small introduction for each of the mysteries considered together with excellent bibliographies.

Not to be missed by all those interested in Ancient history.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Abarax on May 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
A very useful source book, I use it often. The division of the book into specific religions/cults makes it easy to use.

The only thing lacking are images/diagrams to supplement the texts.

The chapters on Isis, Osiris and Mithras are excellent.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search