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Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets 1 New Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415415514
ISBN-10: 0415415519
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Editorial Reviews


'A generous range of subject material is covered, the argument is detailed and thorough, the authors' scholarship enables them to tackle a variety of issues... exemplary clarity and precision... a work teeming with good ideas, clear, and well structured.' - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

'Graf and Johnston have put togetheran exciting study, one that will illuminate the shadowy darkness, not just for the initiate, but also for the uninitiated venturing for the first time into the world of the Bacchic gold tablets.' - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Ohio State University, USA

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 New edition (June 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415415519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415415514
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,617,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
The term "Greek religion" it's a sort of construction. There was no actual word for "religion" (as we do have) on greek language. But aside for that, there was terms like hieros (sacred) which implies some starting points to study this phenomena. One side of the Greek Religion has been intensively studied in the last decades: The mystery cults in the Classical Greece. These cults, through the teleté (which in this contexts means "initiation" or "rites") promised to their mystai (initiated) a better afterlife than the one present on the books X and XI of the Odyssey. Being a mystai means, basically, that you are one of the "few" lucky ones which, at the moment of dead, if they do what they learned in the teletes, will found a post-mortem existence even greater than life.

One of the most fascinating documents we have for studying this, is clearly, the "orphic" gold tablets. This tablets works like a memory-help for the dead mystai. There are detailed descriptions about what to do and what to say in the Hades so one can get that promised after-life.

The main problem with this tablets are a matter of definition. Best said: If they're orphic or not. Iles Johnston and Fritz Graf (cleary two of the best scholars now on greek religion. Hereafter I&G) presents us with a greek text and a very good and readable english translation of the tablets. And, of course, some interpretative chapters which are very helpfull.

I&G tends to associate the tablets with the Bacchic cult, but somehow also with Orpheus and some Orphic doctrines. The myth of Dyonisos and the titans it's a crucial point on the development of Orphic doctrines, and it's discussed with some deepness on the chapter 3.
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Please note that Kindle edition I've reviewed has been replaced with a newer edition:
Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets

Because the topic of this study is comparative religion, it's reasonings are based on the premise that some myth has always been accorded popular acceptance, not as a preposterous fabrication, but as a logical, sequential narrative of people and events beyond the scope of our immediate sphere of influence. Our own distance from the story tellers and their diverse localities takes into account that local communities often preserved variant versions of a narrative which may have involved similar characters in much different settings, and pursuant towards sometimes contrary objectives not known to have been contrary by the outsiders of said communities.

The Dionysus derivation herein traced accross it's archaeological discovery in several locales is a by-line not commonly associated with the Orpheus legend. But the resources in this book make it clear that Orpheus left some version of poetry, which might have lingered principally as an oral tradition, long before the inscriptions and beliefs associated with these tablets. Without taking pot-shots at Christianity, I should note here that according to New Testament writings from the epistle of Peter, the Christian beliefs in godly inspiration of our scripture do also maintain a claim of the establishment of an oral tradition. That holy men of old "spoke" as they were moved by the holy spirit.
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Thank you for your thorough research and clear writing. You won't find this info on Google or anywhere on the Net for that matter. It is a must not only for the believer that Orpheus was more than a myth but also for those with an open mind. Just the first chapter alone is worth the weight of the reader in gold as the golden tablets are presented and translated word for word in English. I am impressed with the quality of the translation being a native Greek speaker. I strongly believe that the story of Jesus Christ was a copy of the story of Dionysus. My opinion is not endorsed in this book mind you and just presents the story of Dionysus from various points of view. This a;lows the reader to decide whether myth or reality. INRI=Iustum Necar Reges Impios (Jesuit flag; Latin: It is just to exterminate or annihilate impious or heretical kings, governments, or rulers. This is written on the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus was a Jewish invention to eliminate the true Greek ruler- Dionysus. Again my opinion is not endorsed in this book! Read the book and learn the Greek Beliefs about the afterlife and about our duty as humans before the Jews interfered with the minds of the whole world. This info will also give you the promised afterlife if you become a follower of Dionysus whom I believe is no different than the Egyptian Osiris. Our duty as humans is to remember Dionysus and compensate for his death at the hands of the Titans of whom we are direct descendants from.
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