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Mystery Religions vs. Christianity and Judaism

What aspects distinguish Christianity and Judaism from the mystery religions, and how do these distinctions help explain the survival of these two religions and the disappearance of the 'mystery religions'?

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The Mystery Religions vs. Christianity & Judaism

The mystery religions (also referred to just as 'mysteries') are the cult-faiths of the Graeco-Roman society. These cults are secretive and to gain acceptance one must be invited/initiated/recruited into the cult. Much of the details of religious scholarship in these cults are largely unknown and what we know of them are based on either educated guesses, a small number of documents and artefacts/evidence that the cults have shared or left or via the writings of observers describing and noting of the the practices and beliefs of the cult. Those who participate in their rituals are called 'initiates' and their doctrines, while heavily guarded share a lot with other mystery religions at the time of their practice. Examples of these mystery religions include the Eleusinian Mystery and the Mithraic Mystery. They were attractive to the initiates because they offer a religious experience not provided by the official religion sanctioned by Rome. For example, when Constantine made Christianity the official faith of his Empire, the Mithraic Mystery gained more followers - it was the worship of the Persian god Mithras (A Roman enterpretation of Mazda, the God of War) and he was believed to have been born from a rock; the religion was popular among soldiers and men and their rituals followed certain cosmic dates with very intricate ritual ornaments. Mithraics also practised syncretism where the followers also worship other gods and ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a 1046-word discussion of the topic of 'mystery religions' explaining what they are about. It looks into aspects of Christianity and Judaism that distinguish them from mystery religions to explain their survival and enduring popularity. References are listed for further research. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.

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