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Cover Art
PRINTED BOOKS
Author Beck, Roger, 1937-

Title The religion of the Mithras cult in the Roman Empire : mysteries of the unconquered sun / Roger Beck.

Published Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006.

Copies

Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  299.15 BECK    AVAILABLE
Physical description xiii, 285 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages [261]-271) and indexes.
Contents 1 Introduction to Interpreting the Mysteries: Old Ways, New Ways 1 -- 1 An agenda 1 -- 2 A word on ontology 8 -- 3 Template for a re-description of the Mithraic mysteries 10 -- 4 On comparisons 12 -- 5 On cognition 13 -- 6 Synchronic versus diachronic; structure and meaning versus historic cause and effect; interpretation versus explanation 14 -- 2 Old Ways: The Reconstruction of Mithraic Doctrine from Iconography 16 -- 1 A gateway to an interpretation of the mysteries: Porphyry, De antro nympharum 6, on the form and function of the mithraeum 16 -- 2 Traditional route: from the iconography of the monuments to the myth of Mithras to the beliefs of Mithraists 17 -- 3 Merits and achievements of the traditional heuristic procedure 20 -- 4 Shortcomings of the traditional heuristic procedure 22 -- Appendix Some remaining methodological problems for the explication of the Mithras myth as represented on the figured monuments 25 -- 3 Problem of Referents: Interpretation with Reference to What? 26 -- 1 Iconography and the problem of referents 26 -- 2 Referents in the surrounding culture? 26 -- 3 Iranian referents? 28 -- 4 Celestial (astronomical/astrological) referents? 30 -- 4 Doctrine Redefined 41 -- 1 Back to Porphyry, De antro 6 41 -- 2 'Induction into a mystery': the doctrinal misconstruction of De antro 6 41 -- 3 Teaching versus enacting the 'descent and departure of souls': the commonsensical answer 42 -- 4 An expectation of appropriate behaviour 43 -- 5 'Reason for the wise, symbols for the vulgar' 44 -- 6 Mithraic doctrine and its stakeholders: various views 50 -- 7 Doctrine and belief: the Christian 'faith' paradigm 53 -- 8 Mithraic doctrine: three main issues 56 -- 9 (i) Generalizing about Mithraic doctrine from unusual monuments 57 -- 10 (ii) What do we mean by 'doctrine' in the context of the Mithraic mysteries? An array of answers 59 -- 11 (iii) Doctrine and the ordinary initiate 63 -- Transition: from old ways to new ways 65 -- 5 Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: I. Introduction and Comparisons 67 -- 1 Religion as a system of symbols: an anthropological approach 67 -- 2 Are Geertzian description and interpretation applicable to the symbol system of the Mithraic mysteries? 69 -- 3 Yes, Geertzian description and interpretation are possible, provided we begin not with the tauroctony but with the mithraeum and the grade structure 70 -- 4 A culture within a culture: Mithraism as a subsystem within the cultural system of Graeco-Roman paganism. The hermeneutic implications 71 -- 5 Symbol complex of the grade hierarchy 72 -- 6 A modern comparator: the symbol system of the Chamulas 74 -- 7 Construction of space in Mithraic and Chamula cultures 77 -- 8 Mithraism's second axiom: 'Harmony of Tension in Opposition' 81 -- Appendix On Porphyry's De antro nympharum as a reliable source of data on the Mithraic mysteries 85 -- 6 Cognition and Representation 88 -- 1 Cognitive approach: ontogenetic/phylogenetic versus cultural 88 -- 2 Gods in mind: cognition and the representation of supernatural beings 93 -- 3 Negotiating representations 94 -- 4 Reintegrating the wise and the vulgar 96 -- Appendix Comprehending the pantomime: Lucian, On the dance 99 -- 7 Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: II. The Mithraeum 102 -- 1 Symbol complex of the mithraeum as 'image of the universe' 102 -- 2 Blueprint for the mithraeum 103 -- 3 To represent is to be 112 -- 4 Blueprint continued: the planets 113 -- 5 An improved reconstruction 115 -- 6 Symbols, representations, and star-talk 116 -- 7 View from the benches: analogies of world view and ethos to 'Scipio's dream' 117 -- 8 Chamula church 119 -- 9 Other 'images of the universe' in antiquity: (i) the Pantheon, Nero's Domus Aurea, Varro's aviary, the circus 120 -- 10 Other 'images of the universe' in antiquity: (ii) orreries and the Antikythera Mechanism, the sundial 123 -- 11 Mithraeum as symbolic instrument for 'inducting the initiates into a mystery of the descent of souls and their exit back out again'-with some modern comparisons 128 -- 12 To 'experience', to 'surmise', and to 'represent': Dio's Twelfth (Olympic) Oration 133 -- 13 Religious experience as modelled by biogenetic structuralism and 'neurotheology' 136 -- 14 'cognized environment': the mithraeum as material representation of the initiate's cognized universe 141 -- 15 Cognized universe and celestial navigation: the case of the Indigo Bunting 149 -- 8 Star-Talk: The Symbols of the Mithraic Mysteries as Language Signs 153 -- 1 Introduction: 'star-talk' 153 -- 2 Mithraic iconography as 'un langage a dechiffrer' (R. Turcan) 154 -- 3 Can symbols function as language signs? The question as posed in cultural anthropology 155 -- 4 Crossing Sperber's bar: the case for Mithraic astral symbols as language signs 157 -- 5 Star-talk: ancient views concerning its speakers, discourses, semiotics, and semantics 164 -- 6 Origen's view: 'heavenly writings' and their angelic readers 166 -- 7 Augustine's view: star-talk as a demonic language contract 167 -- 8 Origen again: the demonic misconstruction of star-talk 169 -- 9 Stars talking theology: the 'heretical' interpreters of Aratus as reported by Hippolytus (Refutatio 4.46-50) 170 -- 10 Make-believe star-talk: Zeno of Verona's baptismal interpretation of the zodiac 175 -- 11 'Rolling up the scroll': Maximus Confessor and the end of history 177 -- 12 Pagan views (astronomers, astrologers, philosophers); stars as both speakers and signs 178 -- 13 Divinity and rationality of celestial bodies: Ptolemy and Plato 179 -- 14 Platonist view of how the stars communicate and how we understand them; implications of the cosmology of the Timaeus 183 -- 15 Celestial location of meaning 186 -- 9 Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: III. The Tauroctony 190 -- 1 Introduction: the exegesis and interpretation of star-talk discourse 190 -- 2 Exegesis of star-talk in the tauroctony: A. The constellation signs 194 -- 3 Exegesis (continued): B. Sun, Moon, Mithras, bull (again), cave 197 -- 4 Exegesis (continued): C. Map and view; boundaries and orientation; time and motion. Similar structures: the augural templum and the anaphoric clock 200 -- 5 Exegesis (continued): D. Further meanings of the torchbearers: the lunar nodes; celestial north and celestial south; heavenward and earthward. Meanings of the 'typical' and 'untypical' locations (Cautes left and Cautopates right versus Cautopates left and Cautes right) 206 -- 6 Exegesis (continued): E. Being in the north/above or in the south/below versus going northward/up or southward/down. The solstices, the equinoxes, and yet further meanings of the torchbearers 209 -- 7 Exegesis (continued): F. Two paradoxes: (1) cold north and hot south versus hot north and cold south; (2) descending from heaven and growing up on earth versus dying down on earth and ascending to heaven. Terrestrial meanings of the torchbearers 212 -- 8 Exegesis (continued): G. Where and when? 'Mithras the bull-killer' means 'Sun-in-Leo' 214 -- 9 From exegesis to interpretation. An esoteric quartering of the heavens 216 -- 10 Implications of Sun-in-Leo and the esoteric quartering. Conjunctions and eclipses; victories and defeats 222 -- 11 Origins of the esoteric quartering and the definition of an ideal month 227 -- 10 Excursus: the esoteric quartering, a lost helicoidal model of lunar motion, and the origin of the 'winds' and 'steps' of the Moon. The identity of 'Antiochus the Athenian' 240 -- Conclusions: a new basis for interpreting the mysteries 257.
Subject Mithraism.
Rome -- Religion.
Standard Number 9780198140894
ISBN 0198140894