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Mystery Religions and specific cults
The Ancient Mysteries : A Source book
Sacred Texts of the Mystery Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean World
Marvin W. Meyer (Editor)

Who you gonna trust?  The ancients. Believing scholars shade the facts in favor of the myth.  Non-believers exaggerate and make up facts and connections as a way to attack the church. 

So who are you going to trust?  That's up to you.  I trust the ancients -- people alive back when Christianity began, and before. That's what this book is about.

This is a sourcebook, is a collection of primary documents -- excerpts from ancient authors who wrote about Pagan religion and early Christianity.  It's a great collection, with the original text of most of the standard ancient references to the pagan mystery religions.

This is a powerful book. You'll discover firsthand, right from the pens of the ancients themselves,  that Dionysus came to earth "incognito, disguised as a man"; that Pagan Gods died and were reborn with the meaning that "the God is saved, and we shall have salvation."; that pagans had initiation ceremonies seen as "a voluntary death", sacred meals shared with the God, ceremonial washing, Pagan miracles, a Godman who changed water into wine, and a Pagan version of the great flood.  And much more.  


An important book that no serious student will be without. Highly recommended.

Available at Amazon .com.



The Mystery-Religions : A Study in the Religious Background of Early Christianity
by Samuel Angus


A famous and much cited scholarly account of the Mystery Religions.  Written in the 1920s, the book is still in print because it is still a recognized authority.

Organized by feature- of -religion, so you get an overview of the mysteries rather than a detailed look at each of them.

Available at




Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter
by Karl Cerenyi

The Mysteries of Eleusis were the first and biggest in the ancient world.  Luckily this most-cited of scholarly books on the subject is clear and well written.

Available at





The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries
by Manfred Clauss


Everything you need to know about Mithras in a short, readable, scholarly book.


Available at




The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries
by David Ulansey

A often cited book, from a professor in California, advancing a radical new theory identifying MIthras with Perseus and basing his cult on ancient astrology.  

Interesting, but not essential to the Pagan Origins question.

Available at