May 5, 2003 6:47 PM   Subscribe

The final and most refined form of pre-Christian paganism - Mithraism, an ancient religion found throughout Europe and Western Asia before the time of Christ. It is suggested that this religion provided the source of many practices and beliefs recognized in contempory Christianity; baptism, the concept of a holy trinity, the last supper, and the date of Christmas to name a few.
posted by Jimbob (13 comments total)
Wow... that's really awesome. I have a much more well-rounded idea of what the pre-Christian world was like, particularly what it might feel like to live in a world immersed in gods.
posted by zerolucid at 9:52 PM on May 5, 2003 I mean, after having read the long essay. (Wasn't sure if I made that clear.)
posted by zerolucid at 9:53 PM on May 5, 2003

so christianity is like the hip hop of religion?
posted by mcsweetie at 10:06 PM on May 5, 2003

Sampling and remixing? Maybe so. I used to think of Christianity as the Hair Metal of religions; maybe that's better suited to Judaism.
posted by Jimbob at 10:35 PM on May 5, 2003

so were the 12 apostles like The Wu-Tang Clan of christianity? which one was the ODB? GZA? RZA?
posted by mcsweetie at 10:41 PM on May 5, 2003

12 Apostles? D-12. Now what does that make Eminem? 'nuff said.
posted by Jimbob at 10:45 PM on May 5, 2003

I, for one, welcome our Mithrafilter overlords.
posted by nasim at 5:12 AM on May 6, 2003

The 'last supper' happened during Passover, and seems likely to be a Passover Seder meal. Celebrating the passing over of the houses of the jews during the last plague (death of firstborn)in egypt.

Certainly many religions have symbolic food ceremonies.
posted by dreamling at 5:14 AM on May 6, 2003

Just be sure you clean up after that taurobolium. What a mess.
posted by gimonca at 5:57 AM on May 6, 2003

The thing about Christmas is pretty well known. A pagan holiday was deliberately turned into a Christian one in order to ease the transition to Christianity. People could keep the fun holiday while ditching the old gods. Kind of like people today who aren't Christian but celebrate Christmas.
posted by unreason at 6:04 AM on May 6, 2003

More on Zoroastrians here, here, here (particularly the Mithra/Christ connection), and here.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:49 AM on May 6, 2003

Jimbob, your analogy was off the chain. expect props in the mail soon!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:56 AM on May 6, 2003

Thanks, Jimbob. I got all the stuff on Zoroaster and pals in college and knew some of the more general pagan influences, but for some reason they glossed over these specific ties to Mithraism. This is fascinating stuff.

It's also interesting to note that Rudolf Steiner, the kooky founder of Waldorf Education, which some think of as all flowers-and-birds saccharin-sweet, had a lot to say (which is still kooky in my book) on Ahriman as opposed to Lucifer.
posted by soyjoy at 9:52 AM on May 6, 2003

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