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‘Salvation’ (Soteria) and ancient mystery cults

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‘Salvation’ (Soteria) and ancient mystery cults. / Jim, Suk Fong.

In: Archiv für Religionsgeschichte, Vol. 18-19, No. 1, 26.09.2017, p. 255-282.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Harvard

Jim, SF 2017, '‘Salvation’ (Soteria) and ancient mystery cults', Archiv für Religionsgeschichte, vol. 18-19, no. 1, pp. 255-282. https://doi.org/10.1515/arege-2016-0014

APA

Vancouver

Jim SF. ‘Salvation’ (Soteria) and ancient mystery cults. Archiv für Religionsgeschichte. 2017 Sep 26;18-19(1):255-282. https://doi.org/10.1515/arege-2016-0014

Author

Jim, Suk Fong. / ‘Salvation’ (Soteria) and ancient mystery cults. In: Archiv für Religionsgeschichte. 2017 ; Vol. 18-19, No. 1. pp. 255-282.

Bibtex

@article{11af6d97b861414b82f28e1080792a33,
title = "{\textquoteleft}Salvation{\textquoteright} (Soteria) and ancient mystery cults",
abstract = "In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was often held that ancient mystery cults were {\textquoteleft}religions of salvation{\textquoteright} (Erl{\"o}sungsreligionen). Such interpretations have been criticised by Walter Burkert in Ancient Mystery Cults (1987), who argued against the other-worldly character of Greek mysteries. Burkert{\textquoteright}s work remains one of the most important studies of mystery cults today; nevertheless it does not examine the actual use of the Greek word soteria ({\textquoteleft}salvation{\textquoteright}, {\textquoteleft}deliverance{\textquoteright}, {\textquoteleft}safety{\textquoteright}), which is central for determining whether Greek mystery cults were indeed {\textquoteleft}Erl{\"o}sungsreligionen{\textquoteright}. This article investigates the extent to which Greek mystery cults could offer soteria ({\textquoteleft}salvation{\textquoteright}) in the eschatological sense. By examining the language of soteria in the best-known mystery cults in ancient Greece, it will ask whether Greek eschatological hopes were ever expressed in the language of soteria or in other terms. It will be demonstrated that, even when used in relation to mysteries, soteria did not mean anything other than protection in the here-and-now, so that what was offered was predominantly a this-worldly {\textquoteleft}salvation{\textquoteright}. If early Christianity indeed derived its most important concept (soteria) from Greek religion, it was a derivation with a significant adaptation and change in meaning.",
author = "Jim, {Suk Fong}",
note = "{\textcopyright} 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston",
year = "2017",
month = sep,
day = "26",
doi = "10.1515/arege-2016-0014",
language = "English",
volume = "18-19",
pages = "255--282",
journal = "Archiv f{\"u}r Religionsgeschichte",
issn = "1436-3038",
publisher = "De Gruyter",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - ‘Salvation’ (Soteria) and ancient mystery cults

AU - Jim, Suk Fong

N1 - © 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

PY - 2017/9/26

Y1 - 2017/9/26

N2 - In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was often held that ancient mystery cults were ‘religions of salvation’ (Erlösungsreligionen). Such interpretations have been criticised by Walter Burkert in Ancient Mystery Cults (1987), who argued against the other-worldly character of Greek mysteries. Burkert’s work remains one of the most important studies of mystery cults today; nevertheless it does not examine the actual use of the Greek word soteria (‘salvation’, ‘deliverance’, ‘safety’), which is central for determining whether Greek mystery cults were indeed ‘Erlösungsreligionen’. This article investigates the extent to which Greek mystery cults could offer soteria (‘salvation’) in the eschatological sense. By examining the language of soteria in the best-known mystery cults in ancient Greece, it will ask whether Greek eschatological hopes were ever expressed in the language of soteria or in other terms. It will be demonstrated that, even when used in relation to mysteries, soteria did not mean anything other than protection in the here-and-now, so that what was offered was predominantly a this-worldly ‘salvation’. If early Christianity indeed derived its most important concept (soteria) from Greek religion, it was a derivation with a significant adaptation and change in meaning.

AB - In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was often held that ancient mystery cults were ‘religions of salvation’ (Erlösungsreligionen). Such interpretations have been criticised by Walter Burkert in Ancient Mystery Cults (1987), who argued against the other-worldly character of Greek mysteries. Burkert’s work remains one of the most important studies of mystery cults today; nevertheless it does not examine the actual use of the Greek word soteria (‘salvation’, ‘deliverance’, ‘safety’), which is central for determining whether Greek mystery cults were indeed ‘Erlösungsreligionen’. This article investigates the extent to which Greek mystery cults could offer soteria (‘salvation’) in the eschatological sense. By examining the language of soteria in the best-known mystery cults in ancient Greece, it will ask whether Greek eschatological hopes were ever expressed in the language of soteria or in other terms. It will be demonstrated that, even when used in relation to mysteries, soteria did not mean anything other than protection in the here-and-now, so that what was offered was predominantly a this-worldly ‘salvation’. If early Christianity indeed derived its most important concept (soteria) from Greek religion, it was a derivation with a significant adaptation and change in meaning.

U2 - 10.1515/arege-2016-0014

DO - 10.1515/arege-2016-0014

M3 - Journal article

VL - 18-19

SP - 255

EP - 282

JO - Archiv für Religionsgeschichte

JF - Archiv für Religionsgeschichte

SN - 1436-3038

IS - 1

ER -