Progress in Religion: To the Christian Era (Classic Reprint)

Fb&c Limited, 27 déc. 2017 - 354 pages
Excerpt from Progress in Religion: To the Christian Era

The comparative study of religion began a long time ago. Xenophanes, as we shall see, noted the divergencies of men's conceptions of the gods. Herodotus marked coincidences and shrewdly suspected certain religious teachers, whose names he would not mention, of plagiarising their inspiration from Egypt. Justin and Tertullian in the second century of our era remarked similarities between the rites of the Christian Church and the heathens. This, too, says Justin, in the rites 'of Mithras, the evil demons have delivered to be done - in imitation. That bread and a cup of water are set forth in the initiation ceremonies with certain formulae - you know or may learn. I The devil, says Tertullian, baptises. He promises remission of sins from his font. If I yet remember, Mithras seals his soldiers on the brow; 2 and so forth. The current explanation has gen erally been borrowing. The devil and his daemons got early word of what Christian rites would be - and bor rowed. Or else, say some modern scholars, the Chris tians, remembering their old ways in religion, borrowed on their side. The explanation of Justin and Tertullian seems a little old and Odd; the fashion to-day is to find analogies between Christian practice and the mystery re ligions, and a little to discredit the Christian in couse quence.

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