The Cult of Mithras and Christianity



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference The Mystery of Mithras: Exploring the Heart of a Roman Cult
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Mithraism; Christianity; cultural borrowings; Christianisation; religious rivalry
Description The interrelationship between Mithraism and Christianity presents an interesting problem for which a large number of possible scenarios have been proposed. The paper addresses 1) the question of the nature of the contacts and possible coincidences in the ritual activity of these two religions; 2) the question of the extent to which the demise of Mithraism can be regarded as the result of targeted religious violence on the part of Christianity. An analysis of the available sources leads to the conclusion that the similarities in the functioning of Mithraism and Christianity are most likely a product of similar demographics and position in Roman Empire society, and that religious violence by Christians contributed only partially to the demise of Mithraism.
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