A professor writes a book. Another professor reviews it. The reviewer is critical of the book, but he begins with points of agreement.
As he goes through his points of agreement, the reviewer touches on some key points in the book and in the process provides some recent grounds for an argument I’ve been exploring: that ancient mystery religions influenced and helped shape Christianity.
Hedges reviewed Influences: How Ancient Hinduism Dramatically Changed Early Christianity by A.L. Herman for a 2011 edition of the Journal of Religious History.
While the question of ancient Hinduism’s influence on Christianity is not my interest at the moment, I think it’s worth noting that Hedges begins his review with, “Bunkum!”
But then, three short paragraphs later in the review, Hedges writes:
“I start with my points of agreement. These include his [Herman’s] arguments that: (1) Christianity is not uninfluenced, which affects claims of absolutism and supremacy; (2) Christianity was influenced by the mystery religions of the Greco-Roman world; and (3) there were significant currents of influence between Asia and the Mediterranean world” (boldface added).
In a previous post, I excerpted four books to present some evidence for the claim that ancient mystery religions probably influenced Christianity.
I realize this is not my field of professional expertise, so I’m relying on the work of others. I’m also not well-versed in the fields that could support or deny the claim that ancient mystery religions influenced and even helped shape Christianity, so I’m just adding excerpts and information as I find them.
At some point in the near future, I’ll compare what two major Bible dictionaries say about ancient mystery religions and their influences upon Christianity. In at least a rhetorical sense, the two dictionaries differ in what they emphasize and how certain they are in their assessments of available evidence.