Chapter

The Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: I. Introduction and Comparisons

ROGER BECK

in The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216130
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191712128 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216130.003.0006
The Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: I. Introduction and Comparisons

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This chapter discusses Mithraism as a symbol system in the manner of the symbolist anthropologists, particularly Clifford Geertz. Comparisons are made between Mithraic culture and the culture of the Chamulas of southern Mexico, especially in regard to the construction of space in general and sacred space in particular. The Mithraic sevenfold grade structure is discussed as a symbol system. A principle of ‘harmony of tension in opposition’ is postulated as a fundamental Mithraic ‘axiom’.

Keywords: symbol system; Clifford Geertz; Chamulas; construction of space; sacred space; Mithraic grades; opposition

Chapter.  9997 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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