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The Oriental Cults And Christianity

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Chapter Summary

It is often said that the historical importance of the oriental cults lies less in their intrinsic value or appeal than in their relation to Christianity. The traditional study of the history of religions has in fact understood the latter as issuing from the imperfect discourse of the religions that preceded it. The issue of the similarities between Christianity and the oriental cults has developed way beyond the original issues, both as regards time-scale and content. Historically, much of the argument has revolved around the comparison, at first formal, later structural, between the oriental cults and Christianity. Some Christian writers recognised that individual rituals featuring in the oriental cults preceded their own religion. One argument against finding analogies between Christian rituals and those of oriental cults is to urge that, although they were outwardly similar, they diverged over the issue of their sacramental character.

Keywords: Christian rituals; Christianity; oriental cults



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