"A powerful book for serious students. You'll discover the evidence firsthand, right from the pens of ancient authors. The Mysteries (the term comes from the Greek word for "initiation") were a group of Pagan religions, dating from roughly 600 BC, that were distinct from the more familiar Pagan temple worship. The Gods of the Mystery religions had differing names and myths, but the faiths themselves had features in common: their Gods died and came back to life; they were personal religions entered into voluntarily via initiation ceremonies that reenacted the God's death and rebirth and were often described as giving salvation and even eternal life; they had ritual celebrations including food and drink that reenacted a holy meal established by the God; their teachings brought the faithful closer to an understanding of God.Although you don't hear about them in Sunday School, mystery religions are an established part of modern religious scholarship. This book, complied by a mainstream scholar, is made up of a concise introduction to the Mysteries, followed by extended excerpts from ancient sources. You'll read about: the pagan god "incognito, disguised as a man"; pagan Gods dying and being reborn with the meaning that "the God is saved, and we shall have salvation."; initiation ceremonies described as "a voluntary death"; sacred meals; ceremonial washing; pagan miracles; the pagan god who changed water into wine; the pagan version of the great flood. And much more.Not always easy reading, but a powerful book for serious students. Highly recommended."