What is Mithraism

historical view of Heidelberg

historical view of Heidelberg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Sociology class we are learning a little bit about religion in society. One particular religion that we discussed, other than Christianity, was sun worship. How ancient societies would worship the sun, until science came along and explained the world and it’s surroundings to us. I wrote a response paper on a particular sun worshiping group that I had seen on a TV show a few months ago. I had to do some research to make sure what I was saying was accurate, as always. Enjoy!

I love watching the History channel. Some of the shows on there always catch my attention, especially when it comes to talking about historical items in the museum, archeology, or historical exploration. Last year I started watching a show called America Unearthed. Scott Wolter, a world renowned forensic geologist is often called to check out some rock or stone someone has found. Usually that stone has some history relevance to a past society or tied to a particular group of people.

According to Wolter’s show, “these groups of people or societies are relatively known to have lived there, so history says, but with the evidence that’s being found today and the evidence that’s been looked at again from the past, says otherwise. Such as the Mayan’s built temples in Georgia, Egyptian tribes once lived in Oklahoma, the Knights Templar roaming in the Nevada desert. All of these groups of people past history says is inaccurate, but evidence being brought forth shows otherwise.”

The show is primarily based on correcting the history that we’ve been taught in school. Scott Wolter travels all over America, even across Europe, trying to put an answer to some of the items that are brought to his attention.

In Sociology class, we talked about a particular religion where people worship the sun. It reminded me of an episode I saw of America Unearthed called ‘A Deadly Sacrifice’. Evidence of a particular group called Mithraism was found in Oklahoma. Wolter says, “Mithraism is an ancient Egyptian cult of the Apis bull.” However, that is incorrect.

Mithraism was it was a secretive sect. It is part of the Zoroastrianism religion that was founded in the 6th century BC. What is known is that it dates back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.  

Mithras was a very important Persian god. He was a sun god and a bull slayer. Images are often found of Mithras slaying a bull. It is believed that those in the Mithraism sect sacrificed a bull to honor Mithras, but the blood was used to baptized newcomers.  

This particular group would have been outcast in America as they were very different from Christianity. However, archeological evidence shows that Christianity and Mithraism influenced one another. They both developed in the same area of the world. They both have communal meals and have similar beliefs and practices. It is believed that Christianity adopted one aspect of Mithraism, Christmas Day.

Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th; he was born sometime in the fall. December 25th is the day of the birth of the sun, or the sun god, to which is closely related to Mithras.

When Constantine converted to Christianity from Mithraism, he decided to change December 25th to Christ’s birthday, rather than Mithras’ birthday. Mithraism eventually died out in the 4th century AD when Constantine converted to Christianity.

This post is being brought to my attention and is not at all seen as what I was trying to get across. It seems that I will have to correct some errors.

5 thoughts on “What is Mithraism

  1. Pingback: Similarites between Christianity and Ancient mythology | Adam's Symposium.

  2. Anonymous

    You might want to watch Wolter’s show a little more closely. His “evidence” is mostly old hoax material recycled for modern entertainment. Just think about it rationally for a second. How in the world do you think that Egyptians managed to sail to CENTRAL OKLAHOMA? And leave no record behind of their presence there.
    There is another Wolter episode where he concludes that ancient Phoenicians mined all the copper from the upper Michigan mines. It takes about 30 seconds looking at a map to prove that impossible.

    1. JennNAdams Post author

      Thank you for pointing that out! 🙂 I do watch it and then later research for the actual truth. Some of his info in that episode was incorrect and what I typed up is the facts. Some of the stuff that they put on his show seems too farfetched to be actual fact – that’s why I like to do my own research, to find out what is real and what is not. Maybe I should’ve added that bit of info to my post.

    2. JennNAdams Post author

      In Wolter’s episode – he said the cult in Oklahoma on Mithraism is from an Egyptian Apis Bull cult – that is actually incorrect. It is from a Roman bull cult. I did see the episode on the copper mining and I don’t actually believe that to be true. My other question would be, “why is a forensic geologist going around the globe, researching history and giving his theories like a historian or archeologist?” I don’t study geology, I study history as I am working on my degree in Anthropology, but isn’t his job to carbon date rocks?

  3. Pingback: Correcting An Misinterpreted Post | My life as a single mom

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