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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 November 2009
The Mysteries of Mithras: The Pagan Belief That Shaped the Christian World

I think it worthwhile to point out what this book does not attempt: first the author emphatically states he is not confronting the contentious issue of how the Roman cult of Mithras originated: secondly there are only seven pages dealing with the effect of Mithras on shaping Christianity.

The author takes an even handed approach to everything, and includes the mythology of both the Indo/Iranian Mitra/Mithra and the Roman Mithras, the book includes poems and anthems from Zoroastrian sources, a Liturgy from 350CE, Simorgh a Mithraic fairy tale, meditations and initiations, and rituals to celebrate Yule, Ostara, Litha and Modron (to use their more familiar names).

This book will be invaluable to neo pagans wishing to explore Mithras, strengthened by the Persian authors Sufi (a Mithra based religion) beliefs, also he is a Druid in the Grove of the Bards, Ovates and Druids, A member of the Golden Dawn Occult Society and the revivalist Temple of Mithras.

There is very little known about the Roman Cult of Mithras but as the author recommends the best academic book on Mithras as "Roman Cult of Mithras" by Manfred Clauss it would indicate his outlook on Mithras represents current mainstream thinking.

The author is not a religious academic, but being a follower of a religion with a Mithraic basis, and speaking Farsi he is able to access a very wide range of information, and this is evident in the scope of the book.

Highly recommended, and if you can find an affordable copy of the Clauss book it would be an invaluable cross check to this book.
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on 10 March 2009
I was swept along by Payam's passion for his subject in this very erudite yet readable book which not only brings together the various ancient roots of Mithraism,the universality of ritual activities and religious calendars but also explains how many of its features were "stolen" and "sanitised" by Christianity. It reverentially demystifies the cult of the great spirit Mithras by revealing the initiation ceremony into modern Mithraism,including Zoroastrian hymns of praise to Mithras and his consort/mother Anahita...and so very much more. I now understand why this often misunderstood religion, promoter of peace and love became the religion of choice of the Roman legions! Superbly annotated, illustrated and not totally lacking in humour.
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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2013
The value of this book might be indicated by one of the ALLEGED similarities betweem Mithraism and Christianity:

"The parallels between Christianity and ancient Mithraism are striking - for example, the god Mithras was born of a virgin in a cave on December 25"

Spot the deliberate mistake:

If we're talking about the Roman version. this mystery religion was a 2nd century creation so CANNOT have provided a basis for any part of Christianity. It must, if anything, have BORROWED details from Christian teaching (later Mithraism was indeed in strong direct contention with Christianity for some time until Constantine made Christianity the Roman state religion. An attempted revival by the Emperor Julian the Apostate (A.D. 360-363) was an unqualified failure.)

If we're talking about the original, Persian-based version of Mithraism then it should be noted that it was NOT an independent religion but was tied in to Zoroastrianism, and that we have very little authoritative information about it.
One of the things we do know is that the original Mithras was supposedly the twin brother of the god Ahura Mazda. I have yet to find anything in Christianity that suggests that Jesus te Christ had a twin brother - sounds like something dreamt up by Mel Brooks!

(Incidentally, there is no mention of the date of Christ's birthday in the Bible - and I must confess I didn;t know that December 25th was on any ancient Persian calendaar.
But in any case, it is widely acknowledged that the "Christian" church has borrowed such incidental details from a number of pagan sources. This hardly makes for a genuine, significant similarity between authentic Christianity and those other religions, however, starting with the fact that authentic (i.e. Bible-based)Christianity is not, and never has been, a "mystery religion".)
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on 13 January 2011
It seems as if the fellow is unaware of the past 40 years of Mithraic scholarship. If he were, then he would know that modern Mithraic scholars demonstrated that the Roman Mithraic mysteries had nothing to do with the Mithra of Persian Zoroastrianism, or the Indo-Iranian Mitra. As one commentator has pointed out, it was the pet theory of Franz Cumont (who developed his theories in the 1890s-1900s!) that the Vedic Mitra, the Persian Mithra and the Roman Mithras were one and the same, yet it is not the case. For example, the Persian Mithra was born when Ahura-Mazda had sexual relations with his own mother, and in the Roman mystery cult, Mithras emerged fully formed from a rock. The differences between the three are so many that only the truly ignorant could say otherwise. I would recommend readers to check out the following:

Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies by John R. Hinnells (editor)
The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World by David Ulansey
Planetary Gods and Planetary Orders in the Mysteries of Mithras by Roger Beck
The Personalities of Mithra in Archaeology and Literature by A.D. Bivar
The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries by Manfred Klaus (translated by Richard Gordon)
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on 11 January 2008
This writer magically unrolls our history and shows those wonderful common threads that run through so many of the worlds strongest religions.
This and his other titles together have proved invaluable in my studies of faith, new and old and this work has the interesting effect of showing the more unusual faiths in a credible light and the more mainstream as the 'heinz' variety that they truly are.

A must for Christian scholars and those who follow a more 'magical' path.
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on 28 October 2009
Please avoid this book. It contains any amount of factually erroneous material, acquired by hearsay and eagerly repeated. The author is not a Mithras scholar -- his PhD isn't even claimed to be relevant. The claims made are not referenced -- page after page goes by with not a single footnote. Buy "The Roman cult of Mithras" by Manfred Clauss instead. Clauss IS a real scholar, and his book solidly references the archaeology and literature.

Nabarz is relying on a theory originally formulated ca. 1900 by Franz Cumont, plus any amount of stuff off the web. In this theory, the ancient Persian deity Mitra, associated with Ahura-Mazda, is the same as the Roman god Mithras. Unfortunately the archaeology actually points to a Roman mystery cult invented in Rome some time in the 1st century AD. By 1975 the evidence had become too overwhelming to ignore, and scholars abandoned Cumont's theory. Mithraism was not a branch of Persian Zoroastrianism, and the motifs of the Roman cult are really not found in what we know of Zoroastrianism.

The idea that Christianity was influenced by Mithras is also rubbish. No ancient text records it, and it is quite unlikely. Clauss discusses all this stuff and concludes that any similarities really arise from the shared background in the ancient world.

Nabarz is a good writer. But what he hasn't done is to do the research. The Wikipedia article, which references all the modern scholarship, is a better starting point. Beck, Clauss, Merkelbach etc may be dry, but they have the merit of knowing what they are talking about.
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on 16 March 2015
excellent book,well researched
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on 15 December 2014
good read
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on 28 April 2013
Exceptionally interesting book especially about why the Roman Empire actually fell! Can easily be taken on holiday as a fact finding book.
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