A review of ‘Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World’ by Glenn S. Holland

This is a series of lectures about religion in the ancient world, starting in pre history with ancient goddess worship, up until the early years of modern Christianity and Judaism. It covers the following religions.

  • Ancient goddess worship
  • Egyptian
  • Mesopotamian
  • Pre-monotheism Semitic religions
  • ‘Superstitious’ Greek religion
  • ‘Philosophical’ Greek religion
  • Judaism
  • Christianity
  • Roman syncretism
  • Mystery religions

I learned a lot of new things about religions I thought myself to be familiar with. I especially liked the lectures about the pseudo-religion of Greek philosophy, the discussion of mystery religions, especially Isis’s mystery religion, and what I learned about the polytheistic Semitic religion from which Judaism evolved.

This lecture series provided a lot of nuanced information about forgotten myths and religious practices which I very much enjoyed learning. However- and this is a big *however*- I found this lecture series to be dry. Even by my tolerant standards, the lecturer was a bit soporific.

If this sounds interesting to you, I suggest you check it out. A word of warning though: I looked through some of the reviews for this lecture series, and some of them were from very passionate modern day religious people who have a bone to pick with the authors secular view of religious history. This lecture series was a SECULAR view of religious history, and as a result if you are a very conservative Jew or Christian, you might find some of the information contained within to be morally objectionable if not outright heretical.

Judgement: Worth reading, if a bit dry


Goodreads

Genres/Tagwords: nonfiction, Academic, religious history,

Previous books by the author/in the series I’ve reviewed:

  • None

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