Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Eleusinian Mysteries
(2,848 words)

The Eleusinian Mysteries were possibly the single most intense form of pagan (Pagan/Paganism) religious practice in the ancient world, making an exceptional offer in particular about life after death. For contemporary Christians they were for these reasons a prime target, but one whose secrecy hampered their criticism. The exceptionality of the final ceremony relative to most ancient festivals is still felt by most modern writers: we hear of no sacrifice but rather o…

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Dowden, Ken, “Eleusinian Mysteries”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 06 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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