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I've caught the tail end of a great lecture by a priest but have not been able to identify him or the venue. What I recall clearly is the very interesting point he brought up about the importance in understanding the mystery cults (Dionysus, Tammuz, Mithra, ect) which were the competing faiths at the time. The priest seemed to be speaking to the point of how Paul used his knowledge of these mystery cults to "speak the language" of the peoples and regions he sought to evangelize.

I followed the logic of the larger arc of that narrative, in that, Christianity was a fulfillment or solution to all these legacy faiths. The priest conceded that it wasn't a perfect overlap; Paul would cherry pick certain aspects from the mystery cults to serve as a vehicle for his message. Clearly, a blanket comparison would be incompatible. Tammuz is Tammuz, one would have to let go of the notion that Tammuz governs ones crops. But perhaps the priest meant certain subsets of ideas within these cults were able to be re-purposed.

Question

What kind of mystery cult ideas did Paul appear to focus on when evangelizing Rome and/or the Near East?

Note: Will leave the answer open to any/all sources, scripture, letters or other.

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  • I'm not sure why there was a vote to close this question. Perhaps the question could be asked along the lines of "what is a general survey" of events & passages that parallel the longings, ambitions and yearning of Greek & Roman mythology? Here is an example of what I wrote about in reference to how Jesus himself used words from a play about Bacchus to establish his identity: christianity.stackexchange.com/a/84483/54773
    – Jess
    Jan 3, 2023 at 18:47
  • The question is opinion-based. There is no valid evidence of Paul having any interest in, or knowledge of, 'mystery cults'. Paul was a Pharisee, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel . . . . . is what we know.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 4, 2023 at 6:24

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