Greek Myths and Christian Mystery

By Hugo S. J. Rahner | Go to book overview

PREFACE

This is, in some ways, a remote sort of book, for it speaks of the myths of the Hellenes and the mystery of Christianity. It leads us away from the busy streets of our day into the quiet temple grounds where Hellas and the Church encountered one another. All that it contains is apparently out-dated, antiquarian and distant, and every word in it is directed, to quote Pythagoras, to the few who learn along with us, not to the multitude who just listen: "Let but little be said; let the rest remain cloaked in secrecy."1

But for those who thus learn, let me hint at the nature of the call that drove me to the writing of this book. What is here contained is a gift to that living round-table, made up of men who believe that our Western civilization has broken down only in order that it may be born anew, to the Eranos of those who dimly perceive the truth, as did Plato in his immortal seventh letter, and can behold the kingdom of eternity through the ruins. These are the men who know the comforting law of the spirit, that the demon in man is only permitted to tear down so that the angel in man with faltering hand may trace out the sources of new life. Palaces only collapse so that treasures may be laid bare; idols begin to rock, but only so that altars may be freed upon which a purified spirit may sacrifice.

We have become Barbarians and wish once again to be Hellenes. Many are concerned for this our return, and whosoever feels a vocation to assist in this work can be certain of our reverent thanks, for what all seek is man, and all are filled by the belief that by deliberately harking back to the world of Greek antiquity, both at its upper and lower levels, either in the ether of Olympus or among the river reeds of the Cabiri, they will rediscover the whole man, the homo humanus. Can he ever be found this way?

At this point that spirit seeks to make itself heard which inspired

____________________
1
Porphyry, Vita Pythagorae, 37.

-xiii-

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Greek Myths and Christian Mystery
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Part One - Mysterion 1
  • I Christian Mysteries and Pagan Mysteries 3
  • II - The Mystery of the Cross 46
  • III - The Mystery of Baptism 69
  • IV - The Christian Mystery of Sun and Moon 89
  • Part Two - The Healing of the Soul 177
  • V Moly and Mandragora in Pagan and Christian Symbolism 179
  • Part Three - Holy Homer 279
  • VI - The Willow Branch of the Next World 286
  • VII - Odysseus at the Mast 328
  • Epilogue 387
  • Index 391
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