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Franz Cumont, the oriental religions, and christianity in the roman empire: a hegelian view on the evolution of religion, politics, and science

Danny Praet (UGent)
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Abstract
Cumont (1868-1947) was influenced by Hegel’s view on the religious evolution of mankind. He discussed the role the Oriental Religions (Attis and Cybele, Isis and Serapis, the Syrian Baals, Mithras) played in the transition from paganism to Christianity as an interaction between politics and religion: as an evolution from the particular to the universal, from state-controlled to free individual choice. They evolved from primitive ritualism to austere morality, and represented a synthesis between East and West. His book on their spread in Roman paganism is not entirely chronological but corresponds to a symbolic sequence: Firmicus Maternus already linked them with the four elements (from Cybele-earth to Mithras-fire) so these Religions formed an ascension from the heaviest to the least material element. Cumont presented astral religion as the final stage of paganism, including aether, and establishing an “objective” (pseudoscientific) link between man and the cosmos, pointing to Christianity as the next step in this spiritual journey.
Keywords
History of Philosophy, Franz Cumont, Oriental Religions, Ancient Religion, History of Religion, Philosophy of Religion, Hegel

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MLA
Praet, Danny. “Franz Cumont, the Oriental Religions, and Christianity in the Roman Empire: a Hegelian View on the Evolution of Religion, Politics, and Science.” AAR American Academy of Religion : Fostering Excellence in the Study of Religion : 2011 Annual Meetings Abstracts. Ed. Todd Gooch, Dawn De Vries, & Arie Molendijk. Vol. 42. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2011. 133–158. Print.
APA
Praet, D. (2011). Franz Cumont, the oriental religions, and christianity in the roman empire: a hegelian view on the evolution of religion, politics, and science. In T. Gooch, D. De Vries, & A. Molendijk (Eds.), AAR American Academy of Religion : fostering excellence in the study of religion : 2011 annual meetings abstracts (Vol. 42, pp. 133–158). Presented at the American Academy of Religion (AAR - 2011) and the Society of Biblical Literature, Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Chicago author-date
Praet, Danny. 2011. “Franz Cumont, the Oriental Religions, and Christianity in the Roman Empire: a Hegelian View on the Evolution of Religion, Politics, and Science.” In AAR American Academy of Religion : Fostering Excellence in the Study of Religion : 2011 Annual Meetings Abstracts, ed. Todd Gooch, Dawn De Vries, and Arie Molendijk, 42:133–158. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Praet, Danny. 2011. “Franz Cumont, the Oriental Religions, and Christianity in the Roman Empire: a Hegelian View on the Evolution of Religion, Politics, and Science.” In AAR American Academy of Religion : Fostering Excellence in the Study of Religion : 2011 Annual Meetings Abstracts, ed. Todd Gooch, Dawn De Vries, and Arie Molendijk, 42:133–158. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Vancouver
1.
Praet D. Franz Cumont, the oriental religions, and christianity in the roman empire: a hegelian view on the evolution of religion, politics, and science. In: Gooch T, De Vries D, Molendijk A, editors. AAR American Academy of Religion : fostering excellence in the study of religion : 2011 annual meetings abstracts. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers; 2011. p. 133–58.
IEEE
[1]
D. Praet, “Franz Cumont, the oriental religions, and christianity in the roman empire: a hegelian view on the evolution of religion, politics, and science,” in AAR American Academy of Religion : fostering excellence in the study of religion : 2011 annual meetings abstracts, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2011, vol. 42, pp. 133–158.
@inproceedings{1974591,
  abstract     = {Cumont (1868-1947) was influenced by Hegel’s view on the religious evolution of mankind. He discussed the role the Oriental Religions (Attis and Cybele, Isis and Serapis, the Syrian Baals, Mithras) played in the transition from paganism to Christianity as an interaction between politics and religion: as an evolution from the particular to the universal, from state-controlled to free individual choice. They evolved from primitive ritualism to austere morality, and represented a synthesis between East and West. His book on their spread in Roman paganism is not entirely chronological but corresponds to a symbolic sequence: Firmicus Maternus already linked them with the four elements (from Cybele-earth to Mithras-fire) so these Religions formed an ascension from the heaviest to the least material element. Cumont presented astral religion as the final stage of paganism, including aether, and establishing an “objective” (pseudoscientific) link between man and the cosmos, pointing to Christianity as the next step in this spiritual journey.},
  author       = {Praet, Danny},
  booktitle    = {AAR American Academy of Religion : fostering excellence in the study of religion : 2011 annual meetings abstracts},
  editor       = {Gooch, Todd and De Vries, Dawn and Molendijk, Arie},
  keywords     = {History of Philosophy,Franz Cumont,Oriental Religions,Ancient Religion,History of Religion,Philosophy of Religion,Hegel},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {San Francisco, CA, USA},
  pages        = {133--158},
  publisher    = {Wipf and Stock Publishers},
  title        = {Franz Cumont, the oriental religions, and christianity in the roman empire: a hegelian view on the evolution of religion, politics, and science},
  volume       = {42},
  year         = {2011},
}