THE MITHRAS INSCRIPTIONS OF SANTA PRISCA AND THE NEW TESTAMENT * BY HANS DIETER BETZ Claremont, Calif. The inscriptions discovered in a Mithras sanctuary under the Church of Santa Prisca on the Aventine in Rome, which have now finally been published by M. J. VERMASEREN in his excavation report 1), prove to be informative for the understanding of certain concepts of the New Testament. While up to now the written materials of and information about the hellenistic Mithras cult consisted of votive inscriptions, and references and allusions of poets and church fathers 2), these new inscriptions give us a glimpse of the mithraic cult itself, as it existed in the second century in Rome. It is this late date of the inscriptions which at first sight seems to make impossible any comparison with the New Testament. The editors have shown that the part of the building which housed the sanctuary belonged originally to the "Pyivata Tyaiani", while the sanctuary itself was only instituted under the emperor Severus. A graffito which can be dated from the year 202 A.D. shows that the sanctuary was in use at that time. About 220 A.D. the Mithraeum was renovated and considerably enlarged.
Novum Testamentum – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1968
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