Believed to be the goddess of grain who provided food, Demeter was popular among common people because acquiring enough food was a dominant concern for them. The secretive cult worshiped in a temple (twenty-two by forty feet) and eight-hundred-seat theater complex on the south side of the acropolis of Pergamum. It was also known for its death-resurrection theme that focused on Demeter’s daughter who was allowed to spend half the year in Hades and the other half on earth. Thus adherents believed that Demeter offered them the possibility of resurrection.

Although little is known about the rituals of this religion, there was an initiation ceremony involving the blood of a bull. The initiate would stand or lie at the bottom of a pit while a bull was slaughtered above on a grid. The blood would wash over the new convert, providing redemptive cleansing “a clever imitation of salvation through Jesus” shed blood on the cross.


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