Roger Beck

Roger Beck

Professor Emeritus Classics
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Recent Major Publication

The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire by Roger Beck

The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2006. Pp. xvi + 285, 20 figs. ISBN 978-0-19-814089-4. Paperback edition 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-921613-0.


Other books

  • 2007. A Brief History of Ancient Astrology. Blackwell Brief Histories of the Ancient World Series. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Pp. xiv + 154 + index, 10 figs. ISBN (hb) 978-1-4051-1087-7, 1-4051-1087-2; (pb) 978-1-4051-1074-7, 1-4051-1074-0.
  • 2004. Beck on Mithraism: Collected Works with New Essays. Ashgate Contemporary Thinkers on Religion Series. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing. Pp. xxvii + 369. ISBN 0-7546-4081-7.
  • 1988. Planetary Gods and Planetary Orders in the Mysteries of Mithras. Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l'Empire romain, 109. Leiden: Brill. Pp. xiv + 113, 7 plates. ISBN 90-04-08450-9.  

Book chapters and articles

  • 2010. “Ancient and Modern Approaches to the Representation of Supernatural Beings: Dio Chrysostom (Oration 12) and Dan Sperber (Explaining Culture) Compared,” in P. Pachis and Donald Wiebe (eds), Chasing Down Religion: In the sights of history and the cognitive sciences. Essays in Honor of Luther H. Martin. Athens and Thessaloniki: Barbounakis.
  • 2007. “Identifying and interacting with the ‘others’: The late antique ‘horoscope of Islam’,” in Z. A. Crook and P. A. Harland (eds), Identity and Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean: Jews, Christians and Others. Essays in Honour of Stephen G. Wilson. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press. 195-204.
  • 2006. “Divino quodam stellarum consortio coniunctum: The astrological relationship of Lucius to the priest of Isis as a ‘chronotopic’ template for Apuleius, Met. 11,” in C. Santini et al. (eds), Concentus ex dissonis: Scritti in onore di Aldo Setaioli. Naples: Edizioni Scientifici Italiane. Vol. 1, 85-96.
  • 2006. “On becoming a Mithraist: New evidence for the propagation of the Mysteries,” in L. Vaage (ed.), Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity. Waterloo ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 175-94.
  • 2006. “The religious market of the Roman empire: Rodney Stark and Christianity’s pagan competition,” ibid. 233-52. 2004. “Four men, two sticks, and a whip: Image and doctrine in a Mithraic ritual,” in H. Whitehouse and L. H. Martin (eds), Theorizing Religions Past: Archaeology, History, and Cognition. Cognitive Science of Religion Series. Walnut Creek CA: AltaMira Press. 87-103.
  • 2004. “Dancing at the spirit gates: A Mithraic ritual recovered from Proclus (In Remp. 2.128.26 ff. Kroll),” in R. B. Egan and M. Joyal (eds), Daimonopylai: Essays in Classics and the Classical Tradition Presented to  Edmund Berry. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Centre for Hellenic Civilization. 1-6.
  • 2004. “Lucius and the Sundial: A hidden chronotopic template in Metamorphoses 11,” in M. Zimmerman and R. van der Paardt (eds), Metamorphosic Reflections: Essays presented to Ben Hijmans at his 75th Birthday. Leuven: Peeters. 309-18.
  • 2001-02. “History into fiction: The metamorphoses of the Mithras myths,” Ancient Narrative 1, 283-300.
  • 2000. “Ritual, myth, doctrine, and initiation in the Mysteries of Mithras: New evidence from a cult vessel,” Journal of Roman Studies 90, 145-80.
  • 2001. “New thoughts on the genesis of the Mysteries of Mithra,”Topoi 11, no. 1, 59-76. (Colloque “Mithra en Syrie,” Lyon, 2000)
  • 2000. “Apuleius the novelist, Apuleius the Ostian householder, and the Mithraeum of the Seven Spheres: Further explorations of an hypothesis of Filippo Coarelli,” in S. G. Wilson and M. Desjardin (eds), Text and Artifact in the Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity: Essays in Honour of Peter Richardson. Studies in Christianity and Judaism 9. Waterloo ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 551-67.


His current research interests are Religion in the Roman Empire, especially the cult of Mithras; the cognitive study of religion; ancient astrology and astronomy; the ancient novel, especially the works of Petronius and Apuleius.


Ph.D (Classical Philology, University of Illinois)