Roger Beck

Roger Beck

Professor Emeritus
Ph.D (Classical Philology, University of Illinois)


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.