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latter part of the second century, when there emerges on one side of the picture the liturgical Eucharist, on the other side the Agape with Eucharistic acts; and further, it seems to me doubtful whether we are justified in correlating the Agape of the Canons of Hippolytus as closely with the Paschal Supper and the original Eucharist as Dr Achelis does.1
I regret that the book was in type before I read Dr P. Gardner's Exploratio Evangelica, which it would have been well to have had before one in the earlier part of the investigation. Dr Gardner, like other critical writers, who are disposed to infer rapid accretions upon original Christianity by the method of comparative analysis of other religions, seems not to be fully sensible of the moral cleavage between early Christianity and contemporary heathenism, and even Rabbinical Judaism, but the general tone of his work is worthy of the highest respect.
I have spoken of his-recently modified 2_view of the origin of the Eucharist elsewhere (chap. v. p. 161). But as to Mithraism he seems to think
1 Die Canones Hippolyti, p. 210 ff. Cf. infra, p. 135.
? He formerly thought it possible that St. Paul's ideas about the Eucharist may have been coloured " by the rites carried on at the neighbouring Eleusis” (p. 454). But see below, Appendix I. C.
(p. 335) that M. Foucart, whom I have quoted, is not quite fair to it. The sources of information on this subject are now open to all in Cumont's important work, but it shows how little we know of the details of Mithraism. As Mr F. G. Kenyon has recently pointed out, Mithraism, as an eclectic religion, may have borrowed ceremonies from Christianity, whereas the reverse is chronologically impossible. “We can recognise in Mithraism elements of truth, which account for its temporary success . . . but we cannot see in it a serious and formidable rival to the Truth which is the light of the world.”2
Apart from the difficulty of the subject, the little book has suffered from constant interruptions due to various causes; but, in spite of its defects, it is hoped that there may be some interest in an outline which incidentally brings out some important features of early Church life, and puts before the reader materials for forming an independent judgment on the various questions at issue.
Chapters i., ii., iii., v., with the Introduction and 1 Textes et Monuments relatifs aux mystères de Mithra (BruxellesLamertin, 1896-9).
2 “Mithraism and the Fall of Paganism” (Guardian, April 24, 1901).
the Appendices, were accepted by the Cambridge Divinity Professors as a sufficient exercise for the degree of D.D.
I have to thank the Regius Professor for leave to make additions and corrections, and for his great kindness in looking over the proof sheets; and the Rev. Canon A. J. Maclean for reading over chapter iv. I owe one or two suggestions to the kindness of Dr Armitage Robinson, but I wrote without seeing the discussions of the Last Supper by Dr Sanday and Dr Plummer in Hastings' Bible Dictionary.