Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Dying and Rising Gods

  • Lee W. BaileyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_190

An ancient text says, as James Frazer worded it, “Heracles on his journey to Libya had been slain by Typhon and brought to life again by Iolaus, who held a quail under his nose: the dead god snuffed at the bird and revived” (Frazer 1922: section 224).

This is a short version of the many accounts of gods and semi-gods who were said to have died and been resurrected, well documented in the eastern Mediterranean region. This one is associated with the migration of quails that descend in hordes on Palestine/Israel in spring to breed.

James Frazer

The classicist James Frazer (Cambridge University), in his 1890–1915 encyclopedic The Golden Bough, collected a mass of reports of ancient authors and nineteenth-century travelers about archaic rituals, myths, and traditions. It is a classic compendium of fascinating material, highlighting the dying and rising god theme, but he organized it according to lax, speculative nineteenth-century standards.

Frazer’s overall thesis was that archaic magic...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionIthaca CollegeIthacaUSA