Dying and Rising Gods
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.
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...
- Apollodorus. (1921). The library (2 Vols.) (trans: Frazer, J.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Frazer, J. (1922). The golden bough (Abridged Ed., Vol. 1). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Gaster, T. (1959). The new golden bough. New York: Criterion/Mentor.Google Scholar
- Jung, C. G. (1979). On resurrection. In W. McGuire, et al. (Eds.), The collected works of C.G. Jung (Vol. 18, paragraphs 1560–1574). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Mettinger, T. (2001). The riddle of resurrection: “Dying and Rising Gods” in the ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.Google Scholar
- Ovid. (1955). The Metamorphoses (trans: Humphries, R.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Pritchard, J. (Ed.). (1958). The ancient Near East (Vol. 1). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Smith, J. Z. (2005). Dying and rising Gods. In L. Jones (Ed.), Encyclopedia of religion (2nd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 2535–2540). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- The Bible. Revised Standard Version. (1952). New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.Google Scholar
- Wolkstein, D., & Kramer, S. (1983). Inanna: Queen of heaven and earth: Her stories and hymns from Sumer. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar