Discussion Questions about Cybele

1. Describe the ritual of Taurobolium in Prudentius' poem On the Martyr's Crown (10.1011-50 = Meyer pp. 128-130).

2. What religious significance might this ritual have for worshipers of Cybele?

3. What does Prudentius think about this ritual?

4. What does this ritual have in common with rituals in other religions, both ancient and modern?

5. What impression of the Galli, Cybele's priests, does Apuleius offer in The Golden Asss (8.23-31 = Meyer 141-146)?

6. Compare this impression of the Galli with the one in Lucian (especially Meyer pp. 139-140).

7. What is the Venus of Willendorf?

8. What religious issues does she raise?

9. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using gender to describe god?

10. How is a male god different from a female god?

11. Is your image of god female or male?

This material has been published on the web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College. If you have any questions, you can contact him at toms@monm.edu.

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