Hittite Bronze Age Stag Statue

Hittite Bronze Age Stag Statue

Around 1,400 B.C., at the peak of the Bronze Age, the Hittites along with Mycenaeans, Egyptians and Assyrians were one of the kingdoms that dominated the Old World. The Hittites left behind some spectacular artifacts. This bronze stag statuette from the Early Bronze Age is believed to represent a Hittite deity. Most narratives illustrating Hittite mythology and Hittite religion are lost to history, yet, scholars generally seem to agree that rather than having one dominant religion, Hittites incorporated "a thousand gods" and highly syncretic rituals.

All religions - without exception - are inherently syncretic to some degree or another in both their ideas and their rituals; A fact that many religious purists hate or even deny. Religions start off to tackle fundamental Universal Truths and man's role on earth. Over time, they all are influenced, syncretized, re-interpreted, re-adapted and corrupted. Their essence gets covered with tradition and ritual and becomes increasingly inaccessible. There are no exceptions. Despite all that, if you are able to look through the tradition and ritual and reach the essence of any religion, you are left with a treasure-trove of experience, ideas and concepts worth prehending.

So, what is that essence? Religions will explain that, for the most part, their essence is ineffable. They'll point to experience instead of reasoning or intellectualization. This mode of knowledge is not an evasion of rational thought, but something built directly into the essence of every religion. The inexplicable mystery is to be embraced; It's irreducible to rational understanding. In the wise words of Zhuang Zhou: "To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven".
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