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texts of Christianity,

texts of Christianity, the mystical text par excellence, the one that more than any other appears pervaded by divine influence, the Christian writing closest to the agnostic spirituality: The Gospel of John. Hellenism The period of Greek history from the expedition of Alexander the Great to Asia up to the undisputed assertion of the primacy of Rome, or approximately from 323 to 31 BCE, is called the Hellenistic period. The Merits of Alexander the Great Alexander's conquests had expanded the boundaries of the known world and, simultaneously, opened new opportunities for trade, knowledge, movement; they had also favored the formation of new markets providing unimagined development for many territories. Ideas could circulate more freely and quickly, culture assumed a universal character, trends integrated, and a desire to learn spread across the new region. A new language cohesion was born through the transformation of the classical Greek into a koinè diàlektos, namely a new common language. It was certainly less rich than the previous one, but more easily accessible to the educated classes that were substantially expanding. This language became the new vehicle for the propagation of religious ideas, doctrines and philosophical literary works. Alexander's death was followed by a very confused period, during which the previous political-military order disappeared and, through wars and unrest, three large state-owned units established: Macedonia, Syria and Ptolemy's Egypt. 164

In those years, from a political and social standpoint, a number of centuriesold certainties guaranteeing the stability of the previous system fell: For example the structure of the Greek cities (poleis) disappeared. There was an emancipation of women, and the simultaneous collapse of the family institution. Even religion was hit by this wave of innovation: Greek polis' gods almost disappeared. But the “need for religion” was still great and the people took over the cults of the conquered populations. The diffusion of the mystery and the orgiastic rites, as well as the worship of Mesopotamian and Middle Eastern deities, including the Jewish religion, would proliferate. Greeks found out that the new gods were not so much different from those they worshiped, and this brought about an exchange and a mixture of beliefs, rituals and formulas, opening the way for one of the key features of Hellenistic religiosity: syncretism, or the combining of different beliefs. Briefly... We can summarize that in the centuries immediately preceding the coming of Christ... From the religious point of view, culture abandoned any logical and rational approach that had been typical of the Greeks, with the consequential development of creed, dogmatic and universalistic doctrines. The period of great and original speculations ended; with no prominent figures, tradition was being reanalyzed and reprocessed: original doctrines were replaced by the examination of those truths that had been already discovered and asserted. The sometimes rigid dogmatism and lack of confidence in the ability of human reason generated a reaction that resulted in skepticism, claiming the impossibility of grasping a thing's true meaning. The new trend led to the abandonment of the philosophical speculation and developed mysticism as a way to realize those truths precluded to 165

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