The false worship of the dead (Wis 14:15-14:16)

“A father,

Consumed with grief

At an untimely bereavement,

Made an image of his child,

Who had been suddenly taken from him.

Now he honored him as a god,

What was once a dead human being.

He handed on to his dependents

Secret rites

With initiations.

Then the ungodly custom,

Grown strong with time,

Was kept as a law.

At the command of monarchs

Carved images were worshiped.”

This is an attempt to show how the development of the worship of dead came about. It seems like it all started out when a father (πατήρ) lost his son prematurely. He made an image of his dead child, but then he honored him as god (ὡς Θεὸν). He then handed down to his dependents mysterious secret rituals with various initiation sacrificial ceremonies (μυστήρια καὶ τελετά). This ungodly custom later became a law (ὡς νόμος), so that even monarchs wanted carved images worshipped.

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