Jungmann, Josef A., S.J. "Chapter Twelve: Pagan and Christian Mysteries." The Early Liturgy to the Time of Gregory the Great. (translated by Francis A. Brunner, C.S.S. R., Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1959, pp. 152-163.
Jungmann has earlier discussed pagan civil and cultural influences on Christian liturgy, observing that they were not able to change actual form or content of Christianity. When considering the pagan mystery religions and their possible influence on liturgy, particularly on the Eucharist, the debate has been particularly active (Jungmann 1959, 152). Jugnmann observes that the original view of the sacraments had very little contact with the pagan mysteries, and that the overall concepts were different in their essence (Jungmann 1959, 153). However, he intends in this chapter to discuss the alleged analogies in some detail.
The theoroy of Dom Odo Casel, O.S.B., was that "the mysteries provided a sort of providential preparation for the sacramental idea presented by Christianity" (Jungmann 1959, 153). Therefore, the pagan mysteries provided people with a framework by which, when presented with a Christian view of grace, they would already be prepared to receive.
Among the Greeks, and later the Romans, some mystery cults performed special rites to one or another deity, seeking favor after death (Jungmann 1959, 153). They had secret rites of initiation followed by "a ritual enactment of the death and return to life of the god, this enactment being carried out in such fashion as to make the initiate in some way a partaker of the life of the god" (Jungmann 1959, 154). The cults would then continue to re-enact scenes from that deity's mythology. Jungmann finds traces of these cults as early as the classical age.
Because the mysteries were tied to a hope in the afterlife, they attracted many adherents. The Church Fathers would maek statemens calling people to the true mysteries, where life could actually be found (Jungmann 1959, 155).
Jungmann evaluates potential influence of mystery cults on Christianity in three separate periods: the apostolic period, the early patristic period, and the time when paganism was in decline (Jungmann 1959, 157-158). During the apostolic age, the use of the word μυστήριον was common in Christian thought, but always in the singular, referring to God's desire to save the world. In paganism, the mystery cults were always referred to in the plural. Jungmann therefore sees little interaction (Jungmann 1959, 158).
In the patristic period, authors made specific attacks on the pagan mysteries. The authors consider the mysteries to be taking claims of Christianity and perverting them (Jungmann 1959, 158).
Beginning in the fourth century, paganism was in decline and no longer represented a threat to Christian teaching. At this time, the Christian authors start appropriating terms such as initiation and gide of mysteries to their own purposes. It is at this point that Jungmann considers the mysteries could have an influence on liturgy (Jungmann 1959, 159). At this point, some practices, such as baptism, the consecration of the Eucharist, and the Lord's Prayer, were kept secret from those who were not baptized. Jungmann considers that this may have primarily been a matter of the culture which guarded access to sacred things.
Because the mystery religions represented an attempt to overcome death, and particularly to do it by way of resurrection, Casel's suggestion was the Christianity, though different in its essential beliefs, had enough similarities in its liturgical practices that it could easily beseen as the truthful fulfillment of what the msyteries suggested (Jungmann 1959, 160).
Jungmann observes that the similarity only applies to the sacraments, not to the liturgy as a whole. Casel's argument is based on whether or not the sacrament actually brings the past action of Christ to life as a present reality. This can be illustrated in the Church Fathers, but it may not necessarily be definitively proven (Jungmann 1959, 161-162). Jungmann observes that in many circuels the Sacraments were seen as relatively abstract and symbolic until the early 20th century. The renewal of the sacraments as specifically effectual and active is a move to a greater similarity of view to that of the mystery religions (Jungmann 1959, 162-163).