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Richard Reitzenstein

1861-1931. German historian of religions and classical philologist. Beginning in 1889 he held several posts in German universities; from 1914 he taught at the University of Göttingen. After spending some years studying philology, he developed an interest in applying its methodology to the study of ancient religions, particularly the origins of Christianity. Interested in the Hermetic* literature, he attempted in Poimandres (1904) to show that the religion devoted to Hermes Trismegistus had some influence on early Christianity. Broadening his attempt to show Christian dependence on Gnosticism and mystery-religions, he published in 1910 Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen, and in 1916 Historia Monachorum und Historia Lausiaca. Such attempts did not win much scholarly acceptance.