Ascension myths

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Ascension myths are myths about certain legendary heroes' last days of Earth before their departing to Heaven or some similar realm.

Richard Miller argues that several Greco-Roman ascension myths have several features in common:

  1. The hero is the Son of God
  2. Death accompanied by prodigies
  3. ...and land covered in darkness
  4. Corpse goes missing
  5. Receives a new immortal body
  6. New body occasionally radiant
  7. Meets followers on road from city
  8. Speech from a high place
  9. Message of resurrection or "translation"
  10. "Great Commission"
  11. Ascends to heaven
  12. Taken up into a cloud
  13. Explicit eyewitnesses
  14. Frightened by disappearance
  15. Some flee
  16. "Dubious alternative accounts"
  17. Occurs outside of a central city
  18. Followers initially in sorrow
  19. But resurrection story leads to belief, homage, and rejoicing
  20. Hero deified and cult paid

Jesus Christ is a good fit, as is Romulus and some other legendary heroes. Romulus even had a "great commission" message: to conquer the world (Livy, History of Rome, I:1.16).

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