One of the major concerns of classical philosophy was to purify human notions of God of mythological elements. We know that Greek religion, like most cosmic religions, was polytheistic, even to the point of divinizing natural things and phenomena. Human attempts to understand the origin of the gods and hence the origin of the universe find their earliest expression in poetry; and the theogonies remain the first evidence of this human search. But it was the task of the fathers of philosophy to bring to light the link between reason and religion. As they broadened their view to include universal principles, they no longer rested content with the ancient myths, but wanted to provide a rational foundation for their belief in the divinity. This opened a path which took its rise from ancient traditions but allowed a development satisfying the demands of universal reason. This development sought to acquire a critical awareness of what they believed in, and the concept of divinity was the prime beneficiary of this. Superstitions were recognized for what they were and religion was, at least in part, purified by rational analysis. It was on this basis that the Fathers of the Church entered into fruitful dialogue with ancient philosophy, which offered new ways of proclaiming and understanding the God of Jesus Christ.
The Gnostic stories may well derive from references to Tyre in the Old Testament, for example Ezekiel 26-28, Isaiah 23 and Psalm 45. Ezekiel in turn draws on ancient Canaanite mythology, where Tyre is associated with the fallen angel Daniel and with the expulsion from Eden. A local goddess of Tyre was Astarte, who is equivalent to biblical Ashtoreth, Mesopotamian Ishtar, Sumerian Inanna, Egyptian Isis, and Greek Persephone. Whichever name she takes, the story of the maiden in the underworld and her rescue by the lord of fertility each spring is one of the most ancient and recurring myths in the world. As Isis, this figure is the archetypal mother, and also a patron of the Therapeutae, an Egyptian Gnostic sect who Philo describes as celebrating the sunrise as a symbol of inner enlightenment. 2b1af7f3a8