I'm reading Bertrand Russel's The History of Western Philosophy, where he quotes Jon Burnett (in Early Greek Philosophy) as saying:
It looked as if Greek religion were about to enter the same stage as that already reached by religions of the East; and, but for the rise of science, it is hard to see what could have checked this tendency. It is usual to say the Greeks were saved from a religion of the Oriental type by their having no priesthood; but... It was not so much the absence of a priesthood as the existince of scientific schools that saved Greece.
It seems both authors take for granted that the reader will understand what is meant by "a religion of the Oriental type," and why these were a bad thing from which Ancient Greece was "saved" -- but as a modern reader, neither of these things are clear to me.
To which religions was he referring, and what aspects of those religions did he consider problematic?