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Also: Several comments have been posted about The Six Enneads. Read them or add your own.
Translated by Stephen Ronan. This text Explains the
theurgic understanding of the spiritual mechanics behind religious ritual.
Translated by Stephen Ronan. This text Explains how the
ancients understood the phenomena of trance and possession.
Essay by Stephen Ronan. Porphyry of Tyres (c.
232/3-305 AD) Letter to Anebo (Epistula ad Anebonem) and Iamblichus of
Chalcis (c. 242-325 AD) On the Mysteries (De mysteriis) are two of the
most important religious and philosophical documents of Late Antiquity. Porphyry and
Iamblichus were both highly esteemed and influential Pagan Neoplatonic philosophers whose
views, especially their religious views, have not tended to receive a fair and
unprejudiced treatment, and this is true of Iamblichus most of all. Oddly enough, despite
the reputations of these documents, a careful analysis will show that neither of them are
primarily concerned with magic. What they are concerned with is traditional Pagan
religion, its apparent contradictions, and its relationship to philosophy.
is a detailed analysis of these two famous documents which raise and resolve questions
about the meaning of, and apparent contradictions in, ancient religion and ritual. Also of
particular importance for the ancient Pagan-Christian debate.
Neoplatonism was the last of the great schools of Greek
philosophy; and the most mystical. It's founder Plotinus and his successors taught
an elaborate emanationist
Neoplatonism is the last development of Greek philosophy. It
adopted elements of the older systems, especially the Platonic, and added an element of
mystical speculation. This speculation focused mainly on the relation of God to humans and
the universe; however, physics, ethics, and logic were not completely neglected. The
mystical tendency, which is apparent in Plato, is responsible for redirecting Neoplatonic
speculation away from the scientific strictness of older Greek philosophers...
A system of idealistic, spiritualistic philosophy, tending
towards mysticism, which
flourished in the pagan world of Greece and Rome during the first centuries of the
Christian era. It is of interest and importance, not merely because it is the last attempt
of Greek thought to rehabilitate itself and restore its exhausted vitality by recourse to
Oriental religious ideas, but also because it definitely entered the service of pagan
polytheism and was used as a weapon against Christianity...