With the first part of the title he associates the notion of incoherent and only partly intelligible fragments of a collection of Greek magico-mystical poems of later antiquity which, by a strange con- version, was elevated by the Neoplatonists to the rank of a script- ure of holy revelation. With the second part of the title, one is accustomed to associate a magical science which, in the twi- light of the Greek genius, took possession of philosophy and de- frauded it of its fruits. The task of the present work is to bring light into this darkness and to elucidate the genesis of this last spiritual discipline of Antiquity. Thereby, some of the veils woven by its ancient transmitters and their modern adepts will be raised. These Iwo men were the founders of a religious system the principles of which they enunciated in the so-called Chaldaean Oracles, and in other writings. Ma- ny of the matters followed up in this investigation may throw light on problems of special interest to the historian of religious thought.

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ISBN: It was itself reconstructed from the unfinished writings and notes of its prematurely-deceased author, without whose care many typos and edi- torial errors slipped into the manuscript, and languished in obscurity after its publication. Suffering further from the absence of any apparatus, the first edition is at best occasionally untrustworthy, at worst unusable.

Attention was initially drawn to the book by E. In the meantime, the Oracles have continued to benefit from lavish schol- arly attention. Essays in Honour of Peter Brown, ed. Their use not just in Neoplatonic but ancient Christian circles—including the Sethian Gnostics, whose apocalypses we know from Nag Hammadi—is now being explored: see most recently John D.

John D. Turner and Kevin Corrigan, 2 vols. Kraemer, ed. The reappearance of Lewy is therefore timely—and convenient. Copies of the second edition are exceedingly rare and thus expensive. The third edition is, for the most part, a semi -affordable reprint of its predecessor.

One pays Aries — Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism 14 95— book reviews 97 for the quality of the paper, which is high. A handy bonus to this edition is the inclusion of a highly comprehensive bibliography on both the Chaldaean Oracles and theurgy what else? The answer is yes.

Some of these insights remain unparalleled in recent scholarship. A fine example is his reconstruction of the rite of the mock- celebrating the death of the theurgist and modeled on the funeral of Patroclus pp. It is dredged from a wide range of sources that are relatively difficult for beginners in the field in part due to a dearth of modern translations and editions, although this unfortunate situation is changing , and remains the only actual study of the question.

Brill, ], —, Indeed, a similarly wide-ranging, compendious study of theurgy and the Oracles which is built not upon the generation of Cumont but of Shaw or Athanassiadi is a desideratum. Until such a study appears, Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy, for all its flaws, remains not just a classic in the history of scholarship, but essential reading for students of Neoplatonism, later Greek religion, and Western esotericism.

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Download audio file mp3 [As in the last episode, all quotations are from the translation of Majercik , and fragment numbers correspond to the edition of des Places ] In this episode we look primarily at the fragments of the Oracles, seeing what we can piece together of the ritual practices outlined therein. Inevitably, a lot of comparative material is used from later Platonist theurges, since they tell us a lot more about theurgy or their idea of theurgy than the surviving fragments of the Oracles do. Damascius: On the philosophic vs. On arming oneself for the ascent with synthemata: fr. I, , On animating statues: de myst. Proclus uses a iunx to make it rain: Vit.


Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy

Background for Ars Magica sagas Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy A literature which, in contrast to the Hermetic Corpus, had nothing ecumenical about it, and whose esotericism enchanted the Neoplatonists, who made it their bible. It presented itself as a revelation of oriental origin. It must be admitted, however, that the last pagans were receptive to the apocalyptic exoticism of these Logia, which were taken to contain the ultimate in wisdom attributed to the Mesopotamian Magi. At the end of his life, Porphyry took a passionate interest in them, notably in the means they offered for liberating a part of the soul that was likely to regain the astral light. Iamblichus makes reference to them in his Mysteries of Egypt, and is said to have devoted twenty-eight books to an in-depth commentary on the Logia. In both the West and the East we find them quoted directly or indirectly by Christians who had come from Neoplatonism, like Marius Victorinus, Synesius of Cyrene and the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.

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