Our discussion with Jeremy Swist on The Emperor turns metaphysical, theurgic, and religious, as we discuss Julian's incredible synthesis of Iamblichean theology and metaphysics, traditional religions, and politics. Come for the pagan counter-church, stay for the transcendent solar metaphysics.
Oddcast Episodes Themed "Interview"
Jeremy Swist, specialist on Late Platonism, late antiquity, and the great Julian the Faithful, lays out the political background and political project of The Emperor. Part I of a two-part discussion of late antiquity's greatest statesman. No bias here.
We discuss the extraordinary reception-history of the extraordinary text known as Sefer Yetsirah, the ‘Book of Formation‘. The Sefer Yetsirah would eventually become a foundational text for the Kabbalist movements of the high middle ages, but it was (and is) much more than that. Professor Langermann lays out the evolutions in reading this text from Sa‘adia Gaon to Aryeh Kaplan.
One of the most fundamental and intriguing questions in the philosophy of language is that of the relation between signs and the realities they signify. But what if the signs are letters and numbers simultaneously? And what if these are in fact the constitutive elements of reality itself? Juan Acevedo is our guide in an overview of the history and dynamics of alphanumeric cosmology in the western tradition.
We continue our interview with Gyrus, starting from Copernicus' demolition of the polar cosmos and exploring the aftermath of this radical decentering of the cosmic structure of the west.
Further discussion with Peter Grey, looking at aspects of the Crowley/Parsons/Hubbard story from magickal and scholarly perspectives.
We continue our conversation with Dr Hallum, exploring some fascinating manuscript detective work revealing some unsolved mysteries of transmission, the Jewish and East Roman medieval magic-square traditions, early-modern translations and adaptations of the material, and much more.
We discuss those ‘magic squares’ that we find in esoteric texts from Indonesia to London, curious grids of numbers often used as astral-magical talismans with integrated alphanumeric mysteries. Bink Hallum has done the research, and lays out the story of the magic square from China to Agrippa.
We continue our interview with Michael Noble, exploring magical, exegetical, soteriological, prophetological, and other aspects of Rāzī's thought. Things get seriously esoteric, and you know that we do not say things like that lightly.
Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī was a Persian universal scholar and theologian, particularly well-known for his tafsīr or work of Qur'ānic interpretation, a mainstay of Sunni Islam to this day. Less well-known is his work of addressative, astral, talismanic ritual, The Hidden Secret. Michael Noble has published a study of this work in the context of Rāzī's thought and of the larger intellectual currents in which he swam. Come for the enduring legacy of staunch, but philosophically-rich, Sunni theology, stay for the orgies and severed heads.
We continue our discussion of the Sâr Merodac, speaking of his influence, his sympathy for the Devil, his place in esoteric thought, and more.
We discuss the life and work of Joséphin Péladan (1858-1918), art-critic, Occultist, playwright, and generally creative freak. Dr Sasha Chaitow is our guide to the fascinating life of nineteenth-century Paris' most prominent avant-garde Rosicrucian trend-setter. Welcome to the salon rosicrucien.
In this continuing conversation with Dr Davis we explore conspiracy (as a state of mind, religious practice, and self-fulfilling quasi-reality), the current state of ‘the archons’ (and why q-anon may be a helpful model for thinking through late-antique ‘Gnosticism’), and Philip K. Dick's work in light of the cultural moment underway in America and beyond.
Allegra Baggio-Corradi of the Warburg Institute guides us through the life and thought of a leading figure of the forgotten esoteric Renaissance, the Paduan Niccolo Toméo. Come for the pagan-Christian metaphysics, stay for the oracular pelican.
Firmicus Maternus, a fairly prominent fourth-century intellectual from Sicily, wrote two works which survive: one is our earliest-surviving manual of astrological practice in Latin, and it shows a full-blooded belief in astral determinism, and the second is a rabid Christian polemic against traditional religious practices. Discuss.
Emily Selove shares her current work on the fascinating Sirāj al-Dīn al-Sakkākī, well-known Arabic grammarian and little-known sorcerer. We discuss Sakkākī's extraordinary grimoire, the quest for the universal Perfect Man, a theory of language which might unite grammar and magic, and the identity of the mysterious ‘Peacock the Greek’.
We speak with Amy Hale, anthropologist, folklorist, and writer of weird and wonderful pieces, on the life, art, and legacy of Ithell Colquhoun, one of the 20th century's most important (if widely overlooked) esoteric artists.