Podcast Episodes Themed "Esoteric Hermeneutics"

Episode 185: Dylan Burns on Proclus the Successor

We welcome Dylan Burns back to the podcast to discuss the life, works, and philosophy of Proclus the Successor. ‘All in all, but appropriately to each’

Storytime: Reading Hierocles on the Golden Verses, Part II

We continue our read-through of Hierocles' Commentary, focusing in detail on the treasure-trove that is Chapter XXVI. The telestic was never so initiatory (or is it civic?)!

Episode 184: Hierocles of Alexandria and the Pythagorean Golden Verses

We discuss Hierocles of Alexandria, strudent of Plutarch of Athens made good. He wrote an esoteric commentary on the poem known as the Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans. The poem is full of good advice and the Commentary tells us a lot about the nature and purification of the luminous subtle body.

Storytime: Reading Macrobius’ Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, Part I

We begin to read through Macrobius' Commentary with an eye for the esoteric. A whole world of literary/discursive theory opens before our eyes, wherein fictions hide the truth, the truth may be ineffable, and dreams are a weird kind of esoteric text. So what does that make a fictional dream which tells the genuine truth?

Episode 181: Macrobius and the Commentary on Scipio’s Dream

We explore the rich seam of late-antique esoteric lore that is Macrobius' Commentary on the Dream of Scipio. We discuss who Macrobius was, what he wrote, what he wrote about, and introduce who read him later on. He emerges as a crucial transmitter of astrologised, arithmologically-informed Platonism to the Latin west in the middle ages.

Episode 180: Augustine of Hippo: Saint of the Exoteric

We discuss Augustine the anti-esotericist, who denies that Christianity has any esoteric dimensions. He employs the esoteric to do so. Can you trust a guy who does that?

Storytime: Reading Synesius On Dreams

The On Dreams of Synesius of Cyrene is one of the finest pieces of esoteric writing to survive from antiquity. It preserves fragments of the Chaldæan Oracles, conveys fully fleshed-out theories of veridical imagination, dream-divination, and magic based on kosmic correspondence, and gives us other valuable details of antique occult lore. It is also self-consciously an esoteric piece of writing, and seems to be suggesting that it is a polytheist message-in-a-bottle to be read by future generations, once the dark times of Christian persecution have passed. So we read it.

Episode 170: Frederico Fidler on Sallustius’ On the Gods and the World

We are delighted to speak with Frederico Fidler about Sallustius' On the Gods and the World, a short manual of a popular nature outlining how Platonist metaphysics work, how traditional Hellenistic religion is thought to mirror those metaphysical realities, and how esoteric hermeneutics are the key to unlocking the truth in the vast tradition of myth, ritual, and philosophy claimed by Julian, Sallustius, and other late-antique Hellenes. Come for the esoteric myths, stay for the kosmos as esoteric myth.

Episode 169: Strategies of the Esoteric in the Hellenism of the Emperor Julian: Exclusion and Pluralism in a Late-Antique Polytheism

We discuss the dynamics of Julian's esoteric religious/political formulation of Hellenism, and reflect on some of the very strange things that happen when esoteric religions like Iamblichean theurgy (and Christianity) are taken out of the small conclave and projected onto the corridors of power.

Episode 167: Jeremy Swist on the Emperor Julian, Part I: the Political Background and Political Project of the Emperor

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.

Storytime: Reading Zosimus of Panopolis On the Letter Omega

We delve into On the Letter Omega, one of Zosimus of Panopolis' most cryptic and extraordinary texts (which is saying something). It turns out that to understand the technical implements of alchemy you need to understand the fall of the primordial human being into the materialised Thoth-Adam.

Bink Hallum on Zosimus Arabicus: The Final Quittance

In an extra episode with Dr Hallum we go all-in on the tangled textual web of the Arabic Zosimus. Who wrote what, and when? We then explore the incredible Muṣḥaf al-ṣuwar, our earliest alchemical emblem book, relating the text and images, and trying to make sense of it all.

Episode 137: The Esoteric Iamblichus

We discuss the rich strata of the esoteric in the work of the sage of Chalcis. Starting from the evidence for socially-esoteric teaching within Iamblichus' school, we move on to discuss his constructions of esoteric wisdom lineages – notably the tradition of ‘the theurgists’ – his employment of tropes of hiding and revealing, and the parameters of the Iamblichean ‘ineffable’.

Episode 135: Esoteric Hermeneutics, Divine Hierarchy, and the Ineffable: The Philosophy of Iamblichus, Part I

We explore Iamblichus' extraordinary ‘esoteric-literalist’ approach to the Platonic corpus and the upper reaches of his complex metaphysics, the realms of the One(s) and the noetic-noeric levels of reality. Featuring special guest-star the Noeric Hebdomad.

Episode 129: Nilüfer Akçay on Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs

We speak with Nilüfer Akçay, author of the only full-length English monograph on Porphyry's On the Cave of the Nymphs.

Storytime: A cavern pleasant, though involv’d in night. Reading Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs, Part II

We continue our read-through of Porphyry's masterwork of esoteric interpretation. Things get very astral, and we learn about the double nature of embodied life, the eschatological function of the Milky Way, and how milk and honey might come in handy in summoning up souls.

Storytime: A cavern pleasant, though involv’d in night. Reading Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs, Part I

We begin a detailed read-through of the greatest work of esoteric reading to survive from antiquity. Come for the depth-allegorical reading of the ancient wisdom, stay for the Mithraic lore, necromancy, and ghosts.

Episode 128: Porphyry and the Barbarians: Ethnicity, Religious Practice, and Esoteric Interpretation

We get into Porphyry's reception of Greek and non-Greek wisdom, and the ways in which esoteric truth is to be found in various cultural locales. We also discuss the one place where it is most definitely not to be found: Christianity.

Episode 125: ‘Poet, Philosopher, Hierophant’: Introducing Porphyry of Tyre

We introduce Porphyry of Tyre, a most prolific Platonist writer and thinker. Come for the Platonist metaphysics, stay for the esoteric reading-strategies, exorcisms, divine possessions, and lost work on the River Styx.

Ammonius, Origen, and Plotinus: Exploring an Enigma

We discuss the unbelievably-baffling evidence concerning the identity of Origen, student of Ammonius, and his relationship with Plotinus. Two Ammoniuses and two Origens? One Ammonius, two Origens? Or one of each, meaning that the famous father of Christian esotericism was in fact the philosophic colleague of the greatest Platonist of antiquity? We try to present the main evidence and let the gentle listener decide (or decide that we can't decide).

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