Podcast Episodes Themed "Esoteric Tradition"

Episode 186: The Esoteric Proclus, Part I: The Life and Thought of an Esoteric Sage

We look further into Proclus' esoteric doings, as a sage whose privileged status is marked by inspirations and epiphanies, omens and miracles. We then attempt a (shamefully oversimplified) summary of some important aspects of his (meta)physics.

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.

Storytime: Reading Zosimus of Panopolis’ The Final Accounting

In this, our last Zosimus Storytime episode, we discuss the ‘Final Accounting’ or ‘Final Quittance’, a work in which Zosimus lays out for Theosebia the most recondite and hardcore spiritual practice to be found in his oeuvre. Part Hermetic, part demonic, all alchemical.

Episode 156: Recognising the Real in the Forgery: The Pseudo-Clementine Literature

We discuss the extraordinary late-antique novel of the early Christian church at Rome, known as the Pseudo-Clementine literature. Gnosticism, Jewish-Christianity, esotericism, scriptural and other forgery, and the problem of authenticity itself loom large as we quite improperly discuss a text meant only for true initiates.

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 115: The Esoteric Plotinus, Part I: Philosophic Silence and Esoteric Reading

We discuss aspects of the esoteric found in two distinct sources – Porphyry's Life of Plotinus and Plotinus' own writings – and think through them. The esoteric Platonist exegete meets the late pagan holy man; are they the same person?

Episode 92: Lifting the Veil: Esoteric Reading in Clement’s Stromateis

Clement stays esoteric. We examine the esoteric wisdom-lineages constructed by Clement, how he reads them, in the context of how he hides his reading of them. Plus, there seems to have been some genuine, contemporary esotericism going on in early Christianity.

Episode 89: The Astrology of Vettius Valens

We examine the life, work, and legacy of Vettius Valens, second-century Roman astrologer and author of the Anthologies, the most hard-core practical handbook of astrological practice which survives from antiquity.

Geoffrey Smith Valentinicates Further

In a further conversation with Geoffrey Smith we try to imagine what Valentinus' circle at Rome might have looked like, we discuss the esoteric in early Christianity, and we delve into the further horizons of future research on Valentinianism.

Episode 82: I Got Soul, And I’m Super Bad: Basilides of Alexandria

Basilides of Alexandria, one of the first Christian philosophers and scriptural exegetes, is known as one of the great Gnostic heresiarchs of the second century. But what did he actually teach? It's mind-blowing and it's esoteric.

Episode 35: Mystery and Immortality: Plato’s Phædo

The Phædo depicts Socrates' final hours, spent in philosophical discussion with his circle of friends. Socrates argues that the soul is immortal, and that the philosopher should rejoice to die. But his reasons for believing this are ... mysterious.

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