We explore the wonderful world of late-antique (theurgic) Platonism through the eyes of Eunapius, second-rate Sophist and first-rate fabulist. Come for the divinations, prophecies, divine interventions, and grand narratives of kosmic decline, stay for the kung-fu.
Podcast Episodes Themed "Esotericism"
Episode 105: Other Hermetic Worlds: The Asclepius and Korê Kosmou
We discuss two world-building Hermetic texts from antiquity, the Latin Asclepius and the Korê Kosmou. We have seen Hermes as visionary pupil of the divine consciousness; now we see him as ancient esoteric sage, prophet of doom, and cosmic planetary deity.
Episode 103: Corpus Hermeticum I, the Poimandres
We discuss the Poimandres, perhaps the most extraordinary Hermetic document surviving from antiquity. It's an apocalyptic vision granting gnôsis of how the world was created, how humanity came to be the way we are, and what we can do about it. Essential reading.
Episode 101: Brian Copenhaver on the Hermetica
We speak with Brian Copenhaver, translator of the Corpus Hermeticum and general man of parts vis á vis all things hermetic, to get some orientation on the ancient Hermetica and what they are all about.
We explore the difficulties inherent in interpreting apophatic language if we take it really seriously. Expect roughly half an hour of complete silence.
We continue our reading of Clement's Stromateis, Book V, and continue to have our minds blown. Come for the esoteric reading methodologies, stay for the very first appearance of the actual Greek word esôterikos on the podcast!
Episode 86: Matteo Martelli on the Pseudo-Democritus
In the previous episode we surveyed alchemy from its beginnings to the present day; in this episode we go back to the roots. Matteo Martelli has produced the first critical edition of the fragments of the Pseudo-Democritus, our earliest-known work of alchemy. We discuss the secrets found within its pages.
Episode 85: Introducing Alchemy with Lawrence Principe
Here it finally is: Alchemy! This interview is a superb introduction to the Hermetick Art from Lawrence Principe, a man who knows how to ‘read, read, read’, but also how to practice.
We let the tape roll and get deeper into the world of ancient magic in Egypt. How secret was this stuff? And what really went on when you invoked a god to visible appearance? κρύβε!
Episode 74: I’m Not Sorry: The Apology of Apuleius
In this episode we discuss the defense-speech of Apuleius against charges of having used magic to make a wealthy widow fall in love with him. Roman law, sorcery, and philosophy collide in a rhetorical tour-de-force, and we discuss whether fish are magical or not.
We return to the mathematical structures within the text of Plato’s masterwork, guided by a scholar who has looked deeply into the question. Maya Alapin discusses how harmonic theory, music, ratios and proportions intertwine with textual meaning in the Republic.