Podcast Episodes Themed "Late Platonism"

Episode 188: Graeme Miles on Proclus the Commentator

We discuss Proclus' titanic labours in the field of commentary – on many Platonic dialogues, but also on the Chaldæan Oracles, the Homeric poems, and a number of other texts – with Graeme Miles, an acute reader of Platonist philosophy and part of the team translating Proclus' Republic commentary into English. Come for Platonic commentary as spiritual practice, stay for the kosmic-astrological reading of the Myth of Er.

Dylan Burns with the Noetic Fire: On Proclus and Christianity

We let the tape run and explore some further aspects of the life and work of the great Proclus with Dylan Burns, looking in particular at his relationship to Christianity. Come for the scholarly debate, stay for the sacrificed piglet.

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’

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.

Episode 183: The Great God Pan Lives: Introducing the Athenian Academy

We turn to the final flowering of polytheist Platonist philosophy, centred on Athens (and Alexandria). We review some useful historical data, discuss the history of ‘the Academy’ as a notional ‘school’ in antiquity, and introduce Plutarch of Athens and Syrianus, teachers of the great Proclus.

Episode 182: Ↄ. Martiana on Martianus Capella and the Marriage of Philology and Mercury

We discuss Martianus Capella and his extraordinary and vexing philological ascent-account, the Marriage of Philology and Mercury. Ↄ. Martiana guides us through a geocentric kosmos where liberal arts are planetary spheres, gods are physical elements, the planets are daimones, but absolutely nothing is as it seems.

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

We continue our read-through of Macrobius through a major section on arithmology, a palate-cleansing taxonomy of the virtues, and a detail-rich discussion of the descent of the soul, her acquisition of planetary subtle bodies, and a host of astrological lore both eschatological and indeed psychological.

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?

Mateusz Stróżyński on Spiritual Practices in Augustine

We continue our discussion of Augustine, turning to Prof Stróżyński's fruitful approach to spiritual practices as recorded (but often ignored) in the texts of Plotinus and Augustine. It emerges that there is a quiet but insistent thread of divinisation ‘hiding’ in the text of the Confessions, and that the human self may be, in a sense, god.

Episode 179: The Manichæan Catholic: Augustine of Hippo

We turn to one of the most difficult, fascinating, and ultimately consequential thinkers of late antiquity, Augustine of Hippo. In this episode we discuss his relationship with Manichæism and Platonist philosophy, and a few of his important philosophical conclusions.

Episode 178: Stephen A. Cooper on Marius Victorinus and Latinate Christian Platonism

We discuss Marius Victorinus, a fascinating character from the tumultuous Roman scene in the mid fourth century who converted from Platonism to Platonism-plus-Christianity. His life and thought give us a valuable window onto the cultural scene in fourth-century Rome, as well, as some crucial data for the transmission of Platonist ideas into the Latinate middle ages.

Episode 177: Gretchen Reydams-Schils on Calcidius and the Timæus

We discuss the Latin translation and commentary of Calcidius with Gretchen Reydams-Schils. Who was Calcidius, where did he get his interpretations of what Plato meant, and, best of all, how did his anti-esotericist approach to Plato feed into western Christian esotericisms? We find out.

Episode 176: Plato Latinus

The podcast turns from the eastern Roman empire to its western reaches, now falling into strife and decline as we move into the fifth century. In this episode we look at languages, especially Latin and Greek, and discuss how their intelligibility declined in the respective halves of the now-sundered empire. And we discuss the fate of Plato and Platonism in western Europe as we move into a series of episodes discussing late-antique esotericism in Latin.

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 175: Jay Bregman on Synesius of Cyrene

We dive into the fascinating life and thought of Synesius of Cyrene, Platonist philosopher and student of Hypatia of Alexandria, and Orthodox bishop of Ptolemaïs. Committed Christian or pagan bishop? We'll see ....

Episode 174: Noble Lies and Philosophic Silence: Hypatia, Synesius, and the New Esotericism in the Fourth Century

Fear, loathing, violence, and persecution. How does the philosopher operate under such circumstances? We look at the case-studies of Hypatia of Alexandria and her student Synesius of Cyrene, for some pointers.

Episode 173: Hypatia of Alexandria: The Life and Death of a Philosopher and her City

In Part I of a two-part-series centred around the great Hypatia of Alexandria, we introduce the life, and the notorious death, of the Late Platonist philosopher Hypatia, one of late antiquity's most evocative enigmas. Plus, a Christian mob didn't destroy the Great Library at Alexandria, but that doesn't mean there weren't some scabrous goings-on.

Storytime: Reading Eunapius Part II, The Emperor and the Thaumaturge

As we near the end of our Julian and his Amazing Friends series, we dive back into the text of Eunapius of Sardis to excavate Maximus of Ephesus, the wonder-worker who became Julian's closest friend and advisor. What happens when the Roman empire is guided by the insights of a theurgist, his gods, and the stars? We find out in this episode.

Episode 171: ‘Visibly a Goddess’: Heidi Marx on Sosipatra of Pergamum

We discuss Sosipatra of Pergamum, an otherwise-unknown late polytheist holy woman and philosopher, depicted by her biographer Eunapius as a living goddess as well as a philosophic teacher in the lineage of Iamblichus. Come for the Late Platonist resistance to Christianity in the fourth century, stay for the mysterious Chaldæan strangers.

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.

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