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?
Podcast Episodes Themed "Nomothetes"
An almost-unknown Middle Platonist philosopher named Celsus wrote the first-known anti-Christian polemical pamphlet some time in the later second century. This is The True Account. It is esoteric.
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.
We investigate the esoteric practice of one of Middle Platonism's most enigmatic figures, the great Numenius of Apamea.
In the Cratylus Socrates and friends discuss the nature of linguistic meaning, and explore the process of ‘esoteric etymology’, by which the secrets hidden within names reveal the true nature of the names' referents. Come for the earliest discussion of linguistic theory, semiotics, and logic in the western canon, stay for the esoteric etymologies and the language spoken by the gods themselves.
The ancient Greeks tell us that they acquired their knowledge of disciplines like philosophy, geometry, and astronomy from their near-eastern neighbours. Were they right? This episode examines the evidence and some of the modern debates about the evidence.