Podcast Episodes Themed "Plato"

Episode 117: The Esoteric Plotinus, Part II: Unsaying the Real

We discuss the ineffable in Plotinus: how it is deployed, how it is esoteric, how scholars have tried to deal with it, and how not least among its paradoxical functions is to call us to the highest initiation.

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?

Ascending Further with Mateusz Stróżyński

With Mateusz Stróżyński as our anagogue, we travel further up the winding ways of Plotinian philosophy as way-of-life and transformative, practical disciline.

Episode 113: Mateusz Stróżyński on Spiritual Practices in Plotinus

We discuss Plotinian anthropology and spiritual practices with Mateusz Stróżyński. Come for the stripping away of the illusory, bodily self, stay for the luminous, all-encompassing sphere of the higher reality.

The Secret Life of the Undescended Self

We discuss Plotinus' controversial doctrine that some aspect of the human being never descends into the materialised kosmos, but remains eternally in the noetic. More importantly, we discuss Plotinus' descriptions of what it is like to be that higher aspect of the human being. Dig eternity!

Episode 112: We are the One: Plotinus’ Participatory Metaphysics

Plotinus' universe is uniquely full of the human self, which extends all the way from the sucking mud of matter's non-existence to the ultimate profundity of the One's non-existence, and all the existent bits in-between. We discuss some of the ways in which this human metaphysical terrain is explored in the Enneads.

Episode 96: From Word to Silence: The Rise of the Apophatic in Late Antiquity

As antiquity progressed, certain esoteric religious thinkers and philosophers came increasingly to doubt whether the nature of the highest reality could be expressed in words. They developed a new form of language to deal with the problem of talking about the ineffable: apophasis. We discuss speaking the silence in late antiquity.

Storytime: Exploring Book V of the Stromateis, Part II

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!

Storytime: Exploring Book V of the Stromateis, Part I

In the first of a two-part episode, we read through Book V of Clement's Stromateis, which contains, among other things, perhaps the fullest surviving exposition on types of esoteric discourse from antiquity. Come for the ainigmata and symbola, stay for Abraham the astrologer.

Episode 63: Dylan Burns on the ‘Underworld of Platonism’

Building on our previous episode, where we introduced 'Middle Platonism', in this interview we investigate the middle Platonist 'Underworld', religio-philosophical texts of antiquity which became mainstays of later western esoteric traditions: the Chaldæan Oracles, the Hermetica, and the Gnostic tractates.

John Dillon Platonizes Further

We continue our conversation with Professor Dillon, exploring the contours of the Middle Platonist traditions in more detail, not excluding its esoteric 'underworld'.

Storytime: Reading Cicero’s Dream of Scipio

We explore the Dream of Scipio, Cicero's cryptic work in which one Scipio appears to another Scipio in a dream and instructs him in astral religion, numerical/astrological cosmology, the fate of just souls in the astral afterlife, and much more. Not bad for a lawyer.

Joel Kalvesmaki Expands Arithmetically

We continue our conversation with Joel Kalvesmaki on all manner of subjects numerical, psephical, arithmological, metaphysical, Christological, monadical, and even heretical.

Episode 46: After Pythagoras

When we last visited the Pythagoreans, they were going through some difficult times. In this episode we discuss what happened next. Pythagoreanism is dead, long live Pythagoreanism!

Poseidonius of Rhodes, Weird Stoicism, and ‘Cosmic Religion’

We discuss Poseidonius of Rhodes, perhaps the most influential Stoic teacher on certain later-esoteric currents of thought. Was the esoteric Poseidonius historically-real, or is he a mirage conjured up by scholarship? We look at the evidence.

Episode 40: Wheels Within Wheels: Toward Western Esoteric Cosmology

We are moving with astral ineluctability toward the birth of true astrology in the Hellenistic period. But first we need to get from Mesopotamian astronomy to the Greek world. This episode bridges the gap between middle-eastern astral science and the Hellenistic flourishing of Greek astronomy.

Episode 38: The Esoteric Aristotle, Part I

Aristotle might not spring to mind when contemplating the names of esoteric heroes of the past. But the figure of Plato's greatest student in fact had an esoteric afterlife to rival that of Plato himself!

Peter Adamson On Plato and Beyond

Professor Adamson enters the speculative realm at the edges of Platonic interpretation, addressing issues ranging from the rise of the ineffable in late antique Platonism to the status of the giraffe in Plato's thought.

Episode 37: Peter Adamson on Plato

We discuss Plato with Peter Adamson, Professor of Philosophy at the LMU in Munich and presenter of the History of Philosophy Podcast, asking the question: how can the Plato of analytic philosophy be the same man as the esoteric Plato?

Plato’s Cratylus: Esoteric Etymology and the Language of the Gods

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.

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