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.
Podcast Episodes Themed "Pre-Socratic Philosophy"
The greatest philosopher of the western world was a trickster. In this episode we introduce Plato, the father of western esotericism, and discuss his importance to the esoteric traditions.
Episode 23: Miguel Herrero de Jauregui on Ancient ‘Orphism’
The elusive 'Orphics' of antiquity continue to present a puzzle to scholars after several centuries of debate and the discovery of amazing new evidence. Dr Miguel Herrero helps us to navigate the fascinating question of ancient 'Orphism'.
The greatest musician of antiquity was also the founder of mystery-rites, the author of curious theological poetry, and the most famous man to make the journey to the underworld while still alive. In this episode we examine the myth of Orpheus and the Orphic myths.
Empedocles: the last great poetic philosopher of antiquity, and a cosmic thinker of mind-blowing ambition. This episode looks at his influential theory of the four elements – earth, air, fire, and water – but magic, reincarnation, exiled gods, and cosmic catastrophe come into the discussion as well.
Episode 20: All for One, and One for All: Parmenides of Elea
Parmenides is the original philosopher of pure Being. And he learned all about Being from a goddess on a trip through the underworld. Philosophy used to be really interesting.
Episode 19: Riddle Me This: Heraclitus of Ephesus
Heraclitus was a combative, obscure, grumpy philosopher who thought everyone was stupid. He was also a pioneer in esoteric modes of discourse, being the earliest philosopher to write in 'riddles', and made several crucial contributions to western esotericism.
Episode 17: The Enigma of Pythagoreanism
The historical journey from a holy man specialising in soul-manipulation to a fertile philosophic movement innovating in advanced mathematics, astronomy, and harmonic theory is one of the stranger stories of western intellectual history. In this episode we tell it.
Episode 15: For the Love of Wisdom: The Birth of Philosophy
When we look at the origins of Greek philosophy, we rightly emphasise man's desire to understand the world and his place in it. But there was much more to it than that. Western philosophy begins with revelation, myth, and poetry.
Episode 12: Richard Seaford on the Mysteries
With the inimitable Prof. Seaford as our mystagogue, we explore the world of the ancient Greek mystery-cults, the crucial source for western esoteric tropes of secrecy, silence, initiation, and much more.
Episode 4: Richard Seaford on the Origins of the Soul
The idea of an inner self, a soul, arises more or less simultaneously in Greece and India in the sixth century BCE. Why? Richard Seaford has a theory.