We talk about how Plotinus defined himself and his lineage, versus how modern scholars tend to define these things. We discuss Plotinus' unusual esoteric perennialism, his allegiance to the Ancients, and why, though he may have been a Platonist, he didn't think so.
Podcast Episodes Themed "Pythagoras"
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.
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!
We introduce the life and thought of Orthodox Christianity's favourite in-house Gnostic, the great Clement of Alexandria. Come for the philosophical, esoteric Christianity, stay for the progressive postmortem deification.
Episode 87: Numerical Mysteries: Nichomachus of Gerasa, Arithmology, and Second-Century Neopythagoreanism
Speculations about the properties of number have been a major constituent of some western esoteric traditions. In this episode we examine the most important source of much of this tradition of arithmological thought, first- and second-century Neopythagoreanism, and the writings of one crucial thinker in particular: Nicomachus of Gerasa.
After the final Pythagorean died, all was quiet. And then, suddenly, people started going around calling themselves Pythagoreans. Growing long beards. Hailing Pythagoras as an ancient magus-sage. Positing a monad as the ultimate source of reality. Welcome to Neopythagoreanism.
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!
Episode 35: Mystery and Immortality: Plato’s Phædo
The Phædo depicts Socrates' final hours, spent in philosophical discussion with his circle of friends. Socrates argues that the soul is immortal, and that the philosopher should rejoice to die. But his reasons for believing this are ... mysterious.
We discuss Orpheus, Abaris the Hyperborean, Aristeas of Proconnesus, Epimenides of Crete, Hermotimus of Clazomenæ, Pythagoras, and Empedocles, the soul-manipulating healer-seers of ancient Greece. Come for the out-of-body soul-journeying, stay for the katabatic descents.
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 18: Don’t Spill the Beans: Pythagorean Silence
One of the key legacies of ancient Pythagoreanism is its mystique of esoteric silence. We examine the figure of the late-antique 'Pythagorean' philosopher, whose silence is a higher form of speech, and the dynamics of esoteric discourse which cannot, by definition, be revealed.
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 16: The Enigma of Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos is revered in the western esoteric traditions as the founder of mathematical mysteries, the discoverer of musical harmony, and the esoteric philosopher par excellence. We survey the earliest evidence and examine the ancient mystagogue and psychagogue who may have founded philosophy.
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.