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 "Pythagoreanism"
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.
Episode 65: Graeme Miles on Apollonius of Tyana
Apollonius of Tyana was a first-century wandering philosopher-sage, famous in later tradition as a great Pythagorean and wonder-working holy man. We look at the man himself and at his powerful myth.
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.
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!
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.
When looking for esoteric wisdom in a text, you need esoteric hermeneutics to find it. We discuss ancient techniques of esoteric reading with Professor Peter Struck, and along the way we learn some fundamental things about esoteric hermeneutics more generally.
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 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.
What do we mean by 'the west' when we talk about western esotericism? In this special episode we discuss what a cogent model of the west might look like, in terms of the history of ideas, and arrive at a radical reorientation (or rather reoccidentation).