Philosophy of mature Neoplatonism, Theurgic Neoplatonism...

Philosophy of mature Neoplatonism

The theurgic Neoplatonism of Iamblichus of Chalkis.

Iamblich - by ethnicity, most likely an Arab - established his school at the turn of the III-IV centuries. even during the reign of the last great pagan emperor Diocletian. The doctrine of Iamblichus that appeared at such a crucial time had a claim not only on the formulation of the individual model of soteriology, but also on the justification of pagan liturgical practices that had a certain social significance. Even if created too late, this teaching quickly became the basis for the esoteric aspects of Neoplatonism.

The key to the teachings of Iamblichus is the concept of "theurgy". In literal translation from Greek, this word apparently means "making the gods" and for a long time was associated with marginal magical practices. Even after the appearance in the second half of the II century. Chaldean oracles - the text created by the priest-prophets, father and son Julian, - theurgy still did not enjoy the confidence among the intellectual elite of the Empire. The main feature of this practice was the attraction and even "coercion" (affiliation) of the divine forces to fulfill the desires of the magician-teurge. Practicing fortune telling about the future, love, protective, harmful magic. Persecuted by the authorities (since it was in competitive relations with officially recognized cults and prophetic centers), theurgy was nonetheless widespread and popular, as evidenced by the discovery of a significant number of "magic papyri" the era of Hellenism and late Antiquity.

Chaldean Oracles - The poem, stylized as a revealed text, - described the theosophical image of the structure of the universe at all levels (supramental, intelligible and corporeal) and legitimized (justified) practices of "white magic" as one of the means of communication with the gods and maintaining common piety.

Although Chaldean Oracles They were known in the Roman school, but Iamblichus of Chalcis began to consider them as a doctrinal text. Disagreeing with Porfiry, who in his Letter to Anebonu expressed rational criticism of traditional forms of worship, including divination, sacrifices, prayers, etc., Iamblichus create his famous treatise On the Egyptian Mysteries & quot ;, completely dedicated to the philosophical justification theurgic practices. Moreover,

from this point on, all the traditional regulatory for pagan consciousness types of religious ceremonies also begin to be perceived as forms of theurgy.

The logic of Iamblich's arguments is as follows. The beginning is regarded by him as a completely transcendent object that is present in the world created by him through the activities of divine instances. The nature of the gods can be both supramental and intelligible, and even in vestricium (for example, planetary gods). But each of the gods or demons (the gods of lower rank) has the scope of their "obligations", as well as a set of attributes that the theurgist addressed to him. The most important point of Iamblichus' reasoning is to point out that the gods can not be forced (the affinity of the higher powers completely contradicted the Platonic theology expressed in the "State"). The activities of the theurgist allow you to open their "presence" and engage in their activities. The gods rejoice correct ceremonies and practices based on the correct moral intention, which in the interpretation of Iamblichus receive a symbolic, but at the same time practically practical value.

Since everything was created by the Primord through the medium of the demiurge (the last of which is the demiurge of the sublunary world), then in each of the existing things, in addition to its specific properties, there are certain "footprints", or sinfemy, of divine activity. They are able to find a theurgist, relying on a genuine tradition; ritually following these synphas, he is able to actualize the divine presence.

Thus, if the demiurgy is the creation and unfolding of the multiple world, then theurgy is a return to the original source. Thanks to it, not only the discovery of the divine reality takes place, but also the change in the status of the human soul. Iamblichus, and after him the rest of the Neoplatonists, refuse to understand the private soul as merely the energy of the universal soul. According to their ideas, any soul is a separate entity, containing in itself an idea of ​​the whole cosmic whole, but in a peculiar, individual form (here we see some consonance with the later ideas of the monadology of Leibniz). Thanks to philosophy and theurgical practices, we can ascend to the level of demons and even gods, which, from the point of the Neo-Platonists, is confirmed by the supernatural abilities of Pythagoras, Abaris, Apollonius of Tiana and other wise-minded sages.

Of course, Iamblich seeks to match these concepts in Plato's texts. He belongs to the formulation of the rules for reading and interpreting Plato, which later become canonical for the Neoplatonists and anticipate the scholastic type of the discourse of the High Middle Ages. So, Iamblichus identifies 12 "major" dialogues of Plato, the most important of which are the "theological" Parmenides and physical Timae & quot ;. Their study and interpretation becomes a necessary attribute of the formation of a true philosopher. It is Iamblichus who speaks about the symphony of Plato's dialogues, explaining the contradictions lying in the surface in judgments and assessments by differences in the subjects of individual dialogues. He also holds the doctrine of the specific character of the Platonic language, which can be interpreted in historical, philological, logical, ethical, physical and theological aspects (in some cases, the same fragment of Plato is consistently subjected to all these interpretations, drawing on the opinions of representatives of the academic philosophy of the past about of this text). Although Iamblich's comments on Plato's dialogues have come down to us only fragmentarily, we will find the development of this tradition in the texts of Proclus and Damascus.

Because, according to Iamblichus, Plato's dialogues are an expression of eternal truth, he sees traces of it in such theosophical texts as the poems of Orpheus and the already mentioned "Chaldean oracles". Persistent aspiration sync these heterogeneous essays are one of the specific features of all mature Neoplatonism.

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