Item description for Iamblichus: De Mysteriis (Writings from the Greco-Roman World) by Emma C. Clarke, John M. Dillon, Jackson P. Hershbell & N. Festa Iamblichus...
This volume presents the first modern English translation of Iamblichus De mysteriis alongside the standard critical edition of the text by douard Des Places (Les Belles Lettres, 1966). Iamblichus provides a unique insight into the mystical side of late Neoplatonism, arguing that the only good is union with the gods and that the only route to this divine union is theurgyreligious ritual demonstrating supernatural power. The process of sacrifice, the activities of angels and demons, the meaning of divine possession, and the functioning of oracles are all examined in this extraordinary defense of theurgic mysticism against contemporary critics such as Porphyry. Clarke, Dillon, and Hershbell bring this famous and fascinating text to light through their introduction and extensive notes.
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Exoteric Manual of Theurgy receives a much needed updating May 5, 2004
Before this English translation of Iamblichus' only surviving defense of theurgy, scholars and those few others, curious about such matters had only Taylors' version to refer to. (While I am aware of A. Wilders' translation it suffers from far too many errors to be of much real value). Now Clarke, Dillon, and Hershbell have gifted us with what is sure to be the standard for years to come. That is not to say that Thomas Taylor was not a super-Damion among men. His translation no doubt will remain for years. This due to the fact that Taylor truly understood Theurgy as few other scholars. So why the need for a new critical translation? Besides the fact that more extant manuscripts were examined than ever before in its preparation, this is a near transparent reading of Iamblichus' intent with clarity and fidelity. Unlike Proclus and many other Platonic fathers, Iamblichus according to Eunapius did not possessed a silver tongue. His writing is at times both tortured and unconventional. Somehow our current team has managed to negotiate many of the traditional Iamblichean hurdles. The De Mysteriis is a brief examination of noetic or abiding principles of the soul together with proceeding and returning principles. Add to this that based upon the the focused questions from Porphyry, Iamblichus takes on some of the more difficult questions left unanswered by Plotinus. Questions such as the descent of the soul; whether or not the charioteer or One of soul remains undescended. In adddition Iamblichus deals with material sacrifice and its relation to the unmovable Gods, appearances of sound and light and their relation to the quale of beingness, epopteia and the art of Telestai. All these thorny questions and still more Iamblichus tackles in De Mysteriis. An absolute must for all Scholarch-mystae!