Buku Divination and Theurgy in Neoplatonism by Crystal Addey

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Divination and Theurgy in Neoplatonism by Crystal Addey

Author:Crystal Addey

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited

Published: 2014-06-15T16:00:00+00:00

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Divination and Theurgy in Neoplatonism by Crystal Addey

Chapter 5

Divination, Rationality and Ritual in Neoplatonism

What exactly is the relationship between divination, rationality and ritual in Neoplatonism? Until recently, Iamblichus and Proclus have often been viewed by scholars as ‘superstitious’ and ‘irrational’ for their enthusiastic endorsement and use of theurgy.1 Although Neoplatonist scholarship has developed greatly from this earlier consensus, the orthodox view of a sharp opposition between the ‘rationality’ of Plotinus and Porphyry and the ‘religious tendencies’ of Iamblichus, Proclus and later Platonists still persists and is commonplace. Moreover, the terms and methodology used to construct such a view seem to have changed little.2 This view invariably influences the way in which the roles of divination within Neoplatonism are assessed and evaluated. While this is a complex issue, I hope to offer some grounds for a re-evaluation of the views of Plotinus, Porphyry and Iamblichus on divination and other religious phenomena. This chapter will examine the complex relationship between divination, rationality and ritual, and modern conceptions of ‘rationality’ and ‘irrationality’, in order to set in high relief the way in which such concepts have affected interpretations of the relationship between theurgy and philosophy, and the positions held by Plotinus, Porphyry and Iamblichus on these matters. I will suggest that, while there is a certain difference in attitudes towards the importance of ritual among these philosophers, this represents a difference of emphasis rather than a rigid, dichotomous distinction between ‘rational’ and ‘ritual’ approaches to the divine and the salvation of the soul. In fact, the concepts of ‘rationality’ and ‘ritual’ as envisaged within Neoplatonism are much more subtle, nuanced and complex than their modern equivalents: they were perceived as mutually inclusive rather than mutually exclusive ways to truth and were often conceived as interlinked or connected on a kind of continuum. Viewed from this perspective, Neoplatonist attitudes towards divination can be evaluated with greater clarity and subtlety.

 

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Divination and Theurgy in Neoplatonism by Crystal Addey

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Divination and Theurgy in Neoplatonism by Crystal Addey

Author:Crystal Addey , Date: June 16, 2019

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Author:Crystal Addey

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited

Published: 2014-06-15T16:00:00+00:00
Chapter 5

Divination, Rationality and Ritual in Neoplatonism

What exactly is the relationship between divination, rationality and ritual in Neoplatonism? Until recently, Iamblichus and Proclus have often been viewed by scholars as ‘superstitious’ and ‘irrational’ for their enthusiastic endorsement and use of theurgy.1 Although Neoplatonist scholarship has developed greatly from this earlier consensus, the orthodox view of a sharp opposition between the ‘rationality’ of Plotinus and Porphyry and the ‘religious tendencies’ of Iamblichus, Proclus and later Platonists still persists and is commonplace. Moreover, the terms and methodology used to construct such a view seem to have changed little.2 This view invariably influences the way in which the roles of divination within Neoplatonism are assessed and evaluated. While this is a complex issue, I hope to offer some grounds for a re-evaluation of the views of Plotinus, Porphyry and Iamblichus on divination and other religious phenomena. This chapter will examine the complex relationship between divination, rationality and ritual, and modern conceptions of ‘rationality’ and ‘irrationality’, in order to set in high relief the way in which such concepts have affected interpretations of the relationship between theurgy and philosophy, and the positions held by Plotinus, Porphyry and Iamblichus on these matters. I will suggest that, while there is a certain difference in attitudes towards the importance of ritual among these philosophers, this represents a difference of emphasis rather than a rigid, dichotomous distinction between ‘rational’ and ‘ritual’ approaches to the divine and the salvation of the soul. In fact, the concepts of ‘rationality’ and ‘ritual’ as envisaged within Neoplatonism are much more subtle, nuanced and complex than their modern equivalents: they were perceived as mutually inclusive rather than mutually exclusive ways to truth and were often conceived as interlinked or connected on a kind of continuum. Viewed from this perspective, Neoplatonist attitudes towards divination can be evaluated with greater clarity and subtlety.

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