This book redefines our interpretation of Iamblichus' theurgy and religiosity, as revealed in his only complete surviving work, the De Mysteriis. Clarke argues that the existence and operation of the supernatural, or the miraculous, is the sine qua non of this work, and yet this is often overlooked by Iamblichus' philosophical interpreters. The argument is developed through the examination of numerous religious practices described by Iamblichus, most importantly those of animal sacrifice, oracular consultation, divine possession, and the ritual observation of the luminous divine epiphanies. The book seeks to understand Iamblichus' position within the framework of, rather than through the eyes of, other Neoplatonists. Emma Clarke is the chief editor of the only modern English translation of the De Mysteriis, and in this book she breaks new ground in a growing area of interest, Neoplatonism.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: They say that miracles are past...; Iamblichus’ De Mysteriis as an answer to Porphyry’s Epistle to Anebo: man of answers v man of questions; The De Mysteriis: a manifesto of the miraculous; Ritual: the miracle of sacrifice; Ritual: the truth about oracles; Inspiration or possession; The epiphanies; Conclusion: a farewell to philosophy; Bibliography; Index.
’In this meticulous study of the De Mysteriis Emma Clarke argues convincingly that Iamblichean theurgy cannot - and should not - be explained as an intellectual enterprise: theurgy was not a calculus of abstractions but a discipline of not-knowing that initiated its adepts into miraculous encounters with the gods. For those interested in theurgic states of ecstasy and possession, Clarke’s lucidly written book will be required reading.’ Gregory Shaw, Stonehill College, USA 'Emma C. Clarke has written an important and deceptively provocative book... [a] fine book... Clarke forces us to confront our own limitations in trying to reenter the thought world of someone like Iamblichus.' Ancient Philosophy