Neoplatonism, Iamblichus, and the Ascent Ritual

Neoplatonism, Iamblichus, and the Ascent Ritual

Event Description

A Conversation with Professor John Finamore: Neoplatonism, Iamblichus, and the Ascent Ritual

After a brief introduction to Neoplatonism, we will discuss Professor John Finamore's paper, "Iamblichus, Theurgy, and the Soul's Ascent." This paper covers the development of neoplatonic thought from Plotinus to Porphyry and Iamblichus,  specifically the role of theurgy in the ascent ritual for Iamblichus. 

A basic doctrine of Platonic philosophy, found in Plato’s Symposium 202b-203a, taught that gods do not mix directly with human beings but conduct their relations with mortals through the intermediate daemons. This doctrine had important ramifications for the history of Platonism.

Plotinus (c.204-c.270C.E.), the first Neoplatonist, presented a doctrine whereby the philosopher on his or her own could bridge the gap between humanity and the gods, creating a salvific ascent to the gods via philosophy and searching within oneself. His disciple Porphyry (c.234-c.305 C.E.), although more sympathetic to magic and ritual than Plotinus, still believed that philosophy alone could raise the human soul to the gods.

Iamblichus (c.245-c.325 C.E.) introduced a new turn in Neoplatonism, arguing that philosophy alone was insufficient to bring gods and mortals into contact and establishing the need for ritual. 

N.B. - You can view a recording of this, and other past events on Paideia's Youtube Channel.

Event Info

Mar 17, 2024 at 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM EDT


Guest Speaker