Wednesday, January 19, 2011

more Iamblichus and Theurgy, De Mysteriis quotes

Proclus' hymns 72
According to Iamblichus, theurgy brings about the elevation of the human soul to the gods and their subsequent union with them.

Iamblichus considered deification (henôsis) as involving a creative partnership with God, realized through theurgic rituals that raise the soul up to the level of divine demiurgic power.[3] In other words, the deified soul, for Iamblichus, is the soul that has come to experience the glorious satisfaction of maintaining the cosmic order - in other words, in sharing in the activity of the One. For the Orthodox Christian tradition, on the other hand, deification (theôsis) implies a state of being that was described, by the most gifted Church Fathers, as an endless, mystical yearning for divine fulfillment.

"Likeness to God as Far as Possible": Deification Doctrine in Iamblichus and Three Eastern Christian Fathers

Bradshaw:Iamblichus is at pains to emphasize theurgic rite doesn't
operate on gods but rather is means by which gods execute their own will.

Coughlin on Iamblichus: The object of prayer is to raise the supplicant up towards the gods through what he calls "harmonious persuasion."
...Iamblichus identifies this harmonious persuasion with the source of the efficacy of all prayer and all ritual. “Theurgy, Prayer... "

DM p11 We will provide, in an appropriate manner, explanations proper to each, dealing in a theological mode with theological questions and in theurgical terms with those concerning theurgy, while philosophical issues we will join with you in explaining in philosophical terms.

DM p23 These classes of being, then, bring to completion as intermediaries the common bond that connects gods with souls, and causes their linkage to be indissolube. They bind together a single continuity from top to bottom, and render the communion of all things indivisible. They constitute the best possible blending and proportionate mixture for everything, contriving in pretty well equal measure a progression from the superior to the lesser, and a re-ascent from the inferior to the prior. They implant order and measure into the participation descending from the better and the receptivity engendered in less perfect beings, and make all things amenable and concordant with all others, as they receive from the gods on high the causal principles of all these things.

DM p29 it belongs to the soul to participate continuously in intelligible order and divine beauty

DM p39 To all these problems... the single best solution is to examine closely the mode of allotment of roles among the gods

The power of religion in late antiquity
By Andrew Cain, Noel Emmanuel Lenski ... p95
"even the perfect soul is imperfect with respect to divine activity"
DM 149.11-17 DM 47.11-48.3
p99 Iamblichus' solution to the challenge of advocating the theurgic subjugation of higher powers while seeking to avoid charges of magic was to draw a distinction between the proper, theurgic use of symbols and an illegitimate use of the kind made by "those who stand on characters."

DM 184.9-10 through arcane symbols, he, in certain respects, is invested with the sacred form of the gods"

p100 The theurgic process of spiritual elevation depends, just like prayer, on the grace (Xaris) of the gods. Johnston: theurgy is to be translated not as "working upon the gods" but "being worked upon by gods"

p102 Iamblichus argues that the divine is not forced into service through the theurgic ritual, but that it responds to the practitioner out of overflowing benevolence.
[this overflow is still part of the explanation in Dionysius]

Shaw Theurgy and the Soul p14 With a more consistent metaphysics Iamblichus succeeded in restructuring Plato's teachings in a way that preserved the mystical elements of Plotinus's soteriology without losing contact with the physical cosmos or society.

p17 For Iamblichus, the cosmos itself was the paradigmatic theurgy: the act of the gods continually extending themselves into mortal expression.

Birger A. Pearson "Theurgic Tendencies in Gnosticism and Iamblichus's Conception of Theurgy"
Neoplatonism and gnosticism
By Richard T. Wallis, International Society for Neoplatonic Studies
p255 "theurgy" does not mean "acting upon" or "creating" the gods. Theurgy involves, rather, the works (erga) of the gods (theoi); the emphasis is on divine, rather than human, activity... the "work" done in theurgic ritual is the work of the gods, even though it is performed by human beings.


  1. Hi!
    I really like your blog.
    I'm a traditional astrology student and the teachings of Iambichus are very important for understanding the late Hellenistic and early medieval astrology.
    Are you familiar with Astrology and do you know to what extent Iambichus was familiarized with Astrology?

  2. thanks for the comment. try this link for information about Iamblichus and astrology