2120Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
- May 26 8:17 AMDear Leonard,
Thank you very much for your message about spiritual hearing, etc. I have Gregory Shaw's book but I haven't read the other references that you mentioned (Sarah Iles Johnston and Peter Kingsley). Thank you also for your quotations of Iamblichus.
--- On Fri, 5/16/08, Leonard George <lgeorge@...> wrote:
From: Leonard George <lgeorge@...>
Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
Date: Friday, May 16, 2008, 11:21 PM
Dear Sebastian ~
Thanks for your note.
Regarding spritual hearing and the 'ear of the soul', I don't know of
an explicit reference to the latter. But (you may already be aware
of this) there are some interesting passages in De Mysteriis on
auditory phenomena. DM III.2 discusses various inspired states
according to the degree of wakefulness, the degree of involvement of
nous, and sensory modalities. There he refers to hearing voices that
give guidance during transitions between waking and sleeping (what
psychologists call hypnagogic / hypnopompic states). Even more
intriguing is the reference to a pneuma that encircles a
person 'lying down'; it enters with a rushing / whistling / whooshing
sound (rhoizos). And in another state of divine illumination, one can
hear what the gods say. How is one understood to be hearing all
these things? This 'rhoizos' points to Iamblichus' theurgical
interests, as it occurs many times in the Chaldean Oracles; Sarah
Iles Johnston's 'Hekate Soteira' and Greg Shaw's 'Theurgy and the
Soul' explore this, and there are further references in the notes to
the chapter 'The Sound of Piping' in Peter Kingsley's 'In the Dark
Places of Wisdom'.
Compare DM III.2 with DM III.9, where music is discussed.
Consecrated sounds can lead to divine possession, but this can't be
explained in a reductive fashion simply by an interaction between
body, soul and physical stimulus. Rather, it's good old anamnesis -
the tones remind the soul of the divine harmony it heard (with what?)
prior to its incarnation. 'Rhoizos' appears in this passage too,
referring to the music of the spheres, not to the sounds of
consecrated tunes that evoke its reminiscence. So perhaps DM refers
to two kinds of spiritual auditory phenomena - one that involves
direct perception of some pneumatic stimulus by the soul, and one
that involves (but is not simply caused by) physical hearing.
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