Re:Were most Platonists and pagan Neoplatonists vegetarians?
- --- In email@example.com, Julien Villeneuve
> Good afternoon Rhiannon,
> I am by no means an expert on the topic, but here are some quick
> pointers. Porphyry De Abst. surely implies that vegeterianism and
> kind of life-orientation that proceeds from being a platonist of theuniversally
> school of Plotinus go hand in hand. Then there is the recognition of
> Pythagorean elements in the thought of Plato, which seems
> recognized (even, after all, by Aristotle) and naturally led mostsaid
> Platonists to give great weight to whatever "Pythagoras" might have
> about, amongst other things, the conduct of life and how it relatesto
> metemsomatosis. This is certainly the case as far as Plotinus isand
> concerned, presumably through the influence of people like Numenius
> Cronius. In certain cases, such as Numenius, it's rather hard tokind of
> determine whether we're talking about pythagorizing platonists or
> platonizing pythagoreans. (There already seems to have been some
> co-'contamination' of these philosophies by Aristotle's time). Athird
> item you might want to consider is the Neoplatonic exegesis ofHomer's
> Odyssey; there is evidence (some of which I lost, but could findagain)
> that as part of that exegesis the episode of the Cyclops wasconsidered,
> straightforwardly enough, to be an allegory about flesh-eating. Thispreceeding and
> exegesis seems to have been a (platonic) commonplace by the time of
> Plotinus, and so was presumably shared by platonists both
> following him.another." Epictetus, Discourses 1.4.17
> Julien Villeneuve (julien.villeneuve(at)mcgill.ca)
> Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy, McGill University
> Administrator, PHILO.MTL (www.philomtl.org)
> "Never look for your work in one place and your progress in
>This question struck a chord with me, as I have been reading a bit
lately about the issue of whatever rites were associated with the
Orphics and so on. We all know what great respect the later
Neoplatonists, at least Proclus and Damascius, had for the Orphic
theology and such, but I wonder what they thought about any of those
Dionysiac rites that included the eating of flesh, raw flesh,
apparently. I realize this is a rather controversial subject,
anything to do with any real Orphic rites. I am looking forward to
reading the new book by Graf and Johnston on the Orphic tablets.
Knowing exactly where to start in studying the history of Orphism is
actually not that clear to me, so I finally just decided to read M.L.
West's book on the poems first, since you have to start somewhere,
and not with Guthrie's or Linforth's earlier books. I also took in
the article in the Kleine Pauly on Orpheus and the Orphic poems.
- Robert Parker's 1995 article on "Early Orphism" gives a broad overview
of "the state of the field" - at least according to Parker, 13 years
ago. It is chapter 22 in "The Greek World" (edited by Anton Powell) -
parts of which can be perused online at googlebooks.
> Knowing exactly where to start in studying the history of Orphism is
> actually not that clear to me, so I finally just decided to read M.L.
> West's book on the poems first, since you have to start somewhere,
> and not with Guthrie's or Linforth's earlier books. I also took in
> the article in the Kleine Pauly on Orpheus and the Orphic poems.
> Dennis Clark
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:
> Robert Parker's 1995 article on "Early Orphism" gives a broad
> of "the state of the field" - at least according to Parker, 13years
> ago. It is chapter 22 in "The Greek World" (edited by AntonPowell) -
> parts of which can be perused online at googlebooks.Thanks indeed - that looks really useful, and best of all online.
> Curt Steinmetz
This looks good too, from a Bryn Mawr review of a birthday collection
for Walter Burkert, with another nod to Parker's piece:
Fritz Graf (ed.), Ansichten griechischer Rituale. Geburtstags-
Symposium für Walter Burkert. Stuttgart and Leipzig: Teubner,
1998. Pp. 500; 39 pls. ISBN 3-519-07433-8. DM 198.
Christoph Riedweg, "Initiation -- Tod -- Unterwelt. Beobachtungen zur
Kommunikationssituation und narrativen Technik der orphisch-
bakchischen Goldblättchen", offers a very important study of the
Orphic leaves. He analyses, almost narratologically, the language and
perspective of the different texts, in order to work out who is
saying what to whom when, and thus to reconstruct the original ritual
context, whether in initiatory or funerary ritual. As an appendix he
offers texts and apparatus criticus of all previously published
tablets of the "A" and "B" groups, with a list of other documents in
the "C" group. This should be the first port of call on the subject,
along with Robert Parker's article "Early Orphism" in A. Powell, ed.,
The Greek World (London and New York 1995) 483-510.