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Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?

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  • John Uebersax
    I wonder if I might ask a very general question: besides Plotinus and Porphyry (for both of whom I suppose the answer to be yes and fairly well documented),
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 21, 2009
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      I wonder if I might ask a very general question: besides Plotinus and Porphyry (for both of whom I suppose the answer to be 'yes' and fairly well documented), did any Neoplatonists describe having had what today we would call the 'mystical experience' -- e.g., direct experience of the One, the visio beatifica, etc.?

      John Uebersax
    • Thomas Mether
      Are we including Byzantine, or more broadly, eastern Christian? If so, then yes.   Although, one can detect in those materials a reticence for first-person
      Message 2 of 9 , Aug 22, 2009
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        Are we including Byzantine, or more broadly, eastern Christian?
        If so, then yes.
         
        Although, one can detect in those materials a reticence for first-person claims.
        In first person, you read guidance for another. It is the student or disciple that
        makes the claim their teacher had such and such experience. But the detailed
        descriptions of some of the issues to navigate in having such "higher experiences"
        also seems to indirectly indicate the guide also had to have the experience in
        order to describe and guide another through it. If you are not an experienced physician,
        you can't help teach, guide, and describe....
        If you are not an experienced chemist, you can't....
         
        And so on.
         
        Thomas Mether
         
         

        --- On Fri, 8/21/09, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:


        From: John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
        Subject: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?
        To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, August 21, 2009, 6:10 PM


         



        I wonder if I might ask a very general question: besides Plotinus and Porphyry (for both of whom I suppose the answer to be 'yes' and fairly well documented), did any Neoplatonists describe having had what today we would call the 'mystical experience' -- e.g., direct experience of the One, the visio beatifica, etc.?

        John Uebersax



















        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Thomas Mether
        Hello Again,   This also touches upon what I have another reply to Bob on about dialectic and dialogue. When MacIntyre was at Vanderbilt, he told some of us
        Message 3 of 9 , Aug 22, 2009
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          Hello Again,
           
          This also touches upon what I have another reply to Bob on about dialectic and dialogue.
          When MacIntyre was at Vanderbilt, he told some of us graduate students that his piece "A Disquieting Suggestion" from After Virtue he began to increasingly believe applied not just to modern moral discourse, but also, increasingly to modern philosophical discourse. Why? Because the real praxis of ancient philosophy is gone. So, modern philosophers are like those post-calamity "scientists" in his piece. This came out in a discussion of virtue ethics that spilled over into virtue epistemology; if philosophy really and essentially is a transformation of the soul, a metaphysical therapy, and if it involves not only cultivation of the moral virtues, but also, of the intellectual virtues, then what praxis of the perfection of nous and what separate praxis of the perfection of the dianoia are modern philosophers following? MacIntyre pointed out how later Neoplatonic traditions, including Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions read Aristotle's Posterior
          Analytics as a treatise in Mystical Theology on the perfection of the intellectual virtues. He pushed it further. For those who write about theurgy and Neoplatonism, how many practice it? Or is ancient philosophical praxis irrelavant and not an essential part of philosophy?
           
          It was the Byzantines that allowed the bookish study of philosophy at the University of Constantinople that, according to the work of Deno John Geanakoplos, became what philosophy is today. In his research, he points out the Byzantines; nevertheless, still banned the praxis and askesis of actually doing or living philosophy because they held it to be false religion and mysticism outside and in competition with the Church. So, again,
          the "disquieting suggestion" arises, is there something crucial and essential to the praxis of philosophy that is missing in modern "philosophy"? 
           
          Thomas Mether

          --- On Fri, 8/21/09, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:


          From: John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
          Subject: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?
          To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Friday, August 21, 2009, 6:10 PM


           



          I wonder if I might ask a very general question: besides Plotinus and Porphyry (for both of whom I suppose the answer to be 'yes' and fairly well documented), did any Neoplatonists describe having had what today we would call the 'mystical experience' -- e.g., direct experience of the One, the visio beatifica, etc.?

          John Uebersax



















          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • John Uebersax
          To clarify my previous question, I was hoping to learn if Neoplatonists like Proclus, Iamblichus, Damascius, and others in the Neoplatonist schools reported
          Message 4 of 9 , Aug 23, 2009
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            To clarify my previous question, I was hoping to learn if Neoplatonists like Proclus, Iamblichus, Damascius, and others in the Neoplatonist schools reported having the 'mystical experience', vision of the Good, etc., and in general where discussions of this subject might be found.

            John Uebersax



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • gregshaw58
            John, You might check Iamblichus On the Mysteries V.26 where he discusses prayer. It culminates, he says, in an ineffable union (henosis) (238.3). See
            Message 5 of 9 , Aug 23, 2009
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              John,

              You might check Iamblichus' On the Mysteries V.26 where he discusses prayer. It culminates, he says, in an "ineffable union (henosis)" (238.3). See Dillon's comments in Appendix A of his Iamblichi Chalcidensis.

              While I do not doubt at all Plotinus' mystical experiences, I have never felt reassured by Porphry's enumerating them, as if they were distinct moments that could be counted. Trouillard somewhere (?) dismissed the "souvent exoterique" Porphyry for misunderstanding his master on this issue, particularly for counting up these events.

              G Shaw

              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:
              >
              > To clarify my previous question, I was hoping to learn if Neoplatonists like Proclus, Iamblichus, Damascius, and others in the Neoplatonist schools reported having the 'mystical experience', vision of the Good, etc., and in general where discussions of this subject might be found.
              >
              > John Uebersax
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Tzvi Langermann
              I would think that the most famous passge is Enneads IV 8 [6], Plotinus out of body experience. Dominic O Meara published a novel interpretation in
              Message 6 of 9 , Aug 23, 2009
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                I would think that the most famous passge is Enneads IV 8 [6], Plotinus'
                "out of body" experience. Dominic O'Meara published a novel interpretation
                in Mnemosyne (1974), reprinted in his Variorum collection, The Structure of
                Being and the Serch for the God, essay XIII. I'm sure that many if not most
                list members are familiar with the passage and O'Meara's interpretation; I
                wonder how his interpretation has fared among the specialists.

                Y. Tzvi Langermann
                Department of Arabic
                Bar Ilan University
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "John Uebersax" <john.uebersax@...>
                To: <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2009 11:08 PM
                Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?


                >
                > To clarify my previous question, I was hoping to learn if Neoplatonists
                > like Proclus, Iamblichus, Damascius, and others in the Neoplatonist
                > schools reported having the 'mystical experience', vision of the Good,
                > etc., and in general where discussions of this subject might be found.
                >
                > John Uebersax
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • Giannis Stamatellos
                I was wondering if Plotinus in IV.8.1 describes an out of body or into the soul experience. Having in mind Plotinus metaphysics and psychology we have to
                Message 7 of 9 , Aug 24, 2009
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                  I was wondering if Plotinus in IV.8.1 describes an "out of body" or "into the soul" experience. Having in mind Plotinus' metaphysics and psychology we have to clarify what kind - if there is any - 'mystical' or 'esoteric' experience he describes.

                  Giannis Stamatellos




                  ________________________________
                  From: Tzvi Langermann <ytl@...>
                  To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 6:29:12 AM
                  Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?


                  I would think that the most famous passge is Enneads IV 8 [6], Plotinus'
                  "out of body" experience. Dominic O'Meara published a novel interpretation
                  in Mnemosyne (1974), reprinted in his Variorum collection, The Structure of
                  Being and the Serch for the God, essay XIII. I'm sure that many if not most
                  list members are familiar with the passage and O'Meara's interpretation; I
                  wonder how his interpretation has fared among the specialists.

                  Y. Tzvi Langermann
                  Department of Arabic
                  Bar Ilan University
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "John Uebersax" <john.uebersax@ yahoo.com>
                  To: <neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com>
                  Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2009 11:08 PM
                  Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?

                  >
                  > To clarify my previous question, I was hoping to learn if Neoplatonists
                  > like Proclus, Iamblichus, Damascius, and others in the Neoplatonist
                  > schools reported having the 'mystical experience', vision of the Good,
                  > etc., and in general where discussions of this subject might be found.
                  >
                  > John Uebersax
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------ --------- --------- ------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >







                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • nahuelfk
                  In my opinion, Plotinus mysticism it s in principle an altered state of consciusness, which is very similar to the hermetic one - Specially the rebirth in
                  Message 8 of 9 , Aug 24, 2009
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                    In my opinion, Plotinus' mysticism it's in principle an altered state of consciusness, which is very similar to the hermetic one - Specially the "rebirth" in the nous, which is an Hermetic theme very used - and gnostic gnosis in some ways (although it's not the same in theoretical terms, it tends to be described a similar experience - Of course, the gnosis it's a way of salvation, salvation which I don't know it's a main concern in Plotinus). I don't know if it can be seen as an "out of the body" experience, although, according to the Plotinus' doctrine (and general agreement in that time about the conception of the body), makes a lot of sense for me in that way.

                    Maybe we can look at the study of the Western Esotericism Scholl, as they're within this frame of study.
                    Is there a comparative work regarding the mysticism of Plotinus and the gnostic gnosis? The relation between them it's way much more complex than II.9 (or even the "tetralogy").

                    Nahuel Lanzón

                    --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Giannis Stamatellos <gstamap@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I was wondering if Plotinus in IV.8.1 describes an "out of body" or "into the soul" experience. Having in mind Plotinus' metaphysics and psychology we have to clarify what kind - if there is any - 'mystical' or 'esoteric' experience he describes.
                    >
                    > Giannis Stamatellos
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ________________________________
                    > From: Tzvi Langermann <ytl@...>
                    > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 6:29:12 AM
                    > Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?
                    >
                    >
                    > I would think that the most famous passge is Enneads IV 8 [6], Plotinus'
                    > "out of body" experience. Dominic O'Meara published a novel interpretation
                    > in Mnemosyne (1974), reprinted in his Variorum collection, The Structure of
                    > Being and the Serch for the God, essay XIII. I'm sure that many if not most
                    > list members are familiar with the passage and O'Meara's interpretation; I
                    > wonder how his interpretation has fared among the specialists.
                    >
                    > Y. Tzvi Langermann
                    > Department of Arabic
                    > Bar Ilan University
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "John Uebersax" <john.uebersax@ yahoo.com>
                    > To: <neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com>
                    > Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2009 11:08 PM
                    > Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?
                    >
                    > >
                    > > To clarify my previous question, I was hoping to learn if Neoplatonists
                    > > like Proclus, Iamblichus, Damascius, and others in the Neoplatonist
                    > > schools reported having the 'mystical experience', vision of the Good,
                    > > etc., and in general where discussions of this subject might be found.
                    > >
                    > > John Uebersax
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > ------------ --------- --------- ------
                    > >
                    > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • Michael Plaisance
                    Yasou,   I would agree that Iamblichus is the primary source available for information regarding the experience of theosis or henosis.  However, just as Mr.
                    Message 9 of 9 , Aug 27, 2009
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                      Yasou,
                       
                      I would agree that Iamblichus is the primary source available for information regarding the experience of theosis or henosis.  However, just as Mr. Shaw has expressed, the enumeration of these experiences is something that should raise a reasoning eye.  In our school, which is based on the Iamblichian concepts, I myself, as well as other students, have experienced something which we call 'the shining in' which is an experience that occurs during a period of intense seclusion.  However, to say that the experience is something which can be quantified and counted would be totally false.  Also, the degree of intensity of the experience is never the same for each person.  The term 'lampsei mesa' or shining in was chosen because the onset of the experience is preceded by a very noticable brightening of the room.  This has occured for everyone who has experienced this event, yet for some it was nothing more than an intense feeling of happiness.  For
                      others, it has been an intense experience that was life altering.  So to give a consistent definition of the experience of henosis is not possible, as the experience, just as all truly religious or mystical experiences, depends entirely on the condition of the receiving soul.  I regret that my internet access is very limited, however, if you would like to converse further on this matter, feel free to write me personally at our school.  The invitation to write is extended to all.
                       
                      Archaeos Temenoi Hellenica
                      13639 Henry Drive
                      Denham Springs, LA 70726

                      Kirios Museos
                      Archaeos Temenoi Hellenica

                      --- On Sun, 8/23/09, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:


                      From: John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
                      Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonists' mystical experiences?
                      To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Sunday, August 23, 2009, 4:08 PM


                       



                      To clarify my previous question, I was hoping to learn if Neoplatonists like Proclus, Iamblichus, Damascius, and others in the Neoplatonist schools reported having the 'mystical experience', vision of the Good, etc., and in general where discussions of this subject might be found.

                      John Uebersax

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