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Cornford's "Mysticism and Science in the Pythagorean Tradition"

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  • vaeringjar
    I posted something of this article recently, and finally got around to finishing reading the complete piece. I found this other passage most striking: The
    Message 1 of 15 , Mar 17, 2010
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      I posted something of this article recently, and finally got around to finishing reading the complete piece. I found this other passage most striking:



      The reconstruction of Pythagoras' system may be approached through
      the analysis of certain pivotal conceptions which all admit to be characteristic of the Italian tradition. These are: the ideal of 'becoming like God' and the notion of mimesis; the correspondence of macrocosm and microcosm; the conception of harmony ; the doctrine of numbers; the symbol known as the tetractys.

      Aristoxenus' says of Pythagoras and his followers: 'Every distinction
      they lay down as to what should be done or not done aims at communion (or converse, "homilia") with the divine. This is their starting-point; their whole life is ordered with a view to following God ("pros to akolouthein twi thewi"), and it is the governing principle of their philosophy.' This 'following' or imitation of God was to end in a purification of the soul from the taint of its bodily prison-house so complete that there should be no need of any further reincarnation.
      Pythagoras was believed to have reached this threshold of
      divinity; Empedocles later made the same claim for himself: "ego d'humin theos ambrotos, ouketi thnetos" echoed in the Orphic grave tablets, where the dead soul is addressed: 'From a man thou hast become a god.'

      The means of rising to this condition was 'philosophy,' the contemplation of the cosmos in which God was contained or embodied. It was assumed, moreover, in sharp contradiction to orthodox Olympian religion, that there was no insuperable gulf between God and the soul, but a fundamental community of nature. The same order (cosmos) or structural principle is found on a large scale in the universe and on a small scale in individuals, i.e. those parts of the universe which are themselves wholes, namely living things. The living
      creature (soul and body) is the individual unit or microcosm; the world, or macrocosm, is likewise a living creature with a body and soul. Individuals reproduce the whole in miniature; they are not mere fractions, but analogous parts of the whole which includes them.

      This relation of the many analogous parts to the including whole is very important. It is implied in the term mimesis, by which, as Aristotle remarks, the Pythagoreans meant the same relation that Plato called 'participation' (methexis).1 In Plato it is the relation of a number of similar individual things to the supersensible Idea whose nature is communicated to them. The things 'participate' in that Idea, but in such a way that the whole Idea is represented
      in each, and yet not used up by any one. This meaning of mimesis goes back to the original sense of the word. Mimos means an actor. A whole succession of actors may embody or reproduce a character, say Hamlet; but none of them is identical with Hamlet. Each represents the character, which yet is not used up by any one impersonator. The actor was, in the earliest times, the occasional vehicle of a divine or legendary spirit. In Dionysiac religion this relation subsists between the thiasos or group of worshippers and the god who takes possession of them (katechein). 'Blessed,' say the chorus in the
      Bacchae 'is he whose soul 'thiaseuetai'-is merged in his group, when the whole group is possessed by one spirit, which, not being a fully developed, atomic personality, can alike penetrate the whole group and dwell in each df its members. At that stage 'likeness to God' amounts to temporary identification. Induced by orgiastic means, by Bacchic ecstasy or Orphic sacramental feast, it is a foretaste of the final reunion. In Pythagoreanism the conception is toned down, Apollinized. The means is no longer ecstasy or sacrament, but theoria, intellectual contemplation of the universal order,
      whereby the microcosm comes to reproduce (mimeisthai) at order more perfectly and becomes "kosmios", attuned to the celestial harmony.

      From the analogy of macrocosm and microcosm certain cosmological
      premisses follow. The One or All must be perfect (teleion) and limited. The Unlimited, the apeiron which Anaximander had called divine, cannot be reproduced in a miniature whole. To the Pythagorean it is an evil principle of disorder, the opposite of the good principle of Limit. Again, the derivation of the many from the One cannot be merely a splitting of the One into fragmentary parts. It must be such that the nature of the whole can be reproduced
      in each subordinate whole or analogous part. (pp.142-43)




      It's hard for me not also to see some of these principles continuing on to be manifested in Neoplatonism, especially that last point above. But it was the citation from Aristoxenus and this - at least to me - intriguing explanation of mimesis, harkening back to the drama, which I mostly wanted to share. I've been reading about the Pythagorean notion of mimesis (vs Platonic participation) for a long time, but I do really think now this has given me a much better understanding for it. I trust an reasonable and accurate one!

      I can't help also thinking how in a rather neat nutshell here he shows how different this approach to bringing oneself into relation with the divine is so different from the Christian approach, primarily in the notion of "becoming like god". That if I am not mistaken would be viewed essentially as blasphemous in the orthodox tradition of the Church, correct?

      Dennis Clark
    • Goya
      ... M.C. Depends on which tradition. Orthodox Christianity makes room for the concept of divinization (*theosis*, as opposed to heretical *apotheosis*).
      Message 2 of 15 , Mar 17, 2010
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        <snip>
        >
        > I can't help also thinking how in a rather neat nutshell here he shows how
        > different this approach to bringing oneself into relation with the divine
        > is so different from the Christian approach, primarily in the notion of
        > "becoming like god". That if I am not mistaken would be viewed essentially
        > as blasphemous in the orthodox tradition of the Church, correct?


        M.C. Depends on which tradition. Orthodox Christianity makes room for the
        concept of divinization (*theosis*, as opposed to heretical *apotheosis*).

        Best, Mike


        >


        Michael Chase
        CNRS UPR 76
        Paris-Villejuif
        France
      • Clark, Stephen
        In response to Dennis: no, this is not - essentially - blasphemous. On the contrary, it is a central theme of orthodox Christianity that God became man, so
        Message 3 of 15 , Mar 18, 2010
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          In response to Dennis: no, this is not - essentially - blasphemous. On the contrary, it is a central theme of orthodox Christianity that "God became man, so that man could become God". We can't do it by our own efforts - but how clear is it that pagan neo-Platonists thought otherwise?

          See (a quick google reveals) http://seraphimsociety.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/god-became-man-that-man-become-god/ for relevant quotes from Clement to Luther

          Stephen Clark

          ________________________________
          From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of vaeringjar [vaeringjar@...]
          Sent: 17 March 2010 23:13
          To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [neoplatonism] Cornford's "Mysticism and Science in the Pythagorean Tradition"


          I can't help also thinking how in a rather neat nutshell here he shows how different this approach to bringing oneself into relation with the divine is so different from the Christian approach, primarily in the notion of "becoming like god". That if I am not mistaken would be viewed essentially as blasphemous in the orthodox tradition of the Church, correct?

          Dennis Clark



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Thomas Mether
          Dennis, The Pseudo-Dionysius says that humans and creation are theandric. Maximos the Confessor takes this concept to develop Anthansios idea that God became
          Message 4 of 15 , Mar 18, 2010
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            Dennis,
            The Pseudo-Dionysius says that humans and creation are theandric. Maximos the Confessor takes this concept to develop Anthansios' idea that God became man, so that man could become God to develop the full Orthodox concept of theosis or theopoesis
            within the context of trinitarian and ecclesial theology. The divine communion of divine persons by nature (Trinity) became incarnate as the salvation economia so that a divine communion of deified persons by grace (Church, communion of saints) is created.
             
            Mystical union (henosis) in the Orthodox Church is directly bodily (being part of the mystical-sacramental body of Christ still incarnate), directly a person to person relation between the human hypostasis-prosopon and the hypostasis-prosopon of Jesus (the I Thou relation), and indirectly, through the Holy Spirit and the Son, with the uncreate energies of the Father.
             
             
            --- On Thu, 3/18/10, Clark, Stephen <srlclark@...> wrote:


            From: Clark, Stephen <srlclark@...>
            Subject: RE: [neoplatonism] Cornford's "Mysticism and Science in the Pythagorean Tradition"
            To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
            Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 2:38 AM


             



            In response to Dennis: no, this is not - essentially - blasphemous. On the contrary, it is a central theme of orthodox Christianity that "God became man, so that man could become God". We can't do it by our own efforts - but how clear is it that pagan neo-Platonists thought otherwise?

            See (a quick google reveals) http://seraphimsoci ety.wordpress. com/2008/ 01/15/god- became-man- that-man- become-god/ for relevant quotes from Clement to Luther

            Stephen Clark

            ____________ _________ _________ __
            From: neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com [neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of vaeringjar [vaeringjar@yahoo. com]
            Sent: 17 March 2010 23:13
            To: neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com
            Subject: [neoplatonism] Cornford's "Mysticism and Science in the Pythagorean Tradition"

            I can't help also thinking how in a rather neat nutshell here he shows how different this approach to bringing oneself into relation with the divine is so different from the Christian approach, primarily in the notion of "becoming like god". That if I am not mistaken would be viewed essentially as blasphemous in the orthodox tradition of the Church, correct?

            Dennis Clark

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • vaeringjar
            ... Thanks, all, for your responses to my question - I probably shouldn t have used the term orthodox as I did not mean it in the sense of Greek Orthodox
            Message 5 of 15 , Mar 18, 2010
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              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Clark, Stephen" <srlclark@...> wrote:
              >
              > In response to Dennis: no, this is not - essentially - blasphemous. On the contrary, it is a central theme of orthodox Christianity that "God became man, so that man could become God". We can't do it by our own efforts - but how clear is it that pagan neo-Platonists thought otherwise?
              >
              > See (a quick google reveals) http://seraphimsociety.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/god-became-man-that-man-become-god/ for relevant quotes from Clement to Luther
              >
              > Stephen Clark
              >
              > ________________________________

              Thanks, all, for your responses to my question - I probably shouldn't have used the term "orthodox" as I did not mean it in the sense of "Greek Orthodox" but more as reflecting the mainstream of Christianity in general, east and west, but I understand from your answers that there is evidence both east and west for theosis, though it does seem from your answers more prevalent in the east, nonetheless, and I was a bit surprised at the quote Stephen found from Luther, but there is also the one from St Hilary that couldn't be much clearer in this respect either. But this is not an accepted view in modern Catholocism, is it? Perhaps I am persisting in a misunderstanding by trying to make even that distinction.

              And are we saying this position in Christianity can be linked to the similar one in Platonism or was rather an independent development? Or do we not really know its origin?

              Dennis Clark
            • Thomas Mether
              Well, in terms of origins, Gregory of Nyssa, read the middle platonists (where you find the motif) and knew of the mystery cults (where you find the motif). I
              Message 6 of 15 , Mar 18, 2010
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                Well, in terms of origins, Gregory of Nyssa, read the middle platonists (where you find the motif) and knew of the mystery cults (where you find the motif). I have not looked at Clement or Origen so I don't know if it is there or whether Greogry would have also gotten it from them. But Gregory predates the pagan Proclus and the Pseudo-Dionysius. Gregory also ties deification with what looks at first sight as a concept from Proclus but Gregory predates him. While God is being itself (to on, heautou phusei to einai echei), humans have being by participation (kata methexin) that has as its intended telos a deifying participation in the divine (metousia theou. Deification is also a theme found in Boehme.
                 
                As far as modern Catholicism, I've heard from those involved in east-west ecumenical discussions to re-unite the two churches that theosis is found in Catholic teaching (don't ask me where). But, I can recommend a book comparing the concept of theosis in Aquinas and Palamas (the claim is that deification is part of Aquinas's concept of mystical union and comparing that with Palamas -- interesting since the Palamites were the great intellectual "enemies" of the Greek Thomists). A.N. Williams, The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas. OUP, 1999.
                 
                http://www.amazon.com/Ground-Union-Deification-Aquinas-Palamas/dp/0195124367/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268936981&sr=1-1

                --- On Thu, 3/18/10, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> wrote:


                From: vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>
                Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Cornford's "Mysticism and Science in the Pythagorean Tradition"
                To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 12:59 PM


                 





                --- In neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com, "Clark, Stephen" <srlclark@.. .> wrote:
                >
                > In response to Dennis: no, this is not - essentially - blasphemous. On the contrary, it is a central theme of orthodox Christianity that "God became man, so that man could become God". We can't do it by our own efforts - but how clear is it that pagan neo-Platonists thought otherwise?
                >
                > See (a quick google reveals) http://seraphimsoci ety.wordpress. com/2008/ 01/15/god- became-man- that-man- become-god/ for relevant quotes from Clement to Luther
                >
                > Stephen Clark
                >
                > ____________ _________ _________ __

                Thanks, all, for your responses to my question - I probably shouldn't have used the term "orthodox" as I did not mean it in the sense of "Greek Orthodox" but more as reflecting the mainstream of Christianity in general, east and west, but I understand from your answers that there is evidence both east and west for theosis, though it does seem from your answers more prevalent in the east, nonetheless, and I was a bit surprised at the quote Stephen found from Luther, but there is also the one from St Hilary that couldn't be much clearer in this respect either. But this is not an accepted view in modern Catholocism, is it? Perhaps I am persisting in a misunderstanding by trying to make even that distinction.

                And are we saying this position in Christianity can be linked to the similar one in Platonism or was rather an independent development? Or do we not really know its origin?

                Dennis Clark











                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Goya
                ... M.C. Really? ... M.C. Where ? Curiously, Mike Michael Chase CNRS UPR 76 Paris-Villejuif France
                Message 7 of 15 , Mar 18, 2010
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                  > Well, in terms of origins, Gregory of Nyssa, read the middle platonists

                  M.C. Really?

                  > (where you find the motif)

                  M.C. Where ?

                  Curiously, Mike



                  Michael Chase
                  CNRS UPR 76
                  Paris-Villejuif
                  France
                • Goya
                  ... M.C. I would think it s a pretty safe bet that the ultimate origin is Plato s notion of *homoiôsis theôi* (Rep. 352a, 383c, 501b, 613a, 621b; Phd. 78c;
                  Message 8 of 15 , Mar 18, 2010
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                    Denis wrote:
                    >
                    > And are we saying this position in Christianity can be linked to the
                    > similar one in Platonism or was rather an independent development? Or do
                    > we not really know its origin?


                    M.C. I would think it's a pretty safe bet that the ultimate origin is
                    Plato's notion of *homoiôsis theôi* (Rep. 352a, 383c, 501b, 613a, 621b;
                    Phd. 78c; Phdr. 249c; Tht. 176b. etc.). See H. Merki, Homoiosis Theo
                    (Freiburg: Paulus Verlag, 1952). See also D. Roloff, Gottähnlichkeit,
                    Vergöttlichung und Erhöhung zum seligen Leben (1970).

                    Best, Mike


                    Michael Chase
                    CNRS UPR 76
                    Paris-Villejuif
                    France
                  • John Uebersax
                    Wouldn t whether or not theosis is a heretical notion depend on how one understands the term theosis . Is it: (a) becoming *like* God, (b) becoming God, (c)
                    Message 9 of 15 , Mar 18, 2010
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                      Wouldn't whether or not theosis is a heretical notion depend on how one understands the term 'theosis'. Is it: (a) becoming *like* God, (b) becoming God, (c) becoming a god, or (d) becoming divine? Becoming "like God insofar as possible" (Plato; cf. Aristotle NE 10.7) could be understood as (a), (c), or (d), none of which seem overtly heretical.

                      As far as I know, the most oft-cited biblical passages taken as suggesting theosis are 2 Cor 3:18 and 1 John 3:2.

                      2 Cor 3:18
                      But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [katoptrizomenoi] the glory [doxan] of the Lord, are changed into the same image [eikona] from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

                      1 John 3:2
                      Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

                      Going from "glory to glory" could be taken to suggest infinite improvement, becoming more and more like God, but without actually becoming God.

                      1 John seems relatively specific: to be like God, but what exactly that implies "doth not yet appear' -- i.e., it's not known at present.

                      The Catholic philosopher Nicholas of Cusa wrote about theosis. From the description of Becoming God: the Doctrine of Theosis in Nicholas of Cusa:

                      "The Doctrine of Theosis means a salvation that is the deification of the saved. The saved actually become God. This unusual doctrine lies at the heart of Nicholas of Cusa's (1401-1464) mystical metaphysics. It is here examined for the first time as a theme in its own right, along with its implications for Cusanus's doctrine of God, his theological anthropology, and his epistemology....

                      "At issue is his orthodoxy and whether he replaces Christian doctrine with Greek thought, while maintaining only the language of Christian theology. The thorough analysis of theosis in this book reveals that Nicholas of Cusa does indeed follow tradition, though it is the tradition of the Eastern church."

                      Nancy J. Hudson
                      Becoming God: the doctrine of theosis in Nicholas of Cusa
                      CUA Press, 2007
                      http://books.google.com/books?id=_6dLdAuS3GYC

                      John Uebersax
                    • gregshaw58
                      Hi Dennis, I agree here with Stephen, certainly in theory, although in practice it seems that theosis has been a dimension of Christianity that most
                      Message 10 of 15 , Mar 19, 2010
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                        Hi Dennis,

                        I agree here with Stephen, certainly in theory, although in practice it seems that theosis has been a dimension of Christianity that most Christians, fixed in a "redemptive" model of salvation, ordinarily do not embrace.

                        As for theosis in Greek philosophy, I would recommend the brief survey of this tradition in Dominic O'Meara's "Platonopolis" (31-39). A very clear chapter. O'Meara begins by saying "...we must put aside an exclusivist, monotheistic notion of 'God' and remember the generous Greek sphere of the divine, which includes many different types and ranks of gods" (31).

                        gshaw
                        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Clark, Stephen" <srlclark@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > In response to Dennis: no, this is not - essentially - blasphemous. On the contrary, it is a central theme of orthodox Christianity that "God became man, so that man could become God". We can't do it by our own efforts - but how clear is it that pagan neo-Platonists thought otherwise?
                        > >
                        > > See (a quick google reveals) http://seraphimsociety.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/god-became-man-that-man-become-god/ for relevant quotes from Clement to Luther
                        > >
                        > > Stephen Clark
                        > >
                        > > ________________________________
                        >
                        > Thanks, all, for your responses to my question - I probably shouldn't have used the term "orthodox" as I did not mean it in the sense of "Greek Orthodox" but more as reflecting the mainstream of Christianity in general, east and west, but I understand from your answers that there is evidence both east and west for theosis, though it does seem from your answers more prevalent in the east, nonetheless, and I was a bit surprised at the quote Stephen found from Luther, but there is also the one from St Hilary that couldn't be much clearer in this respect either. But this is not an accepted view in modern Catholocism, is it? Perhaps I am persisting in a misunderstanding by trying to make even that distinction.
                        >
                        > And are we saying this position in Christianity can be linked to the similar one in Platonism or was rather an independent development? Or do we not really know its origin?
                        >
                        > Dennis Clark
                        >
                      • Thomas Mether
                        List,   Aghora opened in New York last week. It was reviewed in the NYT. So, it has made it to the US.   Thomas [Non-text portions of this message have been
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jun 3, 2010
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                          List,
                           
                          Aghora opened in New York last week. It was reviewed in the NYT. So, it has made it to the US.
                           
                          Thomas






                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Thomas Mether
                          http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/453107/Agora/overview   Sorry for the rush... ... From: Thomas Mether Subject: [neoplatonism] Aghora:
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jun 3, 2010
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                            http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/453107/Agora/overview
                             
                            Sorry for the rush...

                            --- On Thu, 6/3/10, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:


                            From: Thomas Mether <t_mether@...>
                            Subject: [neoplatonism] Aghora: Hypathia Movie is stateside
                            To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Thursday, June 3, 2010, 1:47 PM


                             



                            List,
                             
                            Aghora opened in New York last week. It was reviewed in the NYT. So, it has made it to the US.
                             
                            Thomas

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • vaeringjar
                            ... Great news, thanks for posting this. The review is quite a good one, and is well written itself. I cannot wait to see this. It does give the answer to one
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jun 4, 2010
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                              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/453107/Agora/overview
                              >  
                              > Sorry for the rush...
                              >
                              > --- On Thu, 6/3/10, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:
                              >
                              >

                              Great news, thanks for posting this. The review is quite a good one, and is well written itself. I cannot wait to see this. It does give the answer to one question I had been too shy to bring up here, whether the film included that business about the "handkerchief". Glad they kept it in, though who knows for sure it actually occurred.

                              It turns out that, mirabile visu, the film is showing tonight and Sunday here in Seattle at the yearly film festival. Unfortunately I can't go this weekend. Schade. Well, perhaps it will get some sort of general release in the US or there's always Netflix.

                              Dennis Clark
                            • Thomas Mether
                              I plan to buy a copy. Maybe two. I ll use one to torture my philosophy students. The Matrix , btw, works good for both Berkeley (the philosopher -- maybe
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jun 4, 2010
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                                I plan to buy a copy. Maybe two. I'll use one to "torture" my philosophy students. The "Matrix", btw, works good for both Berkeley (the philosopher -- maybe the town too, tee hee) and gnosticism (always thought the archons in some gnostic systems were some type of artificial life form which is why they needed to keep souls trapped in order to live).


                                --- On Fri, 6/4/10, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> wrote:


                                From: vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>
                                Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Agora: Hypatia Movie is stateside
                                To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                Date: Friday, June 4, 2010, 1:53 PM


                                 





                                --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/453107/Agora/overview
                                >  
                                > Sorry for the rush...
                                >
                                > --- On Thu, 6/3/10, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:
                                >
                                >

                                Great news, thanks for posting this. The review is quite a good one, and is well written itself. I cannot wait to see this. It does give the answer to one question I had been too shy to bring up here, whether the film included that business about the "handkerchief". Glad they kept it in, though who knows for sure it actually occurred.

                                It turns out that, mirabile visu, the film is showing tonight and Sunday here in Seattle at the yearly film festival. Unfortunately I can't go this weekend. Schade. Well, perhaps it will get some sort of general release in the US or there's always Netflix.

                                Dennis Clark











                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • vaeringjar
                                ... More research online reveals quite a bit more available now I imagine because of the limited US release. As of now, according to Wikipedia entry for the
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jun 4, 2010
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                                  --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/453107/Agora/overview
                                  >  
                                  > Sorry for the rush...
                                  >
                                  > --- On Thu, 6/3/10, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:

                                  More research online reveals quite a bit more available now I imagine because of the limited US release. As of now, according to Wikipedia entry for the film, it will be shown only in New York and Los Angeles, but it did extremely well over the Memorial Day weekend in NY, coming in in fact second among all films! This from this link:

                                  http://www.indiewire.com/article/holiday_box_office_agora_micmacs_post_decent_debuts_restored_breathless_sco/

                                  So that is good news I would hope for it getting wider distribution here in the USA. It's all about bucks, as most things here are now.

                                  Here is another NT Times article, including an interview with Rachel Weisz.

                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/movies/23agora.html

                                  The wikipedia entry has links to several recent reviews apparently occasioned by the US release:

                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agora_(film)

                                  There's a link there also to an article on the Destruction of the Serapeum. A nice bit from Ammianus quoted there, I trust accurately:

                                  Serapeum, quod licet minuatur exilitate verborum, atriis tamen columnariis amplissimis et spirantibus signorum figmentis et reliqua operum multitudine ita est exornatum, ut post Capitolium, quo se venerabilis Roma in aeternum attollit, nihil orbis terrarum ambitiosius cernat.

                                  Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae, XXII, 16

                                  The Serapeum, splendid to a point that words would only diminish its beauty, has such spacious rooms flanked by columns, filled with such life-like statues and a multitude of other works of such art, that nothing, except the Capitolium, which attests to Rome's venerable eternity, can be considered as ambitious in the whole world.

                                  Dennis Clark
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