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March 10, 2013

Orphic Platonism

By J. Pedro Feliciano


Theurgy or divine magic is present in many different religious traditions, but its most famous form was developed and promulgated in the Mediterranean, Egypt and Near East during the first centuries A.D., notably by certain Neoplatonic philosophers such as Iamblichus and Proclus. It is this theurgic stream that is the focus of the present text.

Origins of classical theurgy and its historical context

Classical theurgy is commonly held to have originated in the 2nd century A.D with the famous text we know as the Chaldæan Oracles, one of the earliest Middle Platonic works. The account of their origin that has come down to us can be resumed as follows. Somewhere in Syria or Mesopotamia during the late second century (150-190 A.D.), there were 2 philosophers, a certain Julian the Chaldæan and his son Julian the Theurgist. Reportedly, the father performed certain rituals to invoke the…

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