Iamblichus (242?-325?)

Kabbalah, Sufism, Gnosticism and other forms of mysticism rooted in Christianity, Judaism, Islam
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Nicholas
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Iamblichus (242?-325?)

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From his Exhortation to Philosophy translated by Thomas M. Johnson an American Platonist of 19th century.
I Of Pythagoras and the life in accordance with his doctrines, and of the Pythagoreans, we treated sufficiently in our first book [Life of Pythagoras: we will now explain the remaining part of his system, beginning with the common preparatory training prescribed by his school in reference to all education and learning and virtue; a training which is not partial, only perfecting one in some particular good of all these but which, to speak simply, incites his cognitive powers to the acquirement of all disciplines, all sciences, all beautiful and noble actions in life, all species of culture – and, in a phrase, every thing which participates of the Beautiful. For neither without an awakening, caused by exhortation, from the natural lethargy, is it possible for one to apply himself suddenly to beautiful and noble studies; nor immediately to proceed to the apprehension of the highest and most perfect good, before his soul has been duly prepared by exhortation [which arouses his impulses to higher things, purifies his thoughts, and directs his actions].
From The Collected Works of Thomas Moore Johnson, Prometheus Trust 2015.
Last edited by Nicholas on Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Buddhas.
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Nicholas
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Re: Iamblichus (242?-325?)

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But just as the soul gradually advances to the greater from the less, passing through all beautiful things, and finally reaches the most perfect goods, so it is necessary that exhortation should proceed regularly, beginning from those things which are common. For exhortation will incite to philosophy itself and to philosophizing in general, according to every system of thought, no particular school being expressly preferred, but all being approved according to their respective merits, and ranked higher than mere human studies, by a certain common and popular mode of exhorting.

After this we must use a certain mediate method which, though neither entirely popular nor Pythagorean, is not wholly distinct from each of these modes. In this mediate course we will arrange the exhortations common to all philosophy, which are not deduced from the Pythagorean teaching and are therefore different from it; but we will add the most suitable and peculiar opinions of the Pythagoreans, in order that there may be a Pythagorean exhortation according to this mediate mode of discoursing.

From which we will gradually, as is reasonable, departing from the exoteric conceptions, pass to and become familiar with the special and technical demonstrations of the Pythagorean school, ascending by means of these as by a certain bridge or ladder as it were from a depth to a great height. And, lastly, we will interpret the exhortations peculiar to the Pythagorean school, which are strange and mystical in a certain respect, if they are considered in relation to other systems of philosophic culture.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Buddhas.
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