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Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Wed May 22, 2013 4:47 pm

I just started to read about Epikouros' teachings and now I'm wondering that there is no thread about Epicureanism nor Stoicism in this forum. Strange since the gods played in both philosophies roles. And since there are temples nor rites left from the gods these philosophies could serve, along with Platonism/Neoplatonism, to help to be a postmodern polytheist.
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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Wed May 22, 2013 6:30 pm

Actually, Epicureanism, while it was not entirely atheistic, was somewhere between what we'd call 'deist' and 'agnostic'. Epicureans denied the activity of gods in the world and denied the efficacy of any religious action. Epicurean philosophy did not specifically promulgate atheism, but was not really opposed to it either. I don't think it's surprising that there is not much here on Epicureanism, because it was really a sort of pre-Christian deism, as far as its theology is concerned. Furthermore, although Epicurus himself may have meant well, at least at the basic level, his later followers notably degenerated his philosophy into a fraternity of licentiousness and libertinism, to such an extent that the label 'Epicurus/Epikouros' came to be a pejorative word for any sort of unsavory person of low or absent morals.

Stoicism is largely consistent with the Orphic-Pythagorean-Platonic-Diadochic philosophical family — because of this, especially in Late Antiquity and beyond, Stoicism largely came to be merged/amalgamated into the greater body of the Platonic revival (which even attempted very strongly to reconcile Aristotelianism into itself, which had, in previous centuries, come to be seen most often as an adversary of Platonism).

So, I would say that Epicureanism isn't particularly popular here because it is basically non-theistic, and Stoicism oftentimes just gets lumped together as a subset of Platonism.

Epictetus (an important later Stoic philosopher) is lovely, nonetheless, and is esteemed by others in the Orphic tradition — especially his Enchiridion

Epictetus' "Enchiridion"

And since there are temples nor rites left from the gods

There are plenty of rites left Wink , both those of the Orphic and Hermetic initiatory traditions, as well as revived rites from Antiquity.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Wed May 22, 2013 6:51 pm

As far as I understand, for Epikouros the gods are beings made of atoms made of the finest material, living in some worlds between. They are totally happy and as being totally happy, not concerned with the cases of us humans. Epikouros teaches that praying to the gods to get something from them wouldn't make any sense... but worshipping them for being so happy beings who reaches a perfect state of ataraxia is a good thing (omg, just excuse my poor English!). If I'm not wrong, that's more or less a similar attitude to the gods as the Indian Jains have.

Well, this kind of worship seems to me (and that's just a personal statement) a very honest form of worshipping the gods, since it excludes fear for them or disappointment. But as I said: it is just my opinion and as being polytheist one hasn't to be exclusive^, since I also have a strong affinity to neoplatonism (I started in Sallustius as well).

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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Thu May 23, 2013 12:12 pm

One of my major criticisms of the Epicurean system is that it seems to me to have internal inconsistencies. For instance, the idea that all within our cosmos, both body and Soul, is mortal (which Orphism completely denies), but that gods are somehow immortal, or the attempt at harmonizing these two principles by saying that gods are in a separate universe from us with different Laws and no interaction at all with our own universe (this would also lead me to ask, then, how we even have any knowledge that gods exist at all or any knowledge of gods' character, if there is no interaction with them). I'm not sure what Epicurus' original view was on the matter, but I think it makes sense that, at least in later Epicureanism, the theology was largely non-theistic, preferring not to deal with the subject of gods either affirmatively or negatively.

But I have never made it a secret that I abjure several of the core tenets of Epicurus' system. Neutral

Well, this kind of worship seems to me (and that's just a personal statement) a very honest form of worshipping the gods, since it excludes fear for them or disappointment. But as I said: it is just my opinion and as being polytheist one hasn't to be exclusive^, since I also have a strong affinity to neoplatonism (I started in Sallustius as well).

I can see that as being beneficial in that it discourages one from making trifling prayers and treating God like a celestial vending machine, but like I said, I don't really understand why one would worship a god at all based on Epicurean reasoning scratch ; it excludes fear or disappointment, but also seems to me to exclude any benefit either. In other traditions, it is very wise to be in awe/fear of gods, and the possibility of transgressing them is a very real actuality — in Orphism, not only is this a reality, but is part of the reason that human beings even exist at all; of course, Orphism also teaches the immortality of the soul and the active involvement of gods with the world as core principles — both of which are totally contrary to Epicurean metaphysics. :-S

Finally, I think it's important to distinguish between 'clusivity' and 'tolerance', especially because people misuse the words and get them mixed up, treating them as synonymous when they aren't. Peaceful tolerance is something certainly valuable, but I do not think inclusivity (at least in the pursuit of Truth) is necessarily a good thing. I think a certain measure of exclusivity is important, and is essential to remaining honest and avoiding hypocrisy, self-contradiction, and related absurdity. Tolerance allows people who fundamentally disagree to live peacefully without harming each other, without passing judgment on either side's truth or falsehood; inclusivism does pass judgment by saying that the two opposed (even contradictory) ideas are "both right" — which can turn into an anti-intellectual and anti-rational relativism that denies objective truth, knowledge or reality, and winds up basically concluding, for the sake of inclusivity and "making everyone happy", that "Everything is true and everyone is right."

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Thu May 23, 2013 3:22 pm

Along to Epikouros, there is interaction with the gods, but my English is to poor to explain it good enough ^^

I'll give it a try: Along to Epikouros, perception is made by little "films" (that was the Dutch translations) who are sent out from the body. So for example you could see me (if I would stay in front of you) because I send out from my atomic body some very little atoms to you... the same is true for the gods. But because they are made of some finer atoms then we are, the films the send out reach directly our mind, mostly awhile we are sleeping. And that perception is for Epikouros enough to believe that there are gods.

Epikouros is not against the gods, neither the worship of them, but against the fear for the gods, because they do not deserve to be feared at all.

So why still worshipping them though they do nothing for us (in Epikouros' thinking): just because they are supreme beings and reached the highest level of ataraxia. They should be examples for us mortals.

But dear Erodius, I'm totally not tring to convert you to Epicurism! And as I said already, I have also a strong affinity to Stoicism and Neoplatonism. And I'm actually just beginning with studying this aspect of the religion. It's just nice to have some teachings that could help you through more sadder periods during life, so way not using them? I like the Epicurean custom to celebrate each 20th of the month friendship by celebrating with your friends, but I will not celebrate Epikouros' birthday, as he wanted from his pupils...

And I don't know how you guys and girls handle it, but my poltheism is sometimes accompanied with fear, with superstitious fear (oh no, did I use the right incense, did I forget something, should I sacrifice more?? etc etc). I was able to handle that fear a little by concentrating at home especially at the worship of the household deities and not at all, greater deities. But there still was some fear. With Epikouros in my mind, I can worship without fear... but still doing my best to make the sacrifices as beautiful as possible.

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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Thu May 23, 2013 5:41 pm

I'll give it a try: Along to Epikouros, perception is made by little "films" (that was the Dutch translations) who are sent out from the body. So for example you could see me (if I would stay in front of you) because I send out from my atomic body some very little atoms to you... the same is true for the gods. But because they are made of some finer atoms then we are, the films the send out reach directly our mind, mostly awhile we are sleeping. And that perception is for Epikouros enough to believe that there are gods.

Sorry, that doesn't really make sense to me — probably an issue of meaning lost in translation scratch I would be able to see something in front of me because of the light reflecting off of it, not coming out of it. If I relied on what I saw in my mind while I slept to discern reality, I'd be living in a dream bubble — a wonderful dream bubble, indeed — but a false reality. I don't think Epicurus and I would have gotten along. Laughing

Epikouros is not against the gods, neither the worship of them, but against the fear for the gods, because they do not deserve to be feared at all.

Sorry Epicurus, I disagree Suspect

So why still worshipping them though they do nothing for us (in Epikouros' thinking): just because they are supreme beings and reached the highest level of ataraxia. They should be examples for us mortals.

But if there is no immortality in our cosmos, humans can never hope to achieve anything like the ataraxia of a god — wouldn't striving to emulate a mortal role model be a much more beneficial use of time, according to Epicurean reasoning?

But dear Erodius, I'm totally not tring to convert you to Epicurism! And as I said already, I have also a strong affinity to Stoicism and Neoplatonism. And I'm actually just beginning with studying this aspect of the religion. It's just nice to have some teachings that could help you through more sadder periods during life, so way not using them? I like the Epicurean custom to celebrate each 20th of the month friendship by celebrating with your friends, but I will not celebrate Epikouros' birthday, as he wanted from his pupils...


Interesting — Orphics celebrate the Zodiacal Calends on the 21st of each month; I was not aware of such a custom in Epicurus' school. Orphic religion likewise aims to bring about the cessation of the suffering of mortal life, however, our teaching is in favor of complete transcendence of either sadness or happiness. Virtue, in our tradition, is the antidote for the sufferings of mortality.

And I don't know how you guys and girls handle it, but my poltheism is sometimes accompanied with fear, with superstitious fear (oh no, did I use the right incense, did I forget something, should I sacrifice more?? etc etc). I was able to handle that fear a little by concentrating at home especially at the worship of the household deities and not at all, greater deities. But there still was some fear. With Epikouros in my mind, I can worship without fear... but still doing my best to make the sacrifices as beautiful as possible.

Superstitious fears are certainly something to be overcome. So long as you approach God with the right mindset and seek in your heart and mind to worship rightly, even if you make a mistake, you have not committed any sin. In other words, you will not incur any guilt for making a mistake while genuinely trying not to err — that is the Orphic teaching, at least.

I hope I'm making sense — sometimes I feel like I am going off on two much of a tangent and that what I am trying to say gets lost :-S

Along to Epikouros, there is interaction with the gods, but my English is to poor to explain it good enough ^^

Your English is just fine — better than that of many non-native speakers. I think you should give yourself credit for being able to even attempt to summarize points of a philosophical system in something other than your native language. Wink

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Fri May 24, 2013 5:40 am

I totally admit that Epikouros' theory about perception might be in terms of modern sciences totally nonsense Smile. I just mentioned it to show that Epikouros himself didn't deny the gods.

There are elements of Epicurean teaching that really attract me (vanishing superstitious fear, a "hided" life, friendship), but that doesn't mean that I blind myself to other philosophies nor that I wanted to announce Epicureanism as THE polytheistic path! It might be complicated, that there are different philosophical possibilities, but on the other hand: I don't want to live in a world where just one kind of wisdom rules.

I would like to learn more about Orphism. I know the Hymns and I know the importance of Zagreus-Dionysos in it... but I guess that's it (though I didn't much research about it yet. I mostly concentrated on both traditional (local) cults and the Mystery cults of late Antiquity). Maybe I should visit the threads about Orphism ^^

You said you disagree with Epikouros about the fact that the gods don't deserve to be feared?

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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Fri May 24, 2013 5:46 am

@Erodius wrote:
So why still worshipping them though they do nothing for us (in Epikouros' thinking): just because they are supreme beings and reached the highest level of ataraxia. They should be examples for us mortals.

But if there is no immortality in our cosmos, humans can never hope to achieve anything like the ataraxia of a god — wouldn't striving to emulate a mortal role model be a much more beneficial use of time, according to Epicurean reasoning?

It certainly would...

Well, maybe he just wanted to create some possibility for the gods to stay in his Epicurean view on the universe? We mortals are not able to become gods, since, after Epikouros, we are totally away when we die. We can reach ataraxia during lifetime, but it indeed would be more interesting to worship other mortals who also reached ataraxia during their lifetime (I have to think about the Buddhistic idea of Nirvana)... Epikouros' reason to worship the gods may althus semm to us some kind of blind adoration. (I have no problems with that actually, but it's indeed a little... foolish? Ah, and here again my superstitious fear for writing "foolish"...)
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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Fri May 24, 2013 10:43 am

I would like to learn more about Orphism. I know the Hymns and I know the importance of Zagreus-Dionysos in it... but I guess that's it (though I didn't much research about it yet. I mostly concentrated on both traditional (local) cults and the Mystery cults of late Antiquity). Maybe I should visit the threads about Orphism ^^

The 'Orphism' thread we have isn't really that great of an introduction, though :-S, it's more of a long Q&A. If you have questions that haven't been answered, please don't hesitate to ask. Especially with mystery religions like Orphism, there is not a whole lot of information available online or for free. It probably would be a good idea for me to write a little introduction to the religion for those who aren't familiar with it and do not have much access to resources — many of the major resources on Orphism that are available to the public are only available in hard-copy as printed books, and some of them are very expensive and hard to find.

You said you disagree with Epikouros about the fact that the gods don't deserve to be feared?

Yes, I do, actually. Not feared in the sense of 'fear of spiders', but fear in the sense of worshipful awe at the conception of a being that is exponentially older and wiser than you are, who rules over the very Laws that animate the vastness of the cosmos, who can create or destroy anything at the blink of an eye. I wish I remembered the speaker of this quote, but it goes like this "It is wise to love the gods, but it is wise also to fear them." That's essentially what I believe.

Thank you, Pemphredo, for taking on the task of attempting to explain Epicurean metaphysics, both for me, and for anyone else reading this thread.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Fri May 24, 2013 7:03 pm

Hey!

Indeed: the library of the University of Antwerp possesses a work with the original hymns and translations and commentary in French. And that's it actually. Most other works concerning Orpheus are about art and music. It's actually amazing: people would never expect this Thracian musician to be a religious figure similar to Jesus Christus (or is that a misinterpretation of mine?).

No problem, it's wonderfull that there is at least some of the old knowledge left. I'm not gonna attack christianity or other monotheisms(I prefer to ignore it), but it is a fact that due to christianity many other wisdom was cancelled for many centuries... And that's all I want to say about it.

I noticed you've created a new thread about Orphism. Thank you! I gonna read it immediately!

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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Fri May 24, 2013 8:23 pm

Indeed: the library of the University of Antwerp possesses a work with the original hymns and translations and commentary in French. And that's it actually. Most other works concerning Orpheus are about art and music. It's actually amazing: people would never expect this Thracian musician to be a religious figure similar to Jesus Christus (or is that a misinterpretation of mine?).

Not at all. Orphism, I would say, sits somewhere in an 'uncanny valley' with regard to Christianity — it is just similar enough to Christianity to have drawn curious Christian eyes ever since the 4th century CE, but just different enough to make Christians uncomfortable with it. Orphism and Christianity are both 'messianic/prophetic' religions that consider themselves to be renewals of the religions they arose from. There were actually a variety of these kinds of religious movements in the Roman Empire, it just came to be that Christianity achieved dominance, and sought actively to eliminate any traces of its having ever had any competition. Christianity also eventually came to emphasize its 'uniqueness', and in doing so, made it necessary to do away with Christian-esque ideas and movements that were not actually Christian. But the Christian church was not entirely successful — a handful of its ancient rivals managed to survive out of the public eye in remote areas either outside of, or at the periphery of the area of the Church's dominion (the southern Peloponnese, Cappadocia and Assyria, and the Shatt-al-Arab delta). Orphism, Mandaeanism and Manichaeism are all still extant, though the numbers of adherents for all three are very, very low, and all three are centered in countries that are largely hostile to them.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Sat May 25, 2013 8:11 am

@Erodius wrote:Orphism, Mandaeanism and Manichaeism are all still extant, though the numbers of adherents for all three are very, very low, and all three are centered in countries that are largely hostile to them.

Really? You mean really authentical adherents who know a long tradition of Orphism? That's amazing! I mean, I guess you regard yourself also as an Orphic adherent and I won't doubt about the authencity of your Orphism nor your religious feelings toward it, but I suppose you, just like me and most other postmodern polytheists of the West, came to polytheism by studying books etc, not really by tradition (except for the local folklore ofcourse).
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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Sat May 25, 2013 10:31 am

Really? You mean really authentical adherents who know a long tradition of Orphism? That's amazing!

Yes, I mean authentic adherents of a long a continuous tradition, at least back to the 19th century with certainty (before which the photographic documentation necessarily drops off), though according to our tradition, the lineage is unbroken from Antiquity.

I mean, I guess you regard yourself also as an Orphic adherent and I won't doubt about the authencity of your Orphism nor your religious feelings toward it, but I suppose you, just like me and most other postmodern polytheists of the West, came to polytheism by studying books etc, not really by tradition

I don't regard myself by a certain number of gods. I am both a monotheist and a polytheist, or neither, or a monarchianist, a Sabellian, a kathenotheist or a polymorphic-monotheist, depending on one's conception of the words.

Also, while I am an academic student of Antique religions, a university Classicist and ΗΣΦ inductee, I learn Orphism according to the lineage — by study and interaction with a living teacher (a bucolus, or "ox-herder"), who studied under a teacher, who studied under another teacher, and so on. The particular familial lineage I study under comes out of the Peloponnese, specifically, but according to my teacher's teacher, there are a very few other living lineages.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Sun May 26, 2013 5:37 pm

@Erodius wrote: I don't regard myself by a certain number of gods. I am both a monotheist and a polytheist, or neither, or a monarchianist, a Sabellian, a kathenotheist or a polymorphic-monotheist, depending on one's conception of the words.

or simply a henotheist? Very Happy

@Erodius wrote: Also, while I am an academic student of Antique religions, a university Classicist and ΗΣΦ inductee, I learn Orphism according to the lineage — by study and interaction with a living teacher (a bucolus, or "ox-herder"), who studied under a teacher, who studied under another teacher, and so on. The particular familial lineage I study under comes out of the Peloponnese, specifically, but according to my teacher's teacher, there are a very few other living lineages.

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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Sun May 26, 2013 6:21 pm

or simply a henotheist?

Hm, not really. Henotheism implies belief in the existence of multiple gods, but the worship of only one of them. Orphic theology is really not exactly like any other contemporary religion. We believe in the Twelve Gods, and all Their associate angels, archons and daemones, and recognize Them as having sufficient differentiation to consider Them as individual powers. However, we consider the Gods to all be, in actuality, constituent powers of one, primordial, two-gendered, First God. We often use a comparison to our own bodies (which also exhibit the qualities of the Trispherical Egg), which, though one 'thing', consist of a variety of sub-parts, organs, and sub-powers. My right hand and my left foot, for instance, are both ultimately elements of the fullness of 'me', but they also have individual existence, and are not 'the same thing', even though, at the highest level, they are. Ontological level, as such, is of vital importance to Orphic theology, as the truth and/or application of different teachings depends partially on the ontological frame of reference at which they are being examined.

Have you any idea how lucky you may call yourself?

Orphics have always considered it a great privilege to have the opportunity to participate in the holy Orphica, and we have always recognized that it is not the will of Fortune for everyone to be received into the Orphikos Bios in this life. Different Souls are at different levels of progression. We welcome any sincere, postulant converts, but both because of the intricacy of Orphic doctrine, its vastness, and the fact that contemporary living tends not to allow for large swaths of time to devote to instruction from βουκόλοι, our instruction is gradual and demands no small degree of patience.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Sun May 26, 2013 7:02 pm

The last question was merely a rhetoric one but still thank you for answering it! ^^. Patience? The Moirai gave me plenty of it Smile!
So there might be not much scholar literature about Orphism you could recommand, next to the links you gave me already? Not that I so hardly long to become an Orphic adherent, I'm really fine with Epicurism for the moment, but I really want to know as much as possible of the old "pagan" wisdom and religious practices of Europe. (Knowing as much as possible without harming any religious secrets.)

I always understood henotheism as worshipping one god above all others, just like you said, but without ignoring the others. Just like Isis calls herself in the Golden Ass: "Deorum dearumque facies uniformis".


Be of good courage!
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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Sun May 26, 2013 8:28 pm

So there might be not much scholar literature about Orphism you could recommand, next to the links you gave me already?

There is very little that is readily available. There is Guthrie's Orpheus and Greek Religion and Taylor's Dissertation on the Life and Theology of Orpheus . There is also the Orphic Poems by ML West, but this book is very difficult to locate. It's been out of print for almost thirty years and is extremely expensive — sometimes more than $200 US for a single, used, even damaged copy, and it is not even a long or large book. Both Guthrie and West, however, are both writing from an outsider's perspective, and they do not discuss much about the internal aspects of the religion (I have been blessed to have acquired copies of both books). Taylor, however, we believe, at least in my tradition, may have actually been an initiate into Orphism. However, as you would probably assume, a large portion of our teaching is transmitted orally, and although elements of Orphic doctrine are incorporated in many philosophical texts, especially those of the Later Platonists, because of the secrecy we keep in respecting the actual, inner Mysteria, these have traditionally not been written down directly due to the danger of accidental dissemination.


I always understood henotheism as worshipping one god above all others, just like you said, but without ignoring the others. Just like Isis calls herself in the Golden Ass: "Deorum dearumque facies uniformis".


I'm just accustomed to monolatristic henotheism, such as was the character of the earliest forms of Judaism, but by the definition you give, yes, I would say Orphism does indeed have a henotheistic quality.

Sed dicemus nos Orphici Supremum Iovem Bacchum, quam Isidem, deorum dearumque faciem uniformem esse. Wink


Last edited by Erodius on Mon May 27, 2013 12:07 pm; edited 3 times in total

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Mon May 27, 2013 11:39 am

@Erodius wrote: However, as you would probably assume, a large portion of our teaching is transmitted orally, and although elements of Orphic doctrine are incorporated in many philosophical texts, especially those of the Later Platonists, because of the secrecy we keep in respecting the actual, inner Mysteria, these have traditionally not been written down directly due to the danger of accidental dissemination.

I'll totally agree. Some things shouldn't be written down. Thanks for these titles, although you say it might be difficult to get them. I'll give it a try!

I'm really so excited by the fact that there exists a continous Orphic tradition. drunken


@Erodius wrote:I'm just accustomed to monolatristic henotheism, such as was the character of the earliest forms of Judaism, but by the definition you give, yes, I would say Orphism does indeed have a henotheistic quality.

Sed dicemus nos Orphici Supremum Iovem Bacchum, quam Isidem, deorum dearumque faciem uniformem esse. Wink

Early Judaism indeed has a henotheistic tendency, but it's not really the best example for heontheism. So i'm glad I could have helped with that (by giving another definition to think over :p)

Be of good courage!
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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Erodius on Mon May 27, 2013 12:17 pm

Thanks for these titles, although you say it might be difficult to get them. I'll give it a try!


I just noticed that I hadn't bolded the links I'd put in my previous post. Razz Guthrie's book, although it had been out of print for a while (it's original publication run was in the 1950s), has be put back into print and is available easily from Amazon. Taylor's Life & Theology is also available on Amazon included in the Taylor translation of the Hymns, but is likewise readable for free online from the link I included in my post. Unfortunately though, M.L. West's collection of the Orphic Poems remains out of print, and is not even available from Amazon or BN directly, but only through third-party rare book dealers for a usually exorbitant price.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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The Orphic Way: www.hellenicgods.org
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Re: Epicurism and Stoicism

Post  Pemphredo on Mon May 27, 2013 2:54 pm

Thank you, I'm really gratefull for this ^^ cheers ^^.
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