On the Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians and Life of Pythagoras to which have been added Ethical and Political Fragments of Ancient Pythagorean Writers
Translated by Thomas Taylor
Of the following works, the magnificent treatise by the divine Iamblichus On the Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians stands alone as the most scientific, ethical, and practical exposition of the ancient practices of divination and theurgy to have survived the passage of time. The essential design of the work is to enable the soul inclined to philosophy to penetrate the veils of phantasy and ignorance which have so often made these same practices mystifying rather than mystical, and to present in a manner, lucid and at the same time elevating, the essence of divination and the power of theurgy. The approach throughout is consummately philosophical, composed as it is from a series of questions and direct scientific answers, which leave the reader in no doubt as to the importance of these practices to those who wish to attain a truly happy life, with all their powers and energies directed to their appropriate ends. For if true and lasting happiness is not at the end of all our efforts to attain wisdom, it is a totally unsatisfying goal which we seek.
The end of divination and theurgy is a re-acquaintance and friendship with the Gods, the innate knowledge of which has been lost or forgotten through the soul’s embrace of material and natural reasons for all things and events. “For,” to quote Iamblichus, “an innate knowledge of the Gods is co-existent with our very essence.” But between the human soul and the Gods there are many other powers and lives, which transcend us both in essence and energy; and it is these which Iamblichus exposes to us in this work, together with how we should contact them, and understand their operations in this and other worlds. The philosophic life is not easy, but it is essentially simple, being concentric and at the same time unifying, leading towards perfection. As Iamblichus says, “Philosophy is indeed the science of living perfectly, and is, above all things, to speak briefly, the cause to souls of a perfect life.”
The remaining works in this volume speak for themselves—The Life of Pythagoras being the most ancient and philosophic biography of this great soul available, together with much valuable information concerning his system and works; and the Pythagoric Fragments, being the remains of the same system applied to the philosophic, ethical, and practical life of the soul, as she is in herself, and as she lives and works with others. Taken together, this volume is of inestimable value to the lover of wisdom, and the Prometheus Trust is delighted to present these three works, so well translated and amply annotated by Thomas Taylor, for the first time in one volume.
Iamblichus On the Mysteries and Life of Pythagoras, Thomas Taylor, Prometheus Trust, 2006
Hardback. Ocatvo. Purple cloth binding. New. 450 pp.