Proclus' Hymns: Essays, Translations, Commentary by R. M. Van Den Berg

By R. M. Van Den Berg

This paintings reports the hymns composed by means of the Neoplatonist Proclus within the context of his philosophy. Its major declare is that the hymns could be understood within the context of theurgy, the ritual artwork followed by means of the Neoplatonists so that it will receive mystical reviews.

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7, 7f. : ka‹ dØ ka‹ t∞w per‹ t«n ye¤vn mustik∞w élhye¤aw sugxoreutåw ép°fhne. 44 Saffrey 1996: 217, cf. Saffrey 1976 esp. p. 207; Saffrey 1984b esp. p. ; Saffrey 1992a: 45f. 30 chapter two illuminating in this respect. He tells us that Proclus celebrated the important holidays of all peoples and of every nations by hymnsinging and the like. As proof he adduces Proclus’ collection of hymns (≤ t«n Ïmnvn aÈtoË pragmate¤a) which contained (now lost) hymns to all kinds of exotic deities. For as Proclus used to say, Marinus explains, it befits the philosopher (filÒsofow) not to observe the rites of any one city or only a few, but to be the hierophant of the whole world together (koinª toË ˜lou kÒsmou flerofãnthw).

The prooemium of the Theologia Platonica (Theol. Plat. I 1, pp. 5, 6-8, 15) presents the Platonic tradition exactly in this way: as a sort of Eleusinian mysteries. Plato had been the hierophant (Theol. Plat. I 1, p. 6, 7; note that the flerofãnthw was the high priest of the Eleusinian mysteries); later Platonists like Plotinus, Amelius, Porphyrius, Iamblichus, and Theodore of Asine had later been sent by the gods to explain the Platonic revelations. ’43 It is the irony of fate that just when Neoplatonism was becoming more and more theological, the more hostile society was growing towards paganism.

Unfortunately none of these hymns has survived. 5. Synesius’ hymns It will have been observed that up till now Synesius’ hymns have been left out of the discussion. 47 The reason for this omission is that to my mind there are considerable differences between the philosophical outlook of Proclus and Synesius. So considerable in fact that they overshadow the similarities, as we shall now see. 48 Although called to the episcopacy in 410 c e (around the time of Proclus’ birth), he remained loyal to his Diotima.

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