“Written in a soul: Notes toward a new (old) philology,” International Journal of Dharma Studies 4.1:10 (2016).
October 22, 2016
I was very pleased to contribute a short essay to a group review of Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee‘s important book The Nay Science: A History of German Indology hosted by the International Journal of Dharma Studies. The journal compiled all of the essays together into a single review; my contribution is the first piece, titled “Written in a soul: Notes toward a new (old) philology,” pp. 1-4 in the electronic publication.
My essay takes up the challenge of a new philology evoked in the Preface of The Nay Science with specific reference to Plato’s Phaedrus and to the Egyptian scribal initiatory manual known to modern scholars as the “Book of Thoth”, building on my earlier articles on the Phaedrus (“Plato’s Gods and the Way of Ideas”, Diotima: Review of Philosophical Research 39 (2011), 73-87) and on the “Book of Thoth” (“Opening the Way of Writing: Semiotic Metaphysics in the Book of Thoth,” Practicing Gnosis, ed. DeConick, Shaw, and Turner (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 215-247).
The essay is available on the journal site: “Written in a soul: Notes toward a new (old) philology,” pp. 1-4 in “Reviews of The Nay Science,” Butler, E.P., Lenz, J.R., Vargas, A.L.C. et al., Int. J. Dharma Studies (2016) 4:10. doi:10.1186/s40613-016-0033-9
Or here, as a PDF.
October 3, 2016
The latest installment of my column on Polytheist.com has been posted. This column concludes a seven-part series on the nature of the Gods, of which the previous parts, along with all of my other columns, can be found here. As always, my heartfelt thanks go out to Polytheist.com’s editor, the Anomalous Thracian (of Thracian Exodus fame), for providing a platform on the internet for polytheist thought such as my own.
August 15, 2016
The latest installment in the series I’ve been doing on speculative theology has gone up at Polytheist.com. In this piece, the fifth in the series, I continue my exploration of what can be deduced solely from structural properties of the henadic manifold, in a Platonic idiom, but without strict dependence upon the processional structures of historical Platonism. The archive of previous columns can be accessed here.
The new issue of Walking the Worlds has the theme “Philosophy and Polytheism”, and I was pleased to contribute an article on Plato’s Euthyphro. Here’s the abstract:
In this reading of the Euthyphro, Socrates and Euthyphro are seen less in a primordial conflict between reason and devotion, than as sincere Hellenic polytheists engaged in an inquiry based upon a common intuition that, in addition to the irreducible agency of the Gods, there is also some irreducible intelligible content to holiness. This reading is supported by the fact that Euthyphro does not claim the authority of revelation for his decision to prosecute his father, but rather submits it to elenchus, and that Euthyphro does not embrace the ‘solution’ of theological voluntarism when Socrates explicitly offers it. Since the goal of this inquiry is neither to eliminate the noetic content of the holy, nor to eliminate the Gods’ agency, the purpose of the elenchus becomes the effort to articulate the results of this productive tension between the Gods and the intelligible on the several planes of Being implied by each conception of the holy which is successively taken up and dialectically overturned to yield the conception appropriate to the next higher plane, a style of interpretation characteristic of the ancient Neoplatonists.
I also wrote the introduction for this issue. My thanks to all of the contributors, and as always to the extraordinary Sara Kate Istra Winter, of A Forest Door, for her exquisite design work on the journal.
May 12, 2016
The upcoming (June 2016) issue of Witches & Pagans magazine has “Polytheism” as its theme, for which I was pleased to contribute an article, “Polycentric Polytheism”. You can order the issue in print or electronic version from the Witches & Pagans Store at this page.
February 11, 2016
My new column is up over on Polytheist.com, the second part of an essay on the nature of the Gods: The Nature of the Gods (II): The First Intelligible Triad. My thanks, as always, go out to Polytheist.com’s indefatigable editor, Anomalous Thracian, for his tireless efforts. As the Thracian has been known to say, It’s a great time to be a polytheist.
January 2, 2016
Vol. 2, No. 1 of Walking the Worlds: A Biannual Journal of Polytheism and Spiritwork is now available. This issue, with the theme of “Magic and Religion”, contains my article “Toward a Magical Enlightenment: Notes on Bruno’s Magic” (pp. 96-109). Here is the abstract:
This essay, which may be regarded as a companion to the general account of Bruno’s metaphysics presented in “Transformation and Individuation in Giordano Bruno’s Monadology” (SOCRATES 3.2, June 2015, pp. 57-70), discusses Bruno’s theory of magic primarily as presented in his essay De magia (1590), attempting to explicate it in light of the systematic tendencies in Bruno’s late thought, particularly his monadology and his enigmatic finitist mathematics, the mythopoetic presentation of which has vexed commentators. The fundamental role of bonding in Bruno’s theory of magic is seen to reflect the primary metaphysical significance of termini in his monadology, while the cosmological role of monads of diverse kinds as minima or measures of an otherwise infinite, acentric and hence incomprehensible universe corresponds to the role of the magical operator, who imparts form and value to the universe centered around her. Bruno’s monadology is also seen to guide his usage of the traditional term ‘spirit’ as an element essential to magic.