My friend and colleague Galina Krasskova did an interview with me recently for her blog, Gangleri’s Grove. While you’re there, be sure to take a look at all the other things she’s up to; I don’t know of anybody who does as much for the polytheist movement in so many ways as Galina does. She’s a continuing inspiration to me.

Polytheistic Voices: Interview with Dr. Edward Butler

 

I am very pleased to announce the publication of a major new article of mine in the latest issue (Vol. V) of Kronos Philosophical Journal. The entire issue can be downloaded from the page I have linked, or you can access my article as an individual PDF below, as well as from the Philosophy page of this site. I wish to thank the editors of Kronos, especially Andrzej Serafin, and all the journal’s staff for this opportunity and for all the hard work they put into this outstanding publication.

“Plotinian Henadology,” Kronos Philosophical Journal, Vol. V (2016), pp. 143-159.

Here’s an abstract:

Plotinus’ famous treatise against the Gnostics (33), together with contemporary and thematically related treatises on Intelligible Beauty (31), on Number (34), and on Free Will and the Will of the One (39), can be seen as providing the essential components of a Plotinian defense of polytheism against conceptual moves that, while associated for him primarily with Gnostic sectarians overlapping with Platonic philosophical circles, will become typical of monotheism in its era of hegemony. When Plotinus’ Gnostics ‘contract’ divinity into a single God, they not only devalue the cosmos for its multiplicity and diversity, but also multiply intelligible principles unreasonably. This is because they have foreclosed the distinction, which is to become increasingly explicit in the later antique Platonists, between the intelligible and that which is given existentially, the domain belonging to Plotinus’ indeterminate multiplicity of ‘intelligible Gods’, as opposed to the dialectically determinate number of intelligible principles. Plotinus is prescient in recognizing that incipient monotheism threatens to erase the distinction between philosophy and theology, and between both of these and psychology, the final outcome of which can only be solipsism or nihilism. The defense of polytheism is seen in this fashion to be essential to the preservation of the space for philosophical discourse.

 

This talk, which I gave at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in Philadelphia in 2005, has long been available in my essay collection, Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion. However, now that it has been translated and appears on the web in Portuguese at Hellenismo.net, it occurred to me that I should post it here in a stand-alone form.

Neoplatonism and Polytheism

 

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The new issue of Walking the Worlds is out, and though I do not have a piece in this issue, everyone should still check it out; many intellectual pleasures await you. A table of contents is available here, and on the same site you will find information about how to order, as well as submission guidelines. The theme for the next issue (Summer 2017) will be “Divination and Oracles”. The deadline for submissions for this issue is May 1st; write something and submit it, don’t be afraid!

On related notes, first, Sarah Kate Istra Winter, the brilliant designer of Walking the Worlds as well as an important voice on its editorial board and an occasional contributor—including in the present issue—has a new book out that I recommend highly, Between the Worlds: Notes from the Threshold. At the link, you’ll find a detailed description and table of contents, as well as links to order it directly from Createspace, or from Amazon. Winter is one of the most potent and insightful voices in devotional polytheism, and her work deserves our attention and support.

Second, I’d like to link to a piece that just missed the cut to be included in the present issue of Walking the Worlds, due rather to constraints on the author’s time than to any shortcomings in his work. He’s published it on his site, however, and I hope you’ll have a look: The Cults of Dionysos: Ecstatic Practices and Shamanism in Classical Greece

I would like to acknowledge the work being done at Hellenismo to bring vanguard work on ancient polytheistic thought to readers of Portuguese, including new work in Portuguese as well as a translation project, of which my essay “Neoplatonism and Polytheism” was one of the first beneficiaries.

It is an honor for my work to be included in such an exciting project, and I extend my heartfelt thanks to Paulo Júnio de Oliveira and Antonio Vargas for their efforts translating the piece. This paper was presented at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in November 2005, and printed for the first time in my Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion.

Neoplatonismo e Politeísmo

 

I’m making available here the piece I recently published in Witches & Pagans magazine. I wish to thank the editor, Ann Newkirk Niven, for the opportunity to publish in her pages, as well as for the work she did to help make this essay clearer and more accessible to a wide, non-academic public.

Polycentric Polytheism

I was pleased to give this paper at a panel chaired by Vishwa Adluri at this year’s meeting of the SAGP and SSIPS at Fordham University:

Polytheism as Methodology in the Study of Religions

Interview on Polytheism

November 6, 2016

Today I was interviewed for The Dan Schneider Video Interview series along with Galina Krasskova. We had a wide-ranging discussion about many issues pertaining to polytheism. My thanks to Dan Schneider and to Galina for inviting me to participate. I hope you enjoy it: Dan Schneider Video Interview #149: Polytheism.

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.

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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.