Core Statement (After Proclus, Platonic Theology Book I, Chapter 3):

Theology concerns those things first by nature according to a given philosophy. Thus, for the philosophy which takes the unit as its highest principle, theology is the study of the divine individuals, and as such concerns not what they are, but Who.

Theological Hermeneutics

Being is conceived theologically as the result of the action of divine individuals. The form of this action is iconic and narrative. The theological interpretation of such icons or narratives consists in explicating the plane or region of Being enacted in them.

Goddesses and Gods of the Ancient Egyptians: A Theological Encyclopedia

Book

Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion (New York, NY: Phaidra Editions, 2012). Reprints “The Theological Interpretation of Myth,” “Offering to the Gods: A Neoplatonic Perspective,” “Polycentric Polytheism and the Philosophy of Religion,” and two previously unpublished essays.

Articles

“The Theological Interpretation of Myth,” The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2005, pp. 27-41. Republished in Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion.

“Offering to the Gods: A Neoplatonic Perspective,” Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2007, pp. 1-20. Republished in Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion.

“Polycentric Polytheism and the Philosophy of Religion,” The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2008, pp. 207-229. Republished in Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion.

The Book of the Celestial Cow: A Theological Interpretation,” Eye of the Heart: A Journal of Traditional Wisdom, No. 3, May 2009, pp. 73-99.

“Flower of Fire: Hekate in the Chaldean Oracles,” pp. 140-157 in Bearing Torches: A Devotional Anthology for Hekate, ed. Sannion et al. (Eugene, OR: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2009).

“The Platonic Zeus,” pp. 139-167 in From Cave to Sky: A Devotional Anthology for Zeus, ed. Melia Suez (Shreveport, LA: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2010).

“The Nature and Functions of Thoth in Egyptian Theology,” pp. 143-157 in The Scribing Ibis: An Anthology of Pagan Fiction in Honor of Thoth, ed. Rebecca Buchanan (Asheville, NC: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2011).

“The Ashwins and the Dioskouroi: A Theological Comparison,” in Megaloi Theoi: A Devotional Anthology for the Dioskouroi and Helen of Troy (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, forthcoming).

Opening the Way of Writing: Semiotic Metaphysics in the Book of Thoth,” pp. 215-247 in Practicing Gnosis: Ritual, Magic, Theurgy and Liturgy in Nag Hammadi, Manichaean and Other Ancient Literature. Essays in Honor of Birger A. Pearson, ed. April D. DeConick, Gregory Shaw, and John D. Turner. (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

“Queen of Kinêsis: Understanding Hera,” pp. 126-148 in Queen of Olympos: A Devotional Anthology for Hera and Iuno, ed. Lykeia (Asheville, NC: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2013).

“Sea of Dissimilitude: Poseidon and Platonism,” pp. 213-235 in From the Roaring Deep: A Devotional in Honor of Poseidon and the Spirits of the Sea, ed. Rebecca Buchanan (Asheville, NC: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2015).

“The Wrath of Sekhmet,” pp. 276-316 in Daughter of the Sun: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet, ed. Tina Georgitsis (Asheville, NC: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2015).

Polycentric Polytheism,” pp. 37-40 in Witches & Pagans 32 (June 2016).

24 Responses to “Theology”

  1. Todd Jackson said

    Edward, a special thanks for “Offering to the Gods: A Neoplatonic Perspective.” For me, it’s just what the doctor ordered, as I’m trying to bridge the gap between Plotinus and cultus.

  2. henadology said

    Thank you, Todd, that means a lot coming from you. That piece had such a winding road to publication, changing so much along the way, that I always worried it lacked a certain thematic unity. It had its origins in a nine-page conference paper that was purely a commentary on a few pages of Simplicius.

  3. […] It is imperative for me to treat those ancestors as if their spirits exist, and those Deities of death and afterlife are real, and worshiped in particular, individual ways: my doubt is mine, and should not infringe on my right actions. I phrase it because I think it is important for pagans and polytheists to voice doubt: the impression is that if one Deity is silent, you move to another – your comfort as a worshiper being paramount, and material or spiritual blessings your due from the Gods. I’m afraid it makes people shy about expressing their silence or doubt, and that hinders the development of a complete, living theology. (Henadology?) […]

  4. Nothing to do with this particular article….

    It would be so great if you could add either categories to your blog, or a search widget. When we look for specific info, we don’t know where to look (chronological archives are insufficient and time consuming)

    Yours

    • henadology said

      Unfortunately the WordPress “theme” this blog presently uses doesn’t support widgets. I appreciate the problem, however, and will give it some thought.

      • Oh really ? I remember this “theme” is one of the first of WP… but thought it could bear widgets. Thanks anyway.

      • henadology said

        Well, it might be time to consider a new theme. We shall see. A search widget would be useful even for me!

      • henadology said

        I’ve added a search box to the bottom of the page. I’m still pondering whether to change themes, but for now, this provides the functionality.

  5. Jan Dunn said

    When you find that your life mirrors these ancient stories then they come alive from the heart and one’s search becomes very personal. I feel like I am searching for the missing pieces of Osiris as we speak and if I find the exact hierogyphs used to describe the Re-membering, I will find the pieces of myself. So I am fascinated by how Nepthys transforms into Seshat when “gathering or embracing” the members. I found the hieroglyphs in budge’s book “Osiris”. Is there a word by word translation of the Pyramid texts?? I am teaching myself to read ancient Egyptian so it is slow going.

    • henadology said

      With respect to studying the Pyramid Texts, I have added http://www.pyramidtextsonline.com/ to the “Theological Resources” at the bottom of the home page. Here you will find complete hieroglyphic transcriptions and English translations of the Pyramid Texts.

      You may find it easier, in studying Egyptian, to begin with Middle Egyptian and then proceed to the earlier form found in the Pyramid Texts. There are some excellent grammar books available for Middle Egyptian. In any event, I wish you the best of luck with your studies.

  6. Damocles Loraine said

    Thank you very much for this latest posting. “Semiotic Metaphysics in the Book of Thoth.” Serendipity writ large for one who has just spent two hours meditating on the very subject. Your blog works, as I feel you intend, as a perfect hermetic irrigation.

  7. Matt Griffing said

    I just finished reading your Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion, and I was wondering if any of your articles address more thoroughly how one determines the individuality of particular gods. I’m thinking specifically of cases where a number of gods appear to share a common historical/etymological descent, yet have different mythologies and cultuses (like the Irish Lugh, Welsh Lleu, various Continental Luguses, and any Proto-Lughs which may once have existed)?

    • Edward P. Butler said

      Perhaps the most important thing is that such inquiries would have to be pursued with the highest degree of sensitivity to the peculiarities of the individual case, and this makes it difficult to establish broad rules. But clearly the Platonist would place a higher value on traditions in their positivity as vehicles for participation between the Gods and humans, and on preserving their integrity, than on whatever analytic methods would cut across these traditions.

  8. I am sadly one of those people who goes crazy reading philosophy. I don’t have the kind of brain that works well with categorizing and philosophy involves a lot of categorizing the way people think about things. However in studying traditional astrology it’s actually making philosophy practical. Usually I read about it and I think “that’s a pretty good idea” and then I will think “oh I don’t like where this is going” and then there’s the next group of philosophers and the same thing happens over and over again so I understand philosophy in a historical context, that different thinkers were responding to inadequacies or imbalances with the last group of thinkers – but taking it out of context is really hard for me. However traditional astrology is so rooted in practicality it’s a lot easier to understand the philosophers better. Same thing with herbalism. Maybe I just need it brought down to earth. Your Egyptian catalog is really remarkable by the way.

    I always wish that I could have comments on what you have written but it goes over my head! I was honestly surprised that somebody so scholarly would find anything of interest in my blog.

    I don’t know if the “like” was because you or somebody you know have posts or essays somewhere for the project or not but if you do please respond.

    Thank you!

    • Edward P. Butler said

      The “like” was because I approved of what you are doing and feel strongly the urgent importance of your prison ministry work in particular. For the same reason I shared it on my Twitter feed and Facebook page as well. I find tremendous value in what you do generally and have shared a number of your posts over the past several months that I have been following your blog. We all contribute in the ways that we can. Scholarly work is merely what I am good at, and I am under no illusion that my skills in that area do any more than to, at best, compensate for my shortcomings in others. I am pleasantly surprised that someone as insightful as yourself finds value in my pedantry!

  9. Well, thank you very much! If I encounter any Hellenistic or Egyptian polytheist pagans in prison who have questions what it be okay if I made a comment here ? I actually am now pretty interested in the Kemetic mythology. That’s one of the great things about making all of the handouts – I had to learn about different paths that I hadn’t looked at before!

    I think philosophy is a lot like poetry – neither of which I really understand very well. With philosophy somebody is arguing that their point of view about the world and all of living is right. It’s easier to read about somebody’s views on one topic than it is to read about the entire meaning of everything ! For me at least. I like looking at things that will take a story or character and put it through a bunch of different philosophers – and try to answer a question like “is this person good?” Or “is this person happy?” Seeing it in context again is really fascinating. But for me it still is somebody’s opinion. That’s where I get lost.

    And then when somebody tells me that they are more of a (name of philosopher here) than somebody else, it’s confusing because I keep thinking ” about everything? Absolutely everything? ” because it’s easy to find things if I pick and choose from all of them. It’s when people start talking as if there are teams that are against each other and then they start debating with each other about their team being better I still get more confused because I keep thinking ” isn’t this still just opinions?” But what’s funny is you can do that with everything. It’s like astrologers arguing over what kind of house system to use. None of them are necessarily the right one. We just have ones that we feel more comfortable with.

    But the more I find the things I study affected by classical philosophy the more it makes sense. Philosophy is like the lens that you watch the world through to give it meaning. I think. Is that right? I think that’s what it is. What’s funny is I’m usually overly in my head and have to work at being embodied so philosophy should work for me but I always need to have things in context. The personal lives of philosophers I find interesting because then I can understand why they think what they think is right. Same thing with historians and politicians. And anyone!!

    Thanks again.🙂

    • Edward P. Butler said

      Feel free to contact me; best is by email (epb223@gmail.com).

      Philosophy is actually, for me, very much like poetry, or creative writing generally. I came to philosophy from creative writing, and it remains for me primarily a form of writing. For me, philosophy is a kind of writing that articulates a worldview through placing a set of concepts in dynamic relation to each other, often through the medium of another philosopher’s thought. Argument plays for me somewhat the role that plot does in fiction, if concepts were characters. All of which would probably make some philosophers deem me suspect. But I believe that all writing comes from a common root, and that understanding this can only help one in whatever kind of writing one does.

  10. Zagreus said

    Hello there,

    Ive read your article on Poseidon (Sea of Dissimilitude: Poseidon and Platonism) and it is very interesting.
    I was just wondering if you could simply sum up your argument, especially about Poseidon. My mind is little bit clouded !

    Thank you

    • Edward P. Butler said

      I suppose that if I had to encapsulate what I’m trying to do in that essay, I’d say that I am attempting to flesh out what it means to understand Poseidon as Proclus did, namely as sovereign of process.

      • Zagreus said

        Boy to talk about clouded mind🙂 That’s what I thought.

        One more question if you don’t mind.

        If Poseidon is the sovereign of process, than what is Zeus and Hades sovereign of?

        Thanks again !

      • Edward P. Butler said

        Zeus is the sovereign of ideas or forms, while Hades is sovereign over the things that come to be as a result of forms-in-process, namely mortal images.

      • Zagreus said

        Thank you again !!!

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