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Thread: Hypatia

  1. #1
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    Jan 2015


    What is a neo-Platonist if the academics who invented the terminology will not admit Plato was an alchemist? Is a neo-Platonist a person who follows what words were put in Plato's mouth after he died, or was Plato already having to say what the hierarchy wanted him to say - because he did not want to suffer what his mentor Socrates was forced to do? The Platonic hierarchy or top-down management of our society is a powerful elite tool.

    Cosmos is doing some good on TV. The important point to consider in what follows is the statement which says Hypatia was held in high esteem by secular people who thought they knew Christ or what true Christians should study.

    I enjoy seeing the corrections relating to what carl Sagan said and does not even remember he said from show to show. Yes, we do not know much about the who, the how, and the when of the Great Library - that is certain. What we should know is all we need to know - it was a storehouse of ancient knowledge which threatened a new Empire. That empire was making Religion even more than any nation had ever been! It succeeded and we still have to learn the truth.

    "The recent Cosmos series has been a tour-de-force for science education and popularization, equal to the original. However, there is one aspect of both series that I have to take issue with, and that is the holding up of the murder of the philosopher Hypatia and the burning of the Great Library at Alexandria as examples of the decline of intellectualism in the early Christian era.

    Hypatia was a neo-Platonist philosopher living in Alexandria, and probably the most famous female scholar of antiquity. It is agreed by all accounts that she was murdered by a Christian mob, specifically, followers of the Bishop, Cyril of Alexandria, in the year 415, as Dr. Sagan and Dr. Tyson both say. However, the account closest to her death says that she was not murdered for being a non-Christian (indeed she was held up by some Christians as a symbol of virtue), but for being an adviser to the Christian governor, Orestes, whom Cyril opposed. (Orestes was more secular than Cyril, opposing the growth of ecclesiastical power and making overtures to Jews and Pagans in Alexandria.)"

    One might also ask what their inclusions in the term Pagan might be. And the biggest question of all - who or what is a Jew?
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-19-2016 at 04:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2015
    There is good information to come from a forum on Hypatia at the Esoteric Online website.

    [COLOR="#0000CD"]Excerpted from "War Against the Pagans," in Secret History of the Witches

    ... The Roman state gave free rein to Christian extremists who destroyed pagan shrines and images, or who committed violence against pagan leaders. They attacked people at pagan services and destroyed their temples. Arson was a favorite tactic. From the late 300s on, monks stand out as the primary aggressors in the battle to suppress pagans in the east. Even Christian documents describe them as violent and crime-prone, beating people they considered sinful, stirring up sectarian strife. [MacMullen, 171-2] The pagan Eunapius remarked that these monks looked like men but lived like pigs, "and openly did and allowed countless unspeakable crimes." [Eunapius, 423] He added bitterly, “For among them, every man is given the power of a tyrant who has a black robe and is prepared to behave badly in public.” [Holland-Smith, 170] Some were not above murder.

    One target of the fanatical monk was Hypatia, an astronomer, mathematician and philosopher of international reputation. Socrates Scholasticus wrote that "she far surpassed all the philosophers of her time,” and was greatly respected for her “extraordinary dignity and virtue.” [Ecclesiastical History] Hypatia's house was an important intellectual center in a city distinguished for its learning. Damasius described how she "used to put on her philosopher's cloak and walk through the middle of town" to give public lectures on philosophy. [Life of Isidore, in the Suda]

    Admired by all Alexandria, Hypatia was one of the most politically powerful figures in the city. She was one of the few women who attended civic assemblies. Magistrates came to her for advice, including her close friend, the prefect Orestes. [Damasius, Socrates Scholasticus] In the midst of severe religious polarization, Hypatia was an influential force for tolerance and moderation. She accepted students, who came to her "from everywhere," without regard to religion.

    Hypatia was a Neoplatonist. Some have claimed that she does not really qualify as a pagan, only as a rationalist philosopher. But this description is inaccurate and misleading. First, the meaning of "philosopher" had changed considerably by late antiquity, encompassing even Christian ascetics. [MacMullen, 205 fn 24] Second, such a narrow definition of paganism fails to recognize, as its enemies did, that it constituted a much broader spectrum than temple rites and theurgy. The sacred books of the Neoplatonists were pagan—Orpheus, Homer, the Chaldean Oracles—and they embraced “the esoteric doctrines of the mysteries.” [Cumont, 202] Third, Neoplatonist philosophers were persecuted as pagans, and identified as such in the struggle over the temples. They joined and even led in the pagan defense of the Serapium in Alexandria.

    One of these leaders, Antoninus, had been initiated by his mother, Sosipatra of Pergamum, a Neoplatonist philosopher and mystic seeress. Antoninus "foretold to all his followers that after his death the temple would cease to be, and even the great and holy temples of Serapis would pass into formless darkness and be transformed, and that a fabulous and unseemly gloom would hold sway over the fairest things on earth." The Serapium was razed in 391, the year after Antoninus died. [Eunapius, 416-7] ...

    Hypatia's father Theon was an astronomer and mathematician who was devoted to divination and astrology and the pagan mysteries. He wrote commentaries on the books of Orpheus and Hermes Trismegistus and poems to the planets as forces of Moira (destiny). Nothing indicates that Hypatia departed from her home culture. The Chaldean Oracles and Pythagorean numerological mysticism figured in her teachings, as the letters of Synesius indicate. Like her father, she saw astronomy as the highest science, opening up knowledge of the divine.

    The surviving fragments of Hypatia's teachings indicate a mystical orientation. Glimpses of her spiritual views survived in the letters of her disciples, which speak of "the eye buried within us," a "divine guide." As the soul journeys toward divinity, this "hidden spark which loves to conceal itself" grows into a flame of knowing. Hypatia's philosophy was concerned with the "mystery of being," contemplation of Reality, rising to elevated states of consciousness, and "union with the divine," the One. [Dzielska, 54-5, 48-50]

    Her disciples certainly regarded her in the light of a spiritual leader. Synesius of Cyrene called her "the most holy and revered philosopher," "a blessed lady," and "divine spirit." Though a Christian, he refers to "her oracular utterances" and writes that she was "beloved by the gods." [Dzielska, 47-8, 36] She spoke out against dogmatism and superstition: “To rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world, is just as base as to use force.” [Partnow, 24] Unquestionably, Hypatia's teaching represented a challenge to church doctrine. The apparent destruction of her philosophical books underlines the point. Her mathematical works survived and were popular into the next century.

    Damasius wrote that “The whole city rightly loved her and worshipped her in a remarkable way...” Her popularity galled Cyril, the new bishop of Alexandria, who “was so struck with envy that he immediately began plotting her murder...” [Damasius, op. cit.] The bishop's enmity was also fueled by political motives: the politics of religious intolerance and domination.

    When Cyril became bishop in 412, he began pushing to extend his power into the civic sphere. His enforcers were the parabalanoi, strongmen who had been the shock troops of bishop Theophilus' war on pagans and Jews. Bishop Cyril persecuted heterodox Christian groups, closing their churches and expelling them from the city. He spread rumors of a Jewish conspiracy to murder Christians and instigated a brawl between Jews and Christians at a theater. The Jews protested that the bishop's agents had provoked the fight. The prefect Orestes (himself a Christian) heard out their grievances and arrested one of the bishop's allies. In 414, armed conflict broke out between Cyril's supporters and the embattled Jews. It ended with the looting and seizure of synagogues, and the bishop expelling the ancient Jewish community from Alexandria.

    Many Christians in the city sided with Orestes and put pressure on Cyril to desist. Instead, he escalated the conflict, calling in hundreds of monks from the desert. They mobbed Orestes in the streets, calling him a "sacrificer" and "Hellene”—in other words, a pagan. [Chuvin, 87-9] The monks hurled stones, wounding him in the head. The prefect's bodyguards fled, but a crowd of bystanders jumped in to save his life."

  3. #3
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    Jan 2015
    If a woman had been allowed to challenge men who had just been declared far superior at the Council of Carthage when women were finally officially and legally made into what they had largely been since the time of Hammurabi in certain parts of this OLD World (and still are today) it would have threatened the whole marketing plan of Empire and the elites who had designs on further expansion thereof. They however, were happy to concentrate the power in ever fewer hands each time Rome fell.

    "Accusations of Witchcraft

    Realizing that he was losing on public relations, the bishop changed tactics. Now he attempted to turn the people against Hypatia as a powerful woman by accusing her of harmful sorcery. A later church chronicler, John of Nikiu, explained that "she beguiled many people through satanic wiles." It was Hypatia's “witchcraft” that kept the prefect Orestes away from church and made him corrupt the faith of other Christians. Further, she was involved in divination and astrology, "devoted at all times to magic, astrolabes and instruments of music." [John of Nikiu, Chronicle 84. 87-103, Online: a href="">>;; 7-20-01]

    In March of 415, Peter the church lector led a mob in attacking Hypatia as she rode through the city in her chariot. Socrates Scholasticus wrote that "rash cockbrains" dragged her into the Caesarion church, stripped her naked, and tore into her body with pot-shards, cutting her to pieces. Then they hauled her dismembered body to Cinaron and burned it on a pyre. [Alic, 45-6] John Malalas accords with Socrate's statement that the mob burned Hypatia's remains. Hesychius' account agrees that the mob tore Hypatia to pieces, but simply says that "her body [was] shamefully treated and parts of it scattered all over the city." [Dzielskaielska, 93]

    In John of Nikiu's version, men came for “the pagan woman who had beguiled the people of the city and the prefect through her enchantments.” They found her sitting in a chair and dragged her through the streets until she was dead, then burned her body.[Chronicle, 84.87-103] After Hypatia's assassination, Orestes disappeared (fled? assassinated?). Cyril prevailed, and his parabalanoi were never punished for killing Hypatia. The bishop covered up her murder, insisting that she had moved to Athens.

    No one was fooled. Our nearest contemporary sources agree that the bishop was behind the witch-rumors and the killing, and that his men carried them out. Public opinion may be measured by the fact that Christian city officials continued appealing to imperial officials to curb the parabalanoi, to bring them under secular control and restrict them from public places. They were only partially successful, since the imperial court itself was in the midst of a crackdown on pagans. As for Cyril, whom John of Nikiu credits with destroying "the last remnants of idolatry in the city," he was later declared a saint. [Dzielskaielska, 97-8, 104. 94]

    Hypatia was not targeted only as a pagan. Other pagans—men—continued to be active at the university of Alexandria for decades after her death. It is clear that Hypatia's femaleness made her a special target, vulnerable to the accusation of witchcraft. Her courage in opposing the escalating anti-Jewish violence and her moral stance against religious repression were factors as well. In defending the assault on the philosophical tradition of tolerance, Hypatia had everything to lose, yet she acted boldly.

    Later in the century, her male counterparts also came under attack. By the mid-400s, pagan professors were being sentenced to death in Syria. Some time after 480, an Alexandrian Christian society called the Zealots hounded the pagan prefect and his secretary from office and into exile. The Zealots capped their triumph with the burning of "idols." Two of them moved on to Beirut, where they incited further hunts of leading pagans. They formed a group to collect denunciations, using informers, and brought names and accusations to the bishop. This worthy held joint hearings with city officials, which led to more bonfires and the exile of pagans. [MacMullen, 26, 194 fn95]

    The cultural repression used to Christianize the Roman empire was unprecedented anywhere up to that time, in extent, duration and geographic scale.
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-19-2016 at 03:31 PM.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2015
    Max brings us a far more ancient female sage to remember.

    "Xi Wangmu, the shamanic great goddess of China

    Max Dashu

    One of the oldest deities of China is Xi Wangmu (Hsi Wang Mu). She lives in the Kunlun mountains in the far west, at the margin of heaven and earth. In a garden hidden by high clouds, her peaches of immortality grow on a colossal Tree, only ripening once every 3000 years. The Tree is a cosmic axis that connects heaven and earth, a ladder traveled by spirits and shamans.

    Xi Wang Mu controls the cosmic forces: time and space and the pivotal Great Dipper constellation. With her powers of creation and destruction, she ordains life and death, disease and healing, and determines the life spans of all living beings. The energies of new growth surround her like a cloud. She is attended by hosts of spirits and transcendentals. She presides over the dead and afterlife, and confers divine realization and immortality on spiritual seekers.

    The name of the goddess is usually translated as Queen Mother of the West. Mu means “mother,” and Wang, “sovereign.” But Wangmu was not a title for royal women. It means “grandmother,” as in the Book of Changes, Hexagram 35: “One receives these boon blessings from one’s wangmu.” The classical glossary Erya says that wangmu was used as an honorific for female ancestors. [Goldin, 83] The ancient commentator Guo Pu explained that “one adds wang in order to honor them.” Another gloss says it was used to mean “great.” Paul Goldin points out that the Chinese commonly used wang “to denote spirits of any kind,” and numinous power. He makes a convincing case for translating the name of the goddess as “Spirit-Mother of the West.” [Goldin, 83-85]

    The oldest reference to Xi Wangmu is an oracle bone inscription from the Shang dynasty, thirty-three centuries ago: “If we make offering to the Eastern Mother and Western Mother there will be approval.” The inscription pairs her with another female, not the male partner invented for her by medieval writers—and this pairing with a goddess of the East persisted in folk religion. Suzanne Cahill, an authority on Xi Wangmu, places her as one of several ancient “mu divinities” of the directions, “mothers” who are connected to the sun and moon, or to their paths through the heavens. She notes that the widespread tiger images on Shang bronze offerings vessels may have been associated with the western mu deity, an association of tiger and west that goes back to the neolithic. [Cahill, 12-13]

    After the oracle bones, no written records of the goddess appear for a thousand years, until the “Inner Chapters” of the Zhuang Zi, circa 300 BCE. This early Taoist text casts her as a woman who attained the Tao [Feng, 125]:

    No one knows her beginning and no one knows her end.

    These eternal and infinite qualities remain definitive traits of the goddess throughout Chinese history.

    The Shan Hai Jing

    Another ancient source for Xi Wangmu is the Shan Hai Jing (“Classic of Mountains and Seas”). Its second chapter says that she lives on Jade Mountain. She resembles a human, but has tigers’ teeth and a leopard’s tail. She wears a head ornament atop her wild hair. [Remi, 100] Some scholars interpret this as a victory crown. [Birrell, 24] Most think it is the sheng headdress shown in the earliest reliefs of the goddess: a horizontal band with circles or flares at either end. [Cahill, 16; Strassberg, 109]

    Xi Wangmu wearing the Sheng Crown

    The sheng is usually interpreted as a symbol of the loom. The medieval Di Wang Shih Zhi connects it to “a loom mechanism” the goddess holds. Cahill says that the sheng marks Xi Wangmu as a cosmic weaver who creates and maintains the universe. She also compares its shape to ancient depictions of constellations—circles connected by lines—corresponding to the stellar powers of Xi Wangmu. She “controls immortality and the stars.” Classical sources explain the meanings of sheng as “overcoming” and “height.” [Cahill, 45; 16-18]

    This sign was regarded as an auspicious symbol during the Han dynasty, and possibly earlier. People exchanged sheng tokens as gifts on stellar holidays, especially the Double Seven festival in which women’s weaving figured prominently. It was celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month, at the seventh hour, when Xi Wangmu descended among humans. Taoists considered it the most important night of the year, “the perfect night for divine meetings and ascents.” [Cahill, 16, 167-8] It was the year’s midpoint, “when the divine and human worlds touch,” and cosmic energies were in perfect balance. [Despeux / Kohn, 31]"

    It would be nice if I could prove Wangmu came from MU near the present day Great Wall of China where Lao-Tzu went to meet the "ancient masters" as he neared his death.

    Under Rebel Shamans, Max has a video presentation of many women leaders in cultures all over the world from long ago to not so long ago.

    The presentation includes these examples "Veleda of the Bructerii (Netherlands), Dahia al-Kahina (Tunisia), the Kumari of Taleju (Nepal), Jeanne d'Arc (France), Tang Saier (China), Juana Icha (Peru), Kimba Vita (Congo), Maria Candelaria (Chiapas), Queen Nanny of the Maroons (Jamaica), Cécile Fatiman (Haiti), Antonia Luzia (Brazil), Toypurina (Tongva Nation, California), the Prophetess of Chupu (Chumash Nation), Wanankhucha (Somalia), Lozen (Apache Nation), Teresa de Cabora (Mayo, Sonora), Nehanda Nyakasikana (Zimbabwe), Muhumusa (Uganda), Nomtetha Nkwenkwe (!Xhosa, South Africa), Alinesitoué Diatta (Senegal)."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-27-2016 at 02:28 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2015
    What I am about to say may sound foolish. I say Hypatia used the name Cleopatra and might even be related to the far earlier Cleo we know from the Caesar who had a child with her. It is definitely true that Cleo was related to JubaII in the North African region but it is a matter of pure speculation given the reasons people had to hide their knowledge given how Religious Empires behaved (Still do). In reading about Cleo you will see no one really knows a lot - Mary the Jewess is Mariae the Prophetessoriae as I see it. Cicero knew the Caesar Cleo and said she had the ability of voice I know is alchemical.

    "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Cleopatra the alchemist

    c. 3rd century

    Ancient philosophy

    Main interests

    Notable ideas


    Cleopatra the Alchemist who was likely alive during the 3rd century, was an Egyptian alchemist, author, and philosopher. She experimented with practical alchemy but is also rumored to be one of the four female alchemists that could produce a Philosopher's stone. She is credited with the invention of the Alembic, an early tool for analytic chemistry.[1]

    Contents [hide]
    1 Life and places of work
    2 Identity and misnomers
    3 Contributions to alchemy 3.1 Chrysopeoeia of Cleopatra

    Life and places of work[edit]

    The dates of Cleopatra the Alchemist's life and death are unknown, but she was active in Alexandria in the 3rd century or the 4th century. Likely a colleague or follower of Mary the Jewess, she was also associated with Mary the Jewess's school of chemistry.[2] Her work is considered similar to Mary the Jewess's work. She used the sun as a heat source to ferment horse dung, which in turn would heat her laboratory.[3]

    Identity and misnomers[edit]

    Cleopatra is a pseudonym for an author whose real name has been lost. She is not the same person as Cleopatra VII, nonetheless she may be referred to as Cleopatra: Queen of Egypt in some later works,[4] who also had an interest in alchemy. This incorrect naming was possibly done on purpose.[5] As we noted, she was linked to the famous Queen Kleopatra to whom the Arab writer Ibn-Wahs-Chijiah attributed a book on poisons and to whom the Romans gave a book on cosmetics.[4] One example of this can be found in Basillica Philosophica by Johann Daniel Mylius (1618), where her seal is pictured alongside the motto: "The divine is hidden from the people according to the wisdom of the Lord".[6] Cleopatra is also used as a character within the dialogue of the alchemical texts themselves. She is also mistaken for the same as Cleopatra the Physician. The two lived supposedly during the same time and are said to have similar styles in their writing, both having grand imagery. [7]

    Contributions to alchemy[edit]

    Female chemists in Greco-Roman Egypt were not uncommon, primarily they were active concocting fragrances and cosmetics. This was a largely female dominated branch of science at the time (for this reason the work of the early alchemist were sometimes called opus mulierum 'women's work').[8] Cleopatra was a foundational figure in alchemy, pre-dating Zosimos of Panopolis. Michael Maier names her as one of the four women who knew how to make the philosopher's stone, along with Maria the Jewess, Medera, and Taphnutia.[9] Hostility was building at this time from Christian leaders, who destroyed many scientific texts. Later, Muslim scholars would try to preserve some of these texts, including Cleopatra's.[10] Cleopatra was mentioned with great respect in the Arabic encyclopedia Kitab al-Fihrist from 988. She is credited with the invention of the alembic.[11] Also trying to quantify alchemy and its experiments, Cleopatra worked weights and measures.[12]

    Chrysopeoeia of Cleopatra[edit]

    She is most noted for the text Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, a sheet of papyrus which contains many emblems, "indeed her discourse is the most imaginative and deeply felt document left by the alchemist"[4] later developed and used within gnostic and hermetic philosophy. Chrysopoeia translated is "gold-making".[7] It is the single surviving piece of work from Cleopatra. This is the single article that is left from her work (likely the result of Emperor Diocletian's persecution of Alexandrian alchemists and the burning of their works).[3] A copy can be found at Leiden University, located in the Netherlands.[7] Much is told from the writing styles of Cleopatra. Her use of imagery reflected "conception and birth, the renewal and transformation of life," which had an impact on the literature of alchemy.[2] Marianne Offereins and Renate Strohmeier note how Cleopatra herself describes alchemy: "[Cleopatra the alchemist] compares the philosopher alchemist who contemplates his work to a loving mother who thinks about her child and feeds it."[7] An example of the imagery is the serpent eating its own tail as a symbol of the eternal return, called Ouroboros: the snake curving around with his head in his mouth (eating itself) is an obvious emblem of unity of the cosmos, of eternity, where the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning".[4] Also on the Chrysopeoia is an inscription in a double ring this describing the Ouroboros:

    "One is the Serpent which has its poison according to two compositions, and One is All and through it is All, and by it is All, and if you have not All, All is Nothing."

    Within the inscription ring is also symbols for gold, silver, and mercury. Along with those are drawings of a "dibikos" and an instrument similar to a kerotakis, both alchemical apparatuses.[3] Another of her symbols is the eight-banded star. It is believed that the drawing of these star symbols and the crescent shapes above them are a pictorial depiction of turning lead into silver.[7] Her work also contained several descriptions and drawings of the technical process of furnaces."

  6. #6
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    Jan 2015
    Plato was from the noble family of Solon and Egyptian Temple priests. He was destined or born to have to perform great things. He was immaculately conceived they say. And that THEY were a lot like the family of elites others immaculately born have been part of I suspect (along with bulrushes and so on). He had pressures to conform and insights about how badly people might perform if left to govern themselves. How much of his perceptions were written to justify an elitist hierarchy is up to you to decide. How much he did it to save his ass is also a matter of conjecture. The top-down hierarchy he wrote about is no longer needed and yet, a meritocracy might have to operate until such time as people are really given the kind of education that would make them competent decision makers, parents and thinkers. He understood how hard that would have been not just because of the people on the lower rungs of his hierarchy - but in committees at or near the top.

    There is a purely philosophical Neoplatonism apart from that and it is what Hypatia excelled in. It is mystical and sublime even if Plato himself never fully experienced it, he did more than any of his detractors including me - I say.

    "Plato's Allegory of the cave

    " And now, I said (Plato), let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened:

    Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.

    - I see.

    And do you see,.. men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent.

    - You have shown me a strange image,..

    Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?

    - True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?..

    To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.

    - That is certain.

    And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?

    - Far truer.

    And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?

    - That is true.

    And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he 's forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.

    - Not all in a moment, he said.

    He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day?

    - Certainly.

    Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is.

    - Certainly.

    He will then proceed to argue that this is he who gives the season and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been accustomed to behold?

    Clearly, he said, he would first see the sun and then reason about him.

    And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the cave and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?

    - Certainly, he would.

    And if they were in the habit of conferring honors among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honors and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer,
    Better to be the poor servant of a poor master, and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner?

    - Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.

    Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?

    - To be sure, he said.

    And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the cave, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.

    - No question, he said.


    This entire allegory, I said, you may now append, dear Glaucon, to the previous argument; the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire, I have expressed whether rightly or wrongly God knows. But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally, either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.

    - I agree, he said, as far as I am able to understand you.

    Moreover, I said, you must not wonder that those who attain to this beatific vision are unwilling to descend to human affairs; for their souls are ever hastening into the upper world where they desire to dwell; which desire of theirs is very natural, if our allegory may be trusted.

    - Yes, very natural.

    And is there anything surprising in one who passes from divine contemplations to the evil state of man, misbehaving himself in a ridiculous manner; if, while his eyes are blinking and before he has become accustomed to the surrounding darkness, he is compelled to fight in courts of law, or in other places, about the images or the shadows of images of justice, and is endeavoring to meet the conceptions of those who have never yet seen absolute justice?

    - Anything but surprising, he replied.

    Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter light, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity the other; or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul which comes from below into the light, there will be more reason in this than in the laugh which greets him who returns from above out of the light into the cave.

    - That, he said, is a very just distinction.

    But then, if I am right, certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes. "
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-25-2016 at 01:31 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Because I have quoted Plotinus explaining alchemy so much already - I should allow another voice in the wilderness of Christian buffoonery and tortured reason. This voice also sees the Romanism actually are the opposite of godliness and virtue. Placed beside the great Hypatia we can only admire her more and pity the great majority of mankind who have fool-owed Rome. What might have happened if the Celtic Christian Church had decided to mount an all out war against Rome at one of the many moments Rome was vulnerable? I think the anti-woman movement would have been reversed in a few centuries, and we never would have had the dark Ages.

    "Hypatia based her teachings on those of Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism, and Iamblichus who was a developer of Neoplatonism around 300 AD.

    Plotinus taught that there is an ultimate reality which is beyond the reach of thought or language. The object of life was to aim at this ultimate reality which could never be precisely described. Plotinus stressed that people did not have the mental capacity to fully understand both the ultimate reality itself or the consequences of its existence. Iamblichus distinguished further levels of reality in a hierarchy of levels beneath the ultimate reality. There was a level of reality corresponding to every distinct thought of which the human mind was capable. Hypatia taught these philosophical ideas with a greater scientific emphasis than earlier followers of Neoplatonism. She is described by all commentators as a charismatic teacher.

    Hypatia came to symbolise learning and science which the early Christians identified with paganism. However, among the pupils who she taught in Alexandria there were many prominent Christians. One of the most famous is Synesius of Cyrene who was later to become the Bishop of Ptolemais. Many of the letters that Synesius wrote to Hypatia have been preserved and we see someone who was filled with admiration and reverence for Hypatia's learning and scientific abilities.

    In 412 Cyril (later St Cyril) became patriarch of Alexandria. However the Roman prefect of Alexandria was Orestes and Cyril and Orestes became bitter political rivals as church and state fought for control. Hypatia was a friend of Orestes and this, together with prejudice against her philosophical views which were seen by Christians to be pagan, led to Hypatia becoming the focal point of riots between Christians and non-Christians. Hypatia, Heath writes, [4]:-

    ... by her eloquence and authority ... attained such influence that Christianity considered itself threatened ...
    A few years later, according to one report, Hypatia was brutally murdered by the Nitrian monks who were a fanatical sect of Christians who were supporters of Cyril. According to another account (by Socrates Scholasticus) she was killed by an Alexandrian mob under the leadership of the reader Peter. What certainly seems indisputable is that she was murdered by Christians who felt threatened by her scholarship, learning, and depth of scientific knowledge. This event seems to be a turning point as described in [2]:-

    Whatever the precise motivation for the murder, the departure soon afterward of many scholars marked the beginning of the decline of Alexandria as a major centre of ancient learning."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-28-2016 at 05:52 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Perhaps someone will convince me there is something other than a dark side to Christian history after Rome got involved - which is very early, if your definition has anything to do with some man myth called Jesus rather than what Iesa means. Numerous are the dangers a woman faced in the pursuit of anything resembling a life. The whole world still trembles. Some people may not know these things so here's some of Helen Ellerbe's book.

    "From: The Dark Side of Christian History

    The Reformation did not convert the people of Europe to orthodox Christianity through preaching and catechisms alone. It was the 300 year period of witch-hunting from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, what R.H. Robbins called "the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization." The Church created the elaborate concept of devil worship and then, used the persecution of it to wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarian control, and openly denigrate women.

    The witch hunts were an eruption of orthodox Christianity's vilification of women, "the weaker vessel," in St. Peter's words. The second century St. Clement of Alexandria wrote: "Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman." The Church father Tertullian explained why women deserve their status as despised and inferior human beings:

    "And do you not know that you are an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert that is, death even the Son of God had to die."

    Others expressed the view more bluntly. The sixth century Christian philosopher, Boethius, wrote in The Consolation of Philosophy, "Woman is a temple built upon a sewer." Bishops at the sixth century Council of Macon voted as to whether or not women had souls. In the tenth century Odo of Cluny declared, "To embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure..." The thirteenth century St. Thomas Aquinas suggested that God had made a mistake in creating woman: "nothing [deficient] or defective should have been produced in the first establishment of things; so woman ought not to have been produced then." And Lutherans at Wittenberg debated whether women were really human beings at all. Orthodox Christians held women responsible for all sin. As the Bible's Apocrypha states, "Of woman came the beginning of sin And thanks to her, we all must die."

    Women are often understood to be impediments to spirituality in a context where God reigns strictly from heaven and demands a renunciation of physical pleasure. As I Corinthians 7:1 states, "It is a good thing for a man to have nothing to do with a woman." The Inquisitors who wrote the Malleus Maleficarum, "The Hammer of the Witches," explained that women are more likely to become witches:

    'Because the female sex is more concerned with things of the flesh than men;' because being formed from a man's rib, they are only 'imperfect animals' and 'crooked' whereas man belongs to a privileged sex from whose midst Christ emerged.

    Christians found fault with women on all sorts of counts. An historian notes that thirteenth century preachers

    ...denounced women on the one hand for... the lascivious and carnal provocation of their garments, and on the other hand for being over- industrious, too occupied with children and housekeeping, too earthbound to give due thought to divine things."

    I am well aware that many people hid inside the bowels of the Church and continued to try to mimic Yeshua and his family. I can defend the origins of many such groups including the Jesuits - but it is more difficult to defend them as they do not promote ecumenicism and equality as well as truth in history.
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-28-2016 at 07:46 AM.

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