A commentary on Plato's Timaeus, by A.E. Taylor

By A.E. Taylor

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13 The argument that these views stem from Origen raises a number of rather obvious difficulties for those who affirm a single Origen. The most pressing of these difficulties is that we must figure out how Origen’s ideas in 42 Ch a p t e r 2 Concerning Daemons relate to his taxonomic discourses in other works, in particular in his On First Principles, where daemons are classed as more or less evil and obstructive, those beings that fell farthest from their initial unity with their Creator. The other difficulty is that Origen seems to have, at some point, interpreted Platonic texts, such as the Timaeus, without fundamentally challenging their polytheistic framework.

How t o Fe e d a Da e mon 27 Porphyry associates blood with the remembrance of human life because it is the substance that most clearly represents embodied existence at its basest level, the level of nutrition and reproduction. ”83 Porphyry further harmonizes the position he attributes to Homer with one he finds in Empedocles, the pre-Socratic who most focused on medicine and the body. 85 This sort of thinking, relying as it does on sense perception and images, is related to the faculty of phantasia.

Thus, improper divinatory techniques, faulty theurgy we might say, put the ritualist at risk of falling prey to these spirits. This is the extent to which Iamblichus engages with questions about evil daemons and their cosmic effects and activities. And it is telling that his focus is on proper ritual, the main bone of contention with Porphyry. 114 And these ordained practices work in such a way as to affirm and strengthen the bonds of philia and sympatheia established by gods, heroes, daemons and other good spirits with human souls.

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