Tuesday, August 14, 2007

moving the goal posts

Here is an example of "moving the goal posts".

(1) The assertion is made that modern Paganism is completely different from historical Paganism.

(2) It is pointed out that the Theurgic Paganism of late antiquity is in fact very similar to modern Paganism.

(3) It is then asserted that Theurgic Paganism wasn't "real" Paganism - it was already some kind of "neopaganism" - 1700 years ago!

This recently happened to me. The person I was arguing with, however, made a blunder. He insisted that one way that you could differentiate "real" Paganism from neopaganism was that real Paganism places a great emphasis on the importance of sacrificial rites. Ooops. Of course the Emperor Julian, a student of Iamblichean Theurgy, as famous for his enthusiasm for sacrificial rites!!!

(this entry originally appeared in my old blog "Pagan History" - but now I've moved it to my new blog "egregores".

1 comment:

Al said...

I've had a soft spot for the theurgists for many years. I had to cut a chapter out of my Master's thesis, dealing with the historical ideas within Neoplatonism for the soul, especially as a sphere, when I realized that the chapter was on its way to becoming a third of my thesis by length.

I wish dearly that more of Iamblichus' work had survived, or that of Proclus.