It is not known whether Julian the Chaldean was actually of Eastern descent, or whether the term "Chaldean" had by his time come to mean "magician" or practitioner of mysterious arts. Julian claimed to have saved the Roman camp from a severe drought by causing a rainstorm. The circumstances surrounding the writing of the Oracles are also mysterious, the most likely explanation being that Julian uttered them after inducing a sort of trance, leading to the belief that they were handed down to Julian by the gods. Neoplatonists including Porphyry , Iamblichus , and Proclus wrote extensive commentaries on the Oracles which are now lost.
|Published (Last):||26 August 2004|
|PDF File Size:||2.1 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||6.55 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Try another! They have come down to us through Greek translations and were held in the greatest esteem throughout antiquity, a sentiment which was shared alike by the early Christian Fathers and the later Platonists. The doctrines contained therein are attributed to Zoroaster through to which particular Zoroaster is not known; historians give notices of as many as six different individuals all bearing that name, which was probably the title of the Prince of the Magi, and a generic term.
Others derive it from Chaldee and Greek words meaning "a contemplator of the Stars. Where it has been possible to do so, an attempt has been made to, elucidate doubtful or ambiguous expressions, either by modifying the existing translation from the Greek, where deemed permissible, or by appending annotations. It has been suggested by some that these Oracles are of Greek invention, but it has already been pointed out by Stanley that Picus de Mirandula assured Ficinus that he had the Chaldee Original in his possession, "in which those things which are faulty and defective in the Greek are read perfect and entire," and Ficinus indeed states that he found this MS.
In addition to this, it should be noted that here and there in the original Greek version, words occur which are not of Greek extraction at all, but are Hellenised Chaldee. Taylor considers that some of these mystical utterances are the sources whence the sublime conceptions of Plate were formed, and large commentaries were written upon them by Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, Pletho and Psellus.
That men of such great learning and sagacity should have thought so highly of these Oracles, is a fact which in itself should commend then to our attention. The term "Oracles" was probably bestowed upon these epigrammatic utterances in order to enforce the idea of their profound and deeply mysterious nature. The Chaldaaans, however, had an Oracle, which they venerated as highly as the Greeks did that at Delphi.
A certain portion of these Oracles collected by Psellus, appear to be correctly attributed to a Chaldaean Zoroaster of very early date, and are marked "Z," following the method indicated by Taylor, with one or two exceptions. The printed copies of the Oracles to be found in England are the following:— 1.
Oracula Magica , Ludovicus Tiletanus, Paris, Zoroaster etejus oracula Chaldaica; by Franciscus Patricius Morellus; Zoroastris oracula. Supplies about a hundred verses. Otto Heurnius; Barbaricas Philosophiae antiquitatum libri duo Johannes Opsopoeus; Oracula Magica Zoroastris This includes Commentaries of Pletho and Psellus in Latin. Servatus Gallaeus; Sibulliakoi Chresmoi, Contains a version of the Oracles.
Thomas Stanley. The History of the Chaldaic Philosophy, Johannes Alb. Fabricius, Bibliotheca Grasca, Quotes the Oracles. Jacobus Marthanus, This version contains the Commentary of Gemistus Pletho. Biblioteca Classica Latina ; A. Lemaire, volume , Paris A third edition of this work has been published, omitting the Oracles. Phoenix, New York, A collection of curious old tracts, among which are the Oracles of Zoroaster, copied from Thomas Taylor and I.
Cory; with an essay by Edward Gibbon. Introduction By L. It has been believed by many, and not without good reason, that these terse and enigmatic utterances enshrine a profound system of mystical philosophy, but that this system demands for its full discernment a refinement of faculty, involving, as it does, a discrete perception of immaterial essences.
Diodorus says: "They learn these things, not after the same fashion as the Greeks: for amongst the Chaldaeans, philosophy is delivered by tradition in the family, the Son receiving it from his Father, being exempted from all other employment; and thus having their parents for their teachers, they learn all things fully and abundantly, believing more firmly what is communicated to them.
Had a similar course been adopted by commentators in the past, the Chaldaean system expounded in these Oracles would not have been distorted in the way it has been.
The foundation upon which the whole structure of the Hebrew Kabalah rests is an exposition of ten deific powers successively emanated by the Illimitable Light which in their varying dispositions are considered as the key of all things.
This divine procession in the form of Three Triads of Powers, synthesized in a tenth, is said to be extended through four worlds, denominated respectively Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiah, a fourfold gradation from the subtil to the gross. This proposition in its metaphysical roots is pantheistic, though, if it may be so stated, mediately theistic; while the ultimate noumenon of all phenomena is the absolute Deity, whose ideation constitutes the objective Universe.
Now these observations apply strictly also to the Chaldaean system. The accompanying diagrams sufficiently indicate the harmony and identity of the Chaldaean philosophy with the Hebrew Kabalah.
This concentrates by reflection into the "Second Mind" representative of the Divine Power in the Empyraean World which is identified with the second great Triad of divine powers, known as the Intelligible and at the same time Intellectual Triad: the aethereal World comprises the dual third Triad denominated Intellectual: while the fourth or Elementary World is governed by Hypezokos, or Flower of Fire, the actual builder of the world.
Three Cosmagogi Intellectuals Intellectual guides inflexible. Ain Suph Aur A radiant triangle. Representatives of the previous classes guiding our universe. Hyperarchii— Archangels II. Azonaei— Unzoned gods III. Zonaei— Planetary Deities. Higher demons: Angels Human Souls Lower demons, elementals Fiery Airy Earthy Watery Evil demons Lucifugous; the kliphoth Chaldaean Theology contemplated three great divisions of supra-mundane things:— the First was Eternal, without beginning or end, being the "Paternal Depth," the bosom of the Deity.
The Second was conceived to be that mode of being having beginning but no end; the Creative World or Empyraeum falls under this head, abounding as it does in productions, but its source remaining superior to these.
The third and last order of divine things had a beginning in time and will end, this is the transitory Ethereal World. Seven spheres extended through these three Worlds, viz. These seven spheres are not to be confounded with the Seven material Planets; although the latter are the physical representatives of the former, which can only be said to be material in the metaphysical sense of the term.
Psellus professed to identify them but his suggestions are inadequate as Stanley pointed out. Prior to the supramundane Light lay the "Paternal Depth," the Absolute Deity, containing all things "in potentia" and eternally immanent.
This is analogous to the Ain Suph Aur of the Kabalah, three triads of three letters, expressing three triads of Powers, which are subsequently translated into objectivity, and constitute the great Triadic Law under the direction of the Demiurgus, or artificer of the Universe.
In considering this schema, it must be remembered that the supramundane Light was regarded as the primal radiation from the Paternal Depth and the archetypal noumenon of the Empyraeum, a universal, all-pervading— and, to human comprehension— ultimate essence. The Empyraeum again, is a somewhat grosser though still highly subtilized Fire and creative source, in its turn the noumenon of the Formative or Ethereal World, as the latter is the noumenon of the Elementary World.
Through these graduated media the conceptions of the Paternal Mind are ultimately fulfilled in time and space. In some respects it is probable that the Oriental mind today is not much altered from what it was thousands of years ago, and much that now appears to us curious and phantastic in Eastern traditions, still finds responsive echo in the hearts and minds of a vast portion of mankind.
A large number of thinkers and scientists in modern times have advocated tenets which, while not exactly similar, are parallel, to ancient Chaldaean conceptions; this is exemplified in the notion that the operation of natural law in the Universe is controlled or operated by conscious and discriminating power which is co-ordinate with intelligence. It is but one step further to admit that forces are entities, to people the vast spaces of the Universe with the children of phantasy.
Thus history repeats itself, and the old and the new alike reflect the multiform truth. Without entering at length into the metaphysical aspect, it is important to notice the supremacy attributed to the "Paternal Mind. As it is said, "Mind is with Him, Power with them. The Chaldaeans recognised three modes of perception, viz.
Each of these operations is distinct from the others, and, moreover, conducted in separate matrices, or vehicula. The anatomy of the Soul was, however, carried much farther than this, and, although in its ultimate radix recognised as identical with the divinity, yet in manifested being it was conceived to be highly complex.
The Oracles speak of the "Paths of the Soul," the tracings of inflexible fire by which its essential parts are associated in integrity; while its various "summits," "fountains," and "vehicula," are all traceable by analogy with universal principles. This latter fact is, indeed, not the least remarkable feature of the Chaldaean system.
Like several of the ancient cosmogonies, the principal characteristic of which seems to have been a certain adaptability to introversion, Chaldaean metaphysics synthesize most clearly in the human constitution. In each of the Chaldaean Divine Worlds a trinity of divine powers operated, which synthetically constituted a fourth term. Each of the four Worlds, viz.
A parallel tenet is conveyed in the Oracle which runs: "There is a Venerable Name projected through the Worlds with a sleepless revolution. Reference may here be made to the psychic anatomy of the human being according to Plato. He places the intellect in the head; the Soul endowed with some of the passions, such as fortitude, in the heart; while another Soul, of which the appetites, desires and grosser passions are its faculties, about the stomach and the spleen.
So, the Chaldaean doctrine as recorded by Psellus, considered man to be composed of three kinds of Souls, which may respectively be called: First, the Intelligible, or divine soul, Second, the Intellect or rational soul, and Third, the Irrational, or passional soul.
This latter was regarded as subject to mutation, to be dissolved and perish at the death of the body. Concerning the rational soul, the Chaldaeans taught that it was possible for it to assimilate itself unto the divinity on the one hand, or the irrational soul on the other. Physical life thus integrates three special modes of activity, which upon the dissolution of the body are respectively involved in the web of fate consequent upon incarnate energies in three different destinies.
The Oracles urge men to devote themselves to things divine, and not to give way to the promptings of the irrational soul, for, to such as fail herein, it is significantly said, "Thy vessel the beasts of the earth shall inhabit. At death, the rational Soul rose above the lunar influence, provided always the past permitted that happy release, Great importance was attributed to the way in which the physical life was passed during the sojourn of the Soul in the tenement of flesh, and frequent are the exhortations to rise to communion with those Divine powers, to which nought but the highest Theurgy can pretend.
Life on the plains of Chaldaea, with its mild nights and jewelled skies, tended to foster the interior unfoldment; in early life the disciples of the Magi learnt to resolve the Bonds of proscription and enter the immeasurable region. One Oracle assures us that, "The girders of the Soul, which give her; breathing, are easy to be unloosed," and elsewhere we read of the "Melody of the Ether" and of the "Lunar clashings," experiences which testify to the reality of their occult methods.
The Oracles assert that the impressions of characters and other divine visions appear in the Ether. The Chaldaean philosophy recognized the ethers of the Elements as the subtil media through which the operation of the grosser elements is effected— by the grosser elements I mean what we know as Earth, Air, Water and Fire— the principles of dryness and moisture, of heat and cold.
These subtil ethers are really the elements of the ancients, and seem at an early period to have been connected with the Chaldaean astrology, as the signs of the Zodiac were connected with them. The twelve signs of the Zodiac are permutations of the ethers of the elements— four elements with three variations each; and according to the preponderance of one or another elemental condition in the constitution of the individual, so were his natural inclinations deduced therefrom, Thus when in the astrological jargon it was said that a man had Aries rising, he was said to be of a fiery nature, his natural tendencies being active, energetic and fiery, for in the constitution of such a one the fiery ether predominates.
And these ethers were stimulated, or endowed with a certain kind of vibration, by their Presidents, the Planets; these latter being thus suspended in orderly disposed zones. Unto the Planets, too, colour and sound were also attributed; the planetary colours are connected with the ethers, and each of the Planetary forces was said to have special dominion over, or affinity with, one or other of the Zodiacal constellations.
Communion with the hierarchies of these constellations formed part of the Chaldaean theurgy, and in a curious fragment it is said: "If thou often invokest it" the celestial constellation called the Lion "then when no longer is Visible unto thee the Vault of the Heavens, when the Stars have lost their light the lamp of the Moon is veiled, the Earth abideth not, and around thee darts the lightning flame, then all things will appear to thee in the form of a Lion!
The use of bright colours engenders the recognition of subsisting variety and stimulates that perception of the mind which energizes through imagination, or the operation of images. The Chaldaean method of contemplation appears to have been to identify the self with the object of contemplation; this is of course identical with the process of Indian Yoga, and is an idea which appears replete with suggestion; as it is written "He assimilates the images to himself casting them around his own form.
Do not think that what was intended thereby was the Solar Light we know: "The inerratic sphere of the Starless above" is an unmistakable expression and therein "the more true Sun" has place: Theosophists will appreciate the significance of "the more true Sun," for according to The Secret Doctrine the Sun we see is but the physical vehicle of a more transcendent splendour.
Some strong Souls were able to reach up to the Light by their own power: "The mortal who approaches the fire shall have Light from the divinity, and unto the persevering mortal the blessed immortals are swift. Were they, by inability, precluded from such illumination?
CHALDEAN ORACLES AND THEURGY PDF
Try another! They have come down to us through Greek translations and were held in the greatest esteem throughout antiquity, a sentiment which was shared alike by the early Christian Fathers and the later Platonists. The doctrines contained therein are attributed to Zoroaster through to which particular Zoroaster is not known; historians give notices of as many as six different individuals all bearing that name, which was probably the title of the Prince of the Magi, and a generic term. Others derive it from Chaldee and Greek words meaning "a contemplator of the Stars. Where it has been possible to do so, an attempt has been made to, elucidate doubtful or ambiguous expressions, either by modifying the existing translation from the Greek, where deemed permissible, or by appending annotations. It has been suggested by some that these Oracles are of Greek invention, but it has already been pointed out by Stanley that Picus de Mirandula assured Ficinus that he had the Chaldee Original in his possession, "in which those things which are faulty and defective in the Greek are read perfect and entire," and Ficinus indeed states that he found this MS. In addition to this, it should be noted that here and there in the original Greek version, words occur which are not of Greek extraction at all, but are Hellenised Chaldee.
Goodreads helps you keep track cjaldean books you want to read. Their use not just in Neoplatonic but ancient Christian circles—including the Sethian Gnostics, whose apocalypses we know from Nag Hammadi—is now being explored: Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. Sign in to use this feature. Karen Higgins marked it as to-read Feb 21, Want to Read saving…. Dodds himself called for such a study already in Plotinus and Iamblichus on Magic and Theurgy.
Chaldaean Oracles And Theurgy: Mysticism, Magic And Platonism In The Later Roman Empire