Indisputable Scholarly Conclusions

Iamblicus (A.D. 245-325) complicated the elegant system of Plotinus, positing intervening principles, thus layering the immaterial world with further triadic subdivisions. He also continued along the nefarious Aristotelian trajectory by saying that the soul was entirely one with the body, flattening the glorious and sophisticated belief of Plotinus. Theurgy also became more prominent than rationalism, a point at which, it seems to me, the true spirit of pagan philosophy is becoming overwhelmed by the old chaos of pagan religion. While Plotinus was—for his time, unusually so—indifferent to religious observance, and while Porphyry, who is famous for writing against Christianity, accommodated pagan religion better, it was Iamblicus who believed that through ritual, rather than through reason and contemplation, union with the gods was achieved. He became the philosopher for Julian the Apostate, who believed him a greater than Plato. There arose a sense that pagan learning could only benefit a pagan culture rooted in a pagan religion, a kind of negative proto-presuppositionalism, I suppose. It is thus we find in the corruption of Plato’s philosophy the historical and pagan antecedents for that monster, Cornelius Van Til Trump.

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