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Title: The history of Theurgy from Iamblichus to the Golden Dawn
Author: Mayers, J. A. Sam Webster
ISNI:       0000 0004 5917 9535
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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Can evidence be found to demonstrate a continuity in the development of Western ritual magic from ancient times to modern? This study attempts to answer that question in the positive by examining the practice of theurgy as expressed in three critical authors and time periods to determine if they are substantially the same or to account for the differences. Iamblichus, in De Mysteriis, c . AD 300, gave a defense of theurgy and a description of its practice. From this work, supplemented by his other surviving writings, is extracted a paradigm for theurgy by modeling the cosmology, psychology, primary practice and secondary activities, and ultimately the attainment of the theurgist. Agrippa's Three Books Occult Philosophy, c. 1530, is queried identically to determine if the same structures are present. They are , when allowances are made 'for his synthesis of Iamblichan theurgy with Catholic Christianity by way of the Kabbalah. Likewise, the extant materials of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn are analyzed by the same means. lamblichus's paradigm , transformed by Agrippa's synthesis, is found in the Order's practices but shifted from material to more symbolic modes. Transmission lines are traced showing the path of knowledge transfer from Iamblichus through Agrippa to the Golden Dawn. Questions are raised about the utility of the category of magic , and a religious framing of theurgic practice is presented. Theurgy is ultimately presented as advanced and privatized spirituality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available