The Eleusinian Mysteries were the ones of greatest importance. They go back to an old agrarian cult and were possibly influenced by Egyptian and even Indian religion. These observances once represented the spiritual life of Greece, and were considered for two thousand years and more the appointed means for regeneration through an interior union with the Divine Essence. However absurd, or even offensive they may seem to us, we should therefore hesitate long before we venture to lay desecrating hands on what others have esteemed holy. We can learn a valuable lesson in this regard from the Grecian and Roman writers, who had learned to treat the popular religious rites with mirth, but always considered the Eleusinian Mysteries with the deepest reverence.
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About the Author
The translator of this work, Thomas Taylor, is known for his authoritative translations of the Platonists; he was practically the sole source of Neo-Platonic thought in the transcendentalist movement of New England. Iamblichus' Life of Pythagoras was a constant source of inspiration to the transcendentalists and a major influence on their writings throughout the Nineteenth Century. Taylor's work was enthusiastically acclaimed by Emerson, who referred to the translator as "a Greek born out of his time, and dropped on the ridicule of a blind and frivolous age."