In the present edition, the formatting of the original has been changed in order to render the text more easily readable. The copious footnotes found in the original have been collected and placed in order at the end of the reply of Abammon, allowing for a more easily readable layout. In the margins we have added the pagination of the original edition, so that all references made to the original over the intervening centuries may be easily traced in the present volume, despite its altered pagination. Besides these changes, and minor changes in formatting style, the text has not been altered, except in cases where certain Greek characters were in need of modernization.
"It appears to me that there are two descriptions of persons by whom the present work must be considered to be of inestimable worth, the lovers of antiquity and the lovers of ancient philosophy and religion. To the former of these it must be invaluable, because it is replete with information derived from the wise men of the Chaldeans, the prophets of the Egyptians, the dogmas of the Assyrians, and the ancient pillars of Hermes; and to the latter, because of the doctrines contained in it, some of which originated from the Hermaic pillars, were known by Pythagoras and Plato, and were the sources of their philosophy; and others are profoundly theological, and unfold the mysteries of ancient religion with an admirable conciseness of diction, and an inimitable vigour and elegance of conception."-Thomas Taylor, from the Introduction
"The following testimony of an anonymous Greek writer, prefixed to the manuscript of this treatise proves that this work was written by Iamblichus: "It is requisite to know that the philosopher Proclus, in his Commentary on the Enneads of the great Plotinus, says that it is the divine Iamblichus who answers the prefixed Epistle of Porphyry, and who assumes the person of a certain Egyptian of the name of Abammon, through the affinity and congruity of the hypothesis. And, indeed, the conciseness and definiteness of the diction, and the efficacious, elegant, and divine nature of the conceptions, testify that the decision of Proclus is just.""-Thomas Taylor
"There is no other dissolution of the bonds of necessity and fate than the knowledge of the Gods. For to know scientifically the good is the idea of felicity; just as the oblivion of good, and deception about evil, happen to be the idea of evil. The former, therefore, is present with divinity; but the latter, which is an inferior destiny, is inseparable from the mortal nature. . . . You must understand, therefore, that this is the first path to felicity, affording to souls an intellectual plenitude of divine union. But the sacerdotal and theurgic gift of felicity is called, indeed, the gate to the Demiurgus of wholes, or the seat, or palace, of the good. In the first place, likewise, it possesses a power of purifying the soul, much more perfect than the power which purifies the body; afterwards it causes a coaptation of the reasoning power to the participation and vision of the good, and a liberation from every thing of a contrary nature; and, in the last place, produces a union with the Gods, who are the givers of every good."-The Preceptor Abammon [Iamblichus]
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About the Author
A full collection of his works (original scans, paperbacks and ebooks) can be found online at: http://www.universaltheosophy.com/writings-taylor/
Iamblichus, also known as Iamblichus Chalcidensis, was born in Chalsis, in Coele-Syria, at about the middle of the third century. From the fragments of his life which have been collected by impartial historians, we find that he was a man of great culture and learning, and renowned for his charity and self-denial. His mind was deeply impregnated with Pythagorean doctrines, and in his famous biography of Pythagoras he has set forth the philosophical, ethical and scientific teachings of the Sage of Samos in full detail. He was also a profound student of the Egyptian Mysteries and when Porphyry addressed a letter to an Egyptian Initiate known as Anebo, asking him to explain certain points in the Egyptian system, the letter was answered by Iamblichus himself, who hid his identity under the name of his teacher, Abammon. The discussion between Porphyry and Iamblichus makes up the book known as De Mysteriis Aegyptorum, or The Egyptian Mysteries.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1. The epistle of Porphyry to the Egyptian Anebo; 2. Iamblichus on the Mysteries, etc.; 3. The answer of the Preceptor Abammon to the epistle of Porphyry to Anebo, and a solution of the doubts contained in it; Additional notes.