Neoplatonism, Theurgy, Gnosticism and Charismatic Babbling

 

It is common knowledge among scholars of Neoplatonism that the magical process of theurgy or literally “god working” was practiced by the NeoPlatonic philosopher Iamblichus. However, it is often forgotten that this process was derived from the Chaldean Oracles, a series of mysterious texts commenting on an ancient Babylon mystical poem (yes, reader there is a connection with the Kabbalah and Talmud).

What’s more as Dylan Burns points out in his work Apocalypse of the Alien God, theurgy was also practiced by gnostics. Dylan notes some of the characteristics of theurgy:

  1. Alphabet mysticism
  2. Purification
  3. Hymns
  4. Prayers
  5. Animation of statues (interestingly a common theme of horror movies, actual demonic possession, and there is a clear link with AI and robotics here)
  6. Possession
  7. Conjuring of spirits
  8. Mystical contemplation

What is especially interesting is that one of the marks of gnostic theurgy was what more rational Neoplatonists like Plotinus called “meaningless babbling.” This babbling included all kinds of ecstatic praise of “God” as well as gods and demons and was meant to induce a communal ecstasy during gnostic rituals.

This, my friends, sounds a lot like praise and worship and the charismatic movement.

True Christian worship is always calm and contemplative, and if there is any ecstatic activity, it is instituted by God not by the one in prayer.

When a worshipper conjures the ecstatic feeling him or herself, it is called magic.

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