CHALDAEAN ORACLES

A revelatory poem, written in Greek hexameter verse, composed or edited by a certain magician named Julianus, who lived during the reign of . Its importance is twofold: it is the last major sacred book of pagan , and it had major influence on the development of Neoplatonism from Porphyry to Psellus.

Only fragments exist, although quotations are scattered in the writings of Proclus, , Psellus, and other Neoplatonists. Magical rites were based on the precepts of this purported divine revelation.

The fragments, best studied by Hans Lewy, contain much borrowed , some material common to gnosticism, and an account of the creation and the descent of the cosmic soul. Hypostases, gods, and daemons of Greco-Oriental cults are fused into a strange mass in the “Chaldaean .”

Some rituals or sacraments have been identified, including a symbolic , an initiation, and a purification of the soul. Although Christian writers quoted the text in collections and anthologies, there is no certain influence of the “Chaldaean Oracles” on Christian .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Dodds, E. R. “Theurgy and Its Relationship to Neoplatonism.” Journal of Studies 37 (1947):55-69.
  •  . “New Light on the “Chaldaean Oracles.'” Harvard Theological Review 54 (1961):263-73.
  • Lewy, H. Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy: Mysticism, Magic and Platonism in the Later Roman Empire. Cairo, 1966.

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