Feast of Dionysus, March 17
“Drawing on a wealth of sources, from Hesiod to Pausanias and from the Orphic Hymns to Proclus, Professor Kerényi provides a clear and scholarly exposition of all the most important Greek myths. After a brief introduction, the complex genealogies of the gods lead him from the begettings of the Titans and from Aphrodite under all her titles and aspects, to Apollo, Hermes and the reign of Zeus, touching upon the affairs of Pan, nymphs, satyrs, cosmogonies and the birth of mankind, until he reaches the ineffable mysteries of Dionysos. The lively and highly readable narrative is complemented by an appendix of detailed references to all the original texts and a fine selection of illustrations taken from vase paintings.” — back cover
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Tragic Posture and Tragic Vision: Against the Modern Failure of Nerve by John A Ruprecht, Jr.
This wide-ranging meditation combines several elements: a rehabilitation of the concept of tragedy, a condemnation of the “tragic posture” as a feature of modern reflection, and theory about continuity and discreteness in religion. Author Ruprecht first sets himself against his contemporary theorists Alasdair MacIntyre and George Steiner, whom he takes as exponents of the (false) tragic posture of fatalistic pessimism. Then, in order to clarify what he understands as the (true) tragic vision, he begins with the classics, focusing especially on Sophocles’ Antigone as an exemplar. He moves from there into Hegel’s ideas about tragedy, and then to Nietzsche’s. He is not in perfect concurrence with either of these thinkers, but he sees their ideas as a tonic against the tragic posture, even if Nietzsche seems to court it in his later works.
Finally, Ruprecht takes issue with Nietzsche’s “Dionysus versus the Crucified” motto, postulating instead (like some of the Romantics whom Nietzsche criticized) that Jesus was a sympathetic development of Dionysus rather than an oppressive reaction against the pagan tragic ideal. He makes his case by championing the gospel of Mark as a tragic “performance,” focusing on the garden of Gethsemane, and indulging in a full comparison of the four canonical gospels with respect to this episode. In this longest section of the book, Ruprecht conspires with Frank Kermode (whose Genesis of Secrecy he repeatedly cites, though not always in agreement) to get me to view Mark as the best of the four Evangelists, whether or not he is the most “primitive.”
Particularly in the chapter on Nietzsche, and in a related appendix regarding the history of the Parthenon, Ruprecht insists on continuity over discreteness in religion and human experience generally. His opposition to the “tragic posture” is in large measure an objection to a modern exceptionalism (even if what is supposedly exceptional about modernity is its suckitude). I am rather sympathetic to this argument, without taking it to perennialist extremes — and Ruprecht doesn’t — but he also seems to want to view the question of technology (yes, he’s read his Heidegger) as a more peripheral or even cosmetic aspect of the modern condition, with its most significant consequences in degradation of the natural environment. This attitude makes me want to protest: Moore’s Law isn’t just a river in Egypt. [via]
Geosophia: The Argo of Magic I [also] by Jake Stratton-Kent, Encyclopaedia Goetica Volume II, the 2010 Bibliothèque Rouge paperback from Scarlet Imprint, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Jake Stratton-Kent’s master piece Geosophia: the Argo of Magic traces the development of magic from the Greeks to the grimoires. This further volume in the Encyclopaedia Goetica series is both a scholarly and practical work for the modern magician. JSK takes the role of psychopomp, guiding us along the voyage of the Argonauts and fearlessly descending to the depths of Hades. His journey reveals a continuity of practice in the West which encompasses the pre-Olympian cults of Dionysus and Cybele, is found in the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri and flows into the grimoires. his revolutionary thesis exposes the chthonic roots of modern magic so that we can reconnect with the very source of our ritual tradition.” — back cover
The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.
“A National Theatre of Scotland production.
Alan Cumming gives an award-winning, tour-de-force central performance as Dionysus, the charismatic and dangerous god in this adaptation of Euripidese classic tragedy.
Well, I really wasn’t going to do this, but why not? The top 5 most viewed posts of 2011 on this blog are:
- Hakim Bey and the Occupy Wall Street movement
- The Red Goddess and Crossed Keys from Scarlet Imprint
- White Trash, Black Magick (originals)
- Pre-release of The Hermetic Library Anthology Album – Magick, Music and Ritual 1
Yeah, that “Dionysus” video sure was something, wasn’t it? But, it’s nice for me to see one of the posts about the Anthology Album in that list too. Anyhow, if you missed any of these posts, check ’em out; if you did see them already, you could check ’em out anyway and re-live the experience.
The most popular search terms are:
Nice to see Thelema near the top there. There are some nice posts about Krampus, but there’s a lot more Krampus stuff on the Hermetic Library tumblog, if that’s something you’re interested in. The Red Goddess from Scarlet Imprint, and the cover by Christopher Conn Askew made it on both lists. Of course, the Occupy Movement and the connection to the work of Hakim Bey was pretty popular on both lists too. But, there is currently only a single post that returns for the term “unicursal hexagram” and yet it was a very popular search term; maybe I should work on adding some more content responsive that term …