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Online Lecture

Epistemic Authority and Traditions of Wisdom:
Iamblichus on Non-Hellenic Myths

March 21, 2023

Lecture will take place on Zoom
7-9pm Athens & Alexandria
6-8pm Paris

5-7pm Oxford
1-3pm New York

Image: Panel with painted image of Isis, 100-200 CE, Getty Villa, Gallery 210


Non-Hellenic wisdom enjoys a high epistemic authority among ancient Platonists, and especially in the thought of Iamblichus. This is widely recognized in the scholarly literature. It is possible, however, to make finer distinctions. Using a model designed to distinguish different types of epistemic authority, I shall argue that Iamblichus attributes different degrees and types of epistemic authority to different traditions, and in different epistemic domains. This will be shown on the basis of Iamblichus’ Response to Porphyry (also known as De mysteriis) and of the Pythagorean Life.

Jan Opsomer (KU Leuven)

Jan Opsomer is Research Professor of Philosophy at the KU Leuven, Belgium. Previously he was a Professor at the University of South Carolina, USA and at the Universität zu Köln, Germany. He is the author of books and articles in the field of ancient Platonism. He has contributed the survey article on Iamblichus to the new Ueberweg (2018). He is the holder of an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (PlatoViaAristotle, Grant agreement No. 885273).