Plato’s work, which has always played a central role in the history of Western esotericism, has recently attracted the attention of the Tübingen-Milan School for the so-called “unwritten doctrines”, to which an esoteric nature has been attributed. However, the scholars of esoteric Plato have not always been fully aware of the true meaning of esotericism in the past. In this essay, after a presentation of this theme in the light of the most up-to-date research, I have analysed the sense in which esotericism concerns Plato. I have argued that Platonic esotericism cannot be interpreted as a kind of protological doctrine of the first principles, but should be seen in a symbolic-anagogical way that in fact retrieves the experience of traditional mystery-cults, which in Plato is framed and governed within a philosophical discourse. Finally, I conclude that Plato is central to European culture because he linked together three fundamental aspects: the dialectical-argumentative dimension, thereby establishing the Western canon of philosophy; the allegorical-narrative aspect, expressed in the narrative of the myth in the popular dimension of religiosity; and finally the esoteric-initiatory one, found in the oral teaching of the unwritten doctrines and which is typical of Gnosis, aiming at a spiritual elevation a

«Some Remarks on the Meaning of Esotericism and Plato’s Unwritten Doctrines»

Francesco Coniglione
2018

Abstract

Plato’s work, which has always played a central role in the history of Western esotericism, has recently attracted the attention of the Tübingen-Milan School for the so-called “unwritten doctrines”, to which an esoteric nature has been attributed. However, the scholars of esoteric Plato have not always been fully aware of the true meaning of esotericism in the past. In this essay, after a presentation of this theme in the light of the most up-to-date research, I have analysed the sense in which esotericism concerns Plato. I have argued that Platonic esotericism cannot be interpreted as a kind of protological doctrine of the first principles, but should be seen in a symbolic-anagogical way that in fact retrieves the experience of traditional mystery-cults, which in Plato is framed and governed within a philosophical discourse. Finally, I conclude that Plato is central to European culture because he linked together three fundamental aspects: the dialectical-argumentative dimension, thereby establishing the Western canon of philosophy; the allegorical-narrative aspect, expressed in the narrative of the myth in the popular dimension of religiosity; and finally the esoteric-initiatory one, found in the oral teaching of the unwritten doctrines and which is typical of Gnosis, aiming at a spiritual elevation a
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/364927
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