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Thursday, 20 December 2018

Blavatsky and the Thomas Taylor Revival

Thomas Taylor is a regular subject of discussion in Alexander Wilder’s letters in Letters to the Sage, Vol.2. Ralph Waldo Emerson was already quite familiar with him (see Wilder’s interest in Taylor spread to theosophical circles and this interest continued in esoteric circles with people such as Manly Hall and Samuel Weiser. Since Prometheus Trust launched their complete works of Thomas Taylor series, there has been a renewed interest in his life, works and influence. Besides his monumental corpus of translations of ancient Greek writings, his own original writings are full of interest, showing an erudition and insight that is difficult to match. Below is a brief introductory selection of some of his main writings, of which the liberal reader mays perhaps wish to investigate.
A Dissertation on the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries (1790)
A masterful piece of research into Greek mysticism; still the most insightful work on the subject; a classic.
Theoretic Arithmetic, in three books, containing the substance of all that has been written on this subject by Theo of Smyrna, Nicomachus, Iamblicus, and Boetius (1816)
A concise, clear presentation of ancient numerology and number mysticism, a classic in the genre.
A Dissertation on the Philosophy of Aristotle (1812)
Besides his encyclopedic knowledge of Plato and the neoplatonists, Taylor was also thoroughly fluent in all the technicalities of Aristotelian philosophy (and the commentaries of Simplicius), as this massive original work shows.
A History of the Restoration of the Platonic Theology by the later Platonists (1789)
Taylor gives a very esoteric and perennialist take on Greek philosophical history, making this a unique and insightful introduction to Neoplatonism.
The Allegory of the Wanderings of Ulysses (1823)
An erudite study on the Homer’s Odyssey, which gives a clear overview of the esoteric symbolism of the neoplatonists.
The Triumph of the Wise Man over Fortune & The Creed of the Platonic Philosopher (1805)
The first is a fine piece of inspirational philosophy and the second is a nice, concise overview of the principles of Neoplatonism.
A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes (1792)
A wonderfully buddhistic and pioneering piece on animal rights.
List of Writings:

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