Эзотерика: основные моменты истории термина
In the article the analysis of the genesis and existence of the term esoterics is given: from antiquity through the Middle Ages and New time to to the present. Variants of its use and terms substitutes (occultism, esotericism) are considered. The basic modern academic concepts of esoterics and research prospects of esotericism as phenomenon within the limits of religious studies are described.
There were two tendencies in ancient philosophy: according to the first one, our universe is unique (the Eleatics, Plato, Aristoteles), while according to the other, there are several universes, similar or totally dissimilar to ours (the Pythagoreans, the Atomists). Proponents of the first theory diverged in their opinion on the universe’s eternity though. Supporters of the second one argued over the similarity of another universes as well as the question if those universes co-exist or replace each other over time. These questions didn’t stop being actual in medieval Christian philosophy. But if there were no doubts about the question of an actual existence of our universe as being the only and unique, the question if God created only our universe was yet to be answered. St. Thomas Aquinas provides several evidences of the uniqueness of the universe – two from the ‘authority’ and three from himself.
It turns out, however, that in spite of one basic difference there runs between these two systems a deep and striking parallelism. This parallelism is so close indeed that it makes possible the construction of a vocabulary which would transform characteristic propositions of Wittgenstein's ontology into Aristotelian ones, and conversely. To show in some detail the workings of that transformation will be the subject of this paper.
Philosophy has never been an obvious life choice, especially in the absence of apparent practical usefulness. The intellectual effort and moral discipline it exacts appeared uninviting “from the outside.” However, the philosophical ideals of theoretical precision and living virtuously are what has shaped the cultural landscape of the West since Antiquity. This paradox arose because the ancients never confined their philosophy to the systematic exposition of doctrine. Orations, treatises, dialogues and letters aimed at persuading people to become lovers of wisdom, not metaphorically, but truly and passionately. Rhetorical feats, logical intricacies, or mystical experience served to recruit adherents, to promote and defend philosophy, to support adherents and guide them towards their goal. Protreptic (from the Greek, “to exhort,” “to convert”) was the literary form that served all these functions. Content and mode of expression varied considerably when targeting classical Greek aristocracy, Hellenistic schoolrooms or members of the early Church where the tradition of protreptic was soon appropriated. This volume seeks to illuminate both the diversity and the continuity of protreptic in the work of a wide range of authors, from Parmenides to Augustine. The persistence of the literary form bears witness to a continued fascination with the call of wisdom.
There were several lines of Aristotle’s reception in the Eastern Roman Empire. These were in different manners intermingled and interrelated, contributing to what can be termed Aristoteles Byzantinus. In the most general outline, one can speak of an “indirect” influence of Aristotle on Byzantine authors, that is, one that took place via Neoplatonism, and of a “direct” influence, that is, one that concerns reading, commenting on, and adopting the original works and ideas of the Stagirite.6 Both of these influences are equally demanding as subjects of study and require investigation along various lines. These include: references to Aristotle, explicit or implicit, in the works on those Byzantine authors—mainly Christian theologians—who were not directly engaged in commenting Aristotle’s writings; the issue of whether their reception of Aristotle was based on their knowledge of his original works or on commentaries, doxographies, and other indirect sources; the critical appreciation of Aristotle’s philosophy, positive or negative, on the part of Byzantine authors, Holy Fathers included; the issue of what has been called the “Christianization of Aristotle’s logic”; the quantity and influence of various commentaries on Aristotle’s works both in Eastern and Western thought, and so on. Of course it is not our task here to discuss all of these issues, which have been the subjects of interesting and meticulous studies published in recent decades; our intention here is only to indicate, grosso modo, the main stations and topography of Aristotle’s reception within the realm of Eastern Roman Empire.
The description of the elenctic method in the Sophist (230a–e) is often believed to be merely retrospective. However, some parallels with Aristotle’s Sophistical refutations suggest that the dialogue as a whole has a clear elenctic dimension. Having faced an apparent refutation (falsehood paradox), the interlocutors find themselves in an impasse. According to Aristotle, to solve such aporiai one must eliminate ambiguity and homonymy by making distinctions, i.e. recur to the diairesis. The same tactics is applied by the Stranger and Theaetetus.