- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (December 8, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 073873599X
- ISBN-13: 978-0738735993
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wisdom of Hypatia: Ancient Spiritual Practices for a More Meaningful Life Paperback – December 8, 2013
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About the Author
Bruce J. MacLennan, PhD, is a professor at the University of Tennessee. For more than forty years, he has been a student of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and religion. He has published journal articles and book chapters on Neoplatonic spiritual practices, Jungian psychology, and neurotheology. MacLennan is invited regularly to give international presentations and offers regular workshops on Neoplatonic spiritual practice, Pythagoreanism, theurgy, and related subjects. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Top customer reviews
This is an absolutely wonderful book that makes the wisdom of the ancient Greeks accessible to us today. MacLennan introduces us to the Epicureans and Stoics (there's a lot more to both than you might imagine!), as well as to Neoplatonism, the most spiritually sophisticated of the ancient Western schools of thought. He does this brilliantly by creating a fictional scenario in which we sit in on classes with Hypatia, the most famous female teacher of Western antiquity. Based on our knowledge of leading pagan thinkers at the time, the lessons she delivers are entirely plausible. This may be as close as we can come to actually auditing a class with Hypatia!
If you're new to Greek philosophy, MacLennan removes the "intimidation" factor, making the best of ancient Western thought an easy, exciting, and utterly fascinating read. If you're already familiar with this tradition, you'll be amazed at how adroitly the author introduces readers to their pre-Christian Western spiritual heritage. Fans of Jungian psychology will also appreciate how seamlessly he integrates Jung's insights with ancient perspectives. (My own bias is that Neoplatonists like Hypatia think and meditate in ways that are, at times, nearly parallel to the Sankhya and Shaivite/Shakta sages of India.)
My criticism is that the author presents the epicurean & stoic philosophies as steps that was actually required for studying platonic philosophy. Although I've seen some intermingling of platonism & stoicism, I've never read that people progressed from one philosophy to another during the flowering of Philosophy in the ancient world. I'm under the impression that epicurean, stoic & platonic philosophy were separate schools of thought that each formed a complete system of philosophy, containing tenets that were contradictory to those of the other schools.
And that each young person who was educated was expected to choose a philosophy from one of the schools, as a "package deal", to stick with for the rest of his life, even if he disagreed with some of its tenets. And that this was an important "Rite of passage" for the youngsters of the upper classes..