Sages and Philosophers

Yulia Ustinova

in Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199548569
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720840 | DOI:
Sages and Philosophers

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In the limited data on the Presocratic philosophers, caves and descent into underground chambers appear with remarkable consistency. Prolonged sleep in Zeus' cave on Crete enlightened Epimenides with divine knowledge and endowed him with superhuman powers. Pythagoras' underground sojourns shaped his own outlook, and they probably continued to influence his followers centuries after his death. In this chapter, it is also argued that Parmenides attained his revelations in almost total isolation from the disturbances of the outer world within the subterranean chamber belonging to the Eleatic school. Parmenides' and Empedocles' experiences and noetic insights are elucidated by means of juxtaposition with Plotinus' accounts of his multiple out-of-body experiences. The Presocratics and their contemporaries still expected to find the ultimate truth exclusively in the divine realm which could be reached by an ecstatic soul released from the body in the solitude of a cave or an underground chamber.

Keywords: Presocratic philosophers; Epimenides; Pythagoras; Parmenides; Empedocles; revelations; subterranean chamber

Chapter.  17831 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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