n HTS : Theological Studies - Die plek van Empedokles in die metafisies-mistieke tradisie

Volume 63, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



This article argues that Empedocles was more than a pre-Socratic philosopher. His thinking was also essentially mystical and should be situated on a large map of metaphysical-mystical continuities with the following dimensions: A historically discernable cultural and religious pool, encompassing not only South-Eastern Europe, Asia Minor and Mediterranean Africa, but also the north-eastern Eurasian shamanic tradition, and India; an historically largely inaccesible esoteric tradition; a set of structural elements of the human psyche, running under and across historical religions through time; and the development of a new convergence of previously historically unconnected mystical traditions in the social and cultural circumstances of today. In particular, the article investigates similarities and differences between Empedocles and Indian (specifically Buddhist) views on various issues, such as the four roots and the cyclical dialectic of love and strife. In that context the article notes the remarkable interpretation of Empedocles by Peter Kingsley which seems to draw Empedocles closer to Buddhism, but without explicating this implication of his reception.

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