From Iamblichus

11 10 2010

But I am of the opinion that the obscene language that then takes place [at the erection of phalli], affords an indication of the privation of good about matter, and of the deformitiy which is in material subjects, prior to their being adorned. For these being indigent of ornament, by so much the more aspire after it, as they in a greater degree despise their own deformity. Again, therefore, they pursue the causes of forms, and of what is beautiful and good, recognizing baseness from base language. And thus, indeed, the thing itself, viz. turpitude, is averted, but the knowledge of it is rendered manifest through words, and those that employ them transfer their desire to that which is contrary to baseness…

The powers of the human passions that are in us, when they are entirely restrained, become more vehement; but when they are called forth into energy, gradually and commensurately, they rejoice in being moderately gratified, are satsified; and from hence, becoming purified, they are rendered tractable, and are vanquished without violence. On this account, in comedy and tragedy, by surveying the passions of others, we stop our own passions, cause them to be more moderate, and are purified from them. In sacred ceremonies, likewise, by certain spectacles and auditions of things base, we become liberated from the injury which happened from the works affected by them.

-De Mysteriis

Iamblichus on the gods

20 04 2010

For those that are good are the causes of good; and the Gods possess good essentially. They do nothing, therefore, that is unjust. Hence other causes of guilty deeds must be investigated. And if we are not able to discover these causes, it is not proper to throw away the true conception respecting the Gods, nor on account of the doubts whether these unjust deeds are performed, and how they are effected, to depart from notions concerning the Gods which are truly clear. For it is much better to acknowledge the insufficiency of our power to explain how unjust actions are perpetrated, than to admit any thing impossible or false concerning the Gods…

De Mysteriis