polytheist extractions

Eunapius, Life of Iamblichus

“Iamblichus was accustomed to perform the sacred rites alone, apart from his friends and disciples, which provoked much curiosity. One day while the company was drinking and Iamblichus was regaling them with his conversation that was sweet as nectar, the most eloquent of the crowd inquired, ‘O master most inspired, why do you thus occupy yourself in solitude, instead of sharing with us your more perfect wisdom? A rumor has reached us through your slaves that when you pray to the gods you soar aloft from the earth more than ten cubits to all appearance; that your body and your garments change to a beautiful golden hue; and presently when your prayer is ended your body becomes as it was before you prayed, and then you come down to earth and associate again with us.’ Iamblichus was not at all inclined to laughter, but he laughed at these remarks … One day, after the group had performed a sacrifice at Iamblichus’ suburban villa, they were returning to the city, walking slowly and having leisurely conversation about the gods. Iamblichus abruptly stopped and gazed for a while at the ground, lost in deep thought. Then he seemed to come back to himself and looked up at his friends, saying in a loud voice, ‘Let us go by another road, for a dead body has lately been carried along this way.’ After saying this he turned onto another road which seemed to be less impure, and some of them turned aside with him, who thought it was a shame to desert their teacher. But the greater number and the more obstinate of his disciples, among whom was Aedesius, stayed where they were, ascribing the occurrence to a portent and scenting like hounds for the proof. And very soon those who had buried the dead man came back. But even so the disciples did not desist but inquired whether they had passed along this road. ‘We had to,’ they replied, ‘for there was no other road.'”- Eunapius, Life of Iamblichus


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