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A Gemstone of Many Complexions

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Hermeticism and the Rhetoric of Accumulation in the Orphic Lithica

image of Mnemosyne

The Orphic Lithica is often considered an incoherent hodge-podge of teachings on magical stones. This paper, however, argues that the polyphony of voices (human, semi-divine, and divine), as well as the amalgam of various subtypes of the hexametric super-genre (didactic epic, narrative epic, bucolic, hymn, oracle), contribute to the ultimate goal of the Lithica: to overwhelm the reader with authorities for the hermetic truth that the poem preaches. The poem further accomplishes this by appealing to the poetic tradition, so as to make the subject matter more recognizable and enjoyable to the audience.

Affiliations: 1: Groesbeekseweg 39, 6524 CM Nijmegen The Netherlands


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