Reading Essential Texts Seminars


The study of key texts in small seminar groups




On the Cave of the Nymphs   Porphyry

Leader   Professor John Carey

Text       Will be supplied – we shall use the translation by Robert D Lamberton (Barrytown: Station Hill Press, 1983)

31 October – 28 November   Mondays, 5 weekly meetings

Time     6.30pm for 6.45 – 8.15pm

Venue   Private home in north London, full address on booking. As the meetings will be in a family residence, participants will be asked to take a covid test in advance of each meeting.


Course cost

£50 or £40 Members of the Temenos Academy / Concessions.

Those attending must be aged 18 or over. Limited to 12 participants.

Advance bookings only please.


Porphyry’s commentary on the enigmatic description of the ‘Cave of the Nymphs’ in Odyssey Book XIII, written late in the third century AD, has been called ‘the oldest piece of literary criticism in the European tradition to survive essentially intact to our own time’. Characterised by polymathic erudition and by an esoteric spiritual sensibility, this brief treatise is a subtle and complex specimen of Neoplatonic symbolic thinking, which has inspired such figures as Blake, Shelley, Yeats, and Kathleen Raine. We will engage in a close reading of the text, with reference to the web of traditions and teachings on which it draws.

JOHN CAREY is Professor of Early and Medieval Irish at University College Cork. His books include King of Mysteries: Early Irish Religious Writings (1998, 2000), A Single Ray of the Sun: Religious Speculation in Early Ireland (1999, 2011; originally a series of lectures presented to the Temenos Academy), Ireland and the Grail (2007), Ten Basic Principles that Inspire the Work of Temenos (2015), The Ever-New Tongue: The Text in the Book of Lismore (2018), and The Mythological Cycle of Medieval Irish Literature (2018). He is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy, on whose Council and Academic Board he serves; and is general editor of the Temenos Academy Review.




The Tempest  by William Shakespeare  (continuing from last term)

Leader           Dr Joseph Milne

Text              the Arden edition

5 October – 7 December  Wednesdays, 10 weekly meetings

Time             2.30 – 4pm. Please arrive promptly.

Venue           The School of Philosophy and Economic Science


Course cost

£100 or £75 Members of the Temenos Academy/Concessions.

Full-time students and Temenos Academy Young Scholars, £40.

Those attending must be aged 18 or over.


Shakespeare’s The Tempest presents a pastoral drama in which the realms of Nature and Art are brought into opposition through Caliban and Prospero respectively. Caliban embodies a rough and savage Nature, while Prospero embodies a cultivated and benevolent Art. This opposition ultimately turns into a redemptive or purging conflict bringing a new order into being. A question hovers over the drama as to how far Nature should act by its own rule, and how far the Art of human government by law and institutions should order Nature? And how far do Providence, Grace and Fortune govern either?

JOSEPH MILNE is an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Kent where he taught on the MA course in Mysticism and Religious Experience until retiring in 2013. He is the editor of Land and Liberty, the journal of the Henry George Foundation, and the author of several Temenos Academy Papers, including The Lost Vision of Nature (2018). He is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy and a member of its Academic Board. He teaches the ‘Mysticism’ module of the Foundation Course in the Perennial Philosophy.



Please contact  or telephone  (01233) 813663  to book a place on the courses.