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Europeans had been searching for rich new lands in the Southern Hemisphere long before Captain James Cook arrived on the east coast of Australia in 1770.

Effort is the law of style; ideas more than words are valued as are sentences which carry a hidden meaning.

The fascination about the Hermetic doctrines of the East had penetrated the Roman spirit. If the new religions have mysteries for initiates, why not the religion of truth, philosophy?

Also, the God of philosophical thinking does not appear to all but only reveals himself to those who merit it, beyond the internal part, in the innermost recesses of the temple.

As Pythagoreanism, which is in fashion, so every philosophy must have secret doctrines and sacred ‘orgies’ of the mind to which only the initiated are admitted…Such a love for the arcane brought gradually to the esoteric works of Aristotle the attention of the later centuries of the declining Classical Age.

Reale is discussing the popularity of the “esoteric” works of Aristotle, the cryptic ones that have a hidden meaning (I think).

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For Reale, Aristotle’s esoteric works were not all that popular for some time, when philosophers preferred Aristotle’s clear writings in their own pursuit of clarity and consistency.

Later, however, philosophers became attracted to the cryptic, and Aristotle’s esoteric writings made a comeback. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.

Reale talks about why the “esoteric” is so popular. When I was at Jewish Theological Seminary, Jacob Milgrom seemed to contend that God was giving Moses inside-knowledge that the other Israelites did not receive.

Many like a mystery, and they enjoy being part of a clique that is “in the know.” People have characterized the Armstrong movement as like that. Exodus 3 presents God telling Moses that God’s name is “I will be what I will be,” but he instructs Moses to inform Israel that is name is merely “I will be.” The Israelites were to learn that God exists, but Moses was given an additional nuance of information about the divine that was hidden from the other Israelites.

I don’t quite remember what special information Milgrom thought Moses was receiving, but I do recall that he was associating “I will be what I will be” with Exodus : “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (NRSV).

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