I don't have an answer to theurgic interpretation, but prefer to bracket the question until philosophical angelology of Pico better studied.
Pico saw himself as doing Christian Neoplatonic philosophical angelology in same style as Dionysius+Aquinas/original Christianized Platonism
Edelheit: Di Napoli's defense of Pico's sincerity/orthodoxy neglects his inventiveness. But do we need to sacrifice orthodoxy to see as inv.
Approaching Pico from "scholastic influences" angle just as dangerous as "occult influences" name of the game is what he did creatively with
I can only confess that philosophical approach to Pico has flaws in not being able to handle the theurgic+magical on its own medieval terms.
Haeffner "angel magic was a sophisticated science in the Renaissance Cabala of Pico della Mirandola and HC Agrippa" http://bit.ly/gqyGb5
Brann "debate/genius" inviting the angel magic of Cabala into Ficino's blend of Platonic, Neoplatonic, and Hermetic principles...
if following Dionysian/Thomistic capacity+image/participated being constraints, perhaps Pico's talisman deals w/angelic being at human level
Pico might be structuring his text as a talisman in ways that don't get angels involved?
Theurgy is a controversial issue that I'm not bringing up to make an argument resolving/but only to note for important context to angelology
the magic of the Renaissance in general—and Bruno's magic in particular—is a science that primarily (if not solely) works in the imagination
magical interpretations are no excuse for not studying Pico's magic
"Theurgy of Number" in Iamblichus(Shaw)+Proclus(Wear)might be a great place to look for philosophical motivations behind Pico's Number magic
the life of the angel is not perfect (De Ente) it is left to Angel to be a Number (Heptaplus) we should imitate their life (Oration) but how
Copenhaver approaches Pico from history/philosophy of science perspective, but resorts to theurgic explanation b/c can't integrate Pico M+K?
Marshall Angels in EM World "Pico believed that practical Cabbal led to the ... both angel magic and the peril of entrapment by the demonic."
Like Dionysius Pico doesn't dare to describe the angels as they are, but rather focuses on traditional medieval accounts of their functions.
Pico isn't really theorizing mystical union in a theurgic way--like Dionysius and Aquinas he leaves the details up to God, Jesus, Angelic CH
Theurgy resists being theorized, although Iamblichus, Proclus, Dionysius do an admirable job of mapping what can be said about it/Does Pico?
is a philosophical spirituality more of a problem than a magical spirituality? Pico's philosophical angelology harder to deal w/than theurgy
The only "magical arts" Pico consistently seems to want to apply are the ones that exhort his reader to a Christian sprituality of philosoph
Pico's is a poetic theology not a magical one
I suggest that rather than seeing Pico as structuring his texts like a talisman, might make more sense to see him structuring like PD hymn.
Pico may have intended some number magic, or he may have just been making numerological jokes for the initiated to grin about when reading.
But Copenhaver's talisman is quite quite speculative... many other ways Pico's organizational arts structuring his texts could be understood
Copenhaver's angel magic talisman is an interesting speculation. We'd need a whole new category of textual talisman method, owing to Pico...
Copenhaver If Pico wanted his seventy-two conclusions to form an angelic talisman for repelling Azazel by summoning Metatron...
... As a device for doing angel magic, this figure derives its power from its hexagonal form, ...
French p87 follows Yates "it was cabalist angel-magic that, he thought, enabled him to operate in the supercelestial or angelic world"
Yates “Through Reuchlin, Pico's kabbalist magic leads straight on to the angel magic of Trithemius or of Cornelius Agrippa, ...
http://bit.ly/fyLZa0 The western esoteric traditions, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke: Planetary and Angel Magic in the Renaissance
Shadduck "One alternative tradition-encouraging the desire for ontogenic elevation-appears in Pico della Mirandola" England's amorous angels
RC digest: "Important developments which Reuchlin gave to angelology cleansed it of the demonological suspicions which..."
ibid p20 "medieval tradition of commenting on Dionysius as a theologian's rite of passage"
In the anteroom of divinity: the reformation of the angels from from Colet to Milton By Feisal Gharib Mohamed - http://bit.ly/gqrBjN
Avery Dulles: His views on this question, because of their consequences in angelology, brought Pico into conflict with the Church. ...
even the self is a social relation, however blind we like to make ourselves to its otherness
what is the difference between mode of cognition of angels / rational souls? difference between God+angels? sensible forms int'ly in angel?
# I don't think Pico's 900 Conclusions should be seen as a source for Pico's finished ideas about these matters, but start of his problems w/.
Crofton Black (echoing Craven) describes efforts to render Pico's 900 Conclusions under a single unifying schema in a harsh critical light.
Theurgic interpretations have made too much of Pico's "influences" -- he was indeed eclectic but not determined by any of his many sources.
Dionysian theurgy seems like a good place to look for more light on what Pico means by turning to magic and especially to kabbalah.
Challenge for philosophical reading of Pico remains how to integrate magical, kabbalistic,+possibly theurgic interests w/Pico's Christianity
Pico's angelology is not a finished system, but it is a marvellous effort and was profoundly influential on later esoteric Christians+QBList
Surveys of Renaissance+Medieval Angelology tend to dismiss Pico on the basis of magical interpretations that are not current with P scholars
Philosophical approaches to Pico have problem of not wanting to deal w/ possible implications of theurgy/how Pico really meant to use magic.
Tentative nature of 900 Conclusions I want to emphasize above any insight they may offer. Can't jump to "Conclusions" about Pico's magic...
Pico theorized language as a conduit of divine power as explaining magic+kabbalah/but not necessarily things he wants readers to actually do
@aureliomadrid Pico only describes Aquinas+Dionysius as "glory of our theology" has lesser praise for other influences in their image mostly
@aureliomadrid I posted a link below to argument that NP distorts Pico's theology. I disagree b/c NP is crucial to Aquinas+Dionysius "glory"
@soundhunter Dionysian "sacramental theology" is all about how the invisible+transcendental must be seen as entering through senses, body...
@soundhunter there's great stuff in Dionysius--he's following Neoplatonists on need for divine to be infused into matter to help us ascend.
Since "all is in all" but hierarchical levels are still distinct, man gets angelic being at his proper level. Swedenborg emphasized this.
while Dionysius influence still a problem, constraints of Dionysian "becoming theurgic" help contextualize Pico's "becoming angelic" model.
@aureliomadrid my strategy is to cover a few theurgic interpretations at beginning and show why I like them. Yates for highlighting mystical
@aureliomadrid But those looking for an angel magic or theurgy in Pico would do well to first understand his philosophical angelology texts.
@aureliomadrid I'm saying theurgic interpreters are correct to want to look at this stuff, there is something we can learn about religion...
@aureliomadrid I still think there's a problem with magic+theurgy. I'm only bracketing them really, not explaining them away or minimizing.
Heptaplus: like angels we cannot go in a circle and come back upon ourselves" crucial Proclan insight Pico gets via Dionysius + now directly
@aureliomadrid How can I be sensitively treating these delicate problems? I want to account for Pico's commitments + strange interests.
Pico gives rhetorical celebration of exalted place of man using Christian+Aristotelian philosophy, not offering a radical magus alternative.
Many have remarked that Heptaplus focuses on fallen+limited state of man, a surprising bummer for those who ignored Christianity of Oration.
Dionysian theurgist is like angel in the sense of illuminating those lower than his position on the church hierarchy. Pico's Syrianus notes.
Dionysius had to deal with problem of human participating in angelic theurgic activity when presiding as hierarch over liturgic rituals.
Can we see Pico's biblical angel comparison problem as similar to Dionysian problems in explaining angel to human interactions?
When Dionysius discusses human participation in Church liturgy or scriptural interpretation as "becoming theurgic" doesn't mean magically...
For Dionysius (emphatically for Aquinas) human does not become angelic b/c stays w/in human limit at position in hierarchy, tho'participates
Dionysius understands theurgy as magical metaphor for saving "Divine Work" performed by Jesus+angels, human participation a special case.
Theurgy is needed to explain Iamblichus-something needed to get past soul's material stuckness-but this is different problem post-Dionysius.
Theurgy theory of Iamblichus rests on difficult problem not being philosophical or theological account. Pico doesn't need a theurgy between.
Theurgy of Neoplatonists now seen as Religious, not coercive, passive participation in rituals given by gods who plant symbols,but crucially
Theurgy studies have already been set back long enough by confident misreadings that explain it as something else "theurgy is really magic."
Theurgic interp. has to deal w/problem of Pico not using term theurgy, getting far from his actual text. Why not use his own terminology?
# Theurgy interpretations have problem accounting for why Pico would feel the need to conjure angels when already in contact acc. to PD story.
Magic+Theurgy problems much harder to solve (KBL work already had pioneering studies) but angel philosophy grounding will only help matters.
There is plenty of easy and moderately difficult work to be done on Pico's Encounter with Neoplatonic Philosophical Angelology before magic.
Philosophical approach has tools to offer future theurgic interpretations, which can't rest on misunderstandings of Pico's motives+tool use.
@toastbeard Yeah, Pico is absolutely pointing to language of tools. Cabalists show how divine creation key language can be mined by artists.
@toastbeard Pico's is definitely a magic of real uses, whatever they are. But it could be he just imagines natural philosophy is useful...
over 12,000 words, I have 24 hours to sculpt http://angelologyofmirandola.blogspot.c
@aureliomadrid I'm not arguing for his orthodoxy. I am arguing for his sincerity. It's not just rhetorical cleverness to avoid accusations.
@aureliomadrid But I'm arguing we can take Pico's word for it that he's only exploring this stuff, not implying any conjuring, finds useful.
@aureliomadrid Big part of problem which may clear up eventually is we don't understand how magic stuff fits into Pico's theology project.
@aureliomadrid It seems like Pico was jazzed on Kabbalah bc he thought it was Dionysian mysticism, feels free to leave out what don't agree.
@aureliomadrid My last insight is to admit that my philosophical approach has issues of not yet being ready to deal with all the magic+KBL/T
@aureliomadrid Wirszubski points out that all Pico's kabbalistic sources have divine language power as source of Kabbalistic operations.
@aureliomadrid I point at selections he's making. In 900 leaves out theurgy of Iamblichus+Proclus. Heptaplus omits sefirotic interpretation.
@t3dy ...this seems so difficult to untangle because of all the mystical/hermetic & kabbalistic teachings pico embraced.
@aureliomadrid yeah it's a toughy. as I polish my final i'm pained to give my opinion a shape as argument.got any more thoughts on sensitiv?
I can't say Dionysius is not dangerous or possibly controversial, but Pico thought situating his angel mysticism in PDian mode made it safe.
Pico presents a Neoplatonic cosmology+anthropology...that was notably modified by his knowledge of the medieval Jewish magical tradition. CT
Renaissance transformations of late medieval thought Front Cover Charles Edward Trinkaus p.326 treats Aristotelian Pico
Trinkaus, Charles. “Cosmos+Man: Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni Pico on the Structure of the Universe+the Freedom of Man,” Vivens Homo 5 (1994)
Pico sees his angelology as a Biblical problem, situated in the thinking of Paul, Dionysius, and Thomas Aquinas.
Pico sees Dionysius as giving the angelology of Paul
Pico’s texts might be read as Dionysian style theurgic hymn/prayers rather than magical talismans
Copenhaver sees Kabbalistic angel as possible place where Pico imports novel practices but no practices are mentioned in Pico's later texts.
I will look at Idel, Copenhaver, Wirszubski on Pico's Kabbalah, which is only a problem for Oration+Conclusions, later texts don't treat K-A
I will devote some attention: Copenhaver's use of the term theurgy, Allen's study of Commento angel, Crofton Black on Dionysius in Heptaplus
Stuckrad: Alemanno had "intensive intellectual exchange" with Pico. W.Esotericism p 72
Stuckrad: Pico doesn't regard this KBL as Jewish--rather expropriates Jews w/reproach they hadn't understood true meaning of own teachings."
Craven has good rips on Pico misreaders "He is far from giving his own opinion" "no hint of theurgy" ... impatient historiography
Pico's "Dignity" only seems like radical new role for man in hindsight; in context it is clearly a standard medieval role (however enthused)
things to remember - Pico doesn't really need magic+KBL, only brings them up to celebrate philosophy and solve theology problems/not rad-ize
remember - stuff from end of De Ente which gives final summation of Pico's mystical program that shows consistent interest in imitate divine
quotes to remember - Yates on taking magic up to supercelestial, Heptaplus compared to 12th cent cosmotheology, Mebane etc. theurgy schools
theurgy might be better term used for Pico if disentangled from magic, seen in NP/PD terms as mystical theology/ascent practice via liturgy.
Pico's angelology is first+foremost a reaction to angelologies of Aquinas+Dionysius. Rest is just resources+tools Pico deploys to develop em
Allen says Angel has lost central role, philosophical explanatory value in Ficino. Why does it remain central for Pico? Magic isn't the key.
Pico sees philosophizing about angels as a natural part of his Christian project that gives him information about how to become angelic/div.
We see in Pico's Conclusions first experiments in translating Neoplatonic philosophical angelology into Christian terms, later refined in H.
juiciest problems of Pico's theurgy I don't even want to touch. but see Mebane, Stuckrad for interesting takes,Copenhaver for best th.interp
listening to all my old Pico tweets being read by the Kindle's rich robot tenor. hypnotic and galvanizing my muscle memory to write more key
Participation is now seen as a key to Aquinas' metaphysics (Wippel). Pico's grok of participation involved detailed study of NP use of term.
need to remember for first half: Paul, Library, Proclus on theurgy of number, Copenhaver on seriousness of Proclus' magic, Pallas angel knot
Pico's 900 Conclusions cannot be seen as giving us Pico's final systematic opinions, but it can help us understand angel phil. motivations.
It should be obvious from the fact that Pico circumscribes a limited place for magic, yet devotes much text to angelology, which is central.
Whatever Pico means by introducing Kabbalah,he describes it as primarily theology+angel metaphysics/secondarily as ground of magic operation
In suggesting philosophical motivations I don't mean to downplay influence of KBL angel, but Pico sees KBL as "exact metaphysics of angels."
Pico's angelology is Biblical and Christian angel read through Neoplatonism (as it was already in Dionysius/Aquinas)+Kabbalah--seen as NP...
Crofton Black suggests that Pico weaves 49 Gates of Kabbalah into Heptaplus structure -- is there a practice here as well as an hermeneutic?