Thursday, January 20, 2011

yet more notes - final decisions, footnotes, things I'm forgetting? some reruns from last notes post

Hankins+Allen Pico+F. "more comprehensive ways of theologizing in contexts outside of, if ancillary still to, Christian analysis+exposition"

Theurgy in Neoplatonism is a subject of difficulty and complexity, obviously a simple answer on Pico's theurgy is not to be expected.

Levi: Pico della Mirandola, whose dependence on Proclus was clearly shown by Michael Allen's studies of Ficino ...

Szulakowska:recent research of Allen into Ficino's Pythagorean numerology has revealed his interest in optical geometry as a theurgic device

"Where Galileo wanted detachment, Pico looked for coincidence"

Whether or not theurgy is the right term, we will still have many problems to sort out concerning Pico's philosophical motivations in using.

Pico looks to ancient theology not because they share some universal truth that transcends Christianity/but b/c he sees them pointing toward

Ficino believed that Mercury was the original theologian

Alemanno "Let us come to wisdom and union only by the way of intellectual speculation or by sudden intuition, but not by magical actions"

Pico is clearly working on Dionysian + Thomistic problems in philosophical angelology in his texts/Any theurgic hints are secondary to this.

Angelic influence matters to Pico, as it did for Aquinas+Dionysius, but his writings on this influence do not suddenly change it into magic.

Dougherty shows how attention to the scholastic forms Pico is using in 900 Conclusions clears up misconceptions about his motivations+style.

Pico seems to contradict himself in the 900 Conclusions because he was not giving his own opinion, but preparing sentences for a debate.

it is not clear how a theurgic interpretation of Pico gives us any help in understanding the problems of his epistemology, cognitive models.

On Pico's Kabbalah and Language/Knowledge problems see Stuckrad's Textures of Renaissance Knowledge (cite his W Eso survey on Pico earlier)

God is not intellect (or life, etc.) but is better than that

in the long ch5 of De Ente he came back to this fundamental difference

Blum PRR134 on Commento "this can get Platonists in trouble" Pico attacks this kind of Platonism by underscoring mp gap b/t cr.hum.mind+God

Blum in Dougherty suggests that the reason for Pico's theses being condemned is his failure to respect a boundary between nat.phil+theology.

Blum interprets Pico as a critic of pagan Neoplatonic revival, conservatively defending Christian metaphysics vs. Ficino (Phil.Rel.Renaiss.)

Blum: This intermediate level--name it Sefiroth, Angelic Mind, First Created--keeps world and God apart and together. (Phil.Rel.Ren. 133)

Blum 133 Agreement between Pico's critique of Neoplatonist emanation and Elia's critique of misrepresented cabalism proof Pico an Averroist?

Blum: this very view is the main message in Pico and it is very much at odds with Ficino. Phil.Rel.Ren 132

"the order we find in the world is that of the Sefirot" Del Medigo, ibid

"they believe that in the Infinite there is no thinking or apprehension" Del Medigo letter to Pico(explains why for Pico Kabbalah=Dionysius)

Del Medigo letter to Pico: the order in which the produced beings are produced +maintained within the order is Sefirot...flow from infinite

Petrarch's hope that the study of ancient mythology might enhance reverence for Christian faith was shared by Ficino and Pico. Blum (ibid)

rather than hints of theurgy Blum speak of "hints against poluarizing pagan Platonism"

p.135 Oration should be read as an appeal to spiritual conversion to which knowledge of all sorts of wisdom contributes if properly applied.

Pico understands the Dionysian problem of angelic knowledge and does not neglect the Dionysian concern to preserve the hierarchy/gap between

thesis - Pico's philosophical angelology deserves to be taken more seriously than it has been (magic/kbl/theurgy needs a fair treatment too)

however, recent groundbreaking work has been done that when taken into account allows for a much richer picture of Pico in context

Marshall Angels in EM World "Pico believed that practical Cabbal led to the ... both angel magic and the peril of entrapment by the demonic."

Moshe Idel: A disentanglement of theosophy from theurgy recurred in the Christian version of Kabbalah

Sheppard argues against Dodds's thesis that by accepting theurgy Neoplatonism abandoned its rational basis of Plotinian mysticism

Sheppard elaborates on Smith's analysis by distinguishing three levels of theurgy in Proclus' writings; forms of "white magic" -Majercik

Proclus integrated his response to Iamblichean theurgy into his grand (proto-scholastic?) system of philosophical "theology"+ph."angelology"

Iamblichus' defense of theurgy was very important, but so were his theories of religion and metaphysics of the One/philosophical angelology.

I don't think "theurgy" should be seen as a defining (limiting...) theme for Iamblichus, Proclus, or Dionysius, w/out a great deal of care.

Sheppard makes theurgy central to Proclus' philosophical theology + "mystical experience" ...would certainly be mistake to do so w/Dionysiu

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?

the simplicity of material objects makes it easier to contact divinity

Watts "While it was controversial, theurgy held a strong appeal for those with a philosophical inclination."

Theurgy was a development w/in the Platonic tradition, but a development that on some points was difficult to harmonize

as one scholar puts it "The invocations can raise us to union with God."

theurgic interpreters have put too many words in Pico's mouth/really we don't understand theurgy or Pico well enough to say w/certainty

some theurgic interpretations clearly based on misinterpretation, but Copenhaver and Stuckrad understand Pico well

more on ascent see Couliano Psychanodia and "Out of this World"

Moshe Idel discusses Pico's theory of ascent in light of kabbalistic precursors/possible influences in Ascensions on High

on theurgy and "elevation" see Lewy "chaldaean oracles and theurgy" ch.3

theurgic interpreters have not said what theurgy means for Pico's doctrine of Angelic Mind or angelic cognition--"gnostic" is a cop-out

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

Language, immateriality, and prayer. in Word and meaning in ancient Alexandria.

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, ... 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 -

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

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.

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.

The corporeal imagination: signifying the holy in late ancient ... - Page 194 Patricia Cox Miller - 2009

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