Tuesday, February 1, 2011

plan for subchapters

0a. intro - need to cover a few background things
0b. angel magic rundown
0c. Copenhaver's theurgy [Idel vs. but not yet KBL/CW]
0d. Dionysius - angel and theurgy
0e. Dionysian angel and Neoplatonic angel - needed context for Pico's angel/how he sees Kabbalah
0f. Influence of Dionysius on Aquinas - background for Pico's scholastic problems

1a. Oration. Angel Comparison, as biblical problem, Paul+Dionysius.
1b. Imitation of contemplative life of angels. Dionysian functions. Rival, go beyond. Seeds. - this is not the way Dionysius + Aquinas treated angels, but perhaps Pico isn't forgetting the distinction between man and angels. We'll see that he doesn't later.
1c. Moses and the problem of angelic knowledge.
1d. Conclusions - what are they and what did Pico mean? wasn't expounding, maybe trying to found a school of philosophical thought at level of opinion, but not trying to change theology at level of faith
1e. Scholastic problems of angelic substance, individuality, knowledge -- Pico leaves unsolved!
1f. Encounter with Kabbalistic Angel in conclusions - problem but here's how not to inflate
1g. Encounter with Neoplatonic Angel in conclusions - Pico's Iamblichus, Proclus, Syrianus, etc.
1h. Conclusion - Pico may discuss angel in unusual ways, drop hints of magic+kabbalah, but the evidence does not support an occultist reading. Philosophical interpretation can't yet deal with all this, but understanding philosophical contexts and motivations will help us do so in the future.
Even in the Oration magic doesn't seem to make much of an impact on Pico's angelology. In his later texts as we will see magic makes no impact at all on his angelology.

2a. Commento develops angel themes familiar from Oration+Conclusion more fully.
2b. Commento explicitly a philosophical experiment following Plotinus rather than PD
2c. Commento gives an original explanation of Angelic Mind, Love+Beauty, Forms
2d. We see Angel Comparison and Kabbalah, but here magic doesn't impact angelology. It won't later.
2e. Heptaplus claims to give angel metaphysics of Genesis, Dionysius, but we see Pico's new approaches to angels having been developed.
2f. We see Angel Comparison, Problem of Angelic Knowledge, again as biblical problems.
2g. Moses and problem of man being represented by angels in Scripture. Has comparison been mitigated from Oration since limits of man and inferiority to angels emphasized? Man is still macrocosm, Pico is still celebrating his central place in cosmos which depends on Jesus+angels connection.
2h. Heptaplus: Angel as Number. This discussion leads us directly to use of angel in De Ente.
2i. Imperfection of angel in Heptaplus and De Ente -- explanation of negative theology
2j. Presence of metaphysics of Aquinas in De Ente. Pico accepts PD of Aquinas. Should whole angel project be seen as rereading Neoplatonic angelology in the light of Aquinas developments on Dionysius?
2k. Even in Pico's last mostly-finished Disputations against Astrology, Pico emphasized importance of angels.

3a. Conclusion: Angel is central for Pico, he makes creative and original use of it without threatening Christian angelology in ways that have been suspected/claimed in scholarship.
3b. Understanding philosophical motivations behind angelology should help us understand what he's doing with the more unusual and difficult Kabbalistic and magical materials.
3c. This helps clarify Pico's position as founder of "Christian Cabala" and "Magical Theology"
3d. Future study of Pico should focus on solving problems concerning ways he uses metaphysics of Dionysius and Aquinas before moving on to problems of ways he uses Kabbalah, Magic, Neoplatonism.

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