Friday, December 28, 2012

Zambelli on Pico "manag[ing] to find some formulations"

that distinction has essentially the same purpose as Albertus and Thomas Aquinas's distinction in regard to the duae viae of theology and philosophy, namely to legitimize and render practicable the second way, the via naturalis. Giovanni Pico, who had received Scholastic training (in Padua and Paris) more comprehensive than that of Ficino and other magicians, had managed to find some formulations that would eventually become classic definitions and (like that on magic as "naturalis philosophiae absoluta conummatio", a definition taken from Psellus) would be repeated systematically as late as Della Porta. Butzbach makes use of them when he defends Trithemius.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

recent Pico tweets

Thanks to everybody who has looked at this mess of an unfinished project. I haven't been able to work on it for a long time due to my busy teaching schedule and the pain of revisiting my failure to defend it as a thesis. But I do hope to finish it as a little book someday soon. Here are a few tweets I wrote to remind myself where I'm at with it these days...

I would like to see a reading of Pico's Kabbalah as understood through an Iamblichean/Dionysian lens. What is Christian Cabalist Theurgy?

PIco doesn't seem to be using Iamblichus as an authority on magic/theurgy specifically, but as a philosopher with wider theoretical insight.

Iamblichus shows up subtly at clutch moments in Pico's treatises/Need for outside help in Iamblichus helps understand theurgy as not magical

Aquinas' handling of Dionysius certainly plays a key role in Pico's "Being/One" treatise. Does Pico find license here to work w/Platonists?

Problem of understanding Pico's use of initiation language/metaphor in Oration. Philosophy as initation, angel as model, magic as analogy...

Does Kabbalah for Pico stand in relation to magic as higher theurgy stands to material ritual in Iamblichus/Dionysius?

How many magics are present in Pico's 900 conclusions?

Does Ps.Dionysian theurgy offer a solution to problem of understanding Pico's magic, or must we look
elsewhere for its specific domain?

How does the encounter that Aquinas had with Platonism of Dionysius/Proclus compare with the one that Pico had with D./Iamblichus/Proclus?