Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Zambelli on Agrippa

In De vanitate Agrippa tends to use more often medieval and humanistic sources whereas he uses mainly classical ones in the De occulta philosophia, (which however coincided with the De vanitate in its method of citation). In the passages already examined on the occult arts Agrippa again returns to Plato (both spurious and authentic), to Porphyrius, to Iamblichus and elsewhere to other Neoplatonists, the Pythagoreans, Hermes, Zoroaster--all the authorities which Pico and Ficino made use of in presenting both their pia philosophia and this natural type of magic; on these authorities they, like Agrippa, had given a foundation to magic and presented it in this framework. Unlike the De occulta philosophia, in the De vanitate Agrippa was to treat these sages as occult, rather than as theological, authorities.

"I shall leave aside the theology of the Gentiles, described in time past by Museus, Orpheus, and Hesiod: one knows that all is altogether fabulous and poetical; already a long time ago, and with very strong reasons, this was profligated by Eusebius, Lactantius and other Christian doctors; neither will I speak of the theology of Plato, nor of the other philosophers, all of whom were masters of errors."
De vanitate, Ch. XCVII; Opera cit., II, p. 282: "quam omnino poeticam et fabulosam esse in confesso est...quos omnes errorum magistros ostendimus superius"
"White Magic, Black Magic in the European Renaissance" p.130

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