Monday, November 12, 2012

Renaissance Scholars and Their Demons - Ficino lecture

Society for Neo-Latin Studies: Annual Lecture
November 16th, 5 p.m., University College London
Dr Maude Vanhaelen (University of Warwick)
Renaissance scholars and their demons:
on Ficino and Iamblichus’ De Mysteriis

In 1486, Ficino suddenly interrupts his commentary on Plotinus’ Enneads and devotes three years to the translation of other Neoplatonic texts related to some of the most delicate doctrines of the time: pagan demonology, divination through dreams and theurgy. This paper examines the circumstances surrounding the production of these texts, and explores the ways in which they modify ancient and medieval doctrines of prophecy and divination. It also offers an overview of the immediate reception of Ficino’s translations: it shows that a network of humanists nourished a special interest in the doctrines revived by Ficino, prompting Savonarola to mount virulent attacks against his contemporaries’ revival of the pagan cult to malevolent ‘spirits’.

The lecture will take place in the Chadwick Building (G08), University College London, on Gower Street WC1E 6BT (

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