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new Theurgy and Pico tweets


For Iamblichus and Theurgy Tweet collection see http://t3dy.livejournal.com/1689711.html#cutid1

Pico calling Kabbalah a "theology" already distorts its, linking it to the "ineffable" and "angelic metaphysics" spins it further Dionysian.
Judaism does not have the same relationship to theology as Christianity does. Pico misinterprets Kabbalah as if it were Christian style theo
Although medieval Jewish philosophy and religious thought was influenced by same philosophers, calling it "theology" reveals Christian bias

I think Copenhaver exaggerates newness of Pico's allegory+anagogy. He's doing Dionysius+Thomas with a twist, original style, but nothing new

Pico didn't change his angelology based on what he found in Kabbalah, but he did change Kabbalah to fit his angelology.

For Pico philosophy, magic, angelology, and heady metaphysics/ontology is all at service of religious inspiration, but not some radical way

Michael Allen "The Birth Day of Venus" Pico as Platonic Exegete in the Heptaplus and Commento http://bit.ly/eH0xpi

Pico isn't blind to the controversial possibilities of his bolder-sounding ideas. Indeed he attempts to explain why not problematic that way
Pico seems genuinely surprised some of his Conclusions misread as wrong/heretical, innocently and naively defends them in his Apology.
Pico gets himself in all kinds of trouble in 900 conclusions, but not because he imported magical practices. Rather contradicts, blurs lines
Pico was clearly not afraid to step on philosophical-theological toes, so no reason to assume he left out magical practices he liked.
Pico probably did not mean to imply most or all of the magical practices his interpreters have read into the 900 Conclusions. wasn't afraid?
Pico's Conclusions do demonstrate Pico's exploration of various issues, especially NP angel metaphysics, however he doesn't mix angels+magic

Sheila J. Rabin - Pico della Mirandola and Magic http://bit.ly/hv3jFk
Kabbalah and Modernity: Interpretations, Transformations, Adaptations - Boaz Huss, Marco Pasi, C. k. m Von Stuckrad http://bit.ly/gC44ar
Richard Kiekhefer: The close connection between mysticism and magic is a well-known feature of Kabbalah. http://bit.ly/f97Nqd
If Pico's 900 Conclusions can't be read definitively as evidence of his own philosophical positions,even harder to say his magical practices
Pico and Reuchlin in Donald Tyson, Ritual Magic and how to do it http://bit.ly/hgNx0u
Reuchlin was committed to making the Kabbalah a Christian magic, thereby absorbing its occult potency into Christianity... -Donald Tyson

@eglinski compilation of Pico texts on angelology http://t3dy.livejournal.com/1686536.html#cutid1
@eglinsky Pico's Cabalistic Conclusions http://www.cmrs.ucla.edu/brian/research/unfinished/unfinished_books/pico_cabala.pdf

@eglinski thanks for a good question been meaning to link those sources. do you know any Pico+theurgy interpretations/arguments I'm missing?

@eglinski "occult kabbalistic techniques...theurgical production of a spiritual descent of efflux from above" ??? http://bit.ly/fCDIid p.952

Copenhaver on Pico's magic+theurgy http://bit.ly/gZcMtf http://bit.ly/eOVezs http://bit.ly/eI6Ioh or http://bit.ly/eeh41Z

@eglinski Copenhaver: the Cabala that Pico knew was a theurgy as well as a theosophy http://bit.ly/gZcMtf

Copenhaver on Pico :magic is preliminary to higher+supernatural magic of theurgy+Cabala http://bit.ly/eOVezs

@eglinski Mebane is an example of the kind of "theurgic" interpretation of Pico I'm criticizing http://bit.ly/ff1Lwi
@eglinski Craven on Pico: Hints of theurgy are not warranted. http://bit.ly/eHCZvW

@eglinski Copenhaver on Pico theorizing magic "without being guilty of theurgy" http://bit.ly/eeh41Z

@eglinski Moshe Idel argues that Pico wasn't interested in Kabbalistic theurgy. Craven's book on Pico argues "no hint of theurgy"

@eglinski I'm arguing that theurgy is a problematic term for understanding Pico. See Copenhaver's articles for a good use of theurgy re:Pico
@eglinski Pico himself mostly,here's selected Pico sources http://t3dy.livejournal.com/1687425.html http://t3dy.livejournal.com/1687608.html

Theurgy misleads if it emphasizes aspects of angels that involve summoning or communicating with them. Pico is clear why he doesn't want to.
theurgy as ritual power doesn't work for Pico because he's not charging it up, mystic ascent is standard xtian via PD, no communication w/an

theurgy is great term for armchair theorizing on kabbalistic angel magic implications Pico might have left open,bad for explaining his ideas

Theurgy might help to explain Pico's interest in Neoplatonic ontology, but he has better philosophical-theological reasons for this interest

Theurgy might help to explain Pico's ritual ascent, but he's a Dionysian and Thomist not interested in alternative magical worldview

Theurgy as a term might offer to help explain the "practical" Pico but by practical he doesn't mean taking on theurgic ritual power

Theurgy might have a great deal to offer in cases of ritual power to do ascent,but I don't see this as Pico's main problem.He was scholastic

# theurgy as a special category between magic and religion is not what Iamblichus meant, not needed for PD+Pico

Pico has not received the attention he deserves as a philosopher of Angelic Being because of the mistaken reputation for magic+,yes, theurgy

magic is not a big interest from the point of view of Neoplatonic angel metaphysics Pico dabbled in. this is a problem for magic biased view

http://www.danmerkur.com/onlinewritings/Nectar.PDF Nectar in Renaissance Esotericism: Ficino, Pico, Agrippa, and Bruno (2003)

@unfolding with lucid dreaming the problem is an inversion of this will-to-awaken: I can't turn it off. Realize too late more wake means end

There is much to admire in Pico's philosophy of angels that we also see in comparatively original systems of Aquinas and Dionysius about

Pico anticipated the last thirty years of Renaissance in Late Neoplatonic and Thomistic scholarship, which finally admits the Platonic stuff

My point with Aquinas is that Pico was aware of the sublime heights of Neoplatonic-Thomistic philososophizing about Being, now fash research

# Lehrich: Reuchlin's Kabbalah not greatly at odds with Scholem's http://bit.ly/euelCa

Iamblichus -- On the Mysteries V.26 -- prayer culminates in an "ineffable union (henosis)" (238.3)

Neoplatonists' mystical experiences? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/neoplatonism/message/2646 Greg Shaw answers

Moderatus on Number (part of a huge Pythagorean discussion on Neoplatonism elist) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/neoplatonism/message/3811

# Bryn Mawr review of "Syrianus et la métaphysique de l'antiquité..." http://groups.yahoo.com/group/neoplatonism/message/3237

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/neoplatonism/message/3832 funny fake dialogue between time traveler+Neoplatonist philosopher by Michael Chase
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# One of Pico's most powerful philosophical moves in his harmony of Plato+Aristotle is taken from Aquians' handling of Dionysian metaphysics
Accounts of Pico as Aristotelian fail to take into account doctrine of participation, as do accounts of Aquinas as anti-Platonic. Synthesis?
Michael Chase's article on Aquinas and Simplicius helps place Pico's platonism, understand his use of Simplicius
Pico's magic is operative at the natural level, as the practical part of natural philosophy. Even theology doesn't manipulate higher energy.
I don't think Pico is doing magical practices for theurgic or mystical purposes. He's not using them to interact with supernatural energies.
The Case for Pico's theurgy and why it doesn't work.

Frances Yates thought Pico was invoking angels. (for criticism of Yates on Pico see Craven, Copenhaver, Farmer)

Craven argued that "no hint of theurgy" was intended by Pico.

Occultist interpretation of Pico that follows Yates begins to use theurgy to describe Pico "angel magic."

Iamblichus defined theurgy in mystical terms, ultimate aim is union with the one.
Theurgist is not coercing, gods have the power which theurgist merely participates in.

Iamblichean theurgist is not a Magus in the sense Renaissance historians have mistakenly attributed to

Copenhaver has argued that Pico recognizes in Kabbalah a theurgy similar to the neoplatonic one. But Idel says it's not theurgy but theosophy.
I think the term theurgy is too problematic. It might be a good term for the kind of mystical ascent Pico is doing

Interpreting Pico's magic as "the theurgic" seems like a mistake to me. Practical engagement with natural forces is not theurgic.
If Kabbalah powers magic to do natural manipulations this is not theurgic. Pico is not interested in doing Kabbalistic theurgy in
the sense of making changes happen in divine world by doing Jewish rituals. He's not even much interested in Dionysian theurgic
explanation of Christian rituals. He is discussing mystical ascent which is accomplished in Dionysius by Jesus' theurgic acts, not
by magical practices. I don't see any reason to assume that Pico was suggesting these magical practices were for mystical ends. Pico
was interested in natural magic for theoretical and theological reasons, but not because he thought they could power mystical ascent.
He is not doing a "Magical Theology" or attempting to tap supercosmic forces in order to become a powerful Magus.

His celebration of the Dignity of Man is being misinterpreted by those who think he's trying to usurp powers not meant for man.
What he means is that man's place as defined by Christian anthropology deserves to be celebrated with such an Oration.

Instead I want to look at Pico's angelology as a philosophical theological subject, rather than an occult or magical discourse.





Pico and Aquinas

Pico's use of Aquinas has received some attention, but the complexities and dynamics of his relationship to Thomas not very well understood.
Studies have tended to either present Pico as a follower of Aquinas (Dulles, Craven?) or a harsh critic of Aquinas and Thomists (Edelheit, MVD Blum).
A consensus has not yet emerged on how to take both Pico's criticisms and uses of Aquinas into account. I don't see it as too big a problem.
Pico is not attacking Aquinas in the 900 Conclusions or Apology. His problem is with dogmatic attachment to Aquinas' philosophy as if he were Scripture.
Pico thinks that Aquinas is fair game and feels free to argue him. Just as he's not abandoning magic by turning away from it in later texts, neither is
Pico abandoning his critique of Aquinas (which he never had the opportunity to explain in much detail) when he uses Thomistic metaphysics in Heptaplus
and On Being and the One. Pico makes creative use of the metaphysical developments of Aquinas, but in the end doesn't differ much from Aquinas' version
of Dionysian angelology.






Pico and Dionysius

Pico's main angelology influence is Pseudo-Dionysius. Pico spends most of his time explaining Dionysius, or giving his original take on a Dionysian theme of angelology.
Pico also spends a lot of time looking at Neoplatonic metaphysics, again exploring these Dionysian themes.
The influence of Dionysius on Pico's mysticism and "angel regimen" has been explored in detail by Copenhaver in his articles.
Pico's angelology is based on Dionysius but it also shows the influence of the angel treatises of Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologiae.
Thomas Aquinas made important modifications to the metaphysics of Dionysius in order to develop his own view of God as absolute Being, ipsum esse subsistens.
Pico had included notions from Thomas' angelology in the 900 as up for debate, but in his more explicit angelological texts he uses these developments of Aquinas to explain angels. Substance and Potency. Abstract and Concrete being.
Pico reads Dionysius and the Late Neoplatonists in the light of Aquinas.

Pico and Iamblichus -- separate section or integrate into theurgy bit?
for Tweets from 2009-Spring2010 see http://t3dy.livejournal.com/1687007.html#cutid1

Craven says Heptaplus is not kabbalistic just allegorical, but Black argues Pico takes more jewish hermeneutic stance, shows influences
Craven vs. Frances Yates in Pico-Symbol of His Age: "No hint of theurgy" should be read into Pico, who's not gnostic pantheist or emanatist
Pico an interesting case study in occult psychology of motivation: exhortation to philosophy aims to inspire mystic/theurgic contemplations
Did Pico see theurgic/ecstatic uses of the sefirot in Abulafian or Zoharic mode? Did he see magical uses of Proclan hierarchy? Or just relig
Coughlin explains Dionysius on "becoming theurgic" which may be a good way to understand Pico's operative contemplation and transformation
Angel mention in Being -- gets more attention in Heptaplus. we have seen PD's theurgic angel, Pico not talking as much about illum. but MP

Idel argues that Christian users of the Kabbalah applied it toward speculation not theurgy or ecstasy
Dionysius uses the term "theurgy" 48 times.
PD+theurgy may help explain Pico's interest in magic+KBL but it also explains why Pico doesn't need magic+KBL for theology of Heptaplu+BU
Recent scholarship on theurgy has gone very far in explaining philosophical and religious content, debunking pejorative magical readings
theurgy of Kabbalists was once seen as a problematic magical/heretical/anti-philosophical and thus irrational/superstitious side of Judaism
Theurgy has been misread chiefly because metaphysics behind it have been disregarded. Pico should be rehabilitated like NP+KBList theurgists

I don't think we should apply theurgy to Pico without cautionary tour thru scholarly differences on NP+KBL-ist theurgy. so many options, mis
Theurgy is an important topic in the study of neoplatonism as well as kabbalah.Interest has increased recently,critical steps have been made
I worry that soon we'll need a theoretical movement against labeling things theurgy, just as the term gnosticism has be reconsidered
Pseudo-Dionysian as well as Iamblichean theology has contempt for the sort of magic scholars like Dodds+Dillon associate w/ "theurgy"
Idel seems to speak of "magic" as a distinguishable + acceptable religious modality present in KBL, rather than opposed to religion per se
If Pico understood the "theurgy" of PD, perhaps this led to him really recognizing something theologically essential in KBL+NP,etc. religion
Copenhaver underscores philosophical seriousness of Proclan magic theory to explain Pico's serious theological interest in magic+theurgy
Dodds thought Proclan hierarchical developments "unfortunate" + theurgy irrational magic, but since then "systematic considerations" emerged
Theurgy may help us understand the "operative" religious dynamics behind Pico's dry metaphysical texts as poetic theologizing
Apparently none of exciting discoveries made in spooky magic+theurgy are essential for Pico's high metaphysical theologizing. KBLreduced 2PD
Pico's reception of KBL deserves philosophical attention--encounter with strange theurgy +correlation with metaphysical science of theology.
study of PD advances our understanding of Pico's neoplatonism, which could use study sep. from magic, +probly deserves more phil. attention


Theurgy provides an excellent opportunity for discussing the themes of Dionysius that are relevant to Pico, particularly as KBL interpreter.
Angels are theurgic because they are the highest and most prolific players in CH, hierarchy does divine works of Christ, makes man theurgic.
Theurgy probably best term for finding solution to problem of Pico's magic but ironically understood as nonmagical Iamblichus to Dionysius
some scholars trace theurgy to sources of Plotinus' inner ritual important to understand antignostic context of his theoria mystery metaphor
Iamblichus according to Jan Assman really does report same Egyptian theological-theurgical wisdom that's also key to Christian mysteries.
Pico Reuchlin and Dee aren't interesting to me as bending philosophy to corrupt magical purposes but deep insightful readers of neoplatonism
P, R+D: theology/theurgy of # to new heights in renaissance+kblist modes innovating on xtianNPtradition, applied to religious needs/problems
important to emphasize that Pico applied myth+magic to renaissance religious practical devotional needs, to his mind sanitized as phil.theol

Any theurgy discovered by Pico should not be confused with something he doesn't base primarily on his own Dionysian pre-understanding.
Pico brings Thomas Aquinas' good attitude on philosophy, Aristotle to platonic theology of angel mind. this is more important than theurgy


Naomi Janowitz paper on Dionysius and Icons of Power on theurgy might be helpful place to look for theoretical models for Pico's magic if th


Copenhaver:Pico doesn't cite Iamblichus but his theurgy is like later NP. I think if this is true it is b/c Dionysius' theurgy's lateNPstyle
Iamblichus explicitly defined theurgy as a third religious modality alongside philosophy and theology, deserving its own kind of explanation
Dionysius' post-Proclan Neoplatonic Metaphysics have long been understood as an influence+terminological presence, but theurgy long misread.
does Pico's interest in alternative modes of signification from Kabbalah have some basis in semiotics of Dionysius? compatible?
Hard to tell if Pico leaves out parts of PD connection or just assuming they're understood already. not full CH as passing down illumination
To understand Dionysius' metaphor of becoming like angel we need to see what he thinks angels are. For Pico, Thomas on angel being/knowlegde
CH3 Pico uses metaphor of becoming like angels: we must understand what he thinks they are like. O+H do MP assuming kn. of Dionysius+Aquinas
I will focus on theurgy because it is the Dionysian theme that most impacts understanding of the function of angels who illuminate+theurgize
Dionysian themes in Pico I won't treat in detail: initiatory secrecy, hermeneutics, liturgical and symbol theory (may be influence on magic)
Iamblichean and Proclan "angels" do not play the same role in hierarchy of Dionysius--his henad-angels do theurgy for Christ--monotheistgods
Dionysian theurgy as "third option" for Pico theurgy if we can't decide between Iamblichean and Kabbalistic theurgy: his angel does, they no
Janowitz useful for semiotics of theurgic symbol as "icon of power," logic of "nonreferential" in PD, KBL+NP have mystic semiotics in common
PD+Theurgy: Wear Struck Burns Coughlin NP Theurgy: Dillon Shaw Majercik Sheppard Athanassiadi Janowitz van den Berg KBL: Idel Wolfson Brody


Pico's magic was victim to anti-naturaltheology stance of Church not anti-Dionysian theurgy views. He's not read correctly as shocking magus
Pico only needs magic as adjunct to natural philosophy and natural theology. Angelizing belongs to mysticism, based on MP/higher theology.
Yates thought Pico magic was "tapping" supercelestial powers, conjuring angels, but he builds off ways for T+PD already Tap/Conj no need4mag
Michael Allen has studied the Platonic Theology of Ficino, tracing Neoplatonic sources in many books, F's PD,reads Pico as still neoplatonic
In his many articles Copenhaver has made a case for philosophical seriousness of Renaissance magic by showing neoplatonic + scholastic roots
theurgy will be discussed as useful theme for approaching Pico in comparison to Neoplatonic, but I don't think it's an alt.religious mode 4P
Reading of Pico's magic and kabbalah as (NP or KBList) theurgy have been attempted, but none that approach from context of Dionysian theurgy
Pico emphasizes man's intellectual imperfection in BU carrying thread thru texts, for ex.uses Iamblichus in Heptaplus on need for divine aid
Pico argues based on relative simplicity and unity of angel: cognitions, firstness, hierarchy position, power, substance, vs. man's lim-imp.
Pico on Iamblichus in Being/One: duality of prime matter only due to imperfection of multiples solves Plotinian horror at matter's weirdness
Dionysius is seen by Pico as "glory of theology" so since Proclus close to PD, NP theology has serious philosophical appeal as well as force
If man is to become angel need to find out what it is about angels that we take on or emulate. CH2 will discuss Pico's MP angelology CH3 God
Pico doesn't use Iamblichus as a magical but rather as a theological authority citing him on difficult metaphysical points not theurgic ones
Pico not using Dionysius to respond to objections as in Thomas, but to show how Genesis, KBL or his own MP conforms to Christian truth
model of Thomas's angel treatises for Heptaplus should not be overlooked, as well as importation of content.
Heptaplus not just laying out cosmicMP but try at how to use allegory for living faith purposes. remaining exuberantly pious despite density
important to emphasize that Pico applied myth+magic to renaissance religious practical devotional needs, to his mind sanitized as phil.theol
P, R+D: theology/theurgy of # to new heights in renaissance+kblist modes innovating on xtianNPtradition, applied to religious needs/problems


Recent scholarship on Dionysius and Neoplatonic tradition/theurgy can illuminate philosophical reasons behind Pico's delving/dabbling in NP.
Rather than detail on late neoplatonic theurgy (Shaw, Sheppard) I will discuss recent studies on Dionysian theurgy (Burns, Coughlin, Struck)
Since Pico does not find any sorcery in Dionysian theurgy, if it is decided that Pico picks up magic, he doesn't get it from Dionysius
I'm looking at theurgy b/c Copenhaver and others recently used it to describe Pico, but also because activity of Dionysian angel is theurgic
If theurgy for Dionysius is imitating the angels and Pico wants to imitate the angels, seems like Pico is doing theurgy. (I was resisting)
Pico’s texts might be read as Dionysian style theurgic hymn/prayers rather than magical talismans
Pico shares with Aquinas Aristotelian reading of neoplatonic concepts like participation, angelic substance, emanation, diffusion of Good
Pico's grounding in Aquinas can help us understand how he does Aristotelian-Dionysian mysticism. Aquinas admits some theurgic PD elements?
Pico's understanding of theurgy is not as some magical modality different from theology. Cosmic sympathy, henosis, ascent, perfection, toGod
Pico recognizes what we'd call the "theurgic" aspect of kabbalah, something like what Idel and Wolfson characterize as theurgy, without term
Copenhaver emphasizes theurgy as explanatory term for Pico but does not go into theurgy of Dionysius. Pico may have known the greek term.
Pico is key to Christian Theurgy and Renaissance reading of greek+hebrew myths as theological-metaphysical allegory--last great Summa of it.
contemporary theurgy can appreciate Pico as theory of operative theurgic philosophizing, theologizing with numbers, weird cabalistangelmagic
Pico for contemporary theurgists: whatever Pico felt was safe magic, or scholars interpret as his correct mystic, we are free to use his CBL
I will not add to Pico’s magic or theurgy as rel.modes, but step back and examine Pico’s use of Dionysian metaphysics and theological style.
four stages of spiritual ascent correspond to four levels or functions of the soul
Pico was not satisfied with his own poetry, but wrote brilliant and beautiful poetic theology, managing to weave and synthesize MP+practical
I refer my readers needing further explanation to Copenhaver on Kabbalah, Allen on Platonism, Idel on Jewish sources, Black on hermeneutics.
Dionysian theurgy may help understand how Pico was neither disengenuous nor sorcerous: he saw in magic and kabbalah Dionysian mystical arts.
Dionysian sympathy builds on the Proclan henadic bridge between unity and multiplicity. This seems to be foundation of Pico's Number/Cabala.
Pico may or may not be doing theurgy but his angels do the same things that Pseudo-Dionysian angels do, and those activities are theurgic.
We might view the things that PD found "satisfying" about NP theurgy (per Dylan Burns) as keys to Pico's own Dionysian mysticism+angelology.