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By Wouter J. Hanegraaff

Teachers are likely to glance on 'esoteric', 'occult' or 'magical' ideals with contempt, yet are typically ignorant concerning the spiritual and philosophical traditions to which those phrases refer, or their relevance to highbrow background. Wouter Hanegraaff tells the overlooked tale of ways intellectuals because the Renaissance have attempted to return to phrases with a cluster of 'pagan' principles from past due antiquity that challenged the rules of biblical faith and Greek rationality. Expelled from the academy at the foundation of Protestant and Enlightenment polemics, those traditions have emerge as perceived because the different through which lecturers outline their id to the current day. Hanegraaff grounds his dialogue in a meticulous examine of basic and secondary assets, taking the reader on an exhilarating highbrow voyage from the 15th century to the current day and asking what implications the forgotten background of exclusion has for verified textbook narratives of faith, philosophy and technological know-how.

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The resulting notion of a Suhraward¯ı–Elissaeus–Plethon transmission was adopted by Corbin in 1971 (En Islam Iranien ii, 34–35) and explored at greater length by Tardieu in 1986 (“Pl´ethon lecteur des oracles,” 141–148). It has been accepted by the leading contemporary specialist Tambrun (Magik† logia, 41–44; “Marsile Ficin et le ‘Commentaire’ de Pl´ethon,” 21–22; Pl´ethon, 36–37, 92–94). Some doubts about this line of transmission are expressed by Stausberg, Faszination Zarathushtra, vol. i, 37–41.

92 94 95 97 93 Augustine, Civ. 39. Lactantius, Div. Inst. 8–9. 4 and 11 (Augustine qualifies his earlier statements to the effect that Plato had heard the prophet Jeremiah and read the prophets while in Egypt, pointing out that they had not yet been translated into Greek, but suggests that he might have been using an interpreter). 9. 5 (and many equivalent statements in the following chapters). 2–3 quoted above (pp. 9 and 21). 28 The history of truth Perhaps most important in that regard is the fact that power relations were now reversed: while Christian authors of the first centuries were apologists for Christianity within a living culture of paganism, it was inevitable that the admirers of Plato in the Italian Renaissance, their strong Christian commitments notwithstanding, became apologists for pagan sources within a living culture of Christianity.

A notable personality in the emperor’s party was a Byzantine philosopher of considerable renown in his own country, George Gemistos (c. 100 He was already around eighty years old, and several of the Greek delegation’s outstanding intellectuals (Johannes Bessarion, Mark Eugenikos, very probably Isidore of Kiev)101 had once been his pupils. The impression made by Plethon at the Council, and eventually among the humanist circles of Florence, has since become the stuff of legend: When there was a wonderful gathering in the West of wise and eminent men, and a great debate on the matter of the Church’s doctrines, how can one describe the admiration they felt for this man’s wisdom and virtue and his powers of argument?

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