Sunday, January 23, 2011

Neoplatonic Theurgy, Mysticism, Angelology--Collected Tweets

Butler Proclus dis141 The procession of the intellectual and subsequent orders od the Gods takes place under the imprimatur of the demiurge.

136 Plotinus + his followers err, according to Proclus, when they "ascribe a certain formless+indefinite nature to an intelligible essence."

Butler 135 Each henad possesses a divine mind or intellect, which is represented in particular by the third intelligible triad...

Butler dissertation 123 The demiurge is both henad and monad.

Pico thinks he shares with his Neoplatonic precursors an "angelic spirituality" that takes into account the influence of higher entities/God

Janowitz+Dillon respond to Dodds critics by emphasizing active component in[passive]theurgies of Dionysius/Iamblichus,say still "doer" magic

Every divine henad is participated w/o mediation by some 1 real-existent+whatever is divinized,linked by an upward tension to 1 divine henad

Pseudo-Dionysius and Henads Neoplatonism and Christian thought, Volume 2 By Dominic J. O'Meara

PD "angelic henads," thus identifying angels w/henads+ calls God: "the unifying Henad of all henads,"recalling Proclus "Henad of the henads"

Henads are the entities whose natures are participated in by anything that has a nature of any sort.

Remes: Neoplatonism intro on henads Proclus henads/One excerpt in Dillon, NP Intro Readings

Damascius on henads, the theurgists on triads in the intelligible

God as Monad and Henad

Proclus very rarely equates monad with henad+never does it in the case of his first principle, as Dionysius seems to

Siorvanes: "the henads constitute unity distributed to participants"

Triads are as fundamental for Dionysius as they are for Proclus. ibid

Vivian Boland on Dionysius applying term "henad" to God (7x)+Angel(only time used in plural)

it is knowable as henads from the things that participate in them

Whittaker on henads

Henad in Plotinus We are certainly not compelled to attach that one henad to some one thing and so deprive all the rest

Proclus: "Every particular soul participates the universal (Monadic) Intelligence both through the Universal Soul and its own particular intelligence; and every corporeal nature participates the universal Soul both through Universal Nature and through a particular soul."

@EPButler this is where I get confused by henad/angel comparison--PD,Aquinas,Pico all insist angels get mediated being, unlike henads.

Marion: we may read Thomas Aquinas without danger of ontotheology once the Dionysian strand is understood.

Sarah Coakley:The return to Dionysius could be seen as a recue from the rigidity of neo-scholastic readings of Aquinas.

Eric Perl: The foundational principle of Neoplatonic thought is the doctrine that to be is to be intelligible.

Perl: Neoplatonic+Dionysian "negative theology" and "mysticism" is an aspect of rational metaphysics,+must be interpreted+evaluated as such.

correction: quote below is from Maximus the Confessor in Re-Thinking Dionysius the Areopagite

Dionysius as "cosmic"--"The whole intelligible cosmos is imprinted in a hidden way on the whole sensible cosmos through the symbolic forms."

Wallis also wonders how often mystical union was attained in post-Porphyrian Neoplatonism ("The Spiritual Importance of Not Knowing," p476)

Chenu "St Thomas here sets himself in the tradition inaugurated by Maximus Confessor,which tried to make Dionysius intelligible to the West"

Smith: Thus for Proclus theurgy is not a way of bypassing noesis but rather the only means to attaining it.

Gildersleeve (1890) the system of Greek music was formed and in a way which renders the passage from Dionysius intelligible.

Mystical union with divinity transcends the dualistic limitations of discursive knowing

a participation in the One, which makes the mystical union with the One possible

Mystical union was approached through that "silence" which transcends all discursive reasoning+rational thought.Uzdavinys Golden Chain p.249

these divinities are according to union itself beyond all partible separation... they will have their progression from the One.

For union is thence derived to all things.

Majercik on Proclus - theurgy and ascent to the One

Rist on Dionysius - Experience of the divine leads to union and faith. As in Proclus, union and faith are ultimately identical

non pas la notion d'union pure, mais celle d'union et celle de difference

We endeavour to know the unknown nature of the first principle, through the things which proceed from, and are converted to it.Taylor TP 121

Timaeus' discourse on the construction the World Soul and its union with the body of the universe.

two higher forms of theurgy are distinguished from white magic because they are directed toward the ascent of the soul, + white magic is not about

"there is no suggestion that Proclus used these rites [of theurgic "white magic"] to induce mystical experience."

Van den Berg refers to "Iamblichus' efforts in the De Mysteriis to deny that theurgy had anything to do with magic."

Van den Berg summarizes Sheppard on "Three kinds of theurgy" in Proclus

Proclus and the theory behind theurgy/continuation of theurgy in late platonism in Proclus' Hymns

Perl on Dionysius' God "Beyond Being and Intelligibility"

Aquinas repeats as examples the instances noted by Dionysius: intelligible realities cannot be understood'perfectly'by means of the sensible

For Proclus, theurgy as a liberation of the soul is a "power higher than all human wisdom, embracing the blessings of divination, the purifying powers of initiation and, in one word, all the operations of divine possession." Platonic Theology 1.26.63

Siorvanes - Proclus on intelligible beings as "hidden"

"The intelligible divinities reveal the ineffable principle of all beings and that admirable superiority. " Proclus, Platonic Theology

Proclus' theurgy is important, but his henadology and angelology are more important influences on Pico (directly + via Dionysius/Aquinas)

Proclus is said to have brought about rain during a drought+produced means for earthquake prevention,both examples of his theurgic abilities

Van den Berg, Proclus' Hymns p. 75 Proclus' passion for theurgy is clear both from his own writings and his biography written by Marinus.

review - Aristotelian Aporetic Ontology in Islamic and Christian Thinkers

Angelomorphic Pneumatology : Clement of Alexandria and Other Early Christian Witnesses ... Bogdan Gabriel Bucur

Peter Struck: Iamblichus' De Mysteriis includes a sophisticated argument on the limits of human reason

Ruth Majercik on Theurgy in Proclus, Iamblichus + The Chaldaean Oracles

Rather than being magic... Iamblichus' theurgy was a subtle intellectual practice

John Bussanich: Philosophy, Theology and Magic: Gods and Forms in Iamblichus

Iamblichus carefully distinguishes theurgy from magic in De Mysteriis--like Pico he makes clear that he's not doing coercive power conjuring

(Iamblichus) 23.6. When the soul is assimilated to the intellect in an elevated fashion, motion in the vehicle becomes perfectly circular.

How much 'magic' actually went on under Iamblichus' own presidency is not know.n -John Dillon

When Iamblichus talks about mystical prayer in DM he talks up the benefits like people who talk about LSD.

@erik_davis Iamblichus is in many ways more attractive than Proclus for certain esoteric minds, Proclus is lovecraftian baroque systematics

Bussanich: Iamblichus still doing Plotinian mysticism. Mazur: Plotinian contemplation is interiorized theurgy. These interps show complexity

Bradshaw:Iamblichus is at pains to emphasize theurgic rite doesn't operate on gods but rather is means by which gods execute their own will.

Gregory Shaw: Iamblichus's distinction between theurgy and theology is crucial for understanding his Platonism.

Iamblichus gives a philosophical justification for "religious magic" if you want to describe it that way, better "theurgy" as mystic ascent.

Veenstra: "Iamblichus' theurgy gives philosophical justification for magic."

Iamblichus' theurgy, philosophy and theology each had proper object-gods seen by religious interaction, metaphysical entities, the One

vs BPC: Pico recognized in KBL an NP-powered metaphysics and theosophy, but not the theurgic as professed by Dionysius or even Iamblichus.

@cole_tucker here's a guy defending Goetia vs. criticism of Agrippa + Iamblichus

Like Iamblichus Dionysius emphasizes man's low/disconnected state-Angelic Hierarchy is needed to explain how man gets help from higher power

@erik_davis Late Neoplatonism is a disobedient reading of Aristotle. Plotinus+Iamblichus inverted him and invented theology as we know it.

@peterbebergal Gregory Shaw in his Iamblichus+Dionysius article says in a footnote that the Idel school of Kabbalah scholars misread theurgy
@peterbebergal E.R. Dodds thought that theurgy was a magical power grab, but his view doesn't jive with Iamblichus. See Gregory Shaw's work
The trend in Neoplatonic scholarship is moving toward understanding theurgy as religious ritual believing Iamblichus who said it's not magic

Theurgy is still controversial in Neoplatonic scholarship. John Dillon understands Iamblichus very well but still thinks magic not religion.

Theurgy was never ritual magic or angel/daimon conjuring. In Iamblichus it is religious ritual given by gods, powered by gods, unifying us.

Coughlin on Iamblichus: The object of prayer is to raise the supplicant up towards the gods through what he calls "harmonious persuasion."

...Iamblichus identifies this harmonious persuasion with the source of the efficacy of all prayer and all ritual. “Theurgy, Prayer... "

@peterbebergal Iamblichus defined theurgy as aiming toward mystical union w/ the One. Crowley summoned spirits to become his own One.

@peterbebergal Iamblichus described theurgy as exchanging the mortal life for the divine: Did Crowley?or steal fire from gods for human life

Coughlin on Iamblichus: The object of prayer is to raise the supplicant up towards the gods through what he calls "harmonious persuasion."
...Iamblichus identifies this harmonious persuasion with the source of the efficacy of all prayer and all ritual. “Theurgy, Prayer... "

Iamblichus' De Mysteriis gives a theoretical justification for theurgy as religious practice but not goetia which must be otherwise defended
I'm not aware of any explicit Crowleyan uses of Iamblichus but he does use term "Augoeides" for HGA...does NP theurgy help explain thelema?
Jake Stratton-Kent pointed out that Crowley refers to spirits appropriately coerced due to their violent nature--Iamblichus parallel?
in his 900 theses on Syrianus, Proclus, Iamblichus, Pico rereads late Neoplatonic concept of participation in light of Aquinas' developments
Proclus appeals to Pico not only b/c late NP resonates w/ PD mysticism but also b/c constructed cathedral of theology like Aquinas
Plotinian mysticism can't be exalted as "more rational" than Iamblichean anymore: better to admit Iamblichus is just as religious
Bussanich: Iamblichus' differences from Plotinus have been misunderstood/exaggerated, he's still doing mystical union, Platonism
Iamblichus' theurgy isn't sorcery/coercive power grab although theurgist enjoys practical benefits above fate, among demiurgic intellections
Iamblichus' theurgy is better explained as a religious ritual with a mystical aim. I don't see where magic even comes in.
Iamblichus' theurgy takes into account influence of superior entities, but he's careful to distinguish from "magical" approaches he dislikes
Iamblichus' theurgy rests on NP high ontology, develops sophisticated angelology to explain mysticism of prayer, illumination, symbol
The theurgy of Iamblichus is at great remove from medieval and modern "theurgy," which is why I raise questions of definition, application
@peterbebergal this emphasis of mystical vs magical is a good place to start. Iamblichus said theurgy has ultimately mystical, not magic aim
Iamblichus is a wonderful model+inspiration for esotericists who want to do Magical Theology, but doesn't justify magic as power techniques.
Iamblichus has been misunderstood as an apologist for magic but his defense of theurgy is as a religious practice (not much modern magic is)

@arcanamanor best is reading Iamblichus himself His worldview could inspire many great games
@arcanamanor I'm interested in application of Iamblichean philosophical defense of ritual to video game studies,theurgy's close to "ergodic"

Iamblichus--Embodiment+Theurgy, "Shifting Selves in Late Antiquity" in Religion+the self in antiquity David Brakke+...
Valerie Flint: For both Porphyry and Iamblichus, the marks of the unacceptable in supernatural exercise, and of 'magic' and evil demons ...
Pico's Christian Cabala is a genre of Dionysian Mystical Theology but within the specific class of Aquinas-influenced Christian Platonism+MP

@tevet I asked about "Thomist Kabbalah" because Pico della Mirandola demonstrates acceptance of Aquinas' angelology-a constraint on his KBL?

Gregory Shaw on "The Platonizing of Popular Religion" in Theurgy and the Soul: The Neoplatonism of Iamblichus
ref for Greg Shaw quote below
Shaw: Iamblichus developed a soteriological practice that by its very name theourgia defines not what soul does but what gods do to the soul
Janowitz: Rituals Iamblichus rejects are labeled, as expected, magic, for these by definition cannot have any spiritual or pious aspect. p11
Naomi Janowitz: Iamblichus revealed his philosophical snobbery in his rejection of sympathy (covers Shaw vs. E.R.Dodds)
Gregory Shaw on Naming the Gods in Iamblichus in Theurgy and the Soul
[Theurgy / Iamblichus] Sarah Iles Johnston, "Fiat Lux, Fiat Ritus: Divine Light and the Late Antique Defense of Ritual"
Gregory Shaw on Ficino following Iamblichus
John Dillon, The Platonic Philosopher at Prayer
Subjugating the Divine: Iamblichus on Theurgic Evocation in The power of religion in late antiquity
Iamblichus in De Mysteriis: spectacles of the gods distinguished from "apparations of technical magic"
It was Iamblichus' determination to distinguish between worthless magic and divine theurgy

How does philosophy prepare the soul for mystical union? Copenhaver
draws analogy to NP theurgy, but need to take PD theurgy into account.

"Pico's Mystical Ontology": intellectual process of philosophizing
unity/perfection of angels/number/transcendentals prepares for mystic uni

footnotes on Dionysius and Neoplatonic/Iamblichean theurgy

The Theurgic Turn in Christian Thought: Iamblichus, Augustine, Origen, and the Eucharist by Jason Parnell

two recent great studies on Dionysian theurgy are on Dionysius+Proclus by Dylan Burns + on Dionysius+Iamblichus by Rebacca Coughlin

Shaw, Gregory, Neoplatonic Theurgy and Dionysius the Areopagite

Pico looked to Iamblichus for metaphysics not magic practices, recognizing a Neoplatonic "divine" philosopher analogous to "angelic" Aquinas

Pico's felicity via cognitive ascent -- his original take is we learn how to imitate angels/God by doing ontology at highest level
Does Pico advocate a mysticism of prayer?Although prayer is important to Iamblichus-Proclus-Dionysius Pico doesn't treat their prayer theory
Pico did not regard Iamblichus as a superstitious magician, but rather as a metaphysician and fellow theologian, although "occult"

Dionysian theurgy is part of the explanation of how humans can receive illumination from unparticipated God through material/sensible world.

Shaw argued Dionysian theurgy same as Iamblichan--not because PD is magical but b/c Iamblichus is religious--so is Pico correct to like NP?

Pico refers to Iamblichus as doing occult theology, but he doesn't take an interest in Iamblichean theory of theurgy (or Proclan theurgy)
I don't find any evidence that Pico thought of Iamblichus as a "magical source" in the way that some Renaissance historians have alleged.
When Pico discusses Iamblichus as revealing "occult theology" of the ancients, does he mean something like mystical theology of Dionysius?
Pico does not suspect Iamblichus as an idolatrous sorceror--he never read Dodds!--nor does he apologize for using Platonists, even "occult"
Does Pico understand Kabbalistic theurgy as non-magical because he already understands Dionysian theurgy as non-magical? Or not a problem?
Does Pico resonate with KBL theurgy because he recognizes something similar to his own PD/NP theurgy?Probably not but he saw something there
Does Pico resonate with NP theurgy because he has already absorbed the theurgy of Dionysius? Probably, but we need to be careful with terms

more senses of theurgy 7)E.R. Dodds vs. Iamblichus on theurgy 8)Dillon takes Iamblichus' protests into account but still finds him magical
Copenhaver: To make his case for natural magic, Pico cites Porphyry but not Iamblichus, and Plotinus gets most of his overt attention.

We need to be careful b/c Iamblichus was anti-[bad]magicWe do not have good enough reason to suspect angel magic because Pico comes close to theurgies of Iamblichus, Dionysius, KBL: none are magic

Neoplatonic theurgy is not inaccurately described as a method of transforming sensibles/matter into experience of divine, so is PD theurgy

Pico's magic a controversial topic/many interpretations--but his angel has not received a proportionate amount of attention, although needed

For Iamblichus and Theurgy Tweet collection see

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

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
Kabbalah and Modernity: Interpretations, Transformations, Adaptations - Boaz Huss, Marco Pasi, C. k. m Von Stuckrad
Richard Kiekhefer: The close connection between mysticism and magic is a well-known feature of Kabbalah.
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
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
@eglinsky Pico's Cabalistic Conclusions

@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" ??? p.952
Copenhaver on Pico's magic+theurgy or
@eglinski Copenhaver: the Cabala that Pico knew was a theurgy as well as a theosophy
Copenhaver on Pico :magic is preliminary to higher+supernatural magic of theurgy+Cabala
@eglinski Mebane is an example of the kind of "theurgic" interpretation of Pico I'm criticizing
@eglinski Craven on Pico: Hints of theurgy are not warranted.
@eglinski Copenhaver on Pico theorizing magic "without being guilty of theurgy"
@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

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 Nectar in Renaissance Esotericism: Ficino, Pico, Agrippa, and Bruno (2003)

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

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

Neoplatonists' mystical experiences? Greg Shaw answers

Moderatus on Number (part of a huge Pythagorean discussion on Neoplatonism elist)

Bryn Mawr review of "Syrianus et la métaphysique de l'antiquité..." funny fake dialogue between time traveler+Neoplatonist philosopher by Michael Chase

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'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.

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.

Pico didn't imply angel magic when he referred to Cabalistic traditions concerning angels, but rather claimed correlations w/Dionysian myst.

Problem of angel magic in Pico: he claims to rule out "bad kind" of conjuring, yet associates Cabala with magic as well

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