North Atlantic Books, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 254 pages
Marsilio Ficino was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. Though an ordained priest, he was also a practicing astrologer and magician whose daunting life's work was to reconcile religious faith with philosophical reason — which included integrating pagan magical practice with Christianity. In a lengthy introduction, editor Angela Voss puts Ficino's achievement in context as a complete re-visioning of traditional astrological practice and the beginning of a humanistic and psychological approach that prefigured contemporary holistic approaches to astrology as therapy.
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Marsilio Ficino is perhaps one of the most overlooked figures of the Italian Renaissance. I have long been interested in the relationship between Platonism and Christianity and just completed my MA dissertation on the topic. While I focused more on the early influence of Neoplatonism on Augustine of Hippo it was Ficino’s work that first highlighted the importance of the relating Greek philosophy and the Christian religion. This volume focuses more on Ficino’s astrological thought and contains his fascinating Book of the Sun which is a must read for anyone who wants to learn of the analogy of the sun and God. Ficino had to tread a fine line between the Church’s suspicious attitude towards astrology and Platonism and his own passion for the topics, the passages that Voss chose offer a good insight into this dilemma. I completed a module with Dr. Voss at the University of Exeter and she is an expert on Ficinian astrology. A great read and a great introduction to this great man who deserves far more attention.