Bibliotherapy

A Few Selected ‘Thesis or Theorems’ by Pico della Mirandola

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Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA are a few selected ‘thesis or Theorems’ by Pico della Mirandola’s influent ‘Conclusiones sive Theses DCCCC’ or ‘900 thesis’, here in our working translation from Delphine Viellard’s French (‘Les 900 Conclusions’), Les Belles Lettres_2017. The notes are from Dr Viellard’s edition.

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33 (602): ‘He who want to know the manner in which superior beings illuminate intermediary beings will understand that for the Platonists the gathering of souls at Mount Ida means the same that for the Hebrews the gathering of souls at Mount Sinai, when they are listening to the law.’ Note: Here Pico is intending to conciliate Plato with passages from the Scriptures. Here: Law III, 681, Plato is quoting from Homer, Illiad,XX, 216-218:” A town upon the plain for mortal men, had not been built: For still they lived upon the lower slopes of many-fountained Ida”.

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33- (603): ‘He who knows that the idea of cause presupposes the idea of perfection will understand, according to the teaching of Plato why Pherecydes said that Jupiter did not build the world before having been transformed into love.’

Note: Pherecydes of Syros. This thesis is understood from Proclus in his Commentary on the Timaeus, II: “…Pherecydes…that Zeus, about to create the world transformed himself into Love, because according to him, Zeus after having built the world from contraries, brought it in concord and friendship; and he spread in all things the identity and the unification that penetrates everything.”

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33-(604): ‘By the intelligible sphere contained by Venus, Empedocles only means the archetypal world contained by the order of the first providence that dwells in her’.

Note: In his commentary upon the Timaeus, Proclus claims that Empedocles, “also imagines ‘Sphairos’ double, one sensible part in which strife dominates, the other part, intelligible, maintained by Aphrodite”.

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33-(605): ‘Orpheus says that love is without eyes, because it is beyond the intellect.’

Note: in the Orphic fragments, number 82:” Letting quick eyeless Love graze in his wisdom’. Proclus says that ‘without eyes’ means beyond intellection.

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33-(608): ‘Talking as a Platonist of the soul, I say that the soul lives with Saturn a contemplative life, with Jupiter a political and practical life, with Mars an ambitious and irascible life, with Venus a voluptuous and lustful life, with Mercury a vegetative life with the ability to feel while resting.’

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33-(609): ‘From the preceding thesis, we know that it is Mercury’s wand that brings sleep.’

Note: It is the caduceus that brings sleep (uirga somnifera), as we can read in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphosis’, I-671-672: “prepping his wings to his feet, promptly, his caduceus in hand, that brings sleep’.« Parva mora est, alas pedibus, virgamque potenti somniferam sumpsisse manu ».

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33-(610):’ The first septenary of human life is under the rule of Mercury, the second under Venus, the third under Mars, the fourth under Jupiter, the fifth under Saturn; the other septenaries will be ordered according to which ruler predominates in the initial one.’

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