The Platonic Theology is a visionary work and the philosophical masterpiece of Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), the Florentine scholar-philosopher-magus who was largely responsible for the Renaissance revival of Plato.
A student of the Neoplatonic schools of Plotinus and Proclus, he was committed to reconciling Platonism with Christianity, in the hope that such a reconciliation would initiate a spiritual revival and return of the golden age. His Platonic evangelizing was eminently successful and widely influential, and his Platonic Theology, translated into English for the first time in this edition, is one of the keys to understanding the art, thought, culture, and spirituality of the Renaissance.
An aristocratic devotion to our culture continues to manifest itself even today in the most prestigious centers of study and thought. One has merely to look at the very recent (begun in 2001), rigorous and elegant humanistic series of Harvard University, with the original Latin text, English translation, introduction and notes.
The editing and translation of Ficino's text has been done superbly well. Allen and Hankins have begun a work of scholarship of the highest calibre, whose continuation is eagerly awaited.
The Loeb Classical Library...has been of incalculable benefit to generations of scholars...It seems certain that the I Tatti Renaissance Library will serve a similar purpose for Renaissance Latin texts, and that, in addition to its obvious academic value, it will facilitate a broadening base of participation in Renaissance Studies...These books are to be lauded not only for their principles of inclusivity and accessibility, and for their rigorous scholarship, but also for their look and feel. Everything about them is attractive: the blue of their dust jackets and cloth covers, the restrained and elegant design, the clarity of the typesetting, the quality of the paper, and not least the sensible price. This is a new set of texts well worth collecting.
Ficino set out to show that the ancient Neoplatonic philosophy embodied a "gentile theological tradition," one that complemented the Mosaic revelation to the Jews and prepared its devotees for the final truths of Christianity. Ficino worked in full knowledge of the internal complications of Neoplatonism. He wrote and argued in styles that ranged from the logical and synthetic to the poetic and evocative, as he struggled to find ways to prove that the universe was orderly and governed by a Creator and to lay out the place within it of the immortal human soul.
- 368 pages
- 5-1/4 x 8 inches
- Harvard University Press
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