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.
This is the fourth of a projected six volumes.
By providing an accurate text and a readable translation in an elegant yet affordable format, this volume will benefit both scholars and students, who might not be familiar with Ficino’s sometimes difficult and elliptical Latin. It will interest not only those who are working on Ficino and Italian humanism but also anyone who is concerned with the history of Platonism and Neoplatonism. No doubt this edition will stimulate further studies on Ficino’s Platonic Theology, which will in turn enlighten significant aspects of Ficino’s thought, identify new sources and provide a comprehensive exegesis of this fundamental text.
It is a pleasure to record the four latest appearances in The I Tatti Renaissance Library, which has quickly established itself as a major new publication outlet for Neo-Latin literature that, unlike most new series, is putting out volumes more quickly than was originally projected. It is appropriate now, I believe, to single out the work of the General Editor, James Hankins, whose inexhaustible appetite for plain old hard work is the driving force behind the success of the series. [Harvard University Press] is certainly to be commended for committing resources to an area whose commercial success was not a given, but I know from my own experience that Hankins not only manages the timely appearance of the volumes, but oversees details to a degree that far exceeds normal editing. Bravo!
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.
Though academicians have already produced a mass of material on Renaissance painting, sculpture, music, politics, and culture, modern scholarship has only recently begun to recuperate the underlying philosophy of these humanist phenomena. Allen and Hankins, with the help of Bowen, have made a valuable contribution to that scholarship.
- 384 pages
- 5-1/4 x 8 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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