Rejected Knowledge – The Scholarly Study of Magic and The Occult

Posted: May 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

The Warburg Institute

Dame Frances Amelia Yates
(1899-1981)

A British historian, she taught at the Warburg Institute of the University of London for many years. She wrote extensively on the occult or Neoplatonic philosophies of the Renaissance. Her books Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (1964), The Art of Memory (1966), and The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (1972) are major works. She dealt with traditions whose remoteness she could not eliminate, even while she made them more understandable.

Academics tend to look on ‘esoteric’, ‘occult’ or ‘magical’ beliefs with contempt, but are usually ignorant about the religious and philosophical traditions to which these terms refer, or their relevance to intellectual history. Wouter Hanegraaff tells the neglected story of how intellectuals since the Renaissance have tried to come to terms with a cluster of ‘pagan’ ideas from late antiquity that challenged the foundations of biblical religion and Greek rationality.

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Comments
  1. Marko Miholjcic says:

    After doing a little research on Neoplatonism, I learned that Neoplatonists believe that evil is the absence of good. Neoplatonism relates to mannerism in this way because mannerism played with the absence of light in its art. Perhaps Neoplatonism philosophy influenced mannerism art?

    • Neoplatonism influenced a number of art movements over the centuries, including modern abstract painting. The Renaissance definitely sought inspiration from Neoplatonism. Recall the magic and mysticism were very much a part of Renaissance culture. One thing late Renaissance painters would have drawn from Neoplatonism is a fascination with the way light saturates matter, in particular animated bodies.

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