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Platonic Theology, Volume 1: Books I-IV (The I Tatti Renaissance Library) Hardcover – May 26, 2001


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Platonic Theology, Volume 1: Books I-IV (The I Tatti Renaissance Library) + Platonic Theology, Volume 3: Books IX-XI (The I Tatti Renaissance Library) + Platonic Theology, Volume 2: Books V-VIII (The I Tatti Renaissance Library)
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Product Details

  • Series: The I Tatti Renaissance Library (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (May 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674003454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674003453
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #919,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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. (Vittore Branca Il Sole 24 Ore)

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. (British Journal for the History of Philosophy)

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. (Kate Lowe Times Literary Supplement)

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. (Anthony T. Grafton New York Review of Books 2006-10-05)

About the Author

Michael J. B. Allen is Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles.

James Hankins is Professor of History, Harvard University. He is the General Editor of the I Tatti Renaissance Library.

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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Platonicus on April 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Italian philosopher Marsilio Ficino, who was renowned for his Latin translations of all Plato's dialogues, set out to prove that the tenets of Platonism, instead of Aristotelianism, were fundamentally compatible with Christianity. He attempted this not only by acting as the primary mover of the Florentine academy, but also through his magnanimous patron Cosimo de' Medici who apportioned Ficino the leisure to commence his monumental work, "The Platonic Theology," which is offered here for the first time in a long-awaited English translation. Marsilio Ficino's work--from what may be seen from the first of five anticipated volumes--is an artful, straightforward representation of the divine philosophy of Plato, magnificently garbed under a brilliant and definitive medieval synthesis. Of the work itself Ficino says, "the Platonic mysteries are set forth as clearly as possible...so that...we may reveal the Platonic teaching, which is in complete accord with the divine law." Like all Christian-Platonists, Ficino used Augustine as a model for his orthodox amalgamation of the teachings of Plato and Christ, and believed so strongly in it that he said, "the Platonic teaching...is related to the divine law of both Moses and Christ as the moon is to the sun." With this in mind, it may be said that the vision of Marsilio Ficino, so clearly manifested in this work, will come as a relief to anyone ardently devoted to the school of Plato and the religion of Christ. The translated works of Ficino are certainly a great benefit to those confined to the English speaking world, and the other up-and-coming volumes in new I Tatti Renaissance Library (Harvard) are likely to produce the same effects. The value of these newly translated masterpieces of western culture cannot be described.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Greg on November 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Marselo Ficino was one of the leading scholars in Renaissance Italy. Charged by the famous and powerful Medici family with recovering classical literature and philosophy, Ficino played a critical role in translating such works as the Hermetic Corpus and the works of Plotinus and Plato.

Ficino's Platonic Theology is a Renaissance restatement of the metaphysical system of Neo-Platonism, particularly that found in Proclus's Platonic Theology. The core of the system is the First Principle, the One, which while itself is immutable, eternal, and timeless, produces the universe through a chain of being through which it transmits its goodness and being, from the highest level of reality to the lowest, which then returns back to the One in an processing cycle.

Ficino made some accomodations to Christian belief and theology so his system would not raise the ire of the religious authorities, though he also had considerable freedom from ecclesiastical control.

This work is of interest to any philosopher interested in Neo-Platonic idealism and how it has influenced the shape of modern thought.
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By Rich on September 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who enjoys the art of reasoning in pursuit of philosophy may enjoy this book as much as I did. When I stopped to recall when all these philosophies were derived, in the B.C. time era, I was truly amazed. An oddity of the book is that the left-hand pages are in Latin and the right-hand in English. How they deduced their theology, the postulates they use (as in geometry) is worth following. And I agree with their conclusions. The five levels of how our Universe is designed is something I have only heard of suggestively, but never stated as clearly as this. I highly recommend it to anyone who may be exploring the God-concept from a different, maybe rational, viewpoint.
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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Lightoller on August 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Useful to the scholar. Thought provoking as intellectual work. Life changing in world view. There is an alternative to secularism or post-modernism.
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