Project MUSE - Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (review)History: European History. Philosophy: History and Classic Works. You may purchase this title at these fine bookstores. Outside the USA, see our international sales information. University of Chicago Press: E. About Contact News Giving to the Press.
Terence McKenna - Magic & the Hermetic Tradition (Lecture)
Giordano Bruno, Philosopher/Heretic
Journal of the History of Philosophy
H e looks, naturally, first of all in the m ovem ent know n as R enais sance N eo-Platonism , originating in the renew ed study of Plato and the Platonists in the F lorentine circle of M arsilio Ficino, b u t he dismisses this m ovem ent as useless for his search. T h ere is no evidence, he thinks, th at the F lorentine academicians had any b u t an incidental interest in the problem of knowledge of the external world or of the structure of the cosmos. T h e difficulty has been, perhaps, that historians of philosophy may have somewhat misled us as to the n atu re of that move ment. W hen treated as straight philosophy, Renaissance N eo-Platonism may dissolve into a rath e r vague eclecticism. B ut the new work done in recent years on M arsilio Ficino and his sources has dem onstrated that the core of the m ovem ent was H erm etic, involving a view of the cosmos as a network of magical forces w ith which m an can operate. T h e Renaissance magus had his roots in the H erm etic core of Renaissance N eo-Platonism , and it is the Renaissance magus, I believe, who exemplifies th a t changed attitu d e of m an to the cosmos which was the necessary prelim inary to the rise of science. T h e w ord H erm etic has m any connotations; it can be vaguely used as a generic term for all kinds of occult practices, or it can be used more particularly of alchemy, usually thought of as the H erm etic science par excellence.
Nevertheless, his successors are chosen by men. Thus they are not of divine appointment and their power, in any case limited by Scriptural precept and natural law, is strictly circumscribed. Since they are placed in their position by men, they can be judged and deposed by men if they misuse their power. Throughout his career Ockham violently repudiated the Avignonese papacy because it "professed errors and manifest heresies" and practiced injustice both in Church and state. He likewise regarded the college of cardinals as a purely human administrative institution and denied that they, along with the pope, were successors of the apostles. Since the Roman Church as well as the general Council could err, Ockham held that on occasion it is necessary to defend the true faith against the Roman Church, the pope, the general Council, and all the bishops and clergy p.