By Noel L. Brann
Via an exam of Benedictine abbot Trithemius (1462-1516), this ebook explores the intersection of the early glossy debate over occult reviews with a few contemporaneous advancements: overdue medieval mysticism, the revival of historical letters, the Catholic and Protestant reform events, the witch hunts, and the clinical revolution.
A Benedictine residing to the brink of the Reformation interval, Trithemius excelled for many of his occupation within the fields of monastic reform, mystical theology, and Christian Humanism, after which, all of sudden, introduced himself to the area as an suggest of magic.
In some ways paralleling the lifetime of his extra recognized modern Faustus, Trithemius, against this, left to posterity a physique of theoretical paintings in aid of his magical operations. Formulated to justify his personal area of expertise, cryptography, Trimethius's occult concept is going past constructing the compatibility of magic with orthodox Christian doctrine. Its simple thrust, at the version of mystical theology, is to offer magic as a suitable car to exhibit the soul from the finite to the endless.
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Extra info for Trithemius and Magical Theology: A Chapter in the Controversy over Occult Studies in Early Modern Europe
17 Â < previous page page_38 next page > If you like this book, buy it! < previous page page_39 next page > Page 39 Trithemius's inclusion of non-Christian "Saracens" among those predominently subject to demonic affliction raised an analogous dilemma concerning those unprivileged to be born and raised as Christians. Not inconsistently, Trithemius confronted this dilemma with the same headstrong inflexibility with which he confronted the dilemma of demonically afflicted infants. Thus, in response to the question of whether 33 34 non-Christians can be saved, Trithemius answered not only in the negative, but added that the condemnation by the Church of "Jews, pagans, gentiles, Saracens, heretics, and infidels" also entails the condemnation of the demons inspiring them.
His plan to conclude the De demonibus on this subject came to nought through his inability to get beyond its preface and outline of its contents. But he did capture the main points of its projected discourse in the final questions posed to him by Emperor Maximilian. A troublesome point raised by Trithemius in the sixth of his Octo quaestiones concerns the requirement of divine permission in the performance of sorcery. "24 Trithemius's reply to this query is divided into two sections, the first comprising eight 34 35 reasons (rationes) why God acquiesces in the demonic vexation of mankind as a whole, and the second, eight reasons why God acquiesces in the demonic vexation of Christians in particular.
This ambitious task necessarily entailed the renewal of a demonological view of the world which lay at the core of patristic and monastic theology. It was Trithemius's conviction, brought out in his monastic homilies and sermons before he embarked on more formal expositions on the subject, that demons do not intrude into human affairs uninvited. Their necessary inroad is human wickedness. "3 These and many similar statements in Trithemius's religious writings testify to the kind of theological subsoil out of which his demonology grew.