Renaissance and Reformation Marsilio Ficino
by
Craig Kallendorf
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 February 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0080

Introduction

Marsilio Ficino (b. 1433–d. 1499) is probably best known today for his translation of the works of Plato, which gave decisive direction to the Renaissance revival of interest in this part of the Greek philosophical tradition, and for his commentary to Plato’s Symposium, which shaped ideas about love in many parts of early modern culture. Also important, however, are his Platonic Theology, a Christian corrective to Proclus’s work of the same name, and his monumental De Christiana religione (On Christian religion), which united the various intellectual traditions that interested him (hermeticism, orphism, Pythagoreanism, Neoplatonism) in a grand synthetic effort to show that the “ancient theology” of the past, particularly in its Platonic iteration, was compatible with the Christian church he served. Considering himself a doctor of the body as well as of the soul, Ficino joined an interest in medicine and astrology to his philosophical and religious studies, not as an ivory tower academic, but as a scholar connected in varying degrees of intimacy with a succession of Medici rulers in Florence, from which his influence spread throughout Renaissance Europe and into many different disciplines.

General Overviews

Vasoli 1997–2006 offers an excellent introduction to the life and works of Ficino. The standard biography, rich and detailed, remains Marcel 1958, with Howlett 2016 offering a less nuanced account in English. Kristeller 1988 offers access to scholarship on Ficino, to be supplemented by Katinis’s Bibliografia ficiniana.

Manuscripts

Kristeller 1937 remains the fundamental source for information about manuscripts of Ficino’s work, with Gentile 1987a providing supplementary references for Greek manuscripts and Gentile, et al. 1984 offering updated descriptions of many key items. Kristeller 1964 surveys manuscripts written by Ficino himself, while Sicherl 1977 (“Die Humanistenkursive”) describes Ficino’s handwriting, and Gentile 1987b discusses the handwriting of those collaborators who prepared manuscripts for him.

  • Gentile, Sebastiano. “Note sui manoscritti greci di Platone utilizzati da Marsilio Ficino.” In Scritti in onore di Eugenio Garin. By Scuola Normale Superiore, 51–84. Pisa, Italy: Scuola Normale Superiore, 1987a.

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    A fascinating piece of scholarly detective work, in which Gentile identifies many of the Plato manuscripts used by Ficino in his work, while leaving open several questions that cannot be answered with the current state of knowledge.

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  • Gentile, Sebastiano. “Note sullo ‘scrittoio’ di Marsilio Ficino.” In Supplementum Festivum: Studies in Honor of Paul Oskar Kristeller. Edited by James Hankins, John Monfasani, and Frederick Purnell Jr., 339–397. Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1987b.

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    A study of Ficino’s “secretaries,” a group of collaborators whose handwriting can be identified in manuscripts of Ficino’s works and in books used for study in his circle.

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  • Gentile, Sebastiano, Sandra Niccoli, and Paolo Viti. Marsilio Ficino e il ritorno di Platone: Mostra di manoscritti, stampe documenti, 17 maggio–16 giugno 1984. Florence: Casa Editrice Le Lettere, 1984.

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    Descriptions of 177 items, mostly manuscripts but including a few printed books, relating to the life and works of Ficino.

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  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar. Supplementum Ficinianum. 2 vols. Florence: Olschki, 1937.

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    The work with which Kristeller established himself as one of the major 20th-century scholars of Renaissance humanism, and still the essential beginning place for information on manuscripts of Ficino’s texts. Reprinted in 1973, with corrections and additions in his Marsilio Ficino and His Work after Five Hundred Years (Florence: Olschki, 1987), pp. 67–156.

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  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar. “Some Original Letters and Autograph Manuscripts of Marsilio Ficino.” In Studi di bibliografia e storia in onore di Tammaro de Marinis. Vol. 3. By Paul Oskar Kristeller, 5–33. Verona, Italy: Stamperia Valdonega, 1964.

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    A summary of what is known about manuscripts and letters in Ficino’s hand, with some suggestions about how studies in this area should be pursued further.

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  • Sicherl, Martin. “Die Humanistenkursive Marsilio Ficino.” In Studia codicologica. Edited by Jürgen Dummer and Kurt Treu, 443–450. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1977.

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    An elegant argument that Ficino used two cursives: one as a bookhand; the other, for marginal notes, commentaries, and letters.

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Editions

Perhaps surprisingly, the only more or less complete editions of Ficino’s works go back to the 16th century; the most accessible of them have been reprinted in a modern facsimile edition (Ficino 1959), to which Kristeller 1937 adds additional material and Gall, et al. 2003 serves as a useful index.

  • Ficino, Marsilio. Opera et quae hactenus extitere, et que in lucem nunc primum prodiere omnia. 2 vols. Edited by Mario Sancipriano. Turin, Italy: Bottega d’Erasmo, 1959.

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    A facsimile reprint of the 1576 Basil edition, the best and most accessible of the three early editions of Ficino’s complete works; reprinted again in 1962 (Turin, Italy: Bottega d’Erasmo). The texts printed here do not, of course, meet the standards of the best modern critical editions listed elsewhere in this article, but much of the posthumous reception of Ficino’s works depends on this edition, which remains the only printed text for some of them.

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  • Gall, Dorothea, Peter Riemer, Ursula Rombach, Roswitha Simons, and Clemens Zintzen. Index nominum et index geographicus. Indices zur lateinischen Literatur der Renaissance 3. Mainz, Germany: G. Olms, 2003.

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    An index of names and places to facilitate use of the 1576 Basel Opera and the texts edited by Kristeller in Kristeller 1937 that do not appear there.

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  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar. Supplementum Ficinianum. 2 vols. Florence: Olschki, 1937.

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    Contains variant readings and additions to the works contained in Ficino 1959. Reprinted in 1973, with corrections and additions in his Marsilio Ficino and His Work after Five Hundred Years (Florence: Olschki, 1987), pp. 67–156.

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Plato Translations and Commentaries

The most influential of Ficino’s Plato commentaries is the one to the Symposium; both Marcel (Ficino 1956) and Laurens (Ficino 2002) should be consulted for the Latin text, while Niccoli 1987 presents Ficino’s Italian translation. Percival 1991 offers Ficino’s commentary to Plato’s philosophy of language, and Lazzarin 2012 presents his commentary to the Parmenides. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite 2011 extends Ficino’s work on Plato from the Athenian master to the later Platonic tradition.

  • Ficino, Marsilio. Commentaire sur le Banquet de Platon. Edited by Raymond Marcel. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1956.

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    Pioneering edition of the third key work of Ficino (along with the Theologia Platonica and De Christiana religione), on the basis of the autograph manuscript, with a valuable 130-page introduction.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Commentaire sur le Banquet de Platon, De l’amour. Edited and translated by Pierre Laurens. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2002.

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    A scholarly edition of Ficino’s commentary to Plato’s Symposium, updating Ficino 1956 in light of forty years of scholarship, reflected in a richer set of notes, an improved text, and a revised translation.

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  • Lazzarin, Francesca, ed. Commento al Parmenide di Platone. Immagini della Ragione 15. Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2012.

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    A carefully prepared critical edition of Ficino’s commentary to Plato’s Parmenides, containing a lengthy introduction that explicates Ficino’s thought and four indexes that make the work useful in several different ways.

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  • Niccoli, Sandra, ed. El libro dell’amore. Florence: Olschki, 1987.

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    A critical edition of the translation made by Ficino himself of his commentary on Plato’s Symposium, which circulated widely in manuscript and was printed in 1544.

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  • Percival, Keith, ed. “Ficino’s Cratylus Commentary: A Transcription and Edition.” Studi Umanistici Piceni 11 (1991): 185–196.

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    An edition with notes of Ficino’s commentary to Plato’s Cratylus, an important text for the philosophy of language and the debates in this area that go back to Antiquity.

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  • Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. De mystica theologia, De divinis nominibus. Translated by Marsilio Ficino. Edited by Pietro Podolak. Storie e Testi, 20. Naples, Italy: M. D’Auria, 2011.

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    Ficino’s translation of two treatises that he believed were by a follower of St. Paul and that interested him because of their influence on the later Platonic tradition.

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Other Works

Raymond Marcel (Ficino 1964–1970) presents an edition of Ficino’s Theologia Platonica, an especially important work, with Albano Biondi and Giuliano Pisani (Ficino 1991) having edited another important text. Eugenio Garin’s edition (Ficino 1952), Iamblichus 2013, Kristeller 1937, Enrico Musacchio’s edition (Ficino 1983), Shaw 1978, and Stefani 2016 are worth consulting by those who wish to round out the picture of Ficino’s scholarly activity. Rosario Pintaudi (Ficino 1977) offers a fascinating picture of how the young Ficino learned Greek, through an edition of the lexicon he made to aid his studies, while Sebastiano Gentile (Ficino 1990–2010) and Reynaud and Galland 2014 offer editions of the first book of Ficino’s voluminous correspondence.

  • Ficino, Marsilio. “De raptu Pauli.” In Prosatori latini del Quattrocento. Edited by Eugenio Garin, 931–969. Milan: Ricciardi, 1952.

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    An edition, with Italian translation, of a letter Ficino wrote on St. Paul’s rapturous ascent to heaven, in which he explained his theory of the soul’s ascent to God through the cosmic levels.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Théologie platonicienne de l’immortalité des âmes. 3 vols. Edited by Raymond Marcel. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1964–1970.

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    The first modern edition with French translation of Ficino’s masterwork, which aimed to reconcile Platonism with Christianity to initiate a spiritual revival. Also contains the texts of several minor theological works: Argumentum in Platonicam theologiam, Quinque Platonicae sapientiae claves, De raptu Pauli, and Quid sit lumen.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Lessico greco-latino: Laur. Ashb. 1439. Edited by Rosario Pintaudi. Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo & Bizzarri, 1977.

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    An edition of a Greek–Latin dictionary made by Ficino that offers insight into how a young scholar had to work at a time when real facility in Greek was difficult to attain.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Consiglio contro la pestilenza. Edited by Enrico Musacchio. Bologna, Italy: Cappelli, 1983.

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    A readable text, with a solid introduction but without explanatory notes, of Ficino’s entry into a genre of his day that identified the symptoms of the plague and gave advice on its treatment.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Lettere. 2 vols. Edited by Sebastiano Gentile. Florence: Olschki, 1990–2010.

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    A scholarly edition, in which the introduction and indexes exceed the length of the text, of 131 of Ficino’s letters in Vol. 1 and 9 more in Vol. 2, the best window into his intellectual development and his relations with the key figures of his age.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. De vita. Edited by Albano Biondi and Giuliano Pisani. Pordenone, Italy: Edizioni Biblioteca dell’Immagine, 1991.

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    Edition with Italian translation but without substantive notes of Ficino’s book on prolonging life through good health, beginning with medicine but moving into magic and astrology as ways to bring the individual into harmony with the universe.

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  • Iamblichus. “De mysteriis Aegyptiorum, Chaldaeorum, Assyriorum.” Translated by Marsilio Ficino. In I misteri egiziani. By Iamblichus, 539–634. Edited and translated by Angelo Raffaele Sodano. Il pensiero occidentale. Milan: Bompiani, 2013.

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    An edition of Ficino’s translation of Iamblichus’s late antique work on the mysteries of the culture of Egypt and the Near East, with the text taken from the 1497 edition of the famous Venetian printer Aldo Manuzio, whose interest in this work at the beginning of his publishing career suggests its importance in Renaissance culture.

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  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar. Supplementum Ficinianum. 2 vols. Florence: Olschki, 1937.

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    Contains a large number of previously unedited texts in Vol. 2. Reprinted in 1973, with corrections and additions in Marsilio Ficino and His Work after Five Hundred Years (Florence: Olschki, 1987), pp. 67–156.

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  • Reynaud, Julie, and Sébastien Galland, eds. Marsile Ficin: Correspondance livre I. De Pétrarque à Descartes 79. Paris: J. Vrin, 2014.

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    An edition of the first book of Ficino’s letters, with Latin text and facing-page French translation, in which the reader can see a sort of propaedeutic, an early stage of Ficino’s thought that unfolds in the world of action and daily life as a complement to the more rigorous, later philosophical works in his oeuvre.

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  • Shaw, Prudence. “La versione ficiniana della Monarchia.” Studi Danteschi 51 (1978): 289–408.

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    An extremely learned critical edition, with full scholarly introduction, of Ficino’s Italian translation of Dante’s treatise On Monarchy, which offers a different perspective on his better-known translations from Greek into Latin.

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  • Stefani, Matteo. Marsilio Ficino lettore di Apuleio filosofo e dell’Asclepius. Le note autografe nei codici Ambrosiano S 14 sup. e Riccardiano 709. Minima philologica Latina 8. Alessandria, Italy: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2016.

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    An edition of Ficino’s marginal notes to three works of Apuleius, De deo Socratis, De Platone et eius dogmate, and De mundo, and to the works of Asclepius, from which testimony about Ficino’s reading practices and about his formation as a philosopher can be derived.

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Translations into English

Perhaps the clearest sign of the importance Ficino has assumed in anglophone scholarship since the mid-20th century is the number of translations that have appeared of his work. The most notable of Ficino’s more-recent translators is certainly Michael J. B. Allen, but excellent work has appeared by others as well.

The Allen Series

Michael J. B. Allen, distinguished professor at UCLA, has spent more than thirty-five years producing a series of Ficino translations that is distinguished both by elegant readability and scholarly erudition. The first four volumes involve studies of four key Platonic dialogues (Allen 1979 on the Philebus, Allen 1989 on the Sophist, Allen 1994 on the Republic, and Allen 2008 on the Phaedrus and Ion), with the masterwork being Platonic Theology (Ficino 2001–2006). Ficino 2015, Allen’s latest effort, involves a work that Ficino believed supported a blending of the Platonic and Christian traditions.

  • Allen, Michael J. B., ed. and trans. The “Philebus” Commentary. 2d ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.

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    An edition of Ficino’s commentary to the Philebus, with an English translation. This text is especially important both for the revival of Plato in Renaissance Florence and for the development of Ficino’s own philosophy. Originally published in 1975; reprinted in 2000 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies).

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  • Allen, Michael J. B., ed. and trans. Icastes: Marsilio Ficino’s Interpretation of Plato’s Sophist. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.

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    Translation with critical edition of Ficino’s commentary on the Sophist, an important late dialogue that Ficino saw as Plato’s preeminent study in ontology and a key source for insight into the theme of man as artist and creator.

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  • Allen, Michael J. B., ed. and trans. Nuptial Arithmetic: Marsilio Ficino’s Commentary on the Fatal Number in Book VIII of Plato’s Republic. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

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    Contains critical editions and translations of, and notes to, Ficino’s argument to his Latin translation of Book 8 of Plato’s Republic, his Latin translation of a particularly vexed passage on numbers from that book, and his commentary on that passage, along with an extensive analysis of the mathematical text and its importance for Ficino’s larger themes.

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  • Allen, Michael J. B., ed. and trans. Commentaries on Plato. Vol. 1, Phaedrus and Ion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.

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    Based on Marsilio Ficino and the Phaedran Charioteers (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), the commentary to the Platonic dialogue that contains the myth of the human soul as a winged charioteer. This revision drops some material and adds the Ion argument along with a revised edition with a new translation of Ficino’s Latin version of the so-called mythical hymn.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Platonic Theology. 6 vols. Translated by Michael J. B. Allen and John Warden. Edited by James Hankins and William Bowen. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001–2006.

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    Contains a Latin text that is superior to Ficino 1964–1970 (cited under Other Works) and an English translation of the work on which Ficino felt his reputation would rest—his attempt to show that Platonism and Christianity are compatible.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. On Dionysius the Areopagite. 2 vols. Edited and translated by Michael J. B. Allen. I Tatti Renaissance Library 66–67. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015.

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    A text and translation of two treatises that Ficino believed had been written by Dionysius the Areopagite, the disciple of St. Paul, and had influenced pagan thinkers in the later Platonic tradition.

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Other Translations

Sears Reynolds Jayne (Ficino 1985) offers a translation of the key commentary on the Symposium, while Arthur Farndell opens up the Parmenides (Ficino 2008; see also Ficino 2012) and offers the English-speaking reader access to Ficino’s commentary on the Republic and Laws (Ficino 2009). Kaske and Clark 1989 translates Ficino’s Three Books on Life, while Ficino 1975– (abridged in Ficino 1996) renders his letters, a collection of unusual importance for Renaissance intellectual history. Ficino 2006 offers a useful selection from Ficino’s writings on the occult.

  • Ficino, Marsilio. The Letters of Marsilio Ficino. 11 vols. Translated by members of the Language Department of the School of Economic Science, London. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1975–.

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    English translation of Ficino’s extensive correspondence with the statesmen, churchmen, artists, scientists, and philosophers of his day. Eleven volumes as of 2015.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Commentary on Plato’s Symposium on Love. 2d rev. ed. Translated by Sears Reynolds Jayne. Dallas: Spring, 1985.

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    English translation with scholarly notes of Ficino’s commentary on Plato’s Symposium, a key text in the “treatise of love” genre that shifted the emphasis there from an Aristotelian to a Platonic base. Reprint of 1944 edition (Columbia: University of Missouri Press).

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Meditations on the Soul: Selected Letters of Marsilio Ficino. Translated by members of the Language Department of the School of Economic Science, London. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1996.

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    A handy selection of the most-important letters of Ficino, from the seven-volume edition by the same translators (Ficino 1975–).

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Marsilio Ficino. Edited and translated by Angela Voss. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2006.

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    Confusingly titled: actually a selection of translations on astrology and magic, with an introduction that places Ficino’s work in these areas in relation to his broader Christian Platonism.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Evermore Shall Be So: Ficino on Plato’s Parmenides. Translated by Arthur Farndell. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 2008.

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    English translation only of Ficino’s commentary to the Parmenides, which integrates his Platonic studies with Christianity to show that Plato here rises to God through the path of negation.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. When Philosophers Rule: Ficino on Plato’s Republic, Laws, and Epinomis. Translated by Arthur Farndell. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 2009.

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    The first extensive English translation of Ficino’s commentaries on the Republic and the Laws, which offer his insights into Plato’s ideas about the art of government.

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  • Ficino, Marsilio. Commentaries on Plato: Parmenides. 2 vols. Edited and translated by Maude Vanhaelen. I Tatti Renaissance Library 51–52. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.

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    A serviceable Latin text and translation into English of Ficino’s commentary to Plato’s Parmenides, which has been attracting increased scholarly attention in the early 21st century (see Lazzarin 2012, cited under Plato Translations and Commentaries).

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  • Kaske, Carol V., and John R. Clark, eds. and trans. Three Books on Life: A Critical Edition and Translation with Introduction and Notes. Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1989.

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    A translation, with critical edition, introduction, and notes, of Ficino’s De vita, his treatise on prolonging life through good health.

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The Platonic Academy and the Medici

Ficino’s relationship to his Medici patrons, and the related topic of the Platonic Academy on which they collaborated, has been the topic of considerable scholarly controversy since the 1980s. Notwithstanding some nuancing, it was generally considered through the beginning of the 1980s that the Medici had founded and supported a formal academy of considerable importance that was devoted to Platonic studies and headed by Ficino (della Torre 1902). Field 1988 presents an influential version of the argument that this academy was a vehicle for Medici ideology, while Fubini 1984 and Fubini 1987 express doubts about this position. Hankins 1990 and Hankins 1991 offer a more radical critique, that the Academy was probably nothing more than a private gymnasium associated with the University of Florence that involved fewer of Ficino’s associates than Arnaldo della Torre had thought. Bullard 1990 and Jurdjevic 2008 in turn revisit the nature of the relationship between Ficino and his Medici patrons, showing that it was considerably more complicated than earlier scholars had believed.

  • Bullard, Melissa Meriam. “Marsilio Ficino and the Medici: The Inner Dimensions of Patronage.” In Christianity and the Renaissance. Edited by Timothy Verdon and John Henderson, 467–492. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990.

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    A sensitive analysis of the changing relationship between Ficino and Lorenzo de’ Medici, in which the ethical concerns of a “subsidized scholar” are balanced against the two men’s friendship.

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  • della Torre, Arnaldo. Storia dell’Accademia platonica di Firenze. Florence: G. Carnesecchi, 1902.

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    A massive, 850-page study of two key aspects of Ficino’s work—the revival of Plato and the establishment of the Platonic Academy in Florence; should be read in conjunction with more recent work but is still an important book. Reprinted in 1960 and 1968 (Turin, Italy: Bottega d’Erasmo).

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  • Field, Arthur. The Origins of the Platonic Academy of Florence. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.

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    A major study of the Academy’s beginnings and its development under Ficino, in which Field argues that Platonic studies were cultivated there as part of Florentine intellectual and political life, becoming a new ideology for the Medici.

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  • Fubini, Riccardo. “Ficino e i Medici all’avvento di Lorenzo il Magnifico.” Rinascimento 24 (1984): 3–52.

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    Expresses reservations toward the tendency among intellectual historians to identify Ficino’s Platonism with a political philosophy in service to Medici propaganda from Cosimo to Lorenzo.

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  • Fubini, Riccardo. “Ancora su Ficino e i Medici.” Rinascimento 27 (1987): 275–291.

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    A supplement to Fubini 1984, in which the author expands and nuances some of the key arguments made there.

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  • Hankins, James. “Cosimo de’ Medici and the ‘Platonic Academy.’” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 53 (1990): 144–162.

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    An important article that reexamines the evidence for the foundation of the Platonic Academy and concludes that Ficino never intended to imply that Cosimo de’ Medici had founded any such institution.

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  • Hankins, James. “The Myth of the Platonic Academy in Florence.” Renaissance Quarterly 44.3 (1991): 429–475.

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    A complementary piece to Hankins 1990. Acknowledges that Ficino had an academy of sorts but argues that it was different and less important than has generally been thought in 20th-century scholarship.

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  • Jurdjevic, Mark. “Marsilio Ficino and the Valori Family.” In Guardians of Republicanism: The Valori Family in the Florentine Renaissance. By Mark Jurdjevic, 46–62. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    An important study that shows how Medici patronage interacted with the support Ficino also received from another prominent family, the Valori, whose initial alliance with the Medici was tempered by their support for the periodic efforts to revive republicanism in Florence.

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Modern Scholarship

The classic scholarly introduction to Ficino as a thinker is Kristeller 1943, to be supplemented by Kristeller 1956–1996, Blum 2004, and Celenza 2004. Saitta 1954 also makes an elegant case for Ficino’s importance in intellectual history, while Shepherd 1999 and Vasoli 1999 offer groups of articles that explore key features of Ficino’s thought. Accademia: Revue de la Société Marsile Ficin is a significant source for early-21st-century articles on Ficino.

  • Accademia: Revue de la Société Marsile Ficin.

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    A scholarly journal that publishes articles in French, German, English, and Italian along with documents that pertain to the works and milieu of Ficino, including broader studies in Renaissance Platonism.

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  • Blum, Paul Richard. Philosophieren in der Renaissance. Ursprünge des Philosophierens 4. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2004.

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    An important overview of Renaissance philosophy that gives due attention to Ficino in relation to other thinkers of his age, stressing in particular his importance for the philosophy of religion.

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  • Celenza, Christopher S. “Orthodoxy: Lorenzo Valla and Marsilio Ficino.” In The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, Historians, and Latin’s Legacy. By Christopher S. Celenza, 80–114. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

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    A clear introduction to Ficino’s scholarly method, showing that in an effort to distinguish himself from the philological approach of Angelo Poliziano, Ficino developed a philosophical approach that took him further and further away from the orthodoxy of his peers. See especially pp. 100–114.

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  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar. The Philosophy of Marsilio Ficino. Translated by Virginia Conant. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943.

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    Still the authoritative treatment of Ficino’s philosophical work, focused on his ideas about being and the universe and about the soul and God. Reprinted in 1964 (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith); Italian edition, Il pensiero filosofico di Marsilio Ficino (Florence: Sansoni, 1953). The second Italian edition (Florence: Le Lettere, 1988) is the only one with full indexes of passages discussed and of authors cited by Ficino.

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  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar. Studies in Renaissance Thought and Letters. 4 vols. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1956–1996.

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    Contains a good number of essays on Ficino, ranging from studies of his scholastic background and relationship to lay religious traditions to articles on his contemporaries and the diffusion of his ideas.

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  • Saitta, Giuseppe. Marsilio Ficino e la filosofia dell’umanesimo. 3d rev. ed. Bologna, Italy: Fiammenghi & Nanni, 1954.

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    An important work that proposed an argument by no means obvious at its first appearance in 1923, that Ficino was an original thinker who merits extensive discussion within both the history of philosophy and the history of Christian thought. Second edition published in 1943 (Florence: Felice Le Monnier).

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  • Shepherd, Michael. Friend to Mankind: Marsilio Ficino, 1433–1499. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1999.

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    An unusually wide-ranging collection of essays, extending from Ficino’s ideas on key topics to his position relative to various disciplines and his influence on Renaissance Europe.

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  • Vasoli, Cesare. Quasi sit Deus: Studi su Marsilio Ficino. Lecce, Italy: Conte, 1999.

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    Eleven essays prepared or published initially during the 1990s, on Ficino’s intellectual environment, his religious work, and his influence on the culture of his day and the following century.

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Essay Collections

Scholarship on Ficino has been well served by essay collections in which a broad range of themes are addressed by different scholars from different perspectives, although the titles are sometimes a bit misleading. Eisenbichler and Pugliese 1986, for example, covers considerably more than Neoplatonism, while Leitgeb, et al. 2009 focuses more on Ficino’s texts proper than the title suggests. Garfagnini 1986; Allen, et al. 2002; Toussaint 2002; Clucas, et al. 2011; and Gentile and Toussaint 2006 range widely, covering everything from the sources Ficino drew upon to his influence on later thinkers. Bloch and Mojsisch 2003 focuses on Ficino as a systematic thinker.

  • Allen, Michael J. B., and Valery Rees, with Martin Davies, eds. Marsilio Ficino: His Theology, His Philosophy, His Legacy. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

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    A five-hundred-page essay collection whose contributions fall into three main groups: theology, philosophy and magic, and context and legacy. Also contains a useful introduction to Ficino’s life and works by Allen.

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  • Bloch, Matthias, and Burkhard Mojsisch, eds. Potentiale des menschlichen Geistes: Freiheit und Kreativität, praktische Aspekte der Philosophie Marsilio Ficinos, 1433–1499. Proceedings of a conference held 28–30 June at the Ruhr Universität, Bochum. Stuttgart: Steiner, 2003.

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    A collection of essays by younger German scholars focusing on Ficino as a systematic thinker, in relation to various aspects of the philosophical tradition.

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  • Clucas, Stephen, Peter J. Forshaw, and Valery Rees, eds. Laus Platonici philosophi: Marsilio Ficino and His Influence. Proceedings of a conference held in 2004 at Birkbeck College, London. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 198. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2011.

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    An interesting collection of essays, divided into two parts, with the first focused on various strands in Ficino’s thought and the second on his influence. A valuable book, especially because of Part 2.

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  • Eisenbichler, Konrad, and Olga Zorzi Pugliese, eds. Ficino and Renaissance Neoplatonism. Essays presented at a 1984 conference at the University of Toronto. Ottawa, ON: Dovehouse Editions Canada, 1986.

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    Thirteen essays on a wider variety of themes than the title suggests, ranging from Ficino’s interpretation of a poem by Guido Cavalcanti to Ariosto’s dependence on Ficino in the Orlando furioso but also including a couple of papers with only a tangential relationship to Ficino.

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  • Garfagnini, Gian Carlo, ed. Marsilio Ficino e il ritorno di Platone: Studi e documenti. 2 vols. Proceedings of the Convegno Internazionale di Studi nel 500 Anniversario della traduzione di Platone. Florence: Olschki, 1986.

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    A wide-ranging collection of essays by almost all the prominent Ficino specialists working in the 1980s, with sections on Ficino’s life and works, translations, astrology and Platonism, and the reception of his works.

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  • Gentile, Sebastiano, and Stéphane Toussaint, eds. Marsilio Ficino: Fonti, testi, fortuna; Atti del covegno internazionale (Firenze, 1–3 ottobre 1999). Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2006.

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    A diverse set of papers, ranging from sources and textual studies to key Ficinian themes, by a group of well-established Ficino scholars.

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  • Leitgeb, Maria Christine, Stéphane Toussaint, and Herbert Bannert, eds. Platon, Plotin, und Marsilio Ficino: Studien zu den Vorläufern und zur Rezeption des Florentiner Neuplatonismus; Internationales Symposium in Wien, 25–27 Oktober 2007. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2009.

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    A misleadingly titled, but valuable, set of conference proceedings that focus on Ficino’s sources and thought, with glances at Plotinus and Ficinian reception.

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  • Toussaint, Stéphane, ed. Marcel Ficin ou les mystères platoniciens: Actes du XLIIe Colloque international d’études humanistes, Centre d’études supérieures de la renaissance, Tours, 7–10 juillet 1999. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2002.

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    An important set of conference proceedings, divided into three sections: the placement of Ficino’s work into the scholarly tradition, studies of his thought within his coherent intellectual system, and his relations with his contemporaries.

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Ficino and Renaissance Platonism

Much modern scholarship, as one might expect, is directed toward Ficino’s role in the Platonic tradition. Hankins 1990, to be supplemented by the essays in Hankins 2004, places Ficino’s work into the broader movement of Renaissance Platonism, while Allen 1995 and Macías 2015 explore the range of Ficino’s Platonism, Allen 1998 focuses on interpretation, Allen 1984 offers an extended study of the Phaedrus commentary, and Megna 1999 studies Ficino’s translation of Plato’s Ion. Allen 2013, Collins 1974, and Robichaud 2016 remind us that Ficino’s Platonism interacted with other philosophical traditions as well.

  • Allen, Michael J. B. Plato’s Third Eye: Studies in Marsilio Ficino’s Metaphysics and Its Sources. Aldershot, UK: Variorum, 1995.

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    A collection that reprints fifteen essays published between 1975 and 1993 by one of the premier Ficino scholars of the 20th century, focused on Ficino’s interpretation of particular Platonic dialogues and on more general features of his Platonism, including his engagement with Neoplatonic sources.

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  • Allen, Michael J. B. Synoptic Art: Marsilio Ficino on the History of Platonic Interpretation. Florence: Olschki, 1998.

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    Five studies focused on Ficino’s preoccupation with the history and method of correct interpretation within his system of Christian Platonism.

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  • Allen, Michael J. B. “Marsilio Ficino on Saturn, the Plotinian Mind, and the Monster of Averroes.” In Renaissance Averroism and Its Aftermath: Arabic Philosophy in Early Modern Europe. Edited by Anna Akasoy and Guido Giglioni, 81–97. International Archive of the History of Ideas 211. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2013.

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    An interesting article that focuses on Saturn in the context of the long and intricate rejection of Averroism in Ficino’s magnus opus, the Platonic Theology, concluding that Saturn played an important role in Ficino’s account of ancient Neoplatonism, in his own Christian transformation of it, and in its polemical attack on the great Muslim commentator on Aristotle. Reprinted from Bruniana et Campanelliana 16 (2010): 11–29.

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  • Allen, Michael J. B., ed. The Platonism of Marsilio Ficino: A Study of His “Phaedrus” Commentary, Its Sources, and Genesis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

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    A study of Ficino’s commentary to Plato’s Phaedrus, organized primarily around several themes: Socrates’ demonic inspiration; the forms of divine madness; the soul’s ascent, descent, and immortality; the cavalcade of souls under Jupiter; and Plato’s ideas on beauty and love.

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  • Collins, Ardis B. The Secular Is Sacred: Platonism and Thomism in Ficino’s Platonic Theology. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1974.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-2022-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important study, reminding us that for all his love of Plato, Ficino was thoroughly conversant with other philosophical traditions and was indebted to medieval thinkers such as Aquinas as well as Plato.

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  • Hankins, James. “Florence.” In Plato in the Italian Renaissance. Vol. 1. By James Hankins, 265–359. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1990.

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    A magisterial work of scholarship that places Ficino’s work on Plato into the larger revival of Platonic studies in Renaissance Italy. A one-volume 1991 reimpression omits the source material of the 1990 edition but adds a few corrections and additions.

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  • Hankins, James. Humanism and Platonism in the Italian Renaissance. 2 vols. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2004.

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    Vol. 2, “Platonism,” includes a dozen essays on Ficino’s Platonism and its connections to the Platonic Academy and to other personages of his day.

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  • Macías, Cristóbal. “La influencia de Calcidio en la obra y el pensamiento de Marsilio Ficino.” Crítica Hispánica 37 (2015): 53–100.

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    Argues for the importance of Calcidius, a 4th-century philosopher who translated part of Plato’s Timaeus from Greek into Latin and added an extensive commentary to Ficino’s work in the Platonic tradition.

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  • Megna, Paola, ed. Lo Ione platonico nella Firenze medicea. Messina, Italy: Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi Umanistici, 1999.

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    A study of Plato’s dialogue on poetic inspiration and its two humanistic translations, by Lorenzo Lippi and Ficino, with a critical edition of Ficino’s Latin translation appended.

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  • Robichaud, Denis. “Fragments of Marsilio Ficino’s Translations and Use of Proclus’ Elements of Theology and Elements of Physics: Evidence and Study.” Vivarium 54.1 (2016): 46–107.

    DOI: 10.1163/15685349-12341312Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A lengthy study of the lost translations of two works of Proclus, showing that Proclus accompanied Ficino from his early scholastic background through his mastery of the Platonic tradition later in his career and helped him bridge the two cultures of scholasticism and Renaissance Platonism.

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Magic, Medicine, and Science

Ficino’s work in magic, medicine, and science serves as a useful reminder that for all their affinities, early modern thought does not move in all the same directions as its modern successors, as Steppich 2015 shows. Zanier 1977 stresses the gulf between Ficino’s astrological studies and modern culture, while Vasoli 1992 analyzes the same material more sympathetically, and Moore 1982 explicitly aims to bring Ficino’s astrological work into today’s culture. Zambelli 1973 and Klemm 2016 analyze Ficino’s ideas on magic, as does Walker 1958, which also demonstrates how widely influential these ideas were. Copenhaver 1987 and Gentile and Gilly 1999 disagree on the importance of Hermes Trismegistus as a source for Ficino’s ideas on magic, with the former questioning the relationship and the latter affirming it. Otto 1991 reminds us that for Ficino, natural science drifted into philosophy in ways that are not normal for modern scholarship.

  • Copenhaver, Brian P. “Iamblichus, Synesius, and the Chaldaean Oracles in Marsilio Ficino’s De Vita Libri Tres: Hermetic Magic or Neoplatonic Magic?” In Supplementum Festivum: Studies in Honor of Paul Oskar Kristeller. Edited by James Hankins, John Monfasani, and Frederick Purnell Jr., 441–455. Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1987.

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    Argues that Ficino found the principles of his magic not in the Corpus Hermeticum but in such late Neoplatonic thinkers as Synesius, Iamblichus, and the Oracula Chaldaica.

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  • Gentile, Sebastiano, and Carlos Gilly, eds. Marsilio Ficino e il ritorno di Ermete Trismegisto/Marsilio Ficino and the Return of Hermes Trismegistus. Florence: Centro Di, 1999.

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    A sumptuous exhibition catalogue focused on the Corpus Hermeticum and Ficino’s role in disseminating the work of Hermes Trismegistus in Medici Florence.

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  • Klemm, Tanja. “Life from Within: Physiology and Talismanic Efficacy in Marsilio Ficino’s De Vita (1498).” Representations 133.1 (2016): 110–129.

    DOI: 10.1525/rep.2016.133.1.110Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on how, according to Ficono, medical talismans were experience by the living, sensible human body, against the background of a cosmological physiology.

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  • Moore, Thomas. The Planets within Marsilio Ficino’s Astrological Psychology. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1982.

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    Analyzes Ficino’s ideas about astrology and the human psyche as the work of “a living psychologist with something to say about the modern psyche” (p. 15), not a man of his times. Revised edition published in 1990 (Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne).

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  • Otto, Stephan. “Geometrie und Optik in der Philosophie des Marsilio Ficino.” Philosophisches Jahrbuch 98 (1991): 290–313.

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    Argues that Ficino’s use of optics and geometry is not merely ornamental but an integral part of his metaphysics and ontology.

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  • Steppich, Christoph. “Den Atem des Weltalls schöpfen: Marsilio Ficino zur Rezeption des Spiritus Mundi.” In Aisthetics of the Spirits: Spirits in Early Modern Science, Religion, Literature and Music. Edited by Steffen Schneider, 79–109. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015.

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    A careful study of the role of spirit in Ficino’s thought, as a connecting point among the individual, the universe, and the principles of aesthetics.

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  • Vasoli, Cesare. “Marsilia Ficino e l’astrologia.” In L’astrologia e la sua influenza nella filosofia, nella letteratura e nell’arte dall’età classica al Rinascimento. By Istituto di Studi Umanistici F. Petrarca, 159–186. Milan: Nuovi Orizzonti, 1992.

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    A sensitive analysis of Ficino’s complex attitude toward astrology, in which astral influences remained real but were to be subordinated to the soul’s desire to ascend the heavens to the highest good.

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  • Walker, D. P. Spiritual and Demonic Magic: From Ficino to Campenella. London: Warburg Institute, 1958.

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    A classic study focused almost entirely on Ficino and his influence, explicating his understanding of magic and tracing the dissemination of these ideas through the works of his opponents and supporters in the 16th century. Reprinted in 1976 (Neldeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprints). Second edition published in 1975 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press); reprinted in 2000 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press).

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  • Zambelli, P. “Ficino e la magia.” In Studia humanitatis Ernesto Grassi zum 70. Geburtstag. Edited by Eginhard Hora and Eckhard Kessler, 121–142. Munich: W. Fink, 1973.

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    An important study that distinguishes a natural magic from the demonic one and associates Ficino’s concept of the magician with the Platonic notion of the mediator and with love as the unifying force in the universe.

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  • Zanier, Giancarlo. La medicina astrologica e la sua teoria: Marsilio Ficino e i suoi critici contemporanei. Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo & Bizzarri, 1977.

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    A study of how Ficino utilized astrology in his medical works, designed to show that his acceptance of practices that are now questionable was unequivocal.

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Religion

Trinkaus 1970 offers the fundamental study of Ficino’s theology in its Renaissance context, to be updated by Edelheit 2008. Klutstein 1987, Hankins 2016, McDonald 2015, Walker 1972, and Vasoli 1988a explore Ficino’s efforts to ground his religious studies in an ancient theology that goes back to pagan Antiquity, while Vasoli 1988b shows how Ficino constructed an anti-Jewish polemic on a foundation laid by others. Allen 2008 is an interesting study of the tensions inherent in Ficino’s syncretic efforts.

  • Allen, Michael J. B. “At Variance: Marsilio Ficino, Platonism, and Heresy.” In Platonism at the Origins of Modernity: Studies on Platonism and Early Modern Philosophy. Edited by Douglas Hedley and Sarah Hutton, 31–44. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2008.

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    A fascinating examination of Ficino’s efforts to accommodate his Platonic and hermetic thinking to Christianity, which proved to be more difficult than one might imagine for a priest whose fundamental religious feeling was never in question.

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  • Edelheit, Amos. Ficino, Pico, and Savonarola: The Evolution of Humanist Theology, 1461/2–1498. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004166677.i-503Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A general discussion of 15th-century Florentine religion, reexamining some of the issues discussed in Trinkaus 1970 and exploring Ficino’s theology in relation to two important contemporaries, Girolamo Savonarola and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

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  • Hankins, James. “Iamblichus, Ficino, and Schleiermacher on the Sources of Religious Knowledge.” Erudition and the Republic of Letters 1 (2016): 1–12.

    DOI: 10.1163/24055069-00101001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shows how Ficino revived a key idea of Iamblichus’s, that religious experience is a precognitive awareness of humanity’s existential dependence on a divine principle of unity, an argument that was revived again several centuries later by Friedrich Schleiermacher.

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  • Klutstein, Ilana. Marsilio Ficino et la théologie ancienne: Oracles chaldaïques, hymnes orphiques—hymnes de Proclus. Florence: Olschki, 1987.

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    A study of the pagan texts, especially the Chaldean oracles and Orphic hymns, that Ficino believed carried adumbrations of Christian truth, with editions of the relevant texts.

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  • McDonald, Grantley. “Melanchthon’s Theory of Spirit as a Bridge between Galen, Ficino and Luther.” In Aisthetics of the Spirits: Spirits in Early Modern Science, Religion, Literature and Music. Edited by Steffen Schneider, 111–128. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015.

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    Shows how Philipp Melanchthon adapted the ideas of Galen and Ficino on spiritus to a specifically Lutheran anthropology, noting that these ideas also affected Melanchthon’s thoughts about melancholy and the actions of the Holy Spirit and demons on the individual soul and that Melanchthon influenced several later 16th-century theologians in their analyses of similar matters.

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  • Trinkaus, Charles. In Our Image and Likeness: Humanity and Divinity in Italian Humanist Thought. 2 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.

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    Still the standard treatment of the relationship between Renaissance humanism and religion, in which Ficino plays an important role, especially in the discussions of the immortality of the soul, the allegorical interpretation of Scripture, and the place of Christianity within the broader history of mankind. Reprinted in 1995 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press).

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  • Vasoli, Cesare. Filosofia e religione nella cultura del Rinascimento. Naples, Italy: Guida, 1988a.

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    Analyzes the development of a philosophical-religious strain of thought in the Renaissance that begins with Ficino, whose De Christiana religione and De amore initiated a tradition of “pious philosophy” that draws from ancient sources and spread throughout Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. See pp. 19–135.

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  • Vasoli, Cesare. “Per le fonti del De christiana religione di Marsilio Ficino.” Rinascimento 2.28 (1988b): 135–233.

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    Presents the text of the sections of De Christiana religione that contribute to the Renaissance polemic against the Jews, demonstrating Ficino’s extensive dependence on similar works by Nicolas de Lyre, Paolo de Burgos, and Ricoldo di Monte di Croce.

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  • Walker, D. P. The Ancient Theology: Studies in Christian Platonism from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1972.

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    A good background study of the key Ficinian concept of “ancient theology” (prisca theologia) as found in texts from late pagan thinkers such as Hermes Trismegistus, Orpheus, and Pythagoras that were supposed to contain adumbrations of Christianity seen as especially compatible with Platonism.

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The Arts

Chastel 1954 and Wind 1968 are the classic studies of Ficino’s ideas about the arts, with Oehlig 1992 surveying the same material from a more philosophical perspective, Toussaint 1997 proposing a bold link between Ficino and Brunelleschi, and Dee 2013 presenting Ficino’s ideas about one of the most famous, and enigmatic, of all Renaissance paintings. Ficino’s ideas about music have been attracting considerable attention since the end of the 20th century, with Boccadoro 2000, Prins 2015, and Tomlinson 1993 representative of scholarly trends in this area.

  • Boccadoro, Brenno. “Marsilio Ficino: The Soul and the Body of Counterpoint.” In Number to Sound: The Musical Way to the Scientific Revolution. Edited by Paolo Gozza, 99–134. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic, 2000.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-9578-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A detailed study of Ficino’s writings on music, acknowledging their philosophical base but showing how these ideas in affective theory also function on the level of concrete sound.

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  • Chastel, André. Marsile Ficin et l’art. 3d ed. Geneva, Switzerland: Droz, 1954.

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    A wide-ranging study of Ficino’s influence on the theory and practice of Renaissance art, beginning with the Platonic Academy and covering key Ficinian themes such as enthusiasm, allegory, and genius. Reprinted in 1975 and 1996.

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  • Dee, John. “Eclipsed: An Overshadowed Goddess and the Discarded Image of Botticelli’s Primavera.” Renaissance Studies 27.1 (2013): 4–33.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-4658.2011.00769.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses a letter that Ficino wrote to the owner of the Primavera, in which he explained that Botticelli’s painting embodies a metaphysical image of the cosmos reflected in the soul.

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  • Oehlig, Ute. Die philosophische Begründing der Kunst bei Ficino. Stuttgart: Teubner, 1992.

    DOI: 10.1515/9783110950557Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A thoughtful exploration of the role of Ficino’s philosophy of art, as a realization of inborn ideas that lead back to divine truth.

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  • Prins, Jacomien. Echoes of an Invisible World: Marsilio Ficino and Francesco Patrizi on Cosmic Order and Music Theory. Brill Studies in Intellectual History 234. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015.

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    Offers an account of the transformation of the notion of Pythagorean world harmony during the Renaissance and the role of the Italian philosophers Marsilio Ficino and Francesco Patrizi in redefining the relationship between cosmic order and music theory, so that beauty and the complementary idea of celestial harmony were gradually replaced by concepts of expressivity and emotion.

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  • Tomlinson, Gary. “Ficino’s Magical Songs.” In Music in Renaissance Magic: Toward a Historiography of Others. By Gary Tomlinson, 101–144. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

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    A reconsideration of Ficino’s ideas about music, showing them to be a widely influential means of channeling astral influences in meaningful, health-giving ways.

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  • Toussaint, Stéphane. De l’enfer à la coupole: Dante, Brunelleschi et Ficin; À propos des “codici Caetani di Dante.” Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 1997.

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    A bold effort to integrate threads from the works of Dante, Brunelleschi, and Ficino, showing how philosophy and poetry provided a theoretical basis on which artistic production could build in the quattrocento.

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  • Wind, Edgar. Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance. Rev. ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 1968.

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    A classic study of the Renaissance interest in the occult as it passed through religious syncretism like that of Ficino to influence key artistic works of the period. Reprint of 1958 edition (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).

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Influence

Ficino’s ideas on love have proved especially influential, with Festugière 1941 offering the classic study of 16th-century France, and Line 2006 and Bozio 2016 extending the filiation to England. Several scholarly works focus on the reception of Ficino in Italy: Yates 1964 connects him to Giordano Bruno, Leinkauf 1989 links Ficino to a Jesuit polymath working in Rome, and Raffini 1998 draws Bembo and Castiglione into the discussion. Ardissino 2003 and Jayne 1980 show how influence study can be linked to marginal annotation, while Simonutti 2007 offers an unusually wide-ranging collection of essays on Ficino’s influence. Blum 1999 extends the analysis to central Europe, and Byrne 2015 offers an exhaustive overview of Ficino’s reception in Renaissance Spain.

  • Ardissino, Erminia. Tasso, Plotino, Ficino: In margine a un postillato. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2003.

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    Approaches the connection of Tasso to Plotinus through the notes Tasso left in his copy of the Enneads, which he read in translation and with the commentary of Ficino. Valuable both for specific conclusions and for critical methodology.

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  • Blum, Richard, ed. Special Issue: Marsilio Ficino in Mitteleuropa. Verbum—Analecta Neolatina 1.1 (1999).

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    A special issue of a Hungarian journal, offering essays on a disciple of Ficino’s at Buda (Francesco Bandini), the syncretism of Antonius Zara of Istria, the commentary to the Timaeus of Szymon Birkowski, the physiological analysis of love as influenced by Ficino, and early printed editions of Ficino in Hungary.

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  • Bozio, Andrew. “The Contemplative Cosmos: John Lyly’s Endymion and the Shape of Early Modern Space.” Studies in Philology 113.1 (2016): 55–81.

    DOI: 10.1353/sip.2016.0008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that John Lyly’s Endymion draws upon Neoplatonic theories of desire, as represented in Ficino’s commentary on Plato’s Symposium, to present space as a domain continually reshaped by contemplative thought.

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  • Byrne, Susan. Ficino in Spain. Toronto Iberic. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

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    Uses textual and bibliographic evidence to show the pervasive impact of Ficino’s writings on the Spanish Renaissance. Relying on a variety of sources ranging from specific mentions of his name in major texts to glossed volumes of his works in Spanish libraries, Byrne shows that Spanish writers such as Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Bartolomé de las Casas, and Garcilaso de la Vega all responded to Ficino and adapted his material in their own works. An important book.

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  • Festugière, A. J. La philosophie de l’amour de Marsile Ficin et son influence sur la littérature française au XVIe siècle. 2d ed. Paris: J. Vrin, 1941.

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    A study of Ficino’s philosophical ideas about love as they affected French literary culture of the 16th century, culminating in the Pléiade. Originally published in Coimbra, Portugal, in 1923.

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  • Jayne, Sears Reynolds. John Colet and Marsilio Ficino. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1980.

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    A study of John Colet’s marginalia in his copy of Ficino’s Epistulae (Oxford, All Souls College, h. infra 1.5), with transcription, showing the interaction of two different temperaments in the face of similar intellectual problems. Reprint of 1963 edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

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  • Leinkauf, Thomas. “Amor in supremi opificis mente residens: Athanasius Kirchers Auseinandersetzung mit der Schrift De amore des Marsilius Ficinus; Ein Beitrag zur weiteren Rezeptionsgeschichte des Platonischen Symposions.” Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 43.2 (1989): 265–300.

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    A learned study that explores the complex reception of De amore by Athanasius Kircher (b. 1601–d. 1680), a celebrated polymath who shared several of Ficino’s interests.

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  • Line, Jill. Shakespeare and the Ideal of Love. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2006.

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    Argues that the lovers in Shakespeare’s plays follow Ficino’s Christian-Platonic philosophy, embarking on a return journey to their source in the divine unity of all things. Originally published as Shakespeare and the Fire of Love (London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 2004).

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  • Raffini, Christine. Marsilio Ficino, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione: Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Political Approaches in Renaissance Platonism. New York: Peter Lang, 1998.

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    After examining Ficino’s attempts to reconcile Christian authority with Renaissance individualism, Raffini shows how his synthesis of Platonic, Christian, and courtly love played a decisive role in the thought of Pietro Bembo and Baldassare Castiglione.

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  • Simonutti, Luisa, ed. Forme del Neoplatonismo: Dall’eredità ficiniana ai platonici di Cambridge; Atti del convegno, Firenze, 25–27 ottobre 2001. Florence: L. S. Olschki, 2007.

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    A wide-ranging set of essays that begins with Ficino in Italy and moves through his influence on Jean Bodin, Thomas More, and Justus Lipsius to the Cambridge Platonists and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

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  • Yates, Frances A. Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964.

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    Contains several introductory chapters on Ficino’s pioneering work on the Corpus Hermeticum, as part of a classic study of Renaissance magic and its Late Antique sources that culminates in the writings of Giordano Bruno.

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