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2.5 - Renaissance Christian Platonism and Ficino

from II - History

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2021

Alexander J. B. Hampton
University of Toronto
John Peter Kenney
Saint Michael's College, Vermont
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Ficino’s Christian Platonism is characterized by two overriding features. First, it is expressed in works that are elaborated along traditional medieval lines in the form of commentaries either standing alone or incorporated into writings in other genres. Second, the configuration of this Platonism is inseparable from the history of Platonism as a tradition embodying both a continuous progress towards the light and a rhythmic alternation of revelation and concealment. After exploring this material in detail, it will become clearer how Ficino’s Christian Platonism is at the same time a psychology and a theology grounded in a sort of two-directional hermeneutic. Plato the non-Christian writer is prophetic of his own reading by later non-Christian Platonists who acquired the possibility of this reading on the one hand, through their partial illumination by Christian intermediaries and on the other, through their judicious distinction between the literal truth and non-literalness of some of the master’s most important teachings.

Christian Platonism
A History
, pp. 227 - 245
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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