270 Short Notices contextualised, then, by his familiarity with earlier Christian writers who drew on the Asclepius as well as on fragmentary quotations from Hermetic works by Lactantius and others. Ficino's Latin translation of fourteen treatises from the Greek Corpus Hermeticum in 1463, under the title of Pimander, was a natural sequel to his study of these writers and established the Pimander together with the Asclepius as the primary sources of prisca sapientia for the next hundred and fifty years. This doctrinal amalgam of Christianity and Hermetism was further developed in the late sixteenth century by the French Catholic bishop François Foix-Candale during the wars of religion, but ultimately Catholic Protestant enmity brought about the decline of religious interest in the Corpus Hermeticum. In 1615, the Huguenot scholar, Isaac Casaubon, presented a sophisticated philological argument denying the pre-Christian origin of the Corpus Hermeticum, as part of his much larger anti-Catholic polemic. Although the Corpus was not marginalised immediately, the Hermetic texts eventually became seen as late antique forgeries imitating Christian doctrines rather than as pagan anticipations of those doctrines from the time of Moses or even earlier. Moreschini traces the career of Christian Hermetism over this long trajectory,
Parergon – Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)
Published: Sep 19, 2014
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