REVIEW ESSAY M AT T H E W M E LV I N - K O U S H K I University of South Carolina liana saif. The Arabic Influences on Early Modern Occult Philosophy. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Pp. vi 277. The quest to marry Plato and Aristotle defined Western intellectual history in the medieval and early modern periods; and it was only theoretically and historically achieved by means of Arabic astral magic. So argues Liana Saif in The Arabic Influences on Early Modern Occult Philosophy, a recent installment in Palgrave's burgeoning Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic series. This study is a thoroughly revised version of the author's 2011 Birkbeck, University of London doctoral thesis; it dispenses with that study's concluding discussion of seventeenth-century European developments (material she has published separately),1 and adds instead two chapters on the Arabic-Latin translation movement of the twelfth and thirteenth as foundation of subsequent philosophical developments in Europe. Between the Bacons, she here prefers Roger to Francis. Nevertheless, the focus of the book remains heavily early modern: Saif seeks to show the debt of a trinity of Renaissance thinkers --Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, and John Dee--to Arabic
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Apr 17, 2017
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