Friday, March 01, 2013

Infinite Fire Webinar IV – The Revival of Platonic Orientalism


The revival of Platonic Orientalism was a serious attempt, many decades before Luther, at reforming Christianity by going “back to the sources”. Plethon seems to have hoped that, in fact, Platonic Orientalism would eventually take the place of Christianity as the religion of the future; Ficino believed, rather, that the ancient wisdom was perfectly compatible with the true Christian faith, and hence the rediscovery of the Greek sources could lead Christians back to the actual revelation at the core of their own religion; Pico, finally, was hoping for a great unification of all religious and philosophical traditions under the umbrella of the rediscovered kabbalah, and believed that the Jews would have to convert to Christianity once they had accepted the shocking revelation that a quintessentially Christian message formed the true secret of their own mystical tradition. Plethon and Ficino defended a “Zoroastrian” form of Platonic Orientalism, and Pico’s Christian kabbalah was its “Mosaic” counterpart.


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