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318 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 26:2 APRIL 1988 class to its intension, as did the treatment of this issue by the Thomists and Scotists; it merely replaces the logical issue with a grammatical one. Despite these difficulties, however, Broadie's book is one that deserves to be read by anyone who is seriously interested in the logic and grammar of the sixteenth century , or even in the broader topic of the intellectual climate of that time. LARRY HICKMAN Texas A&M University Walter Pagel. Religion and Neoplatonism in Renaissance Medicine. Edited by Marianne Winder. London: Variorum Reprints, 1985. Pp. ix + 346. s Pagel is well known for his fundamental studies on Paracelsus and Van Helmont, xbut most scholars are unaware of Pagel's deep interest in the arcana of Gnosticism and the curiosa of Hermeticism as they had filtered into the Renaissance from classical antiquity and the Byzantine Middle Ages. Now that the study of magic and astrology has assumed a respectable place in the History of Science, signaled by the nearly simultaneous publication of two collections of translated source material within the past year,~ the utterly original thinking by Pagel on the crucial role of pseudo-science and pseudophilosophy in antiquity and the Renaissance has been verified. The curious vagaries of Neoplatonism are matched by the choking internal contradictions which pepper Gnosticism and Hermeticism, not to mention astrology in its numerous forms. Pagel was very well aware of all this, but chose to concentrate on the fact of a long-range appeal by what he characterized as the "Vindication of Rubbish," one of the most valuable of the reprints included in Religion and Netplatonism.3 Rubbish it may be to later observers, approaching philosophy and science with accumulated hindsights of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but such was a form of truth (however obscured ) to fine intellects in classical antiquity, medieval Byzantium, and the presumably halcyon days of the European Renaissance. As Pagel discerned, the context of a revived Renaissance form of ancient Hermeticism, Greco-Roman astrology, pagan Gnosticism, and obviously corrupted Platonism (or Neoplatonism), often helped the modern scholar comprehend the assumptions of Renaissance philosophers and scientists . Pagel looked at the texts for what they said, and reported them as they were, brilliantly stripping away the layers of incipient Whiggism which even now dominate many works in the History of Science and History of Philosophy. ' Walter Pagel, Paracelsus:An Introduction to PhilosophicalMedicinein theEra of theRenaissance (Basel and New York: S. Karger, a958) and Joan Baptista Van Helmont: Reformer of Science and Medicine(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). 9 Georg Luck, trans., annotated, with introd., Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occultin the Greek and Roman Worlds (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985) and Hans Dieter Betz, ed., The GreekMagical Papyriin Translationincluding theDemoticSpells,Vol. I, Texts(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986). 3 "The Vindication of 'Rubbish'," reprinted from the Middlesex HospitalJournal 45 (1945): 1--14. BOOK REVIEWS 319 Pagel's Paracelsus stands as a model of precision, although the subject and his neargenius coupled with quasi-fraud is notoriously slippery. A piece of this quirky combination is beautifully illustrated by Paracelsus' notions of what he termed spiritus vitrioli, an "ether" which had potent pharmacological properties.4 Indeed, as Pagel argues in this important article, which appeared in the Swiss journal, Gesnerus, the very ancient 'breaths' of Gnosticism provided Paracelsus with just enough purported data to prove the utility of such a gas, already demonstrated on chickens. Or in "Religious Motives in Medical Biology,"5 one reads "In antiquity there were as many diseases as patients. To Paracelsus there were as many diseases as causes, ''6 opaque statements certainly until one reads on to discover how pagel is contrasting the 'new' medicine and prognostics of the Renaissance with the 'old' concepts of humoral pathology inherited from the Greco-Roman theories of Hippocrates and Galen. The new was fused with the old, or as Pagel sums it, "Such theories originated in the tendency to subject matter to ideas, both as regards dignity and order of occurrence."7 Perhaps the most important essay reprinted in this collection is Pagel's "Paracelsus and the Neoplatonic and Gnostic Tradition," which was published in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 318-320
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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