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A little more astrology-related history...

Hi everyone,

The battle-lines between the medieval Church and astrology were first properly drawn up in 1277 by Stephen Tempier, Bishop of Paris. He listed 219 propositions that were not to be taught at the University of Paris, one of which was astrology.

Bishop Tempier - like Rabbis many centuries before (even though some early synagogues had zodiac mosaics) - was most dismayed at the idea of astrological determinism.

As mentioned before, Cecco d'Ascoli's defences of his astrological practice in the 1320s weren't enough to prevent him from being burnt at the stake.

It seems that there then came about an uneasy truce between the Church and astrologers - as long as they didn't mention predetermination. This lasted until 1490, when the noted thinker Pico della Mirandola gave notice that he was preparing a full-on intellectual assault on astrology's shortcomings (which he eventually published in 1498). In the meantime, top-rank astrologers (like Marsilio Ficino and Simon de Phares) preemptively published their defences of astrology - partly for their profession's sake, of course, but also partly to save themselves. :-/

1498 is when Simon de Phares, after the death of his patron, was thrown in prison, and his extensive library of astrological books and manuscripts catalogued and burned.

So: the 1490s marked not only the point at which astrologers really started to come under fire (quite literally) again, but also the point where astrology "changed phase", moving from deterministic medieval astrology into something resembling the more modern psychological discipline (due largely to Marsilio Ficino).

Medieval astrology has been revived of late, most notably by Robert Zoller: but astrological interpretation as generally practised these days is far closer to Marsilio Ficino's. Is that because one proved better than the other, or because the Church found one more heretical than the other?

Online references:-

A paper by Paula Wagner, a student at Kepler College:-

A conference paper by Dr Laura Smoller on apocalyptic astrology:-

Another Simon de Phares-related book listed by Dr Smoller:-
	J.-P. Boudet "Lire dans le ciel: La bibliotheque de Simon de
	Phares, astrologue du XVe siecle"
	(Brussels, Centre d'Etude des Manuscrits, 1994)

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....