Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Apocatastasis [Eternal Return] [Wheel of Time]
by Robert Turcan
Translated from French by Paul C. Duggan
Revised Bibliography
Accessed: 7/31/22

In the constant transformation from arising to becoming and out beyond this to passing away, to a new arising and a new becoming, in which Wuotan [Wotan] continues in an uninterrupted evolutionary process -- just as the All (macrocosm) and every individual self (microcosm) consistently remains the same ego [Ich] -- this ego was from the beginning of time bound inseparably and unalterably to certain spiritual and physical realities in a biune-bifidic biunity [beideinig-zwiespaltige Zwei-Einheit). Thus Wuotan [Wotan] appears before our eyes as the reflection of the All as an individual self: "He consecrates himself, consecrated to himself," he consecrates himself -- as a self-sacrificer to himself as a self-sacrifice -- to the passing away in order to arise anew. The nearer he feels to the point in time for this passing away toward a new arising -- his death -- the clearer the knowledge grows in him about the secret of life which is an eternal arising and passing away, a constant transformation, an eternal return [ewige Wiederkehr] -- a life of constant cycle of being born and dying. "This knowledge completely arises in him only at that twilight-moment in which he is sinking (dying) into the Ur out of which he will once more arise, and in this twilight-moment (death) he gives his eye as a pledge in exchange for elevated knowledge. However, this eye remains his property -- even if it has been pawned. He will reclaim it upon his rebirth out of the Ur. For this one is is his physical body, while his other eye, which he retains and takes with him into the Ur, is his spiritual body, his soul. The one physical eye, that is, the physical body itself, is only temporarily lost in the transitional phase of death, but it nevertheless remains his own, and is reunified with his other (spiritual) eye at the moment of his return out of the Ur -- upon his rebirth. This latter is his spiritual body (the soul), but the primeval knowledge gained from Mimir's well also remains his property upon his rebirth, i.e. the property of the All. It is the sum of the experience (Gjallar) of thousands upon thousands of ages which is preserved and inherited -- unconsciously through the mind and consciously through language and writing. Thus the knowledge of Wuotan [Wotan], and that of each individual self, is increased by means of the drink from Mimir's well using the Gjallarhorn, he enriches it through his questions to the Wala (Lady of Death, Totenwal, Helja), as well as through his dialog with Mimir's head. It only appears that he is separating himself from the material world, from humanity, to which he also belongs in what appears to be physical nonexistence, for he constitutes a biune-bifidic biunity as something both spiritual and physical. He cannot separate his own physical day-life from his psychosomatic night-life -- a life which only appears to be nonexistence. There he gains primeval knowledge of his eternal life, which guides him in eternal change through the transformations from arising, becoming, transforming, passing away, and arising anew though all eternity. Through this knowledge he became wise and found both the science surrounding the fate of the world by his own life being consecrated to death, and the solution to the riddle of the cosmos, which -- as it says in the "Runatals thattr Odins" -- "he will never ever reveal to a woman or a girl." And since Wuotan [Wotan] is himself in fact also the All at the same time -- as every self is also simultaneously the not-self, i.e. the All-Unified-Self (community = all-one-self) -- each individual self, each person, makes the same transformations through the same levels of knowledge. All individual storehouses of knowledge and solutions to problems (not mere dead memorized data!) are thus evaluated. Such storehouses are not lost upon death, but rather are preserved in death and once more brought back to the world of men upon the next reincarnation. People call these spiritual storehouses that the reborn individuals bring to the earth "natural abilities," "talent" or "innate genius," which has already been established and discussed above. But just as the unrevealed God is only able to reveal himself in matter and become the world-spirit (First Logos), and just as the revealed God has to activate himself in creation generatively (Second Logos), in order to come to a a vision and knowledge of himself, and finally just as the human spirit (Third Logos) had to attain this through an apparent descent from divinity for the sake of awareness of divinity itself, i.e. his own selfhood, so too the human being can only rediscover the divinity within himself (the divine inwardness) after he has lost it, after he has searched for God unsuccessfully outside himself "up there in heaven," in temples and churches finally only to rediscover his God within his own heart on the painful detour through atheism -- and this time he does so in a way that God will never again be lost. And here we recognize in the world-ash, Yggdrasil -- the imagematic tree of knowledge -- the holy tree Zampuh of Tibetan myth, the Assyrian tree of life, and the other similar trees in Indian, Persian and other mythologies. Thus we find our way back to Yggdrasil again.

-- The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic Folk: Esoteric and Exoteric, by Guido von List

When D. P. Walker wrote about "ancient theology" or prisca theologia, he firmly linked it to Christianity and Platonism (Walker 1972). On the first page of his book, Walker defined the term as follows:
By the term "Ancient Theology" I mean a certain tradition of Christian apologetic theology which rests on misdated texts. Many of the early Fathers, in particular Lactantius, Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius, in their apologetic works directed against pagan philosophers, made use of supposedly very ancient texts: Hermetica, Orphica, Sibylline Prophecies, Pythagorean Carmina Aurea, etc., most of which in fact date from the first four centuries of our era. [100-400 A.D.] These texts, written by the Ancient Theologians hermes Trismegistus, Orpheus, Pythagoras, were shown to contain vestiges of the true religion: monotheism, the Trinity, the creation of the world out of nothing through the Word, and so forth. It was from these that Plato [428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC)] took the religious truths to be found in his writings. [???!!!] (Walker 1972:1)

Walker described A revival of such "ancient theology" in the Renaissance and in "platonizing theologians from Ficino to Cudworth" who wanted to "integrate Platonism and Neoplatonism into Christianity, so that their own religious and philosophical beliefs might coincide" [!!!](p. 2). After the debunking of the genuineness and antiquity of the texts favored by these ancient theologians, the movement ought to have died; but Walker detected "a few isolated survivals" such as Athanasius Kircher, Pierre-Daniel Huet, and the Jesuit figurists of the French China mission (p. 194). For Walker the last Mohican of this movement, so to say, is Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686-1743), whose views are described in the final chapter of The Ancient Theology. But seen through the lens of our concerns here, one could easily extend this line to various figures in this book, for example, Jean Calmette, John Zephaniah Holwell, Abbe Vincent Mignot, Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron, Guillaume Sainte-Croix, and also to William Jones (App 2009).


To better understand such phenomena we have to go beyond the narrow confines of the Christian God and Platonism. There are many movements that link themselves to some kind of "original," "pure," "genuine" teaching, claim its authority, use it to criticize "degenerate" accretions, and attempt to legitimize their "reform" on its basis. Such links can take a variety of forms. In Chapter 4 we saw how in the eighth and ninth centuries the Buddhist reform movement known as Zen cooked up a lineage of "mind to mind" transmission with the aim of connecting the teaching of the religion's Indian founder figure, Buddha, with their own views. The tuned-up and misdated Forty-Two Sections Sutra that ended up impressing so many people, including its first European translator de Guignes, was one (of course unanticipated) outcome of this strategy. Such "Ur-tradition" movements, as I propose to call them, invariably create a "transmission" scenario of their "original" teaching or revelation; in the case of Zen this consisted in an elaborate invented genealogy with colorful transmission figures like Bodhidharma and "patriarchs" consisting mostly of pious legends. Such invented genealogies and transmissions are embodied in symbols and legends emphasizing the link between the "original" teaching and the movement's doctrine. "Genuine," "oldest" texts are naturally of central importance for such movements, since they tend to regard the purity of teaching as directly proportional to its closeness to origins.

A common characteristic of such "Ur-tradition" movements is a tripartite scheme of "golden age," "degeneration," and "regeneration." The raison d'etre of such movements is the revival of a purportedly most ancient, genuine, "original" teaching after a long period of degeneration. Hence their need to define an "original" teaching, establish a line of its transmission, identify stages and kinds of degeneration, and present themselves as the agent of "regeneration" of the original "ancient" teaching.
Such need often arises in a milieu of doctrinal rivalry or in a crisis, for example, when "new" religions or reform movements want to establish and legitimize themselves or when an established religion is threatened by powerful alternatives.

When young Christianity evolved from a Jewish reform movement and was accused of being a "new religion" and an invention, ancient connections were needed to provide legitimacy and add historical weight to the religion. The adoption of the Hebrew Bible as "Old Testament," grimly opposed by some early Christians, linked the young religion and its "New Testament" effectively to the very creation of the world, to paradise, and to the Ur-religion of the first humans in the golden age. Legends, texts, and symbols were created to illustrate this "Old-to-New" link. For example, the savior's cross on Golgotha had to get a pedigree connecting it to the Hebrew Bible's paradise tree; and the original sinner Adam's skull had to be brought via Noah's ark to Palestine in order to get buried on the very hill near Jerusalem where Adam's original sin eventually got expunged by the New Testament's "second Adam" on the cross (Figure 11). Theologians use the word "typology" for such attempts to discover Christian teachings or forebodings thereof in the Old Testament.

Similar links to an "oldest," "purest," and "original" teaching are abundant not only in the history of religions but also, for example, in freemasonry and various "esoteric" movements. They also tend to invent links to an original "founder," "ancient" teachings and texts, lineages, symbols of the original doctrine and its transmission, eminent transmitter figures ("patriarchs"), and so on; and they usually criticize the degeneration of exactly those original and pure teachings that they claim to resuscitate. In such schemes the most ancient texts, symbols, and objects naturally play important roles, particularly if they seem mysterious: pyramids, hieroglyphs, runic letters, ancient texts buried in caves, and divine revelations stored on golden tablets in heaven or in some American prophet's backyard ...

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

According to Lanz, the earliest recorded ancestors of the present 'arioheroic' race were the Atlanteans, who had lived on a continent situated in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. They were supposedly descended from the original divine Theozoa with electromagnetic sensory organs and superhuman powers. Catastrophic floods eventually submerged their continent in about 8000 BC and the Atlanteans migrated eastwards in two groups. The Northern Atlanteans streamed towards the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe, while the Southern Atlanteans migrated across Western Africa to Egypt and Babylonia, where they founded the antique civilizations of the Near East. The ariosophical cult was thus introduced to Asia, where the idolatrous beast-cults of miscegenation had flourished.

Lanz claimed that the racial religion had been actively preached and practised in the ancient world. He asserted that Moses, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, and Alexander the Great had been its champions. The laws of Moses and Plato's esteem for the aristocratic principle, and his provision for a caste of priest-kings in The Republic, proved them Ariosophists....

The suppression of the Templars in 1308 signalled the end of this era and the ascendancy of the racial inferiors. Henceforth Europe witnessed the slow decline of her racial, cultural, and political achievements. The growth of towns, the expansion of capitalism, and its creation of an industrial labouring class led to the breakdown of the aristocratic principle and the strict maintenance of racial purity. Christianity was perverted into a sentimental altruistic doctrine, which taught that all men were equal, and that man should love his neighbour, irrespective of his race. During the 'cosmic week' from 1210 to 1920 Europe was subject to a process of debasement, culminating in the enormities of Bolshevism and its open proclamation of rule by the masses.

-- The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Arisophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935, by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

From the feeling that society, and indeed 'everything', was in flux, arose, I believe, the fundamental impulse of his philosophy as well as of the philosophy of Heraclitus; and Plato summed up his social experience, exactly as his historicist predecessor had done, by proffering a law of historical development. According to this law, which will be more fully discussed in the next chapter, all social change is corruption or decay or degeneration.

This fundamental historical law forms, in Plato's view, part of a cosmic law — of a law which holds for all created or generated things. All things in flux, all generated things, are destined to decay. Plato, like Heraclitus, felt that the forces which are at work in history are cosmic forces.

It is nearly certain, however, that Plato believed that this law of degeneration was not the whole story. We have found, in Heraclitus, a tendency to visualize the laws of development as cyclic laws; they are conceived after the law which determines the cyclic succession of the seasons. Similarly we can find, in some of Plato's works, the suggestion of a Great Year (its length appears to be 36,000 ordinary years), with a period of improvement or generation, presumably corresponding to Spring and Summer, and one of degeneration and decay, corresponding to Autumn and Winter. According to one of Plato's dialogues (the Statesman), a Golden Age, the age of Cronos — an age in which Cronos himself rules the world, and in which men spring from the earth — is followed by our own age, the age of Zeus, an age in which the world is abandoned by the gods and left to its own resources, and which consequently is one of increasing corruption. And in the story of the Statesman there is also a suggestion that, after the lowest point of complete corruption has been reached, the god will again take the helm of the cosmic ship, and things will start to improve.

It is not certain how far Plato believed in the story of the Statesman. He made it quite clear that he did not believe that all of it was literally true. On the other hand, there can be little doubt that he visualized human history in a cosmic setting; that he believed his own age to be one of deep depravity — possibly of the deepest that can be reached — and the whole preceding historical period to be governed by an inherent tendency toward decay, a tendency shared by both the historical and the cosmical development. Whether or not he also believed that this tendency must necessarily come to an end once the point of extreme depravity has been reached seems to me uncertain. But he certainly believed that it is possible for us, by a human, or rather by a superhuman effort, to break through the fatal historical trend, and to put an end to the process of decay.

Great as the similarities are between Plato and Heraclitus, we have struck here an important difference. Plato believed that the law of historical destiny, the law of decay, can be broken by the moral will of man, supported by the power of human reason.

It is not quite clear how Plato reconciled this view with his belief in a law of destiny. But there are some indications which may explain the matter.

Plato believed that the law of degeneration involved moral degeneration. Political degeneration at any rate depends in his view mainly upon moral degeneration (and lack of knowledge); and moral degeneration, in its turn, is due mainly to racial degeneration. This is the way in which the general cosmic law of decay manifests itself in the field of human affairs.

It is therefore understandable that the great cosmic turning-point may coincide with a turning-point in the field of human affairs — the moral and intellectual field — and that it may, therefore, appear to us to be brought about by a moral and intellectual human effort. Plato may well have believed that, just as the general law of decay did manifest itself in moral decay leading to political decay, so the advent of the cosmic turning-point would manifest itself in the coming of a great law-giver whose powers of reasoning and whose moral will are capable of bringing this period of political decay to a close. It seems likely that the prophecy, in the Statesman, of the return of the Golden Age, of a new millennium, is the expression of such a belief in the form of a myth. However this may be, he certainly believed in both — in a general historical tendency towards corruption, and in the possibility that we may stop further corruption in the political field by arresting all political change. This, accordingly, is the aim he strives for. He tries to realize it by the establishment of a state which is free from the evils of all other states because it does not degenerate, because it does not change. The state which is free from the evil of change and corruption is the best, the perfect state. It is the state of the Golden Age which knew no change. It is the arrested state.

-- The Open Society and Its Enemies, by Karl R. Popper

The oldest known usage of the Greek word apokatastasis (whence the English apocatastasis ) dates from the fourth century bce: it is found in Aristotle (Magna Moralia 2.7.1204b), where it refers to the restoration of a being to its natural state. During the Hellenistic age it developed a cosmological and astrological meaning, variations of which can be detected (but with a very different concept of time) in Gnostic systems and even in Christian theology, whether orthodox or heterodox, especially in the theology of Origen.

Medical, Moral, and Juridical Meaning

Plato employed the verb kathistanai in the sense of to "reestablish" to a normal state following a temporary physical alteration (Philebus 42d). The prefix apo- in apokathistanai seems to reinforce the idea of an integral reestablishment to the original situation. Such is the return of the sick person to health (Hippocrates, 1258f.; Aretaeus, 9.22). The verb has this meaning in the Gospels in the context of the hand made better by Christ (Mt. 12:13; Mk. 3:5, Lk. 6:10). There are Hellenistic references to the apocatastasis, or "resetting," of a joint. In a psychological sense, the same meaning is present (with nuances that are hard to specify) in magical papyri and in the so-called Mithraic Liturgy. Origen (Against Celsus 2.24) uses the verb in his commentary on Job 5:18 ("For he wounds, but he binds up; he smites, but his hands heal") in one of several expositions where he compares the divine instruction on salvation to a method of therapy. The shift to a spiritual acceptation is evident, for example, in Philo Judaeus (Who Is the Heir 293), where "the perfect apocatastasis of the soul" confirms the philosophical healing that follows the two stages of infancy, first unformed and then corrupt. The soul recovers the health of its primitive state after a series of disturbances.

In a sociopolitical context, apocatastasis may signify a reestablishment of civil peace (Polybius, 4.23. l), or of an individual into his family (Polybius, 3.99.6), or the restoration of his rights (readmission of a soldier into an army, restoration of an exiled citizen to his prerogatives, etc.). Thus the verb apokathistanai is applied to the return of the Jews to the Holy Land after the captivity of Babylon (Jer. 15:9) as well as to the expression of messianic and eschatological hopes. Yet the noun form is not found in the Septuagint.

Astral Apocatastasis and the Great Year

The popularity and development of astrology influenced the cosmological systems of Hellenistic philosophy starting at the end of the fourth century bce. Apocatastasis here refers to the periodic return of the stars to their initial position, and the duration of the cycle amounts to a "Great Year." Plato defines the matter without using the word in the Timaeus (39d), where he talks of the eight spheres. Eudemius attributed to the Pythagoreans a theory of eternal return, but the Great Year of Oenopides and Philolaus involves only the sun. That of Aristotle, who calls it the "complete year," takes into account the seven planets: it also includes a "great winter" (with a flood) and a "great summer" (with a conflagration). Yet one could trace back to Heraclitus the principle of universal palingenesis periodically renewing the cosmos by fire, as well as the setting of the length of the Great Year at 10,800 years (this latter point is still in dispute). The astronomic teaching on the apocatastasis was refined by the Stoics, who identified it with the sidereal Great Year concluded either by a kataklusmos (flood) or by an ekpurosis (conflagration). Cicero defined it (with Aristotle) as the restoration of the seven planets to their point of departure, and sometimes as the return of all the stars (including the fixed ones) to their initial position. The estimates of its length varied considerably, ranging from 2,484 years (Aristarchus); to 10,800 years (Heraclitus); 12,954 years (Cicero); 15,000 years (Macrobius); 300,000 years (Firmicus Maternus), and up to 3,600,000 years (Cassandra). Diogenes of Babylon multiplied Heraclitus's Great Year by 365.

The Neoplatonist Proclus attributes the doctrines of apocatastasis to the "Assyrians," in other words to the astrologers or "Chaldeans." However, Hellenistic astrology also drew from Egyptian traditions. The 36,525 books that Manetho (285–247 bce) attributed to Hermes Trismegistos represent the amount of 25 zodiac periods of 1,461 years each, that is, probably one Great Year (Gundel and Gundel, 1966). The texts of Hermes Trismegistos make reference to the apocatastasis (Hermetica 8.17, 11.2; Asklepios 13). In the first century bce, the neo-Pythagorean Nigidius Figulus perhaps conceived the palingenetic cycle as being a great cosmic week crowned by the reign of Apollo. Whence the celebrated verses of Vergil's Fourth Eclogue: "A great order is born out of the fullness of ages … now your Apollo reigns." The return of Apollo corresponds to that of the Golden Age. The noun apocatastasis (as well as the verb from which it derives) always evoked the restoration of the old order. It often implied a "nostalgia for origins." It is no accident that, in the scheme of the Mithraic mysteries, the last of the "doors" is made out of gold and corresponds to the sun, since the order of these planetary doors is that of a week in reverse; there is the presupposition of a backward progression to the beginning of time. In the teaching of the Stoics, this new beginning is seen as having to repeat itself indefinitely, following a constant periodicity that rules out of chance, disorder, and freedom. During the imperial age, the Roman mystique of renovatio rested upon the same basic concept (Turcan, 1981, pp. 22ff.).

Gnostic Apocatastases

In Gnosticism, apocatastasis also corresponds to a restoration of order, but in a spiritual and eschatological way from the perspective of a history of salvation that is fundamentally foreign to the Stoics' "eternal return." The Christ of the Valentinians "restores" the soul to the Pleroma. Heracleon interprets the wages of the reaper (Jn. 4:36) as being the salvation of souls and their "apocatastasis" into eternal life (Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of John 13.46.299). The Valentinian Wisdom (Sophia) is reintegrated through apocatastasis to the Pleroma, as Enthumesis will also be. The female aiōn Achamoth awaits the return of the Savior so that he might "restore" her syzygy. For Marcus, the universal restoration coincides with a return to unity. All these systems tell the story of a restoration of an order disturbed by thought.

The concept of the followers of Basilides is difficult indeed to elucidate, since they imagine at the beginning of all things not a Pleroma but nonbeing. Given this premise, there is no talk about a restoration to an initial state, even less to the truly primitive state of nothingness. However, for the Basilidians the salvation that leads men to God amounts to no less than a reestablishment of order (Hippolytus, Philosophuma 7.27.4). Like the Stoics, Basilides linked apocatastasis to astral revolutions: the coming of the Savior was to coincide "with the return of the hours to their point of departure." (ibid., 6.1). Yet this soteriological process is historical: it unfolds within linear rather than cyclical time. The Basilidian apocatastasis is not regressive but rather progressive and definitive. Some other Gnostics integrated astral apocatastasis into their systems: the Manichaeans seem to have conceived of a Great Year of 12,000 years with a final conflagration.

Christian Apocatastasis

In the New Testament, the first evidence of the noun apocatastasis used in an eschatological sense is found in Acts of the Apostles 3:21: Peter states that heaven must keep Jesus "till the universal apocatastasis comes." According to André Méhat (1956, p. 209), this would mean the "definitive achievement" of what God has promised through his prophets and would indicate the notion of accomplishment and fulfillment. In the Gospels, Matthew 17:11 and Mark 9:2 speak of Elijah as the one who will "reestablish" everything, and Malachi 3:23 (of which the evangelists could not help but think) speaks of the day when Yahveh will "restore" hearts and lead them back to him. Apocatastasis thus represents the salvation of creation reconciled with God, that is, a true return to an original state. The verb has this meaning for Theophilus of Antioch (To Autolycus 2.17). For both Tatian (Address to the Greeks 6.2) and Irenaeus (Against Heresies 5.3.2) apocatastasis is equivalent to resurrection and points without any ambiguity to a restoration of man in God. In Clement of Alexandria, the precise meaning of the word is not always clear, but this much may be said: apocatastasis appears as a return to God that is the result of a recovered purity of heart consequent to absorption in certain "Gnostic" teachings; it is a conception not unlike that found in the Book of Malachi in the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament).

It is in Origen that the doctrine of apocatastasis finds its most remarkable expression. In Against Celsus 7.3, where he mentions the "restoration of true piety toward God," Origen implicitly refers to Malachi. Elsewhere (Commentary on the Gospel of John 10.42.291), the word involves the reestablishment of the Jewish people after the captivity, yet as an anticipatory image of the return to the heavenly fatherland. Origen's originality consisted in his having conceived apocatastasis as being universal (including the redemption even of the devil or the annihilation of all evil) and as a return of souls to their pure spirituality. This final incorporality is rejected by Gregory of Nyssa, who nonetheless insists upon apocatastasis as a restoration to the original state. Didymus the Blind and Evagrios of Pontus were condemned at the same time as Origen by the Council of Constantinople (553) for having professed the doctrine of universal apocatastasis and the restoration of incorporeal souls. Yet there is still discussion concerning this principal aspect of Origen's eschatology. Astronomical theories and Greek cosmology seem also to have inspired the Greek bishop Synesius of Cyrene, a convert from Neoplatonism. Yet Tatian (Address to the Greeks 6. 2) had already emphasized what fundamentally set Christian apocatastasis apart: it depends upon God (and not upon sidereal revolutions) and is completed once and for all at the end of time, without being repeated indefinitely.

See Also

Ages of the World; Golden Age.


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van Laak, Werner. Allversöhnung: die Lehre von der Apokatastasis: ihre Grundlegung durch Origenes und ihre Bewertung in der gegenwärtigen Theologie bei Karl Barth und Hans Urs von Balthasar. Sinzig, Germany, 1990.

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Robert Turcan (1987)

Translated from French by Paul C. Duggan
Revised Bibliography
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:40 am

Wheel of time
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/22/22

-- On the Chronology of the Hindus, by the President (Sir William Jones), Written in January 1788

-- A Supplement to the Essay on Indian Chronology, by the President (Sir William Jones), Asiatic Researches, Volume 2, 1788

-- On the Chronology of the Hindus, by Captain Francis Wilford, Asiatic Researches; or, Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal, For Inquiring Into the History and Antiquities, The Arts, Sciences, and Literature, Of Asia, Volume the Fifth, 1799

-- [Book Review of:] A Key to the Chronology of the Hindus; in a Series of Letters, in which an Attempt is made to facilitate the Progress of Christianity in Hindustan, by proving that the protracted Numbers of all Oriental Nations, when reduced, agree with the Dates given in the Hebrew Text of the Bible. 2 vols. 8vo. Rivingtons. 1820. [by Anonymous, 1820], by F. and C. Rivington (Firm), The British Critic, Volumes 13-14, Editors: 1793-1813, Robert Nares, William Beloe; 1814-1825, T.F. Middleton, W.R. Lyall, and others. 1820, originally published 1792

-- A Key to the Chronology of the Hindus in a Series of Letters in Which an Attempt is Made to Facilitate the Progress of Christianity in Hindostan, by Proving That the Protracted Numbers of All Oriental Nations When Reduced Agree with the Dates Given in the Hebrew Text of the Bible, In Two Volumes, Volume I, by Alexander Hamilton, 1820

-- Determination of the Date of the Mahabharata: The Possibility Thereof, [Reprinted from Vishveshvaramand Indological Journal, Vol. XIV (1976) pp. 48-56.], Excerpt, from Collected Papers on Jyotisha, by T.S. Kuppanna Sastry

-- History of Classical Sanskrit Literature, by Kavyavinoda, Sahityaratnakara M. Krishnamachariar, M.A., M.I., Ph.D., Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of London (Of the Madras Judicial Service), Assisted by His Son M. Srinivasachariar, B.A., B.L., Advocate, Madras, 1937

The wheel of time or wheel of history (also known as Kalachakra) is a concept found in several religious traditions and philosophies, notably religions of Indian origin such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, which regard time as cyclical and consisting of repeating ages. Many other cultures contain belief in a similar concept: notably, the Q'ero Natives of Peru, as well as the Hopi Natives of Arizona.


Main articles: Yuga Cycle, Manvantara, and Kalpa (aeon)

In Hindu cosmology, kala (time) is eternal, repeating general events in four types of cycles. The smallest cycle is a maha-yuga (great age), containing four yugas (dharmic ages): Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. A manvantara (age of Manu) contains 71 maha-yugas. A kalpa (day of Brahma) contains 14 manvantaras and 15 sandhyas (connecting periods), which lasts for 1,000 maha-yugas and is followed by a pralaya (night of partial dissolution) of equal length, where a day and night make one full day. A maha-kalpa (life of Brahma) lasts for 100 of Brahma's years of 12 months of 30 full days (100 360-day years) or 72,000,000 maha-yugas, which is followed by a maha-pralaya (full dissolution) of equal length.[1]


Main article: Kalachakra

The Wheel of Time or Kalachakra is a Tantric deity that is associated with Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, which encompasses all four main schools of Sakya, Nyingma, Kagyu and Gelug, and is especially important within the lesser-known Jonang tradition.

The Kalachakra tantra prophesies a world within which (religious) conflict is prevalent. A worldwide war will be waged which will see the expansion of the mystical Kingdom of Shambhala led by a messianic king.


Main article: Ajiva

Within Jainism, time is thought to be a wheel that rotates for infinity without a beginning. This wheel of time holds twelve spokes that each symbolize a different phase in the universe's cosmological history. It is further divided into two equal halves having six eras in them. While in a downward motion, the wheel of time falls into what is known as Avasarpiṇī and when in an upward motion, enters a state called Utsarpini. During both motions of the wheel, 24 tirthankaras come forth to teach the three jewels or sacred Jain teachings of right faith, right knowledge, and right practice, then create a spiritual ford across the ocean of rebirth for humanity.[2][3]

Ancient Rome

The philosopher and emperor Marcus Aurelius saw time as extending forwards to infinity and backwards to infinity, while admitting the possibility (without arguing the case) that "the administration of the universe is organized into a succession of finite periods".[4]: Book 5, Paragraph 13 

Modern usage


In an interview included with the audiobook editions of his novels, author Robert Jordan has stated that his bestselling fantasy series The Wheel of Time borrows the titular concept from Hindu mythology.[5]


Several episodes of the American TV series Lost feature a wheel that can be physically turned in order to manipulate space and time. In a series of episodes during the fifth season, the island on which the show takes place begins to skip violently back and forth through time after the wheel is pulled off its axis.

See also

Eternal return
• Kalachakra
• Wheel of the Year


1. Gupta, Dr. S. V. (2010). Hull, Robert; Osgood, Jr., Richard M.; Parisi, Jurgen; Warlimont, Hans (eds.). Units of Measurement: Past, Present and Future. International System of Units. Springer Series in Materials Science: 122. Springer. pp. 6–9 (1.2.4 Time Measurements). ISBN 9783642007378.
2. Bhattacharyya, Sibajiban (1970). Buddhist Philosophy From 350 to 600 A.D. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 3. ISBN 9788120819689.
3. Dundas, Paul (2003). The Jains (2 ed.). Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 9781134501656.
4. Aurelius, Marcus (2011). Meditations. Robin Hard. Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-957320-2. OCLC 757023454.
Site Admin
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Aug 06, 2022 11:06 pm

Arcadio Huang
by Wikipedia
Accessed 8/6/2022

Fourmont's Dirty Little Secret

When Joseph DE GUIGNES (1721-1800) at the young age of fifteen was placed with Etienne FOURMONT (1683-1745), Fourmont enjoyed a great reputation as one of Europe's foremost specialists of classical as well as oriental languages. As an associate of Abbe Bignon (the man so eager to stock the Royal Library with Oriental texts), Fourmont had met a Chinese scholar called Arcadius HOANG (1679-1716) and had for a short while studied Chinese with him (Elisseeff 1985:133ff.; Abel-Remusat 1829:1.260). In 1715 the thirty-two-year-old Fourmont was elected to the chair of Arabic at the College Royal. Hoang's death in 1716 did not diminish Fourmont's desire to learn Chinese, and in 1719 he followed Nicolas FRERET (1688-1749) in introducing Europe to the 214 Chinese radicals. This is one of the systems used by the Chinese to classify Chinese characters and to make finding them, be it in a dictionary or a printer's shop, easier and quicker.

Thanks to royal funding for his projected grammar and dictionaries, Fourmont had produced more than 100,000 Chinese character types. But in Fourmont's eyes the 214 radicals were far more than just a classification method. Naming them "clefs" (keys), he was convinced that they were meaningful building blocks that the ancient Chinese had used in constructing characters.
For example, Fourmont thought that the first radical (-) is "the key of unity, or priority, and perfection" and that the second radical (׀) signifies "growth" (Klaproth 1828:234). Starting with the 214 basic "keys," so Fourmont imagined, the ancient Chinese had combined them to form the tens of thousands of characters of the Chinese writing system. However, as Klaproth and others later pointed out, the Chinese writing system was not "formed from its origin after a general system"; rather, it had evolved gradually from "the necessity of inventing a sign to express some thing or some idea." The idea of classifying characters according to certain elements arose only much later and resulted in several systems with widely different numbers of radicals ranging from a few dozen to over 700 (Klaproth 1828:233-36).

Like many students of Chinese or Japanese, Fourmont had probably memorized characters by associating their elements with specific meanings. A German junior world champion in the memory sport, Christiane Stenger, employs a similar technique for remembering mathematical equations. Each element is assigned a concrete meaning; for example, the minus sign signifies "go backward" or "vomit," the letter A stands for "apple," the letter B for "bear," the letter C for "cirrus fruit," and the mathematical root symbol for a root. Thus, "B minus C" is memorized by imagining a bear vomiting a citrus fruit, and "minus B plus the root of A square" may be pictured as a receding bear who stumbles over a root in which a square apple is embedded.

Stenger's technique, of course, has no connection whatsoever to understanding mathematical formulae, but Fourmont's "keys" can indeed be of help in understanding the meaning of some characters. While such infusion of meaning certainly helped Fourmont and his students Michel-Ange-Andre le Roux DESHAUTERAYES (1724-95) and de Guignes in their study of complicated Chinese characters, it also involved a serious misunderstanding. Stenger understood that bears and fruit were her imaginative creation in order to memorize mathematical formulae and would certainly not have graduated from high school if she had thought that her mathematics teacher wanted to tell her stories about apples and bears.

But mutatis mutandis, this was exactly Fourmont's mistake. Instead of simply accepting the 214 radicals as an artificial system for classifying Chinese characters and as a mnemonic aide, he was convinced that the radicals are a collection of primeval ideas that the Chinese used as a toolset to assemble ideograms representing objects and complex ideas. Fourmont thought that the ancient Chinese had embedded a little story in each character. As he and his disciples happily juggled with "keys," spun stories, and memorized their daily dose of Chinese characters, they did not have any inkling that this fundamentally mistaken view of the genesis of Chinese characters would one day form the root for a mistake of such proportions that it would put de Guignes's entire reputation in jeopardy.

Apart from a series of dictionaries that never came to fruition, Fourmont was also working on a Chinese grammar. He announced its completion in 1728, eight years before the arrival of de Guignes. The first part of this Grammatica sinica with Fourmont's presentation of the 214 "keys" and elements of pronunciation appeared in 1737. The second part, prepared for publication while de Guignes sat at his teacher's feet, contained the grammar proper as well as Fourmont's catalog of Chinese works in the Bibliotheque Royale and was published in 1742. When Fourmont presented the result to the king of France, he had de Guignes accompany him, and the king was so impressed by the twenty-one-year-old linguistic prodigy that he endowed him on the spot with a pension (Michaud 1857:18.126).

But de Guignes's teacher Fourmont had a dirty little secret. He had focused on learning and accumulating data about single Chinese characters, but his knowledge of the Chinese classical and vernacular language was simply not adequate for writing a grammar. By consequence, the man who had let the world know that a genius residing in Europe could master Chinese just as well as the China missionaries decided to plagiarize -- what else? -- the work of a missionary. No one found out about this until Jean-Pierre Abel-Remusat in 1825 carefully compared the manuscript of the Arte de La lengua mandarina by the Spanish Franciscan Francisco Varo with Fourmont's Latin translation and found to his astonishment that Fourmont's ground-breaking Grammatica sinica was a translation of Varo's work (Abel-Remusat 1829:2.298). In an "act of puerile vanity," Abel-Remusat sadly concluded, Fourmont had appropriated Varo's entire text "almost without any change" while claiming that he had never seen it (1826:2.109).2

While de Guignes helped prepare this grammar for publication, Fourmont continued his research on chronology and the history of ancient peoples. During the seventeenth century, ancient Chinese historical sources had become an increasingly virulent threat to biblical chronology and, by extension, to biblical authority. As Fourmont's rival Freret was busy butchering Isaac Newton's lovingly calculated chronology, de Guignes's teacher turned his full attention to the Chinese annals. These annals were in general regarded either as untrustworthy and thus inconsequential or as trustworthy and a threat to biblical authority. However, in a paper read on May 18, 1734, at the Royal Academy of Inscriptions, Fourmont declared with conviction that he could square the circle: the Chinese annals were trustworthy just because they confirmed the Bible.

Dismissing Freret's and Newton's nonbiblical Middle Eastern sources as "scattered scraps," he praised the Chinese annals to the sky as the only ancient record worth studying apart from the Bible (Fourmont 1740:507-8).

But Fourmont's lack of critical acumen is as evident in this paper as in his Critical reflections on the histories of ancient peoples of 1735 and the Meditationes sinicae of 1737. In the "avertissement" to the first volume of the Critical reflections, Fourmont mentions the question of an India traveler, Chevalier Didier, who had conversed with Brahmins and missionaries and came in frustration to Paris to seek Fourmont's opinion about an important question of origins: had Indian idolatry influenced Egyptian idolatry or vice versa? Fourmont delivered his answer after nearly a thousand tedious pages full of chronological juggling:

With regard to customs in general, since India is entirely Egyptian and Osiris led several descendants of Abraham there, we have the first cause of that resemblance of mores in those two nations; but with regard to the religion of the Indians, they only received it subsequently through commerce and through the colonies coming from Egypt. (Fourmont 1735:2-499)

For Fourmont the Old Testament was the sole reliable testimony of antediluvian times, and he argued that the reliability of other accounts decreases with increasing distance from the landing spot of Noah's ark. Only the Chinese, whose "language is the oldest of the universe," remain a riddle, as their antiquity "somehow rivals that of Genesis and has caused the most famous chronologists to change their system" (1735:1.lii). But would not China's "hieroglyphic" writing system also indicate Egyptian origins? Though Fourmont suspected an Egyptian origin of Chinese writing, he could not quite figure out the exact mechanism and transmission. He suspected that "Hermes, who passed for the inventor of letters" had not invented hieroglyphs but rather "on one hand more perfect hieroglyphic letters, which were brought to the Chinese who in turn repeatedly perfected theirs; and on the other hand alphabetic letters" (Fourmont 1735:2.500). These "more perfect hieroglyphs" that "seemingly existed with the Egyptian priests" are "quite similar to the Chinese characters of today" (p. 500).

Fourmont was studying whether there was any support for Kircher's hypothesis that the letters transmitted from Egypt to the Chinese were related to Coptic monosyllables (p. 503); but though he apparently did not find conclusive answers to such questions, the problem itself and Fourmont's basic direction (transmission from Egypt to China, some kind of more perfect hieroglyphs) must have been so firmly planted in his student de Guignes's mind that it could grow into the root over which he later stumbled. Fourmont's often repeated view that Egypt's culture was not as old as that of countries closer to the landing spot of Noah's ark made it clear that those who regarded Egypt as the womb of all human culture were dead wrong and that China, in spite of its ancient culture, was a significant step removed from the true origins.

Though the Chinese had received their writing system and probably also the twin ideas that in his view "properly constitute Egyptianism" -- the idea of metempsychosis and the adoration of animals and plants (p. 492) -- Fourmont credited the Chinese with subsequent improvements
also in this respect: "My studies have thus taught me that the Chinese were a wise people, the most ancient of all peoples, but the first also, though idolatrous, that rid itself of the mythological spirit" (Fourmont 1735:2.liv). This accounted for their excellent historiography and voluminous literature:

I said that the Chinese Annals can be regarded as a respectable work. First of all, as everybody admits, for more than 3,500 years China has been populated, cultivated, and literate. Secondly, has it lacked authors as its people still read books, though few in number, written before Abraham? Thirdly, since few scholars know the Chinese books, let me here point out that the Chinese Annals are not bits and pieces of histories scattered here and there like the Latin and Greek histories which must be stitched together: they consist of at least 150 volumes that, without hiatus and the slightest interruption, present a sequence of 22 families which all reigned for 3, 4, 8, 10 centuries. (p. liv)

While Fourmont cobbled together hypotheses and conjectures, the Bible always formed the backdrop for his speculations about ancient history. A telling example is his critique of the Chinese historian OUYANG Xiu (1007-72), who argued that from the remote past, humans had always enjoyed roughly similar life spans. Lambasting this view as that of a "skeptic," Fourmont furnished the following argument as "proof" of the reliability of ancient Chinese histories:

We who possess the sacred writ: must we not on the contrary admire the Chinese annals when they, just in the time period of Arphaxad, Saleh, Heber, Phaleg, Rea, Sarug, Nachor, Abraham, etc., present us with men who lived precisely the same number of years? Now if someone told us that Seth at the age of 550 years married one of his grand-grand-nieces in the fourteenth generation: who of us would express the slightest astonishment? ... It is thus clear that all such objections are frivolous, and furthermore, that attacks against the Chinese annals on account of a circumstance [i.e., excessive longevity] which distinguishes them from all other books will actually tie them even more to Scripture and will be a sure means to increase their authority. (Fourmont 1740:514)

No comment is needed here.

Immediately after Fourmont's death in 1745, the twenty-four-year-old Joseph de Guignes replaced his master as secretary interpreter of oriental languages at the Royal Library. It was the beginning of an illustrious career: royal censor and attache to the journal des Scavans in 1752, member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1753, chair of Syriac at the College Royal from 1757 to 1773, garde des antiques at the Louvre in 1769, editor of the Journal des Savants, and other honors (Michaud 1857:18.(27). De Guignes had, like his master Fourmont, a little problem. The pioneer Sinologists in Paris were simply unable to hold a candle to the China missionaries. Since 1727 Fourmont had been corresponding with the figurist China missionary Joseph Henry PREMARE (1666-1736), who, unlike Fourmont, was an accomplished Sinologist (see Chapter 5). Premare was very liberal with his advice and sent, apart from numerous letters, his Notitia Linguae sinicae to Fourmont in 1728. This was, in the words of Abel-Remusat,

neither a simple grammar, as the author too modestly calls it, nor a rhetoric, as Fourmont intimated; it is an almost complete treatise of literature in which Father Premare not only included everything that he had collected about the usage of particles and grammatical rules of the Chinese but also a great number of observations about the style, particular expressions in ancient and common idiom, proverbs, most frequent patterns -- and everything supported by a mass of examples cited from texts, translated and commented when necessary. (Abel-Remusat 1829:2.269)

Premare thus sent Fourmont his "most remarkable and important work," which was "without any doubt the best of all those that Europeans have hitherto composed on these matters" (p. 269).

But instead of publishing this vastly superior work and making the life of European students of Chinese considerably easier, Fourmont compared it unfavorably to his own (partly plagiarized) product and had Premare's masterpiece buried in the Royal Library, where it slept until Abel-Remusat rediscovered it in the nineteenth century (pp. 269-73). However, Fourmont's two disciples Deshauterayes and de Guignes could profit from such works since Fourmont for years kept the entire China-related collection of the Royal Library at his home where the two disciples had their rooms; thus Premare was naturally one of the Sinologists who influenced de Guignes.4 So was Antoine GAUBIL (1689-1759), whose reputation as a Sinologist was deservedly great.

But there is a third, extremely competent Jesuit Sinologist who remained in the shadows, though his knowledge of Chinese far surpassed that of de Guignes and all other Europe-based early Sinologists (and, one might add, even many modern ones). His works suffered a fate resembling that of the man who was in many ways his predecessor, Joao Rodrigues (see Chapter 1) in that they were used but rarely credited. The man in question was Claude de VISDELOU (1656-1737), who spent twenty-four years in China (1685-1709) and twenty-eight years in India (1709-37). One can say without exaggeration that the famous Professor de Guignes owed this little-known missionary a substantial part of his fame -- and this was his dirty little secret.

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Arcadio Huang
Traditional Chinese 黃嘉略
Simplified Chinese 黄嘉略

Arcadio Huang (Chinese: 黃嘉略, born in Xinghua, modern Putian, in Fujian, 15 November 1679, died on 1 October 1716 in Paris)[1][2] was a Chinese Christian convert, brought to Paris by the Missions étrangères [Paris Foreign Missions Society]. He took a pioneering role in the teaching of the Chinese language in France around 1715. He was preceded in France by his compatriot Michael Shen Fu-Tsung, who visited the country in 1684.

His main works, conducted with the assistance of young Nicolas Fréret, are the first Chinese-French lexicon, the first Chinese grammar of the Chinese, and the diffusion in France of the Kangxi system with two hundred fourteen radicals, which was used in the preparation of his lexicon.

His early death in 1716 prevented him from finishing his work, however, and Étienne Fourmont, who received the task of sorting his papers, assumed all the credit for their publication.

Only the insistence of Nicolas Fréret, as well as the rediscovery of the memories of Huang Arcadio have re-established the pioneering work of Huang, as the basis which enabled French linguists to address more seriously the Chinese language.


Here is the genealogy of Arcadio Huang (originally spelled Hoange) according to Stephen Fourmont:

"Paul Huang, of the Mount of the Eagle, son of Kian-khin (Kiam-kim) Huang, Imperial assistant of the provinces of Nâne-kin (Nanjing) and Shan-ton (Shandong), and lord of the Mount of the Eagle, was born in the city of Hin-houa (Xinghua), in the province of Fò-kién (Fujian), Feb. 12, 1638; was baptized by the Jesuit Father Antonio de Govea, Portuguese, and was married in 1670 with the Miss Apollonie la Saule, named Léou-sien-yâm (Leù-sièn-yam) in the local language, daughter of Mr. Yâm, nicknamed Lou-ooue (Lû-ve), lord Doctor of Leôu-sièn (Leû-sièn) and governor of the city of Couan-sine (Guangxin), in the province of Kiam-si (Jiangxi). Arcadio Huang, interpreter of the King of France, son of Paul Huang, was born in the same city of Hin-Houa, on November 15, 1679, and was christened on November 21 of that year by the Jacobin Father Arcadio of ..., of Spanish nationality. Through his marriage, he had a daughter who is still alive; he added to his genealogy Marie-Claude Huang, of the Eagle Mountain, daughter of Mr. Huang, interpreter to the king, and so on.; She was born March 4, 1715."

He received the education of a Chinese literatus under the protection of French missionaries. The French missionaries saw in Arcadio an opportunity to create a "literate Chinese Christian" in the service of the evangelization of China. In these pioneer years (1690–1700), it was urgent to present to Rome examples of perfectly Christianized Chinese, in order to reinforce the Jesuits' position in the [Chinese] Rites controversy.

Journey to the West

Artus de Lionne (1655–1713), here in 1686, brought Arcadio Huang to Europe and France in 1702.

On 17 February 1702, under the protection of Artus de Lionne, Bishop of Rosalie,[3] Arcadio embarked on a ship of the English East India Company in order to reach London. By September or October 1702, Mr. de Rosalie and Arcadio left England for France, in order to travel to Rome.

On the verge of being ordained a priest in Rome and being presented to the pope to demonstrate the reality of Chinese Christianity, Arcadio Huang apparently renounced and declined ordination. Rosalie preferred to return to Paris to further his education, and wait for a better answer.

Installation in Paris

According to his memoirs, Arcadio moved to Paris in 1704 or 1705 at the home of the Foreign Missions [Paris Foreign Missions Society]. There, his protectors continued his religious and cultural training, with plans to ordain him for work in China. But Arcadio preferred life as a layman. He settled permanently in Paris as a "Chinese interpreter to the Sun King" and began working under the guidance and protection of abbot Jean-Paul Bignon.[3] It is alleged that he also became the king's librarian in charge of cataloging Chinese books in the Royal library.[2]

Huang encountered Montesquieu, with whom he had many discussions about Chinese customs.[4] Huang is said to have been Montesquieu's inspiration for the narrative device in his Persian Letters, an Asian who discusses the customs of the West.[5]

Huang became very well-known in Parisian salons. In 1713 Huang married a Parisian woman named Marie-Claude Regnier.[2] In 1715 she gave birth to a healthy daughter, also named Marie-Claude, but the mother died a few days later. Discouraged, Huang himself died a year and a half later, and their daughter died a few months after that.[2]

Work on the Chinese language

Helped by the young Nicolas Fréret (1688–1749), he began the hard work of pioneering a Chinese-French dictionary, a Chinese grammar, employing the Kangxi system of 214 character keys.

In this work, they were joined by Nicolas Joseph Delisle (1683–1745), a friend of Fréret, who gave a more cultural and geographical tone to their work and discussions. Deslisle's brother, Guillaume Delisle, was already a renowned geographer. Delisle encouraged Arcadio Huang to read Europe's best known and popular writings dealing with the Chinese Empire. Huang was surprised by the ethnocentric approach of these texts, reducing the merits of the Chinese people and stressing the civilizing role of the European peoples.

A third apprentice, by the name of Étienne Fourmont (imposed by Abbé Bignon), arrived and profoundly disturbed the team. One day, Fourmont was surprised copying Huang's work.

Debate after his death

The Chinese grammar published by Étienne Fourmont in 1742

After the death of Huang on 1 October 1716, Fourmont became officially responsible for classifying papers of the deceased. He made a very negative report on the contents of these documents and continued to criticize the work of Huang. Continuing his work on the languages of Europe and Asia (and therefore the Chinese), he took all the credit for the dissemination of the 214 key system in France, and finally published a French-Chinese lexicon and a Chinese grammar, without acknowledging the work of Huang, whom he was continuing to denigrate publicly.

Meanwhile, Fréret, also an Academician, and above all a friend and first student of Arcadio Huang, wrote a thesis on the work and role of Arcadio in the dissemination of knowledge about China in France. Documents saved by Nicolas-Joseph Delisle, Arcadio's second student, also helped to publicize the role of the Chinese subject of the king of France.

Since then, other researchers and historians investigated his role, including Danielle Elisseeff who compiled Moi, Arcade interprète chinois du Roi Soleil in 1985.

See also

• Shen Fo-tsung, another Chinese person who visited France in 1684.
• Fan Shouyi, yet another Chinese person who lived in Europe in the early eighteenth century.
• Chinese diaspora in France
• China–France relations
• Jesuit China missions


1. First name also given as Arcadius (Latin) or Arcade (French); family name as Hoange, Ouange, Houange, etc...
2. Mungello, p.125
3. Barnes, p.82
4. Barnes, p.85
5. Conn, p.394
6. Danielle Elisseeff, Moi Arcade, interprète du roi-soleil, édition Arthaud, Paris, 1985.


• Barnes, Linda L. (2005) Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts: China, Healing, and the West to 1848 Harvard University Press ISBN 0-674-01872-9
• Conn, Peter (1996) Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-56080-2
• Elisseeff, Danielle, Moi, Arcade, interprète chinois du Roi Soleil, Arthaud Publishing, Paris, 1985, ISBN 2-7003-0474-8 (Main source for this article, 189 pages)
• Fourmont, Etienne (1683–1745), Note on Arcadius Hoang.
• Mungello, David E. (2005) The Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500-1800 Rowman & Littlefield ISBN 0-7425-3815-X
• Spence, Jonathan D. (1993). "The Paris Years of Arcadio Huang". Chinese Roundabout: Essays in History and Culture. W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-30994-2.
• Xu Minglong (2004) 许明龙 Huang Jialüe yu zao qi Faguo Han xue 黃嘉略与早期法囯汉学, Beijing: Zhonghua shuju.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 08, 2022 9:41 pm

The Artist Who Got Rich Forging Picasso & Matisse: Real Fake: Elmyr de Hory
by Perspective
Aug 6, 2022

He forged Modigliani, Picasso & Matisse, but was never caught? The life of Elmyr de Hory is a bizarre one, and this film dives into one of history's most notorious art forgers, reopening the criminal case, examining his art, his life, and his crimes.


Walk into any of the world's museums or art auction houses, and you have good reason to doubt your own eyes. Is that Picasso real? Did Modigliani really paint that masterpiece? The answer may be no. These works could very well be the hand of one of history's most versatile and prolific art forger-Elmyr de Hory. 40-years after Elmyr's death, Filmmaker Jeff Oppenheim ("Funny Valentine," Universal Pictures, "A Passion for Giving," PBS) embarks on a re-examination of the facts of the case. A cadre of art experts discuss the issue of forgery within the art market at large, while a team of investigators dig into the life, art and crimes of this enigmatic forger. Assuming all previous information known about this forger might be as "wrong" as his art, the team examines the provenance, forensics and connoisseurship of Elmyr de Hory. Together they cut through a myriad of aliases, searching for never-before-revealed archival records, police files and personal remembrances of those that knew him. In the center of it all is a magnificent trail of evidence-a bedazzling treasure trove of original impressionist and post impressionist masterpieces estimated to number in the thousands and potentially now worth billions. All Fake.

And for lot 100,

I have an opening bid of $100,000.

One hundred? Any bids? 110,000.

Art market is booming right now.

120 on the telephone now. 120,000.

Let's face it,
it's a feeding frenzy, isn't it?

...on my right. 160... 200,000.

The auction houses are having
pretty fantastic success.

...on my right for $230,000.

The art market is, is totally unregulated.

It's rife with fraud.

At $250,000...

You can open the "New York Times"

or the "Wall Street Journal"

almost any day and see some story.


Sort of like the penny
stock market in the 1960s.


It's kinda fun that way,

but you have to pay a lot of attention.


-The trough is the art market.
The trough is what's selling.

Going once. Going twice. On for third.

On the hammer, 270,000.

What you're doing is putting
what's going down well

with the animals at the time.

280. Back in. 290.

People collect art
for all sorts of reasons.

Do I hear 300,000?

And to find out that what
you're collecting isn't real.

Last chance. 300,000, I will sell.

I see, probably, a fake a week,

but I don't get caught with them.

The concept of "caveat emptor"
is alive and well in the US.

It's just like your mother told you.

If it's too good to be true,
it's probably not true.


Like many a good tale,

it all started because of a girl.

Well, sort of.

I saw her across the crowded room.

Her soft shoulders, her long neck,

her auburn hair, her knowing smile.

My friend made the introductions.

They both baited compliments out of me.

I had to get to know her,

I had to have her.

And it was then that my friend told me...

"She's fake."

And that's how my eight-year long journey

into the art, life, and crimes
of Elmyr de Hory all began.

Let's say

we could find

a Modigliani made by Kisling...

a Modigliani by Elmyr...

and one Modigliani by Modigliani.

We put these three drawings...

in front of a...


Let's say one...

is a director or curator
of drawings of a...

of the Metropolitan,

one is a...

and one is a great art dealer.

It could be anyone,

from Knoedler to Perls
or any of the great ones

who consider themselves great and experts.

And if any of them recognize

which one is which,

I am ready to make a great gift

to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

in New York,

and they can hang it
next to some other Modiglianis

who are possibly also by me.

When you look at the famous forgers,

you look at Tom Keating who did Samuel...

Samuel Palmer and Constable,

Eric Hebborn who specialized
in doing old master drawings.

A fellow named Beltracchi
and one named Pireni

at a Qian level...
very, very talented works.

Van Meegeren of course,
who's famous for doing Vermeers.

It's nothing new.

It's been going on
for probably 2,000 years.

All these people were
pretty much frustrated artists

and so they started to copy
other artists' works

and passing them off as being by them.

Of course, for someone like Elmyr,

his fakes were so good,
people would see them

and they wouldn't feel the need
to look much further.

He's a person who was able to do

a great deal of... of tricking others

to a degree that I think
is not possible anymore today.

When you have fakers coming out now,

you don't have them having passed off

a thousand works, you have them
passing off 100 or 200 works.

And I think that's largely
because of the new tests,

also sort of a general suspicion
on part of the art world,

so he's sort of a watershed moment

for the sort of the history of forgery.

To make first, a point,

I don't copy paintings, painters.

I paint in a certain style,

it could be the style of Matisse
or the style of Modigliani,

in the style of Picasso,

the style of Dufy.

His forgeries were so good

that many people wouldn't
recognize them as fakes.

A lot of people would look at an Elmyr

but think that they are seeing a Picasso

or a Matisse or Modigliani

or some of the other greats that he faked.

His knowledge of art was clearly very good.

Technically, he was a good artist.

So he could replicate pastiche,

uh, other known artists' work.

Um, and he knew enough about the market

to know how to actually sell it.

Forgers want and need to have

compelling and believable sounding stories

to go along with their fake works.

In his case, Elmyr presented himself

as a sort of down-on-his-luck aristocrat

whose family had fallen on hard times

and he was selling off
his collection to help

pay his way.

Everything what I sold very miserably.

The big money what was made
was never made by me.

It was always made by the dealers

and the people who resold it.

What I got for it was a... was a token.

Like a lot of forgers,

he never identified for anyone
all of the works he did.

So we may never know
how many are out there.

We are never safe from forgeries, frankly.

I think a lot of people have
sleepless nights about this.

They really do.

And the question is,

really, "How many of them
passed into museums?"

I remember reading Thomas Hoving's book

about fakes and he claims that
40% of all the works that he saw

when he was at the Met were fakes.

Things that were offered to him. 40%.

The conservator friends suggest that

a full 25% of any one
major museum's holdings,

including things in storage, are not right.

I never offered a painting or a drawing

to a museum who didn't buy it.

It's probably true that
there are some in museums

or in the hands of collectors

or their heirs today that could be found.

- How many are still out there?
- It's a mystery.

Expose the man who holds the art world

on red hot threads.

When the art world looks
at a painting or whatever it is

and they ooh and aah over it,

and they decide that it's
fantastic and it's wonderful,

when these kinda souls find out

that these pieces are not legitimate,

I think there's a certain amount
of egg-on-the-face situation.

And I think at that point
they don't wanna talk about it,

because they made a mistake.

It's the ultimate game of cat and mouse.

And how purchasers...

unwitting purchasers of fake art
are supposed to know that

I think raises a lot
of very, very difficult

to answer questions.

And certainly difficult in a legal sense,

and something that the law

just has to struggle with
on a case-by-case basis.

Really, any... any area of
crime within, involving art

reflects what the marketplace
is doing for art.

So, if Picasso is selling well

you'll find there's an influx of
fake Picassos into the market.

Now, how they do that,
whether they do a direct copy

that's the worst thing they can do.

If they do a pastiche of an artist,

perhaps he's not so well-known,

perhaps he's second tier of that

particular area of art,

and therefore it's
unlikely there's gonna be

a complete catalog raisonné

for the art dealer to check on.

But it looks right,
and, hey, it's selling well,

and if he takes it,

"If I don't buy it off this person

"he's gonna take it to a competitor

"who sure as hell's gonna buy it

"and I've got somebody who is
really interested in buying

this particular commodity right now."

Dealers go for it, they want to believe.

It's the desire of wanting to see it right.

And this is what the forger
and the conman is playing on.

Well, the actual art market
itself, worldwide,

is about $200 billion a year.

That's the consumer part
of that art market.

The largest consumer country in the world

for this type of market
is the United States.

40% of the $200 billion market
is here in the US.

Almost $80 billion a year.

To put it in perspective,

if you take the four major
sports in the United States

baseball, football, hockey, and basketball,

the total receipts each year
is about $26 billion.

How much of that 80 billion
do you think is caused by fakes?

The FBI, Scotland Yard, Interpol,

we put together some estimates

as to what the possible
illicit cultural property market

could have been.

And at that time we said,
maybe $6 billion a year.

When we talk about that market,

we are not just talking about theft,

we are talking about frauds,
forgeries, and fakes,

as well as theft.

And from my experience, what I've seen,

probably 75% of that market
is frauds, forgeries, or fakes,

it is not theft.

All you know is you went
to a gallery of some repute

and bought something with the name Matisse

and it looks like a Matisse

and you spent a lot of money on it,

are you supposed to suspect

that maybe it was by de Hory all along?

It doesn't want to be a Matisse.

It just wants to demonstrate

how in short minutes
close I can get to Matisse.

Clearly, I wasn't the first to be fooled

and probably not the last,

so I packed up a few
questionable works of art

that I had acquired and headed to Texas,

where apparently one of the greatest cases

against Elmyr and his associates

had been formed by a gentleman of the name

Algur Meadows,

who had been fooled, not once, not twice,

but, well, in his own words...

Of the 40 paintings I have
acquired from two Frenchmen,

38 of them were fakes.

Well, there's different tracks
you need to do.

A lot of it is a track that is focused

on the paintings themselves
and where they're located,

and another track is following
the forger himself.

Visualize a three-legged stool.

Those three aspects
are provenance, forensics,

and connoisseurship.

So provenance is...

that's getting to where it came from, yes?

Provenance is the history of it,

it includes conservation done to it.

People emphasize the sale,

but they should also focus
on the conservation

and other things that were
done throughout its history.

Tell me about the connoisseurship side.

Connoisseurship is the oldest
of all the practices.

It's looking at the painting...

Does it correspond with
the style of the artist?

Does it have that air,
that aura, that says,

"This is... this is it.

"This is the brush stroke.
This is the... the content...

the subject matter is correct."

On the forensic side, there's
a lot of new developments.

A lot of this technology

being brought in
to identifying, attributing,

authenticating works of art

are technologies that were initially done

for other industries.

Traditionally, understanding a work of art

has been the world of the art historian,

the curator.

And with conservators and scientists

becoming involved
in the museum environment,

we're finding that

conservators have a certain perspective

and scientists also can have a perspective

that is valid and different.

And so, these three different areas

have complementary skills.

So using that investigative platform

how would you go back in now

and look at Elmyr, the master criminal?

From the provenance side,
we would look at dealers

in the cities matching with
the cities he lived in.

Then see if you can find
records of their operations

with, say, a sales receipt,

a purchase receipt.

I think a big difference between

a forger in Elmyr's day and a forger today

is Elmyr could fake his identity

and have an easier time
getting away with it

because, you know, there was no Internet,

there was no mass media in the same way.

So Elmyr could present himself

in San Francisco and have one alias,

then he might be in Texas
or Miami with another alias,

and he just might not be discovered.

I think it's much harder to do that today,

but not impossible.

On the connoisseurship side,
if you deal a lot in those works

you get an eye, you pick up on things.

You get a feel for the artist.

And so, dealers can weed that out.

We look for style,

signature, medium.

The second thing we're gonna do
is once we document

those particular aspects of a painting

we're gonna start our research.

And the first thing
we're gonna look for is history.

We're gonna look at catalog raisonnés.

Is the piece in a catalog raisonné?

We're gonna look, uh,

to see if there's any literary references.

We're gonna look at exhibition history.

Has the piece ever been on exhibition?

Is there record of it
ever being on exhibition?

Thirdly, we're gonna
look at the provenance.

Where did the piece come from?

If there's no traceable
evidence of acquisition,

that does create a red flag.

What's your feeling looking at it now?

I'd have to say, well,

the color scheme

and the composition

do appear similar to Leger's other studies.

The actual execution, from a gut feeling,

doesn't appear to be in the hand of Leger.

- You're suspicious?
- Yes, I-I'm very suspicious.

Now, in the forensics, it's more difficult

because a lot of these paints
were used by the same artist.

In forgeries or in something
that has been over-restored,

people will use something
that is not necessarily made

at the right time for that artist.

So, for example, somebody
forging a Botticelli painting

might have used Prussian blue.

That's a blue pigment that wasn't available

until several centuries
after the artist had died.

But on the painting, it looks right.

And so, they'll use it.

And afterwards scientists can come along

and identify that the blue pigment

is not azurite or ultra marine
as it should be,

but it is Prussian blue.

And using instruments

that have helped us identify
pigments more carefully,

infrared spectrometry's
been developed to a new level,

and we can take
very small amounts of material

and collect a very good spectrum,

and then connect that to a library

and we can identify pigments that way.

Also, at Harvard, we've
developed a technique called

Laser Desorption
Ionization Mass Spectrometry.

And it's a technique

where you'll put a sample
of pigment on a plate,

zap it with a laser,

and that will volatilize it,
put it into a mass spectrometer,

and then those very complicated
organic molecules

that are used for modern paint
can be identified.

And if we want to understand Elmyr,

don't we sort of have to understand,

I guess it would be his MO?
Why he did what he did?

Why not be a real legit artist
and why do this life of crime?


-How would we go about that?
What would you suggest?

If we study the person,

his profile, his upbringing,
his background.

Social economic upbringing,

where he comes from.

It sounds like you're
suggesting we go to Budapest.

Budapest, we'll learn about the history

of that period in which he comes up.

He has an upbringing,
he has an art education.

You know, what does
he do to be able to survive?

He changes his name.

That's very common in Jewish people

who went through the Holocaust

- Right.
- ...and survived.

But that experience is so heavy

that it can create a person
in a certain mold.

And from that, we'll be
able to know him better

and understand why it was
so easy for him to just

turn away from being an artist himself

and just flaunt it with forgeries

to fund a lifestyle.

Yet our intention is to find out the truth.

Find out the truth

and separate the fake from the real.

I knew that Elmyr was
a very talented faker,

who had a very adventurous life,

and who was a very special character.

But we didn't know very much
about what happened to him

when he live before here in Hungary.

His original name was Hoffmann Elemer.

In Hungarian we change
the order of the names,

we put surname first
and then we put given name.

At the turn of the century,

there was a flourishing
artistic colony in Transylvania.

It was called the Nagybanya colony.

That-that beautiful, lovely
little Transylvanian village.

The translation actually of this village

is "Huge Mine," Nagybanya.

This is a place where later,

which Elmyr attended himself, too,

for this was a really controversial time

after the First War until the beginning

of the Second World War.

Plenty of new art, unions,

organizations were established.

A lot of kitschy paintings appeared.

There was a huge battle against

all these kitschy things that
appeared on the market.

But it was a very good works as well.

There was also a little revival
of avant-gardism.

So Elmyr had lots of...
lots of inspiration,

and lots of... lots of impact, I think,

on his artistic, character. - Yes.

And perhaps, I think this
could be a reason why he felt

a little bit overwhelmed or maybe...

Overwhelmed by other artists
that were better maybe?

Yes, or maybe he felt that the level

to be reached is too high. - Yes.

And maybe it just blocked him

and that's why he turned to faking things

and not, uh, not living
his own artistic career.

Or maybe more deeper part of his character,

a more colorful and more "liar" character.

So this art camp,

or we call it art colony
or artists' colony,

it has a very rich heritage
in this country.

Very famous artists' colonies

like the Nagybanya artists' colony,

it was a kind of intellectual circle.

And not only the physical space,
but the common thinking.

But at the same time trying to,

uh, to produce artworks that can be

distinguished from other influence

and other area of thinking.

Because everything was basically
happening here on the spot.

And there's a very more...
very important aspect

of being a member of a...
of a regular artist colony

like Nagybanya
and many others in this country.

Because it was a kind of brand,

as a brand it gave you prestige.

You belonged to a certain
intellectual circle

that could give you some more support.

To be a forger is a very
strange psychological situation.

To be someone and to be
someone else at the same time.

But they need to expose themselves.

The forgers himself or themselves

want to be seen somehow.

Not as a forger, but as some,
as the producer of the work.

Yeah, the surface is old, lot of cracks

on the surface of the color.

Sometimes I see some bubbles, too.

It means this color is not 100 years old.

The paint is very creamy.

And I'm not able to see

small grains inside.

When we talk about art
and when we love art,

we love the history,
that which is not seen.

We love that it was painted
by someone who we love.

We love Monet.

We love Tiziano. We love Picasso.

This is a part of this whole things

that we... we believe as art.

Several times, I see artificial aging...

frothing, make it dirty,
and so on and so on.

When something suddenly
proof to be forgery,

this is an attack

of this kind of knowledge
and this kind of belief

in... in our personality.

And this is something
that's very, very difficult

to... to cure.

Forgery must be served
as fresh as possible.

So the next day is not as good.

The original things are...

have the same quality every time.

And gives you new questions.

They have new inspirations,

even at its young, 500 years old.

But you see that, yes,

there is still some power.

A hair.

Maybe the hair of the artist. Here.

It's so funny.

The forgeries unveil themselves,

by themselves, automatically.

This is the time... the time executes

the forgeries after some years.

We go step by step and measure
each color with XRF gun,

and later on we got
the chemical components.

So, at first, I will measure the red one.

On red area, we need to find

phosphor with mercury or red lead.

On the white surface, cadmium yellow.

And what is the most important
that on white area

it mustn't be titanium white

if this artwork was painted later on.

So it must be lead white,

a kind of mixture with zinc white.

I think that, yes, in aesthetical sense,

the perfect forgery can be produced.

But art-historically sense,
it's impossible.

So it's not 100 years old. I'm sure.

Now you see, oh, it's very easy
to see yes, it's Elmyr de Hory.

Why did collectors of the 1950s
didn't see that it's bad things?

Because they were living at that time.

And the forgeries were prepared

for the taste of that time.

Yeah, maybe the paper was much more older.

I think that even today, even this moment,

some corner of the world,

a good quality forged painting is,

uh, made.

I'd say 50.

This painting around 50 or 60 years old.

And if someone ask if there are forgeries

in an art collection,
the Hungarian National Gallery,

I would say that as much as I know,

today, we don't know about forgeries,

but there might be in 100 years.

So, for me, this whole research

was very interesting because, when we met,

we started to investigate a bit...

a little bit more deeper,

we started to dig a little bit more deeper,

here in Hungary,
in the archives, in databases.

And that opened another

or maybe more deeper part of his character,

more colorful and more "liar" character.

I'm not sure that it's here
but I can't really imagine

another Hoffmann Elemer at the same time.

And it says that, uh...

that, uh, there was a...

The story goes back to, uh, the last year

when there was a huge case,

that Hoffmann Elemer...
Elmyr Hoffmann... the painter,

was punished by...

was arrested by the police

because of stealing something.


And later, against this artist,

Zita Perczel, who was...

was the actress of...

Hungarian theater.

Yes, we found something
very interesting about Elmyr

in an archive.

Uh, a newspaper article, actually.

And it was about
a very interesting story that,

once he painted a portrait of an actress.

And while painting this actress

in the apartment of her family,

when they didn't pay attention, he just

took a few things away.

He has stolen a few things away,

like silver things and jewelries.

And of course, the parents
of this actress discovered,

and discovered that he was
a thief basically.

And they went to the police.

The police investigated,
they found everything

in Elmyr's flat.

All the silver, all the jewelries.

And of course, he was arrested.

It's a funny story, I think. No?

And he told that, "Well,

those were very, very strange times."

He doesn't exactly remember
what happened in those times.

Probably, it all happened
because he was in Serbia

when the King was killed.

And he was arrested then
because they thought he's a spy.

And he was even treated with morphine.

And even Prince Joseph
can tell that it was truth

because while he was painting his portrait

he was treated with morphine

because he was so extremely exhausted

and excited and... and sick, so...

And his lawyer ask him to...

to examine his state of mind.

Whether he's...

he has some psychological problems.

And then I proceeded to France, to Paris

where I studied under Fernand Leger

at Academie la Grande Chaumiere.

And I must... I must also add that

in this article, we could read that

he was punished

and he was arrested before several times.

Not only in Budapest,

but also in London, in Zurich,
and other European cities.

Actually, this is something that he denied,

and told that his passport was stolen.

And someone under his name
committed these crimes.

When all of the other people sort of

tried to get over the Atlantic,

I returned to... I returned to Budapest.

Just imagine what it's like,
you're in France,

war's about to break out.

The French are getting
a little excited because,

all of a sudden, they realize,

"Well, if there's Germans coming in

"then everybody with a Germanic background

is gonna be suspect."

So they are already starting
to put people in prison.

If Hungary's his home,

then the natural thing
to do is go back home.

Elmyr goes back to Hungary.
And Hungary's far away.

So, technically speaking,
it's also a point of escape,

and he is a mischievous,
opportunistic person

based on the background
that we've come to know of him,

so I think, honestly,
it was the right choice for him,

and he probably felt that
being back in the homestead

would allow him to sort of
regroup and figure out

what the next step would be.

The war broke out.

And the stories around, uh,

he is staying in this concentration camp

are very questionable.

But clearly, if it's before 1944,

then obviously
it's the Hungarian authorities.

He explains that, um...

he was injured.

His leg, I think his leg was broken,

and he was sent to hospital.

This... this didn't happen in those times.

You think that somebody
like Elmyr might realize that

his background could work against him,

but it can also work for him.

The International Tracing Service

is really about anybody who disappeared

or who went missing.

The fact that we do have
so many Hungarian names

is predicated both in part

because of the Budapest situation,

but also because
so many deportations occurred.

And once you cross the "border,"

and face incarceration in a camp,

then, your name will surface.

In other words, you have to be in a prison,

you have to be in a camp,

you have to be in a place where
you're gonna be registered.

So we use this card index, uh,

to see if we can find anything
on Elmyr's family.

'Cause if we start to look archives,

we mustn't use his
invented name, Elmyr de Hory,

but we must use,
of course, his original name,

Hoffmann Elemer.

Now, they did confirm the mother,

they confirmed that he had a family.

And also another relative,

a relative's grave was mentioned

in the letter who was called Adin.

But we couldn't go too much beyond that.

It's only if he, uh, somehow
just fell off the radar screen,

and he wouldn't be, uh, listed.

But people like Istvan and Elmyr,

at this point, were sort of
looking at them as a duo,

that enable one another to do things.

More illicit than licit.

And those are the kinds
of people, frankly, who,

wake up interests in intelligence agencies.

And if his talents
are known even to Istvan,

and if Istvan is close to the Germans

for whatever reasons,

then that's the kind of message
that doesn't go unheeded.

Because, by the early '40s...

which is really the foreign
counter-intelligence arm

of German secret service
is looking for people like that,

because they need
fake passports, fake visas,

and if you have
skilled individuals like Elmyr

who were available,

then they're likely to recruit them.

"I was taught to question everything."

-Who knows? What is it?
What makes you travel?

You want to change your landscape,

you want to meet new people,
you want to meet new faces.

You think you'll meet
somebody more attractive

in the next town.

'Cause you met there. You never know why...

why people travel.

A titled Englishwoman
walked in one day to my room,

and she saw on the wall...
pinned on the wall a drawing.

And say, "Hey, where you got that Picasso?"

I say, "Well, do you think it's a Picasso?"

She say, "Well, I know enough about Picasso

to know whether it's a Picasso or not."

I say, "Fine."

She say, "Would you sell it?"
I say, "Well, delighted."

So she says, "Well, how much?"
Well, I can't remember saying.

I think 50 pounds, I think she offered me.

And I did sell it to her.

I didn't feel good about. She was a friend.

But the 50 pound helped me a great deal,

because it was the day
of the payment for the rent,

and I didn't have the money for the rent.

I need to take it out of the frame,

but it's pretty rigid.

So I think there may be
another canvas attached to that

which would prevent me from
seeing the back of the original.

Yeah, it has that feel.

If a painting's been torn badly,
if a painting is flaking...

if it's been terribly buckled, crimpled up,

to put it back in a single plane
to consolidate the paint film.

Linings have also been done, um...

Perhaps to disguise the back
of the original painting.

Let's take a look

in ultraviolet light, to get a good look.

Um, the varnish...

is fluorescing, which indicates
it's been on there for a while.

If it's been in a restorer's hands

this might well be the restoration varnish.

It's uneven.

And the hair, the pigment in the hair,

fluoresces the same way the signature does.

So it certainly suggests that it is

similar paint to that hair.

Now we do think this is, uh, Elmyr de Hory.

- Oh.
- Um, it is very good.

- Yes.
- And, uh...

however, ultimately,
to fool the eye even more...

- Yes.
- ...this is passed off

as a print.

If you look at this image, you'll see

lines, and they form
a very pleasant face...

- Yes.
- ...of a woman.

And what else do you see?

- Oh, I see a signature.
- Yeah.

- We see it's a series.
- Mm-hmm.

- It says 23-50.
- Okay.

So the edition is 50,
there's 50 in existence,

and this is the 23rd.

Now, lithographs
are print making technique.

You think of a Crayola crayon

drived across a paper with texture

what happens to the little bits
of Crayola crayon?

Well, they stay on the paper.

Yeah, on the high
points, on the high points.

When you're drawing with a wax crayon,

the longer you draw... - Yeah.

...the softer the wax gets
and the darker the line.

So what you generally see
is an accumulation of

more and more crayon
on to the surface of the paper.

So let's follow this line down.

Matisse drawings,

line were never that sure as mine.

He was hesitant.

These are very long complex lines.

- Yeah, that's a very long line.
- Look at that.

That is a long line.

And it's a lot of
confidence in doing that...

with that starting it and finishing.

You think he understood that...
This line right here.

- Oh, that went on for a while.
- Yep.

And we can see it ends over here,

just when it gets really warm.
- Yep. Yeah. Yeah.

That's a very confident hand.

That's extremely confident hand.

I want to write uniquely
and exclusively of my work.

And I think my work is good enough

and is serious enough
to give pleasure and joy

to the people who will acquire them.

Yes, I have too many girls.

They have to put up with... how many?

One, with... two, three, four, five.

Two boys and five girls.

It's a hard... it's a hard profession.

I met Elmyr in Palm Springs,
California, in 1964.

I was involved with Sascha Brastoff...

very popular in Southern California,

most known for his
ceramics and his jewelry,

gold jewelry and that...
and the Liberace, the pianist...

and Howard Shoup,

the high style fashion designer for MGM.

And also for Judy Garland,

did all of Judy Garland's costumes

for the Judy Garland television series.

The three of them had a gallery
called the Esplanade

in Westwood, California.

It was kinda like the "in"
gallery at the time,

mainly because of the namesakes
of the ownership.

We had one of the most
unique meetings with Elmyr

at a little restaurant called the Matador,

a little Spanish restaurant which was

a favorite hangout for a lot
of celebrity people and that.

And, uh, the meeting was based on the idea

of Elmyr having an exhibition of
his own work at the Esplanade.

Very unexpectedly,

in that meeting in the conversations,

uh, the idea of his reputation
being affiliated

with fake or fraudulent art
had come up in conversation.

Prior to that, I had no true knowledge

of it or anything, but, you know, as a...

an art collector, art dealer,
art appraiser and so forth,

I kinda related to that portion

in that conversation very deeply.

And I said, "My goodness.
Isn't this something?"

I was first introduced
to Elmyr de Hory's work

as a little girl

when I would visit Mother's

friends in Palm Beach or perhaps Miami,

and it just seemed every great house

had a de Hory or two

juxtaposed amongst all of these
other fabulous collections

of authentic, original paintings.

And I was rather brazen,
curious, outspoken child, then.

I had to be...

have my enthusiasm curbed, so to speak.

You know, to not be
so terribly rude as to ask,

"Which one is the de Hory?
Which one is the fake?"

Elmyr offers us a chance

to look at how decisions were made,

and to understand with...
where we might have gone wrong,

where a forger can get in there

and take advantage of a certain system.

Agnes Mongan was somebody who started

at a junior level in the museum
and worked her way up

to eventually be
the director of the museum.

In a world at that time
that was dominated by men,

she was an important female figure

and an inspiration for many.

She had these drawings
that were in her collection.

Um, she had access
to the Conservation Department

and all the facilities there.

What the drawings had was,

that they were made of materials

that were all available to the artist.

And so, any scientific approach
to try and identify

the materials used on the drawings

would not have yielded any evidence

whether they are real or not.

Again, they contain a veneer of something

that looks genuine.

But when you spend
a lot of time looking at them,

there's something missing.

In this instance,
it's the connoisseurship leg

of the stool that came away

and unbalanced this tripod.

You know, she had the eye.

You know, she was able to
look at these and say,

"There's something
wrong with these drawings.

They don't look right."

- If we, at first glance...
- Yes. we look at this, our eyes immediately

make the connections, recognize the image.

And it says to us,
"This is... this is Matisse.

"In fact, here's Matisse, right back here

looking in" and this would...

this is a very exciting drawing. - Yeah.

So that. And it's signed,
"Henri Matisse, 1935."

Everything is right about it
in terms of materials.

The ink is right. He used a dip pen.

Uh, the characteristics
of the lines are correct.

It is on an artist paper, um,

that is like the, uh,
paper used by Matisse.

There's some writing on the back.

We do have a watermark
on here, too, right here.

We know that Matisse
did use MBM France paper.

However, there is a little red flag here.


Perrigo. J Perrigo would appear...

was never used by Matisse.

Interestingly enough,

Perrigo arche was sold in Australia.

- Oh.
- Oh!

So, tell me about art in your life?

Did you grow up with it
or how did it enter your life?

I grew up in a castle.

So there must have been lots of it.

We got a few Modigliani's

I've got a Marie Laurencin,
which I think you've seen.

I got a couple of Dufy's.

And, uh, Picasso, which I don't think...

masters it.

And the lady here...
who we can't mention...

she bought a huge collection.

And then when they had a few problems,

somehow or other I ended up
with the collection at a price.

But as you know, he didn't make much monies

doing his own stuff.

So, then whoever it was
started making him...

not copy, but make one more.

So, let's say there are 100 Picasso's,

there must be 150 nowadays.

They're fakes, aren't they?
They're not forgeries.

Because they are not copies,
they're just one more.

So, like, if you... if Dufy painted...

20, now there are 50.

Where he didn't...
he didn't copy precisely,

but, I mean, as you well know
he used the right paper,

he used the right... whatever had to be.

But he was brilliant, I think.

And they say, "Oh, he never
signed Dufy or Picasso."

That's rubbish.

Some of the widows, they still were alive

and they knew they were not even aware

of what the husbands had done.

And he would just pay them a little bit,

and then they would just
sign a document saying,

"Yes, my husband painted this."

And that was it,
it was not that much research.

When I came to Ibiza for the first time,

the reason was, in the times of Franco,

there was a lot of repression.

Uh, here was a place with total freedom,

completely virgin,
very poor, very poor island,

but because of poverty,
it was absolutely beautiful.

We were living without
electricity and running water

in the country.

Ibiza, nobody knew about it, really.

It was like to get there
the access was like, you know,

you'd fly in a little plane,
the airport was a tiny hut.

The place was so beautiful and so utopian,

that everybody had the need
to create something out of that.

There was... it was quite extraordinary.

And in those days, in the '60s,
you had, um...

what you had if Franco was alive.

So, you had basically all the criminals

who were being sought after
by Interpol or whatever

living on that island.

You had Nazis.

You had, uh, conmen. You had everything.

And in fact, you know, well,
the police force in the island

were dressed in remnants
of the Afrika Korps.

'Cause Spain in the '60s
and '70s was, you know,

the church, and, uh,
it wasn't like it is now.

They were like 40 years behind.

The group of people in Ibiza
was called a family.

They were all black sheeps
escaping from our families.

And we created the family here.

It was a beautiful island.

It was a wonderfully magic time, actually.

It was a fantastic time.

In retrospect, it seems
incredibly innocent.

One of my uncles had a lover

called Angeles de la Vega.

When I arrived to Ibiza,
there was a woman...

she's still alive... called Arlene.

An American woman.
She opened a bar, La Tierra.

It would be a little bit like
the Rick's in "Casablanca."

You see people there you knew
from all over the world.

The bar was fantastic.

It was a meeting point after dinner.

It was run by...

a Jewish American lady
named Arlene Kaufman.

She spoke Spanish impeccably.

Grammatically, but with a Brooklyn accent.

So, it was...

I mean, it was...

And she was a fantastic DJ.

Not "Chumba, Chumba, Chumba," but I mean

the best music you ever heard
was Arlene in La Tierra.

The first day I arrived to Ibiza,

of course, I go to La Tierra.

Angeles de la Vega,

she had a bar next called

La Sirena Gorda, The Fat Mermaid.

She was fat also.

"Come, sit down, let's talk."

Then I realize she was the lover...

had been the lover of my uncle Oliveras.

I was really young

and looking quite good.

So she took me to Elmyr's house

as a sexual present.

I wanted to kill her.

I arrive there,
completely naive, I didn't know.

Elmyr already was...

he always looked like
a very old man to me, you know?

I never met Elmyr very young.

He had white hair, small,

with glasses sometimes, you know?

And I remember, there was
like a sculpture...

a white sculpture of a mermaid

with a male sex.

And I was waiting like this,
and suddenly I realize

I was against that funny sculpture.

"What? No problem."

Uh, Elmyr understood perfectly

that I was not going to be there

for what Angeles thought.

And we became good friends.

Elmyr's house, La Falaise,
was very beautiful.

And he invited me to his villa...

his rented villa in Ibiza,

which I really enjoyed.

And the funny thing about staying there

was that you never saw him
early in the morning.

His routine was to get up at dawn.

And there was one...

it was like a sort of garage,
and he used to work in there.

The one thing was banned.

He made it very clear,

"You are not allowed into that room.

That room was a secret."

And that's where he painted, you know,

until about lunch time.

There were a lot of artists
in Ibiza in those days.

That was a very...

It was very much a center of activity...

of creative activity.

There was a lot going on.

And then, he would go down to Ibiza Town

where he was a great character.
People loved him.

And, you know, he would sit
at his favorite bar

and have a coffee and people would say,

"Hi, Elmyr."

-He had a way in court.
I run him in the Montesol.

We met in that café...

whatever the cafe's called... in Ibiza.

This is a picture that Elmyr
did when we were both in,

uh, Ibiza Town.

And he was sitting at a café,
as he always did,

particularly on a Saturday morning.

And, you know, I suddenly
noticed he was doing a drawing,

and it turned out that he was sketching me

with this rather ridiculous hat.

And, um, and afterwards,

he tore it off and gave it to me,

and I'm rather proud of it.

Always when he was
having a drink there or...

coffee or lunch,

there was a lot of people
sitting around him.

So, tomorrow. The party is a big party.

So, don't miss it tomorrow. - What time?

- 8:00.
- Thank you very much, Elmyr.

And he was inviting everyone

who'd like to have a drink or whatever.

So it was incredible.

He was adorable. He was very small.

And he had the mind of his own
as you well know.

He was... he was giving fabulous party.

Everybody was received like princes.

And you were living in another world.

Of course they had no money problem.

Anybody wants to eat?

He liked to pay with people
from the European aristocracy.

They were the people
who really knew who he was,

and he knew who they were.

And somehow that was his playground.

He enjoyed being with those people,

that's who he wanted acknowledgment from.

He knew the whole
French community in Ibiza.

He knew Jacqueline de Ribes.
He knew my uncle...

He, uh, he knew...

And he had many friends.

He had... Ursula Andress was
a very good friend of his.

He knew Roman Polanski. He was
a very good friend of his.

Fernando Ray, the actor.

I used to see him
with a lot of friends like

Countess Jacqueline de Ribes,

who was nominated more...
most elegant woman in the world.

Smilja Mihailovich
was an incredible personage

and a very good friend of Elmyr, but...

it was fantastic because Smilja

was married to a taxi driver.

When she comes here,

and we don't know why she comes here,

she pretends she's a princess.

But they used to talk

in Hungarian or in Yugoslavian,

and they were insulting each other.

It was fantastic.

I remember her saying...

It's like, "Fuck you," to him.

And in French he was saying...

"Princess of my ass," you know.

Was incredible because
they were very good friends,

but they were fighting all the time.

He didn't seem to care a great deal

about the art scene that was going on.

I mean, he was interested, but it wasn't...

wasn't like he was going
to be participant in it.

Pacha organizes a party for cancer.

And there was an auction

and Elmyr gave us a painting.

And the painting is in the book of Pacha,

the photo with him.

And the painting is quite ugly.

Because he was fantastic...

Fantastic, but when he
was supposed to do something

it was four flowers and not very good.

But there's some forgers
who can copy very well,

and then they have their own style.

He didn't have his own style.

I think he had an extremely
profound understanding

of what other artists have done.

I don't think he had
the same desperate need

or commitment to realize that in himself.

And the fantastic thing of Elmyr,

he was unique in this world,

he was inventing.

I mean, you would see this is a Matisse,

this is a Picasso, this is a Chagall,

this is a Renoir.

Even Picasso would have said,
"This is mine."

Sometimes in art, talent is the first thing

that has to be transcended.

It's when you go beyond your talent

and you go beyond what you know

or what is known,

that it starts to become meaningful

and starts to become valued.

I believe he was in jail,
I mean, for a brief time.

After, you know, when he
was in the papers and all that,

I don't remember in what year,
but then they knew.

I don't think he knew,

his paintings were going to
museums as fakes and all that,

and when he finds out, I think it's when

the bad thing started, too.

His work was at, you know,

the collection of Algur Meadows,
and the Perls,

and, you know, it's like
all scattered around.

- Not as Elmyr's.
- No, not as Elmyr.

Mr. Meadows, how did you happen
get into French modern art

and where did you start buying that?

In 1961, my wife passed away.

In 1962, I married my present wife.

On our honeymoon,
which lasted about six months,

our first stop was Paris.

We went to several galleries

and looking for rounded face.

And we found about seven altogether.

Six or seven, and we bought them all.

Well, besides buying in galleries

did you get paintings any other way?

Uh, you... you mean,
about the two Frenchmen?

That's another story.

In 1964, my wife called me at the office,

and said that, uh...

a friend of hers has asked
two Frenchman to come over

and show us their...
some paintings they had for sale

they had brought from Paris.

"And they want to come at 4:00.
Can you come home early?"

I said, "The very idea. You wouldn't invite

peddlers or strangers into our home."

I said, "No, I won't come home at 4:00."

But I did come home at 6:00,

and the dealers were there.

And they had, uh,
from the back of their car,

they had taken out some six...
five or six paintings

and had them standing all around the car.

And so they introduced themselves,

and they appeared to be...

gentlemen and...

Then I said, "Well, since you came anyway,

bring the paintings out in the house."

Yes. They had certificates.

Signed by, uh, experts,

appointed by the French government

to authenticate such paintings.

And besides they had evidence that they...

these particular paintings
had been purchased

from one of the outstanding
auction houses in, uh,

this country.

I met Mr. Meadows' American attorneys.

I don't remember if you find

his complaint before the exam

before the French justice...

through me or through the US consulate.

What despair from...

what you gave me is that it was fine

against "X,"

which means for the US
it would mean "A-Y-Z," huh?

Right. Mr. Smith,
there's something John Doe.

Yeah, John Doe. Exactly.

- And why did he do that? Why?
- Because, uh...

there's two ways to trigger.

I need to examination,

by an examining judge.

One way is to do it
against the designated party,

in which case...

you have to file a bond. - Right.

If you find against "X,"

then it is up to
the French examining judge.

The examining judge is going
to investigate the case...

will decide, uh...

whether or not John Doe
is going to stand trial.

Art cases are... they cause
problems for the courts.

The courts are not fans of having to decide

art authenticity cases.

Ultimately any case
you're gonna be able to bring

in any kind of court,

it is gonna have some proof of fraud.

And so, you're gonna
have to prove the elements,

uh, same as in any other case...
a loss of...

some type of loss
or profit or loss of money,

something valuable,

dependence on the information
to make that decision,

and the victim.

So, those are the things
you're gonna have to show.

And in case of Elmyr at the time,

that's what Meadows would have had to prove

in his court proceedings.

So, for a judge to come in and say,

"I think this work is or is not authentic,"

has ramifications.

And courts don't wanna be.

They don't wanna make those ramifications.

They don't want to be market makers.

Particularly for something that they feel

uncomfortable analyzing.

For the next two years,

they came to Dallas 10 or 12 times,

each time bringing different paintings.

- And you kept buying?
- I kept buying.

Uh, did you buy,
two, three, four at a time?

Two, three, four, sometimes eight.

What kind of money
are we talking about here?

Oh, well... the first...

the first deal was perhaps, uh,

$70,000 or $80,000.

All together...

$600,000 perhaps.

I think there was
an international search warrant.

Legros I believe was, uh...

arrested in Switzerland.

When you have an international warrant,

it's cooperation between the two states.

The French asked that, uh,

Legros be extradited from Switzerland.

Yes, Swiss had a similar system
to the French one

and you can be...

put temporarily in jail

or obliged to stay in a hotel

until such a time as the Swiss authorities

will make a decision.

Then even the French courts

at that point are still
having to continue a petition.

- Yeah.
- That's not guaranteed.

No, no.

Elmyr, strangely enough,

I don't remember him
telling the French case

which was really directed against Legros.

It's not illegal to paint something

in the style of another artist.

Where you cross the line is if
you sign that artist's name

and you're not that artist.

I don't think he knew

his paintings were going to museums

as fakes and all that.

And when he finds out, I think it's when

the bad things started.

Well, we found, uh,

some records that show that Elmyr

had a painting

lent to a friend

who decided to put it
on consignment with Knoedler.

What we do know is that
the forgery by Elmyr de Hory,

it was sold for $60,000 in 1958.

Knoedler is...

it wasthe oldest and the most prestigious

gallery in America.

Prestige, I guess, is a qualitative term,

certainly by many accounts.

Lookit. Lookit.

Expose the man who holds the art world

on red hot threads.

People were not giving a shit in Ibiza

about what Elmyr was doing.

He was very well liked in Ibiza,

because he was an outlaw.

He enjoyed his celebrity a great deal.

And the fact that it was based on notoriety

didn't seem to faze him.

He started doing that same painting.

I mean, he would do a bigger hour of...

whatever, you know, a Modigliani.

And he would sign their name.

And then he would sign "by Elmyr."

So, that he couldn't be charged with fraud

and selling a fake.

But at the same time

it was... it was a real fake.

It was authenticated by his own signature.

He became a star over night

with his wonderful pictures.

Picasso would get for something
like that of, uh...

$15,000, $20,000.

I will sell it for less.

And years to come, he said to me

when we were walking
down past the Royal Academy,

he said that you'll find an Elmyr

in nearly very major collection
in the world.

I would like to see
that poor Hungarian refugee

who would have resisted
of that... of that temptation.

All his life he was in flight,

and running away... not the police,

but he was running away from
the people he was involved with,

like Fernand Legros
and two other art dealers

who were after him.

Do you know anything about those threats

that he received at least?

Well, uh...

I remember when they killed his dog.

They hang him on a tree.

I think there was
a paper saying that next...

"The next will be you."

I mean, he was like really cornered.

And one day Elmyr

arrived like usual
to the terrace of the Montesol

with his hippie bag, and saying...

We thought he was making a joke.

I had breakfast with him

the day before he died at the Montesol.

And he said that... we all knew then that

they were trying to extradite him

and stand charges again, and he said, "No.

I will never spend another day in jail."

He said, "If they... if I know
they're coming for me,

"when they make the decision...

"if they're coming for me,
I'll kill myself.

They will not get me."

And he did.

I think after many years of running

away from the law and the lawyers

and people who wanted to hurt him...

and I think he had just a moment of panic.

And I just...

It's a shame because
you know he was really...

I mean, he was not going to be
jailed or extradited.

Or even some people say

Elmyr did not died and he escape.

The rumor is he was trying
not to go to jail.

And pretend a suicide

and then the ambulance will arrive

then he will be okay.

They have to be somewhere.

Normally they, the 44 works that were...

were fake should have been destroyed.

This is mean that there is few of fake

on the market.

That's incredible.


I don't think Elmyr gets
any great pass just by saying,

"You know, what I did was really good

and therefore it's beautiful, so it's art."

If he... if he really believed that,

he could have signed everything "de Hory."

-I feel that you should burn it.
We burn everything...

but myself.

It's been said that beauty is truth

and truth beauty.

But doesn't Elmyr's work blur that line?

His works were his own creation,

executed brilliantly "in the style of."

At the very least,
doesn't his life demonstrate

him to be undeniably a true original?

But perhaps what is most troubling

is that we are left to judge,

exercising our own moral compass,

empowering our own aesthetic,

to offer opinion on beauty,

truth, value.

We may never know how many works he created

during his career,

nor how deeply they have penetrated

galleries, museums, private collections.

And we have no way of truly anticipating

his continued impact on the art market.

But one thing is certain,

Elmyr de Hory will forever
influence how we look upon art.

And in that, he has ensured
himself a page in art history

as an accomplished, celebrated real fake.

- ♪ What you think now? ♪
- ♪ I think I love you ♪

♪ What you feel now? ♪

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♪ My love and your love ♪

♪ Our love is here to stay ♪

♪ What you think now? ♪

♪ I think I love you ♪

♪ What you feel now? ♪

♪ I feel I need you ♪

♪ What you know ♪

♪ To be real? ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ Your love is for real now ♪

♪ You know, it's your love and my love ♪

♪ And my love is your love ♪

♪ Our love is here to stay ♪

♪ What you think now? ♪

♪ I think I love you ♪

♪ What you feel now? ♪

♪ I feel I need you ♪

♪ What you know ♪

♪ To be real? ♪

♪ What you think now? ♪

♪ I think I love you now ♪

♪ What you feel now? ♪

♪ I feel I need you ♪

♪ What you know ♪

♪ To be real? ♪

♪ It's gotta be real ♪

♪ To be real ♪

♪ It's gotta be real ♪

♪ To be real ♪
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Aug 10, 2022 4:03 am

Thrasyllus of Mendes
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/9/22

Thrasyllus was a key figure; for a while he was a key influence. His visible influence declined with Neoplatonism, but his unseen influence continues today unseen, perhaps, because we cannot adequately distinguish Thrasyllus from Plato. That was always his intention -- that Thrasyllus' Plato should be our Plato too. This was no game that he was playing, but a mission; the same sort of mission that Platonists regularly embark upon. He should not be criticized. With these remarks my own mission must end too. I require only that the reader reflect upon the issues raised. I do not require that my Thrasyllus be your Thrasyllus, let alone that my Plato be yours. Let this be my cock for Asclepius.

-- Thrassyllan Platonism, by Harold Tarrant, © 1993 by Cornell University

This article is about the Egyptian Greek astrologer and philosopher. For the Athenian general, see Thrasyllus. For the phasmids genus, see Thrasyllus (phasmid).

Thrasyllus of Mendes (/θrəˈsɪləs/; Greek: Θράσυλλος Thrasyllos), also known as Thrasyllus of Alexandria[1] and by his Roman name Tiberius Claudius Thrasyllus[2] (fl. second half of the 1st century BC and first half of the 1st century – died 36,[3][4]), was an Egyptian Greek grammarian and literary commentator. Thrasyllus was an astrologer and a personal friend of the Roman emperor Tiberius,[4] as mentioned in the Annals by Tacitus and The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius.


Thrasyllus[5] was an Egyptian of Greek descent from unknown origins, as his family and ancestors were contemporaries that lived under the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. He originally was either from Mendes or Alexandria. Thrasyllus is often mentioned in various secondary sources as coming from Alexandria (as mentioned in the Oxford Classical Dictionary) as no primary source confirms his origins.


Thrasyllus encountered Tiberius during the period of Tiberius' voluntary exile on the Greek island of Rhodes, some time between 1 BC and 4 AD.[1] Thrasyllus became the intimate and celebrated servant of Tiberius, and Tiberius developed an interest in Stoicism and Astrology from Thrasyllus.[1]

He predicted that Tiberius would be recalled to Rome and officially named the successor to Augustus. When Tiberius returned to Rome, Thrasyllus accompanied him and remained close to him.[6] During the reign of the emperor Tiberius, Thrasyllus served as his skilled Court Astrologer both in Rome and, later, in Capri.[4] As Tiberius held Thrasyllus in the highest honor, he rewarded him for his friendship by giving Roman citizenship to him and his family.[1]

The daughter-in-law of Tiberius, his niece Livilla, reportedly consulted Thrasyllus during her affair with Sejanus, Tiberius' chief minister. Thrasyllus persuaded Tiberius to leave Rome for Capri while clandestinely supporting Sejanus. The grandson-in-law of Thrasyllus, Naevius Sutorius Macro, carried out orders that destroyed Sejanus, whether with Thrasyllus’ knowledge is unknown. He remained on Capri with Tiberius, advising the Emperor on his relationship with the various claimants to his succession. Thrasyllus was an ally[7] who favored Tiberius’ great-nephew Caligula, who was having an affair with his granddaughter, Ennia Thrasylla.[2]

In 36 AD, Thrasyllus is said to have made Tiberius believe he would survive another ten years.[7] With this false prediction, Thrasyllus saved the lives of a number of Roman nobles who would be suspected in falsely plotting against Tiberius. Tiberius, believing in Thrasyllus, was confident that he would outlive any plotters, and so failed to act against them. Thrasyllus predeceased Tiberius, so did not live to see the realization of his prediction that Caligula would succeed Tiberius.

Academic work

Thrasyllus by profession was a grammarian (i.e. literary scholar).[4] He edited the written works of Plato and Democritus. According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, he wrote that the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt took place in 1690 BC. The sections include, Dedumose I, Ipuwer Papyrus and Shiphrah.

He was the author of an astrological text titled Pinax or Table,[4] which is lost but has been summarized in later sources, such as: CCAG - Catalogue of the Codices of the Greek astrologers (8/3: 99–101) which borrows the astrological notions found in Nechepso/Petosiris (see article on Hellenistic astrology) and in Hermes Trismegistus, an early pseudepigraphical source of astrology. Pinax was known and cited by the later following astrological writers: Vettius Valens, Porphyry and Hephaistio.[4]

Family and issue

Thrasyllus may have married a member of the royal family of Commagene (whose name is sometimes given as "Aka"), though this has been questioned recently.[8] He had two known children:

• an unnamed daughter[9] who married the Eques Lucius Ennius.[9] She bore Ennius, a daughter called Ennia Thrasylla,[9] who became the wife of Praetorian prefect Naevius Sutorius Macro, and perhaps a son called Lucius Ennius who was the father of Lucius Ennius Ferox, a Roman Soldier who served during the reign of the Roman emperor Vespasian[10] from 69 until 79
• a son called Tiberius Claudius Balbilus,[11][8] through whom he had further descendants

In fiction

Thrasyllus is a character in the novel series, written by Robert Graves, I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Thrasyllus' predictions are always correct, and his prophecies are equally far-reaching. Thrasyllus predicts Jesus of Nazareth's crucifixion and that his religion shall overtake the Roman Pagan Religion. Similarly towards the end of his life it is explained that his final prophecy was misinterpreted by Tiberius. Thrasyllus states that "Tiberius Claudius will be emperor in 10 years," leading Tiberius to brashly criticize and mock Caligula, whereas his prophecy is correct as Claudius' name is "Tiberius Claudius".

In the TV miniseries adaptation of the novels, Thrasyllus was played by Kevin Stoney, who had previously played him in the 1968 ITV series The Caesars.

In contrast, Thrasyllus and his descendants are presented as power-hungry charlatans in the novel series Romanike.[12]


1. Levick, Tiberius: The Politician, p. 7
2. Levick, Tiberius: The Politician, p. 137
3. Thrasyllus’ article at ancient library Archived 2012-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
4. Holden, A History of Horoscopic Astrology, p. 26
5. The name Thrasyllus is an ancient Greek name which derives from the Greek thrasy – meaning bold
6. Thrasyllus’ article at ancient library Archived 2012-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
7. Levick, Tiberius: The Politician, p. 167
8. Beck, Beck on Mithraism: Collected Works With New Essays, pp. 42-3
9. Levick, Tiberius: The Politician, pp. 137, 230
10. Coleman-Norton, Ancient Roman Statutes, p.151-2
11. Holden, A History of Horoscopic Astrology, p. 29
12. The Romanike series, Codex Regius (2006-2014) Archived 2016-08-06 at the Wayback Machine


• Encyclopaedia Judaica
• Thrasyllus’ article at ancient library
• F.H. Cramer, Astrology in Roman Law and Politics, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA, 1954
• P. Robinson Coleman-Norton and F. Card Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, The Lawbook Exchange Limited, 1961
• B. Levick, Tiberius: The Politician, Routledge, 1999
• M. Zimmerman, G. Schmeling, H. Hofmann, S. Harrison and C. Panayotakis (eds.), Ancient Narrative, Barkhuis, 2002
• R. Beck, Beck on Mithraism: Collected Works With New Essays, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2004
• J. H. Holden, A History of Horoscopic Astrology, American Federation of Astrology, 2006
• Royal genealogy of Mithradates III of Commagene at rootsweb
• Royal genealogy of Aka II of Commagene at rootsweb
• Genealogy of daughter of Tiberius Claudius Thrasyllus and Aka II of Commagene at rootsweb

External links

• Article on the life, works, and legacy of Thrasyllus
• Article on how Tiberius tested Thrasyllus by Shyamasundara Dasa
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:08 pm

Christian Kabbalah
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/11/22

Christian Kabbalah arose during the Renaissance due to Christian scholars' interest in the mysticism of Jewish Kabbalah, which they interpreted according to Christian theology. It is often transliterated as Cabala (also Cabbala) to distinguish it from the Jewish form and from Hermetic Qabalah.[1]


The movement was influenced by a desire to interpret aspects of Christianity even more mystically than current Christian mystics. Greek Neoplatonic documents came into Europe from Constantinople in the reign of Mehmet II. Neoplatonism had been prevalent in Christian Europe and had entered into Scholasticism since the translation of Greek and Hebrew texts in Spain in the 13th century. The Renaissance trend was a relatively short-lived phenomenon, ending by 1750.

Christian scholars interpreted Kabbalistic ideas from "a distinctly Christian perspective, linking Jesus Christ, His atonement, and His resurrection to the Ten Sefirot" – the upper three Sephirot to the hypostases of the Trinity and the other seven "to the lower or earthly world".[2] Alternatively, they "would make Kether the Creator (or the Spirit), Hokhmah the Father, and Binah – the supernal mother – Mary", which placed her "on a divine level with God, something the orthodox churches have always refused to do".[3] Christian Kabbalists sought to transform Kabbalah into "a dogmatic weapon to turn back against the Jews to compel their conversion – starting with Ramon Llull", whom Harvey J. Hames called "the first Christian to acknowledge and appreciate kabbalah as a tool of conversion", though Llull was not a Kabbalist himself nor versed in Kabbalah.[4] Later Christian Kabbalah is mostly based on Pico della Mirandola, Johann Reuchlin and Paolo Riccio.[5]

After the 18th century, Kabbalah became blended with European occultism, some of which had a religious basis; but the main interest in Christian Kabbalah was by then dead. A few attempts have been made to revive it in recent decades, particularly regarding the Neoplatonism of the first two chapters of the Gospel of John, but it has not entered into mainstream Christianity.

Medieval precursors

Raymond Llull

Main article: Ramon Llull

The Franciscan friar Ramon Llull (c. 1232-1316) was "the first Christian to acknowledge and appreciate kabbalah as a tool of conversion", although he was "not a Kabbalist, nor was he versed in any particular Kabbalistic approach".[4] Not interested in the possibilities of scholarly Jewish influence, which began later in the Renaissance, his reading of new interpretations of Kabbalah was solely for the sake of theological debate with religious Jews; i.e., missionizing.

Spanish conversos

An early expression of Christian Kabbalah was among the Spanish conversos from Judaism, from the late 13th century to the Expulsion from Spain of 1492. These include Abner of Burgos and Pablo de Heredia. Heredia's Epistle of Secrets is "the first recognizable work of Christian Kabbalah", and was quoted by Pietro Galatino who influenced Athanasius Kircher. However, Heredia's Kabbalah consists of quotes from non-existent Kabbalistic works, and distorted or fake quotes from real Kabbalistic sources.[6]

Christian Kabbalists

Pico della Mirandola

Main article: Pico della Mirandola

Among the first to promote aspects of Kabbalah beyond exclusively Jewish circles was Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494)[7] a student of Marsilio Ficino at his Florentine Academy. His syncretic world-view combined Platonism, Neoplatonism, Aristotelianism, Hermeticism and Kabbalah.

Mirandola's work on Kabbalah was further developed by Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680), a Jesuit priest, Hermeticist and polymath; in 1652, Kircher wrote on the subject in Oedipus Aegyptiacus.

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola; Latin: Johannes Picus de Mirandula; 24 February 1463 – 17 November 1494) was an Italian Renaissance nobleman and philosopher. He is famed for the events of 1486, when, at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy, and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the "Manifesto of the Renaissance", and a key text of Renaissance humanism and of what has been called the "Hermetic Reformation". He was the founder of the tradition of Christian Kabbalah, a key tenet of early modern Western esotericism. The 900 Theses was the first printed book to be universally banned by the Church. Pico is sometimes seen as a proto-Protestant, because his 900 theses anticipated many Protestant views.

-- Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, by Wikipedia

Johann Reuchlin

Title of Reuchlin's De arte cabalistica libri tres, iam denua adcurate revisi, 1530.

Main article: Johann Reuchlin

Johann Reuchlin, a Catholic humanist (1455–1522), was "Pico's most important follower".[8] His main sources for Kabbalah were Menahem Recanati (Commentary on the Torah, Commentary on the Daily Prayers) and Joseph Gikatilla (Sha'are Orah, Ginnat 'Egoz).[9] Reuchlin argued that human history divides into three periods: a natural period in which God revealed Himself as Shaddai (שדי), the period of the Torah in which God "revealed Himself to Moses through the four-lettered name of the Tetragrammaton" (יהוה), and the period of Christian spiritual rule of the earth which is known in Christianity as "the redemption." It was asserted that the five-letter name associated with this period is an altered version of the tetragrammaton with the additional letter shin (ש).[10]

This name, Yahshuah (יהשוה for 'Jesus'), is also known as the pentagrammaton. It is an attempt by Christian theologians to read the name of the Christian deity into The unpronounced name of the Jewish God. The first of Reuchlin's two books on Kabbalah, De verbo mirifico, "speaks of the […] name of Jesus derived from the tetragrammaton".[9] His second book, De arte cabalistica, is "a broader, more informed excursion into various kabbalistic concerns".[11]

Francesco Giorgi

Main article: Francesco Giorgi

front page of Francesco Giorgi's De harmonia mundi.

Francesco Giorgi, (1467–1540) was a Venetian Franciscan friar and "has been considered a central figure in sixteenth-century Christian Kabbalah both by his contemporaries and by modern scholars". According to Giulio Busi, he was the most important Christian Kabbalist second to its founder Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. His, De harmonia mundi, was "a massive and curious book, all Hermetic, Platonic, Cabalistic, and Pinchian".[12]

Paolo Riccio

Main article: Paolo Riccio

Paolo Riccio (1506–1541) "unified the scattered dogmas of the Christian Cabala into an internally consistent system",[10] based on Pico and Reuchlin and adding "to them through an original synthesis of kabbalistic and Christian sources".[13]

Balthasar Walther

Main article: Balthasar Walther

Balthasar Walther, (1558 – before 1630), was a Silesian physician. In 1598-1599, Walther undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to learn about the intricacies of the Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism from groups in Safed and elsewhere, including amongst the followers of Isaac Luria. However, he did not follow the teachings of these Jewish authorities but later used his learning to further Christian theological pursuits. Despite his claim to have spent six years in these travels, it appears that he only made several shorter trips. Walther himself did not author any significant works of Christian Kabbalah but maintained a voluminous manuscript collection of magical and kabbalistic works. His significance for the history of Christian Kabbalah is that his ideas and doctrines exercised a profound influence on the works of the German theosopher, Jakob Böhme, in particular Böhme's Forty Questions on the Soul (c.1621).[14]

Athanasius Kircher

Main article: Athanasius Kircher

The following century produced Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit priest, scholar and polymath. He wrote extensively on the subject in 1652, bringing further elements such as Orphism and Egyptian mythology to the mix in his work, Oedipus Aegyptiacus. It was illustrated by Kircher's adaptation of the Tree of Life.[15] Kircher's version of the Tree of Life is still used in Western Kabbalah.[16]

Sir Thomas Browne

The physician-philosopher Sir Thomas Browne (1605–82) is recognised as one of the few 17th century English scholars of the Kabbalah.[17] Browne read Hebrew, owned a copy of Francesco Giorgio's highly influential work of Christian Kabbalah De harmonia mundi totius (1525), and alluded to the Kabbalah in his discourse The Garden of Cyrus and encyclopaedia Pseudodoxia Epidemica which was translated into German by the Hebrew scholar and promoter of the Kabbalah, Christian Knorr von Rosenroth.[18]

Christian Knorr von Rosenroth

Sephirotic diagram from Knorr von Rosenroth's Kabbala Denudata.

Main article: Christian Knorr von Rosenroth

Christian Knorr von Rosenroth, (1636–1689), became well known as a translator, annotator, and editor of Kabbalistic texts; he published the two-volume Kabbala denudata ('Kabbalah Unveiled' 1677–78), "which virtually alone represented authentic (Jewish) kabbalah to Christian Europe until the mid-nineteenth century". The Kabbala denudata contains Latin translations of, among others, sections of the Zohar, Pardes Rimmonim by Moses Cordovero, Sha’ar ha-Shamayim and Beit Elohim by Abraham Cohen de Herrera, Sefer ha-Gilgulim (a Lurianic tract attributed to Hayyim Vital), with commentaries by Knorr von Rosenroth and Henry More; some later editions include a summary of Christian Kabbalah (Adumbratio Kabbalæ Christianæ) by F. M. van Helmont.[19]

Johan Kemper

Main article: Johan Kemper

Johan Kemper (1670–1716) was a Hebrew teacher, whose tenure at Uppsala University lasted from 1697 to 1716.[20] He was Emanuel Swedenborg's probable Hebrew tutor.

Kemper, formerly known as Moses ben Aaron of Cracow, was a convert to Lutheranism from Judaism. During his time at Uppsala, he wrote his three-volume work on the Zohar entitled Matteh Mosche ('The Staff of Moses').[21] In it, he attempted to show that the Zohar contained the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.[22]

This belief also drove him to make a literal translation of the Gospel of Matthew into Hebrew and to write a kabbalistic commentary on it.

Adorján Czipleá

Main article: Adorján Czipleá

See also

• Emanation (Eastern Orthodox Christianity)
• Platonism in the Renaissance


1. KABBALAH? CABALA? QABALAH? Archived 25 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine from Jewish
2. Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt van Gorden: The Kingdom of the Occult. Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2008, p. 147f, accessed on 28 March 2013.
3. Rachel Pollack: The Kabbalah Tree: A Journey of Balance & Growth. First edition, second printing 2004. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications 2004, p. 50, accessed on 28 March 2013.[dead link]
4. Don Karr: The Study of Christian Cabala in English (pdf), p. 1, accessed on 28 March 2013.
5. Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt van Gorden: The Kingdom of the Occult. Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2008, p. 150, accessed on 28 March 2013.
6. Don Karr: The Study of Christian Cabala in English (pdf), p. 2f, accessed on 28 March 2013.
7. Christian Cabala Archived 22 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine, accessed on 15 February 2013.
8. Don Karr: The Study of Christian Cabala in English (pdf), p. 6, accessed on 28 March 2013.
9. Don Karr: The Study of Christian Cabala in English (pdf), p. 16, accessed on 28 March 2013.
10. Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt van Gorden: The Kingdom of the Occult. Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2008, p. 149, accessed on 28 March 2013.
11. Don Karr: The Study of Christian Cabala in English (pdf), p. 17, accessed on 28 March 2013.
12. Don Karr: The Study of Christian Cabala in English (pdf), p. 19, accessed on 28 March 2013.
13. Don Karr: The Study of Christian Cabala in English (pdf), p. 23, accessed on 28 March 2013.
14. Leigh T.I. Penman, A Second Christian Rosencreuz? Jakob Böhme’s Disciple Balthasar Walther (1558-c.1630) and the Kabbalah. With a Bibliography of Walther’s Printed Works. In: Western Esotericism. Selected Papers Read at the Symposium on Western Esotericism held at Åbo, Finland, on 15–17 August 2007. (Scripta instituti donneriani Aboensis, XX). T. Ahlbäck, ed. Åbo, Finland: Donner Institute, 2008: 154-172. Available online at:[1]
15. Schmidt, Edward W. The Last Renaissance Man: Athanasius Kircher, SJ. Company: The World of Jesuits and Their Friends. 19(2), Winter 2001–2002
16. Rachel Pollack: The Kabbalah Tree: A Journey of Balance & Growth. First edition, second printing 2004. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications 2004, p. 49, accessed on 28 March 2013.
17. Beitchman, Philip (1998). Alchemy of the Word: Cabala of the Renaissance. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791437384. p.339-40
18. p.339-40 Barbour, Reid (2013). Sir Thomas Browne: A Life. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199679881.
19. Don Karr: The Study of Christian Cabala in English (pdf), p. 43, accessed on 28 March 2013.
20. Messianism in the Christian Kabbala of Johann Kemper. In: The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning Volume 1, No. 1—August 2001.
21. Schoeps, Hans-Joachim, trans. Dole, George F., Barocke Juden, Christen, Judenchristen, Bern: Francke Verlag, 1965, pp. 60-67.
22. See Elliot R. Wolfson's study available at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 August 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2007.


• Armstrong, Allan: The Secret Garden of the Soul: An introduction to the Kabbalah, Imagier Publishing: Bristol, 2008.
• Blau, J. L.: The Christian Interpretation of the Cabala in the Renaissance, New York: Columbia University Press, 1944.
• Dan, Joseph (ed.): The Christian Kabbalah: Jewish Mystical Books and their Christian Interpreters, Cambridge, Mass., 1997.
• Dan, Joseph: Modern Times: The Christian Kabbalah. In: Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2006.
• Farmer, S.A.: Syncretism in the West: Pico's 900 Theses (1486), Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1998, ISBN 0-86698-209-4.
• Reichert, Klaus: Pico della Mirandola and the Beginnings of Christian Kabbala. In: Mysticism, Magic and Kabbalah in Ashkenazi Judaism, ed. K. E. Grözinger and J. Dan, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1995.
• Swietlicki, Catherine: Spanish Christian Cabala: The Works of Luis de Leon, Santa Teresa de Jesus, and San Juan de la Cruz, Univ. of Missouri Press, 1987.
• Wirszubski, Chaim: Pico della Mirandola's encounter with Jewish mysticism, Harvard University Press, 1989.
• Yates, Frances A.: The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1979.

External links

• Christian Cabala
• The Study of Christian Cabala in English
• The Study of Christian Cabala in English: Addenda
• Knots & Spirals: Notes on the Emergence of Christian Cabala
• Historical background in Christendom of 13th century Jewish Kabbalah
• Forshaw, Peter J (2013). "Cabala Chymica or Chemica Cabalistica - Early Modern Alchemists and Cabala". Ambix, Vol. 60:4.
• Forshaw, Peter J (2014). "The Genesis of Christian Kabbalah - Early Modern Speculations on the Work of Creation". Hidden Truths from Eden: Esoteric Readings of Genesis 1-3.
• Forshaw, Peter J (2016). "Christian Kabbalah". The Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism and Esotericism.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:15 pm

Part 1 of 2

Oration on the Dignity of Man
by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola; Latin: Johannes Picus de Mirandula; 24 February 1463 – 17 November 1494) was an Italian Renaissance nobleman and philosopher. He is famed for the events of 1486, when, at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy, and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the "Manifesto of the Renaissance", and a key text of Renaissance humanism and of what has been called the "Hermetic Reformation". He was the founder of the tradition of Christian Kabbalah, a key tenet of early modern Western esotericism. The 900 Theses was the first printed book to be universally banned by the Church. Pico is sometimes seen as a proto-Protestant, because his 900 theses anticipated many Protestant views.

-- Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, by Wikipedia

Most esteemed Fathers, I have read in the ancient writings of the Arabians that Abdala the Saracen on being asked what, on this stage, so to say, of the world, seemed to him most evocative of wonder, replied that there was nothing to be seen more marvelous than man. And that celebrated exclamation of Hermes Trismegistus, ``What a great miracle is man, Asclepius'' confirms this opinion.

And still, as I reflected upon the basis assigned for these estimations, I was not fully persuaded by the diverse reasons advanced for the pre-eminence of human nature; that man is the intermediary between creatures, that he is the familiar of the gods above him as he is the lord of the beings beneath him; that, by the acuteness of his senses, the inquiry of his reason and the light of his intelligence, he is the interpreter of nature, set midway between the timeless unchanging and the flux of time; the living union (as the Persians say), the very marriage hymn of the world, and, by David's testimony but little lower than the angels. These reasons are all, without question, of great weight; nevertheless, they do not touch the principal reasons, those, that is to say, which justify man's unique right for such unbounded admiration. Why, I asked, should we not admire the angels themselves and the beatific choirs more? At long last, however, I feel that I have come to some understanding of why man is the most fortunate of living things and, consequently, deserving of all admiration; of what may be the condition in the hierarchy of beings assigned to him, which draws upon him the envy, not of the brutes alone, but of the astral beings and of the very intelligences which dwell beyond the confines of the world. A thing surpassing belief and smiting the soul with wonder. Still, how could it be otherwise? For it is on this ground that man is, with complete justice, considered and called a great miracle and a being worthy of all admiration.

Hear then, oh Fathers, precisely what this condition of man is; and in the name of your humanity, grant me your benign audition as I pursue this theme.

God the Father, the Mightiest Architect, had already raised, according to the precepts of His hidden wisdom, this world we see, the cosmic dwelling of divinity, a temple most august. He had already adorned the supercelestial region with Intelligences, infused the heavenly globes with the life of immortal souls and set the fermenting dung-heap of the inferior world teeming with every form of animal life. But when this work was done, the Divine Artificer still longed for some creature which might comprehend the meaning of so vast an achievement, which might be moved with love at its beauty and smitten with awe at its grandeur. When, consequently, all else had been completed (as both Moses and Timaeus testify), in the very last place, He bethought Himself of bringing forth man. Truth was, however, that there remained no archetype according to which He might fashion a new offspring, nor in His treasure-houses the wherewithal to endow a new son with a fitting inheritance, nor any place, among the seats of the universe, where this new creature might dispose himself to contemplate the world. All space was already filled; all things had been distributed in the highest, the middle and the lowest orders. Still, it was not in the nature of the power of the Father to fail in this last creative élan; nor was it in the nature of that supreme Wisdom to hesitate through lack of counsel in so crucial a matter; nor, finally, in the nature of His beneficent love to compel the creature destined to praise the divine generosity in all other things to find it wanting in himself.

At last, the Supreme Maker decreed that this creature, to whom He could give nothing wholly his own, should have a share in the particular endowment of every other creature. Taking man, therefore, this creature of indeterminate image, He set him in the middle of the world and thus spoke to him:

``We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may have and possess through your own judgement and decision. The nature of all other creatures is defined and restricted within laws which We have laid down; you, by contrast, impeded by no such restrictions, may, by your own free will, to whose custody We have assigned you, trace for yourself the lineaments of your own nature. I have placed you at the very center of the world, so that from that vantage point you may with greater ease glance round about you on all that the world contains. We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, in order that you may, as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through your own decision, to rise again to the superior orders whose life is divine.''

Oh unsurpassed generosity of God the Father, Oh wondrous and unsurpassable felicity of man, to whom it is granted to have what he chooses, to be what he wills to be! The brutes, from the moment of their birth, bring with them, as Lucilius says, ``from their mother's womb'' all that they will ever possess. The highest spiritual beings were, from the very moment of creation, or soon thereafter, fixed in the mode of being which would be theirs through measureless eternities. But upon man, at the moment of his creation, God bestowed seeds pregnant with all possibilities, the germs of every form of life. Whichever of these a man shall cultivate, the same will mature and bear fruit in him. If vegetative, he will become a plant; if sensual, he will become brutish; if rational, he will reveal himself a heavenly being; if intellectual, he will be an angel and the son of God. And if, dissatisfied with the lot of all creatures, he should recollect himself into the center of his own unity, he will there become one spirit with God, in the solitary darkness of the Father, Who is set above all things, himself transcend all creatures.

Who then will not look with awe upon this our chameleon, or who, at least, will look with greater admiration on any other being? This creature, man, whom Asclepius the Athenian, by reason of this very mutability, this nature capable of transforming itself, quite rightly said was symbolized in the mysteries by the figure of Proteus. This is the source of those metamorphoses, or transformations, so celebrated among the Hebrews and among the Pythagoreans; for even the esoteric theology of the Hebrews at times transforms the holy Enoch into that angel of divinity which is sometimes called malakh-ha-shekhinah and at other times transforms other personages into divinities of other names; while the Pythagoreans transform men guilty of crimes into brutes or even, if we are to believe Empedocles, into plants; and Mohammed, imitating them, was known frequently to say that the man who deserts the divine law becomes a brute. And he was right; for it is not the bark that makes the tree, but its insensitive and unresponsive nature; nor the hide which makes the beast of burden, but its brute and sensual soul; nor the orbicular form which makes the heavens, but their harmonious order. Finally, it is not freedom from a body, but its spiritual intelligence, which makes the angel. If you see a man dedicated to his stomach, crawling on the ground, you see a plant and not a man; or if you see a man bedazzled by the empty forms of the imagination, as by the wiles of Calypso, and through their alluring solicitations made a slave to his own senses, you see a brute and not a man. If, however, you see a philosopher, judging and distinguishing all things according to the rule of reason, him shall you hold in veneration, for he is a creature of heaven and not of earth; if, finally, a pure contemplator, unmindful of the body, wholly withdrawn into the inner chambers of the mind, here indeed is neither a creature of earth nor a heavenly creature, but some higher divinity, clothed in human flesh.

Who then will not look with wonder upon man, upon man who, not without reason in the sacred Mosaic and Christian writings, is designated sometimes by the term ``all flesh'' and sometimes by the term ``every creature,'' because he molds, fashions and transforms himself into the likeness of all flesh and assumes the characteristic power of every form of life? This is why Evantes the Persian in his exposition of the Chaldean theology, writes that man has no inborn and proper semblance, but many which are extraneous and adventitious: whence the Chaldean saying: ``Enosh hu shinnujim vekammah tebhaoth haj'' --- ``man is a living creature of varied, multiform and ever-changing nature.''

But what is the purpose of all this? That we may understand --- since we have been born into this condition of being what we choose to be --- that we ought to be sure above all else that it may never be said against us that, born to a high position, we failed to appreciate it, but fell instead to the estate of brutes and uncomprehending beasts of burden; and that the saying of Aspah the Prophet, ``You are all Gods and sons of the Most High,'' might rather be true; and finally that we may not, through abuse of the generosity of a most indulgent Father, pervert the free option which he has given us from a saving to a damning gift. Let a certain saving ambition invade our souls so that, impatient of mediocrity, we pant after the highest things and (since, if we will, we can) bend all our efforts to their attainment. Let us disdain things of earth, hold as little worth even the astral orders and, putting behind us all the things of this world, hasten to that court beyond the world, closest to the most exalted Godhead. There, as the sacred mysteries tell us, the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones occupy the first places; but, unable to yield to them, and impatient of any second place, let us emulate their dignity and glory. And, if we will it, we shall be inferior to them in nothing.

How must we proceed and what must we do to realize this ambition? Let us observe what they do, what kind of life they lead. For if we lead this kind of life (and we can) we shall attain their same estate. The Seraphim burns with the fire of charity; from the Cherubim flashes forth the splendor of intelligence; the Thrones stand firm with the firmness of justice. If, consequently, in the pursuit of the active life we govern inferior things by just criteria, we shall be established in the firm position of the Thrones. If, freeing ourselves from active care, we devote our time to contemplation, meditating upon the Creator in His work, and the work in its Creator, we shall be resplendent with the light of the Cherubim. If we burn with love for the Creator only, his consuming fire will quickly transform us into the flaming likeness of the Seraphim. Above the Throne, that is, above the just judge, God sits, judge of the ages. Above the Cherub, that is, the contemplative spirit, He spreads His wings, nourishing him, as it were, with an enveloping warmth. For the spirit of the Lord moves upon the waters, those waters which are above the heavens and which, according to Job, praise the Lord in pre-aurorial hymns. Whoever is a Seraph, that is a lover, is in God and God is in him; even, it may be said, God and he are one. Great is the power of the Thrones, which we attain by right judgement, highest of all the sublimity of the Seraphim which we attain by loving.

But how can anyone judge or love what he does not know? Moses loved the God whom he had seen and as judge of his people he administered what he had previously seen in contemplation on the mountain. Therefore the Cherub is the intermediary and by his light equally prepares us for the fire of the Seraphim and the judgement of the Thrones. This is the bond which unites the highest minds, the Palladian order which presides over contemplative philosophy; this is then the bond which before all else we must emulate, embrace and comprehend, whence we may be rapt to the heights of love or descend, well instructed and prepared, to the duties of the practical life. But certainly it is worth the effort, if we are to form our life on the model of the Cherubim, to have familiarly before our eyes both its nature and its quality as well as the duties and the functions proper to it. Since it is not granted to us, flesh as we are and knowledgeable only the things of earth, to attain such knowledge by our own efforts, let us have recourse to the ancient Fathers. They can give us the fullest and most reliable testimony concerning these matters because they had an almost domestic and connatural knowledge of them.

Let us ask the Apostle Paul, that vessel of election, in what activity he saw the armies of the Cherubim engaged when he was rapt into the third heaven. He will answer, according to the interpretation of Dionysius, that he saw them first being purified, then illuminated, and finally made perfect. We, therefore, imitating the life of the Cherubim here on earth, by refraining the impulses of our passions through moral science, by dissipating the darkness of reason by dialectic --- thus washing away, so to speak, the filth of ignorance and vice --- may likewise purify our souls, so that the passions may never run rampant, nor reason, lacking restraint, range beyond its natural limits. Then may we suffuse our purified souls with the light of natural philosophy, bringing it to final perfection by the knowledge of divine things.

Lest we be satisfied to consult only those of our own faith and tradition, let us also have recourse to the patriarch, Jacob, whose likeness, carved on the throne of glory, shines out before us. This wisest of the Fathers who though sleeping in the lower world, still has his eyes fixed on the world above, will admonish us. He will admonish, however, in a figure, for all things appeared in figures to the men of those times: a ladder rises by many rungs from earth to the height of heaven and at its summit sits the Lord, while over its rungs the contemplative angels move, alternately ascending and descending. If this is what we, who wish to imitate the angelic life, must do in our turn, who, I ask, would dare set muddied feet or soiled hands to the ladder of the Lord? It is forbidden, as the mysteries teach, for the impure to touch what is pure. But what are these hands, these feet, of which we speak? The feet, to be sure, of the soul: that is, its most despicable portion by which the soul is held fast to earth as a root to the ground; I mean to say, it alimentary and nutritive faculty where lust ferments and voluptuous softness is fostered. And why may we not call ``the hand'' that irascible power of the soul, which is the warrior of the appetitive faculty, fighting for it and foraging for it in the dust and the sun, seizing for it all things which, sleeping in the shade, it will devour? Let us bathe in moral philosophy as in a living stream, these hands, that is, the whole sensual part in which the lusts of the body have their seat and which, as the saying is, holds the soul by the scruff of the neck, let us be flung back from that ladder as profane and polluted intruders. Even this, however, will not be enough, if we wish to be the companions of the angels who traverse the ladder of Jacob, unless we are first instructed and rendered able to advance on that ladder duly, step by step, at no point to stray from it and to complete the alternate ascensions and descents. When we shall have been so prepared by the art of discourse or of reason, then, inspired by the spirit of the Cherubim, exercising philosophy through all the rungs of the ladder --- that is, of nature --- we shall penetrate being from its center to its surface and from its surface to its center. At one time we shall descend, dismembering with titanic force the ``unity'' of the ``many,'' like the members of Osiris; at another time, we shall ascend, recollecting those same members, by the power of Phoebus, into their original unity. Finally, in the bosom of the Father, who reigns above the ladder, we shall find perfection and peace in the felicity of theological knowledge.

Let us also inquire of the just Job, who made his covenant with the God of life even before he entered into life, what, above all else, the supreme God desires of those tens of thousands of beings which surround Him. He will answer, without a doubt: peace, just as it is written in the pages of Job: He establishes peace in the high reaches of heaven. And since the middle order interprets the admonitions of the higher to the lower orders, the words of Job the theologian may well be interpreted for us by Empedocles the philosopher. Empedocles teaches us that there is in our souls a dual nature; the one bears us upwards toward the heavenly regions; by the other we are dragged downward toward regions infernal, through friendship and discord, war and peace; so witness those verses in which he laments that, torn by strife and discord, like a madman, in flight from the gods, he is driven into the depths of the sea. For it is a patent thing, O Fathers, that many forces strive within us, in grave, intestine warfare, worse than the civil wars of states. Equally clear is it that, if we are to overcome this warfare, if we are to establish that peace which must establish us finally among the exalted of God, philosophy alone can compose and allay that strife. In the first place, if our man seeks only truce with his enemies, moral philosophy will restrain the unreasoning drives of the protean brute, the passionate violence and wrath of the lion within us. If, acting on wiser counsel, we should seek to secure an unbroken peace, moral philosophy will still be at hand to fulfill our desires abundantly; and having slain either beast, like sacrificed sows, it will establish an inviolable compact of peace between the flesh and the spirit. Dialectic will compose the disorders of reason torn by anxiety and uncertainty amid the conflicting hordes of words and captious reasonings. Natural philosophy will reduce the conflict of opinions and the endless debates which from every side vex, distract and lacerate the disturbed mind. It will compose this conflict, however, in such a manner as to remind us that nature, as Heraclitus wrote, is generated by war and for this reason is called by Homer, ``strife.'' Natural philosophy, therefore, cannot assure us a true and unshakable peace. To bestow such peace is rather the privilege and office of the queen of the sciences, most holy theology. Natural philosophy will at best point out the way to theology and even accompany us along the path, while theology, seeing us from afar hastening to draw close to her, will call out: ``Come unto me you who are spent in labor and I will restore you; come to me and I will give you the peace which the world and nature cannot give.''

Summoned in such consoling tones and invited with such kindness, like earthly Mercuries, we shall fly on winged feet to embrace that most blessed mother and there enjoy the peace we have longed for: that most holy peace, that indivisible union, that seamless friendship through which all souls will not only be at one in that one mind which is above every mind, but, in a manner which passes expression, will really be one, in the most profound depths of being. This is the friendship which the Pythagoreans say is the purpose of all philosophy. This is the peace which God established in the high places of the heaven and which the angels, descending to earth, announced to men of good will, so that men, ascending through this peace to heaven, might become angels. This is the peace which we would wish for our friends, for our age, for every house into which we enter and for our own soul, that through this peace it may become the dwelling of God; sop that, too, when the soul, by means of moral philosophy and dialectic shall have purged herself of her uncleanness, adorned herself with the disciplines of philosophy as with the raiment of a prince's court and crowned the pediments of her doors with the garlands of theology, the King of Glory may descend and, coming with the Father, take up his abode with her. If she prove worthy of so great a guest, she will, through his boundless clemency, arrayed in the golden vesture of the many sciences as in a nuptial gown, receive him, not as a guest merely, but as a spouse. And rather than be parted from him, she will prefer to leave her own people and her father's house. Forgetful of her very self she will desire to die to herself in order to live in her spouse, in whose eyes the death of his saints is infinitely precious: I mean that death --- if the very plenitude of life can be called death --- whose meditation wise men have always held to be the special study of philosophy.

Let us also cite Moses himself, who is but little removed from the living well-spring of the most holy and ineffable understanding by whose nectar the angels are inebriated. Let us listen to the venerable judge as he enunciates his laws to us who live in the desert solitude of the body: ``Let those who, still unclean, have need of moral philosophy, dwell with the peoples outside the tabernacles, under the open sky, until, like the priests of Thessaly, they shall have cleansed themselves. Those who have already brought order into their lives may be received into the tabernacle, but still may not touch the sacred vessels. Let them rather first, as zealous levites, in the service of dialectic, minister to the holy offices of philosophy. When they shall themselves be admitted to those offices, they may, as priests of philosophy, contemplate the many-colored throne of the higher God, that is the courtly palace of the star-hung heavens, the heavenly candelabrum aflame with seven lights and elements which are the furry veils of this tabernacle; so that, finally, having been permitted to enter, through the merit of sublime theology, into the innermost chambers of the temple, with no veil of images interposing itself, we may enjoy the glory of divinity.'' This is what Moses beyond a doubt commands us, admonishing, urging and exhorting us to prepare ourselves, while we may, by means of philosophy, a road to future heavenly glory.

In fact, however, the dignity of the liberal arts, which I am about to discuss, and their value to us is attested not only by the Mosaic and Christian mysteries but also by the theologies of the most ancient times. What else is to be understood by the stages through which the initiates must pass in the mysteries of the Greeks? These initiates, after being purified by the arts which we might call expiatory, moral philosophy and dialectic, were granted admission to the mysteries. What could such admission mean but the interpretation of occult nature by means of philosophy? Only after they had been prepared in this way did they receive ``Epopteia,'' that is, the immediate vision of divine things by the light of theology. Who would not long to be admitted to such mysteries? Who would not desire, putting all human concerns behind him, holding the goods of fortune in contempt and little minding the goods of the body, thus to become, while still a denizen of earth, a guest at the table of the gods, and, drunk with the nectar of eternity, receive, while still a mortal, the gift of immortality? Who would not wish to be so inspired by those Socratic frenzies which Plato sings in the Phaedrus that, swiftly fleeing this place, that is, this world fixed in evil, by the oars, so to say, both of feet and wings, he might reach the heavenly Jerusalem by the swiftest course? Let us be driven, O Fathers, by those Socratic frenzies which lift us to such ecstasy that our intellects and our very selves are united to God. And we shall be moved by them in this way as previously we have done all that it lies in us to do. If, by moral philosophy, the power of our passions shall have been restrained by proper controls so that they achieve harmonious accord; and if, by dialectic, our reason shall have progressed by an ordered advance, then, smitten by the frenzy of the Muses, we shall hear the heavenly harmony with the inward ears of the spirit. Then the leader of the Muses, Bacchus, revealing to us in our moments of philosophy, through his mysteries, that is, the visible signs of nature, the invisible things of God, will make us drunk with the richness of the house of God; and there, if, like Moses, we shall prove entirely faithful, most sacred theology will supervene to inspire us with redoubled ecstasy. For, raised to the most eminent height of theology, whence we shall be able to measure with the rod of indivisible eternity all things that are and that have been; and, grasping the primordial beauty of things, like the seers of Phoebus, we shall become the winged lovers of theology. And at last, smitten by the ineffable love as by a sting, and, like the Seraphim, filled with the godhead, we shall be, no longer ourselves, but the very One who made us.

The sacred names of Apollo, to anyone who penetrates their meanings and the mysteries they conceal, clearly show that God is a philosopher no less than a seer; but since Ammonius has amply treated this theme, there is no occasion for me to expound it anew. Nevertheless, O Fathers, we cannot fail to recall those three Delphic precepts which are so very necessary for everyone about to enter the most holy and august temple, not of the false, but of the true Apollo who illumines every soul as it enters this world. You will see that they exhort us to nothing else but to embrace with all our powers this tripartite philosophy which we are now discussing. As a matter of fact that aphorism: meden agan, this is: ``Nothing in excess,'' duly prescribes a measure and rule for all the virtues through the concept of the ``Mean'' of which moral philosophy treats. In like manner, that other aphorism gnothi seauton, that is, ``Know thyself,'' invites and exhorts us to the study of the whole nature of which the nature of man is the connecting link and the ``mixed potion''; for he who knows himself knows all things in himself, as Zoroaster first and after him Plato, in the Alcibiades, wrote. Finally, enlightened by this knowledge, through the aid of natural philosophy, being already close to God, employing the theological salutation ei, that is ``Thou art,'' we shall blissfully address the true Apollo on intimate terms.

Let us also seek the opinion of Pythagoras, that wisest of men, known as a wise man precisely because he never thought himself worthy of that name. His first precept to us will be: ``Never sit on a bushel''; never, that is, through slothful inaction to lose our power of reason, that faculty by which the mind examines, judges and measures all things; but rather unremittingly by the rule and exercise of dialectic, to direct it and keep it agile. Next he will warn us of two things to be avoided at all costs: Neither to make water facing the sun, nor to cut our nails while offering sacrifice. Only when, by moral philosophy, we shall have evacuated the weakening appetites of our too-abundant pleasures and pared away, like nail clippings, the sharp points of anger and wrath in our souls, shall we finally begin to take part in the sacred rites, that is, the mysteries of Bacchus of which we have spoken and to dedicate ourselves to that contemplation of which the Sun is rightly called the father and the guide. Finally, Pythagoras will command us to ``Feed the cock''; that is, to nourish the divine part of our soul with the knowledge of divine things as with substantial food and heavenly ambrosia. This is the cock whose visage is the lion, that is, all earthly power, holds in fear and awe. This is the cock to whom, as we read in Job, all understanding was given. At this cock's crowing, erring man returns to his senses. This is the cock which every day, in the morning twilight, with the stars of morning, raises a Te Deum to heaven. This is the cock which Socrates, at the hour of his death, when he hoped he was about to join the divinity of his spirit to the divinity of the higher world and when he was already beyond danger of any bodily illness, said that he owed to Asclepius, that is, the healer of souls.

Let us also pass in review the records of the Chaldeans; there we shall see (if they are to be believed) that the road to happiness, for mortals, lies through these same arts. The Chaldean interpreters write that it was a saying of Zoroaster that the soul is a winged creature. When her wings fall from her, she is plunged into the body; but when they grow strong again, she flies back to the supernal regions. And when his disciples asked him how they might insure that their souls might be well plumed and hence swift in flight he replied: ``Water them well with the waters of life.'' And when they persisted, asking whence they might obtain these waters of life, he answered (as he was wont) in a parable: ``The Paradise of God is bathed and watered by four rivers; from these same sources you may draw the waters which will save you. The name of the river which flows from the north is Pischon which means, `the Right.' That which flows from the west is Gichon, that is, `Expiation.' The river flowing from the east is named Chiddekel, that is, `Light,' while that, finally, from the south is Perath, which may be understood as `Compassion.' '' Consider carefully and with full attention, O Fathers, what these deliverances of Zoroaster might mean. Obviously, they can only mean that we should, by moral science, as by western waves, wash the uncleanness from our eyes; that, by dialectic, as by a reading taken by the northern star, our gaze must be aligned with the right. Then, that we should become accustomed to bear, in the contemplation of nature, the still feeble light of truth, like the first rays of the rising sun, so that finally we may, through theological piety and the most holy cult of God, become able, like the eagles of heaven, to bear the effulgent splendor of the noonday sun. These are, perhaps, those ``morning, midday and evening thoughts'' which David first celebrated and on which St. Augustine later expatiated. This is the noonday light which inflames the Seraphim toward their goal and equally illuminates the Cherubim. This is the promised land toward which our ancient father Abraham was ever advancing; this the region where, as the teachings of the Cabalists and the Moors tell us, there is no place for unclean spirits. And if we may be permitted, even in the form of a riddle, to say anything publicly about the deeper mysteries: since the precipitous fall of man has left his mind in a vertiginous whirl and and since according to Jeremiah, death has come in through the windows to infect our hearts and bowels with evil, let us call upon Raphael, the heavenly healer that by moral philosophy and dialectic, as with healing drugs, he may release us. When we shall have been restored to health, Gabriel, the strength of God, will abide in us. Leading us through the marvels of nature and pointing out to us everywhere the power and the goodness of God, he will deliver us finally to the care of the High Priest Michael. He, in turn, will adorn those who have successfully completed their service to philosophy with the priesthood of theology as with a crown of precious stones.

These are the reasons, most reverend Fathers, which not only led, but even compelled me, to the study of philosophy. And I should not have undertaken to expound them, except to reply to those who are wont to condemn the study of philosophy, especially among men of high rank, but also among those of modest station. For the whole study of philosophy (such is the unhappy plight of our time) is occasion for contempt and contumely, rather than honor and glory. The deadly and monstrous persuasion has invaded practically all minds, that philosophy ought not to be studied at all or by very few people; as though it were a thing of little worth to have before our eyes and at our finger-tips, as matters we have searched out with greatest care, the causes of things, the ways of nature and the plan of the universe, God's counsels and the mysteries of heaven and earth, unless by such knowledge on might procure some profit or favor for oneself. Thus we have reached the point, it is painful to recognize, where the only persons accounted wise are those who can reduce the pursuit of wisdom to a profitable traffic; and chaste Pallas, who dwells among men only by the generosity of the gods, is rejected, hooted, whistled at in scorn, with no one to love or befriend her unless, by prostituting herself, she is able to pay back into the strongbox of her lover the ill-procured price of her deflowered virginity. I address all these complaints, with the greatest regret and indignation, not against the princes of our times, but against the philosophers who believe and assert that philosophy should not be pursued because no monetary value or reward is assigned it, unmindful that by this sign they disqualify themselves as philosophers. Since their whole life is concentrated on gain and ambition, they never embrace the knowledge of the truth for its own sake. This much will I say for myself --- and on this point I do not blush for praising myself --- that I have never philosophized save for the sake of philosophy, nor have I ever desired or hoped to secure from my studies and my laborious researches any profit or fruit save cultivation of mind and knowledge of the truth --- things I esteem more and more with the passage of time. I have also been so avid for this knowledge and so enamored of it that I have set aside all private and public concerns to devote myself completely to contemplation; and from it no calumny of jealous persons, nor any invective from enemies of wisdom has ever been able to detach me. Philosophy has taught me to rely on my own convictions rather than on the judgements of others and to concern myself less with whether I am well thought of than whether what I do or say is evil.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:15 pm

Part 2 of 2

I was not unaware, most revered Fathers, that this present disputation of mine would be as acceptable and as pleasing to you, who favor all the good arts and who have consented to grace it with your presence, as it would be irritating and offensive to many others. I am also aware that there is no dearth of those who have condemned my undertaking before this and continue to do so on a number of grounds. But this has always been the case: works which are well-intentioned and sincerely directed to virtue have always had no fewer --- not to say more --- detractors than those undertaken for questionable motives and for devious ends. Some persons disapprove the present type of disputation in general and this method of disputing in public about learned matters; they assert that they serve only the exhibition of talent and the display of opinion, rather than the increase of learning. Others do not disapprove this type of exercise, but resent the fact that at my age, a mere twenty-four years, I have dared to propose a disputation concerning the most subtle mysteries of Christian theology, the most debated points of philosophy and unfamiliar branches of learning; and that I have done so here, in this most renowned of cities, before a large assembly of very learned men, in the presence of the Apostolic Senate. Still others have ceded my right so to dispute, but have not conceded that I might dispute nine hundred theses, asserting that such a project is superfluous, over-ambitious and beyond my powers. I should have acceded to these objections willingly and immediately, if the philosophy which I profess had so counseled me. Nor should I now undertake to reply to them, as my philosophy urges me to do, if I believed that this disputation between us were undertaken for purposes of mere altercation and litigation. Therefore, let all intention of denigration and exasperation be purged from our minds and with it that malice which, as Plato writes, is never present in the angelic choirs. Let us amicably decide whether it be admissible for me to proceed with my disputation and whether I should venture so large a number of questions.

I shall not, in the first place, have much to say against those who disapprove this type of public disputation. It is a crime, --- if it be a crime --- which I share with all you, most excellent doctors, who have engaged in such exercises on many occasions to the enhancement of your reputations, as well as with Plato and Aristotle and all the most esteemed philosophers of every age. These philosophers of the past all thought that nothing could profit them more in their search for wisdom than frequent participation in public disputation. Just as the powers of the body are made stronger through gymnastic, the powers of the mind grow in strength and vigor in this arena of learning. I am inclined to believe that the poets, when they sang of the arms of Pallas and the Hebrews, when they called the barzel, that is, the sword, the symbol of men of wisdom, could have meant nothing by these symbols but this type of contest, at once so necessary and so honorable for the acquisition of knowledge. This may also be the reason why the Chaldeans, at the birth of a man destined to be a philosopher, described a horoscope in which Mars confronted Mercury from three distinct angles. This is as much as to say that should these assemblies and these contests be abandoned, all philosophy would become sluggish and dormant.

It is more difficult for me, however, to find a line of defense against those who tell me that I am unequal to the undertaking. If I say that I am equal to it, I shall appear to entertain an immodestly high opinion of myself. If I admit that I am unequal to it, while persisting in it, I shall certainly risk being called temerarious and imprudent. You see the difficulties into which I have fallen, the position in which I am placed. I cannot, without censure, promise something about myself, nor, without equal censure, fail in what I promise. Perhaps I can invoke that saying of Job: ``The spirit is in all men'' or take consolation in what was said to Timothy: ``Let no man despise your youth.'' But to speak from my own conscience, I might say with greater truth that there is nothing singular about me. I admit that I am devoted to study and eager in the pursuit of the good arts. Nevertheless, I do not assume nor arrogate to myself the title learned. If, consequently, I have taken such a great burden on my shoulders, it is not because I am ignorant of my own weaknesses. Rather, it is because I understand that in this kind of learned contest the real victory lies in being vanquished. Even the weakest, consequently, ought not to shun them, but should seek them out, as well they may. For the one who is bested receives from his conqueror, not an injury but a benefit; he returns to his house richer than he left, that is, more learned and better armed for future contests. Inspired by such hope, though myself but a weak soldier, I have not been afraid to enter so dangerous a contest even against the very strongest and vigorous opponents. Whether, in doing so, I have acted foolishly or not might better be judged from the outcome of the contest than from my age.

I must, in the third place, answer those who are scandalized by the large number of propositions and the variety of topics I have proposed for disputation, as though the burden, however great it may be, rested on their shoulders and not, as it does, on mine. Surely it is unbecoming and captious to want to set limits to another's efforts and, as Cicero says, to desire mediocrity in those things in which the rule should be: the more the better. In undertaking so great a venture only one alternative confronted me: success or failure. If I should succeed, I do not see how it would be more praiseworthy to succeed in defending ten theses than in defending nine hundred. If I should fail, those who hate me will have grounds for disparagement, while those who love me will have an occasion to excuse me. In so large and important an undertaking it would seem that a young man who fails through weakness of talent or want of learning deserves indulgence rather than censure. For as the poet says,

if powers fail, there shall be praise for daring; and in great undertaking, to have willed is enough.
In our own day, many scholars, imitating Gorgias of Leontini, have been accustomed to dispute, not nine hundred questions merely, but the whole range of questions concerning all the arts and have been praised for it. Why should not I, then, without incurring criticism, be permitted to discuss a large number of questions indeed, but questions which are clear and determined in their scope? They reply, this is superfluous and ambitious. I protest that, in my case, no superfluity is involved, but that all is necessary. If they consider the method of my philosophy they will feel compelled, even against their inclinations, to recognize this necessity. All those who attach themselves to one or another of the philosophers, to Thomas, for instance or Scotus, who at present enjoy the widest following, can indeed test their doctrine in a discussion of a few questions. By contrast, I have so trained myself that, committed to the teachings of no one man, I have ranged through all the masters of philosophy, examined all their works, become acquainted with all schools. As a consequence, I have had to introduce all of them into the discussion lest, defending a doctrine peculiar to one, I might seem committed to it and thus to deprecate the rest. While a few of the theses proposed concern individual philosophers, it was inevitable that a great number should concern all of them together. Nor should anyone condemn me on the grounds that ``wherever the storm blows me, there I remain as a guest.'' For it was a rule among the ancients, in the case of all writers, never to leave unread any commentaries which might be available. Aristotle observed this rule so carefully that Plato called him: auagnooies, that is, ``the reader.'' It is certainly a mark of excessive narrowness of mind to enclose oneself within one Porch or Academy; nor can anyone reasonably attach himself to one school or philosopher, unless he has previously become familiar with them all. In addition, there is in each school some distinctive characteristic which it does not share with any other.
To begin with the men of our own faith to whom philosophy came last, there is in Duns Scotus both vigor and distinction, in Thomas solidity and sense of balance, in Egidius, lucidity and precision, in Francis, depth and acuteness, in Albertus [Magnus] a sense of ultimate issues, all-embracing and grand, in Henry, as it has seemed to me, always an element of sublimity which inspires reverence. Among the Arabians, there is in Averroës something solid and unshaken, in Avempace, as in Al-Farabi, something serious and deeply meditated; in Avicenna, something divine and platonic. Among the Greeks philosophy was always brilliant and, among the earliest, even chaste: in Simplicus it is rich and abundant, in Themistius elegant and compendious, in Alexander, learned and self-consistent, in Theophrastus, worked out with great reflection, in Ammonius, smooth and pleasing. If you turn to the Platonists, to mention but a few, you will, in Porphyry, be delighted by the wealth of matter and by his preoccupation with many aspects of religion; in Iamblichus, you will be awed by his knowledge of occult philosophy and the mysteries of the barbarian peoples; in Plotinus, you will find it impossible to single out one thing for admiration, because he is admirable under every aspect. Platonists themselves, sweating over his pages, understand him only with the greatest difficulty when, in his oblique style, he teaches divinely about divine things and far more than humanly about things human. I shall pass over the more recent figures, Proclus, and those others who derive from him, Damacius, Olympiodorus and many more in whom that to theion, that is, that divine something which is the special mark of the Platonists, always shines out.

It should be added that any school which attacks the more established truths and by clever slander ridicules the valid arguments of reason confirms, rather than weakens, the truth itself, which, like embers, is fanned to life, rather than extinguished by stirring. These considerations have motivated me in my determination to bring to men's attention the opinions of all schools rather than the doctrine of some one or other (as some might have preferred), for it seems to me that by the confrontation of many schools and the discussion of many philosophical systems that ``effulgence of truth'' of which Plato writes in his letters might illuminate our minds more clearly, like the sun rising from the sea. What should have been our plight had only the philosophical thought of the Latin authors, that is, Albert, Thomas, Scotus, Egidius, Francis and Henry, been discussed, while that of the Greeks and the Arabs was passed over, since all the thought of the barbarian nations was inherited by the Greeks and from the Greeks came down to us? For this reason, our thinkers have always been satisfied, in the field of philosophy, to rest on the discoveries of foreigners and simply to perfect the work of others. What profit would have dervied from discussing natural philosophy with the Peripatetics, if the Academy of the Platonists had not also participated in the exchange, for the doctrine of the latter, even when it touched on divine matters, has always (as St. Augustine bears witness) been esteemed the most elevated of all philosophies? And this in turn has been the reason why I have, for the first time after many centuries of neglect (and there is nothing invidious in my saying so) brought it forth again for public examination and discussion. And what would it have profited us if, having discussed the opinions of innumerable others, like asymboli, at the banquet of wise men, we should contribute nothing of our own, nothing conceived and elaborated in our own mind? Indeed, it is the characteristic of the impotent (as Seneca writes) to have their knowledge all written down in their note-books, as though the discoveries of those who preceded us had closed the path to our own efforts, as though the power of nature had become effete in us and could bring forth nothing which, if it could not demonstrate the truth, might at least point to it from afar. The farmer hates sterility in his field and the husband deplores it in his wife; even more then must the divine mind hate the sterile mind with which it is joined and associated, because it hopes from that source to have offspring of such a high nature.

For these reasons, I have not been content to repeat well-worn doctrines, but have proposed for disputation many points of the early theology of Hermes Trismegistus, many theses drawn from the teachings of the Chaldeans and the Pythagoreans, from the occult mysteries of the Hebrews and, finally, a considerable number of propositions concerning both nature and God which we ourselves have discovered and worked out. In the first place, we have proposed a harmony between Plato and Aristotle, such as many before this time indeed believed to exist but which no one has satisfactorily established. Boethius, among Latin writers, promised to compose such a harmony, but he never carried his proposal to completion. St. Augustine also writes, in his Contra Academicos, that many others tried to prove the same thing, that is, that the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle were identical, and by the most subtle arguments. For example, John the Grammarian held that Aristotle differed from Plato only for those who did not grasp Plato's thought; but he left it to posterity to prove it. We have, in addition, adduced a great number of passages in which Scotus and Thomas, and others in which Averroës and Avicenna, have heretofore been thought to disagree, but which I assert are in harmony with one another.

In the second place, along with my own reflections on and developments of both the Aristotelian and the Platonic philosophies, I have adduced seventy-two theses in physics and metaphysics. If I am not mistaken (and this will become clearer in the course of the proposed disputation) anyone subscribing to these theses will be able to resolve any question proposed to him in natural philosophy or theology on a principle quite other than that taught us in the philosophy which is at present to be learned in the schools and is taught by the masters of the present generation. Nor ought anyone to be surprised, that in my early years, at a tender age at which I should hardly be permitted to read the writings of others (as some have insinuated) I should wish to propose a new philosophy. They ought rather to praise this new philosophy, if it is well defended, or reject it, if it is refuted. Finally, since it will be their task to judge my discoveries and my scholarship, they ought to look to the merit or demerit of these and not to the age of their author.

I have, in addition, introduced a new method of philosophizing on the basis of numbers. This method is, in fact, very old, for it was cultivated by the ancient theologians, by Pythagoras, in the first place, but also by Aglaophamos, Philolaus and Plato, as well as by the earliest Platonists; however, like other illustrious achievements of the past, it has through lack of interest on the part of succeeding generations, fallen into such desuetude, that hardly any vestiges of it are to be found. Plato writes in Epinomis that among all the liberal arts and contemplative sciences, the science of number is supreme and most divine. And in another place, asking why man is the wisest of animals, he replies, because he knows how to count. Similarly, Aristotle, in his Problems repeats this opinion. Abumasar writes that it was a favorite saying of Avenzoar of Babylon that the man who knows how to count, knows everything else as well. These opinions are certainly devoid of any truth if by the art of number they intend that art in which today merchants excel all other men; Plato adds his testimony to this view, admonishing us emphatically not to confuse this divine arithmetic with the arithmetic of the merchants. When, consequently, after long nights of study I seemed to myself to have thoroughly penetrated this Arithmetic, which is thus so highly extolled, I promised myself that in order to test the matter, I would try to solve by means of this method of number seventy-four questions which are considered, by common consent, among the most important in physics and divinity.

I have also proposed certain theses concerning magic, in which I have indicated that magic has two forms. One consists wholly in the operations and powers of demons, and consequently this appears to me, as God is my witness, an execrable and monstrous thing. The other proves, when thoroughly investigated, to be nothing else but the highest realization of natural philosophy. The Greeks noted both these forms. However, because they considered the first form wholly undeserving the name magic they called it goeteia, reserving the term mageia, to the second, and understanding by it the highest and most perfect wisdom. The term ``magus'' in the Persian tongue, according to Porphyry, means the same as ``interpreter'' and ``worshipper of the divine'' in our language. Moreover, Fathers, the disparity and dissimilarity between these arts is the greatest that can be imagined. Not the Christian religion alone, but all legal codes and every well-governed commonwealth execrates and condemns the first; the second, by contrast, is approved and embraced by all wise men and by all peoples solicitous of heavenly and divine things. The first is the most deceitful of arts; the second, a higher and holier philosophy. The former is vain and disappointing; the later, firm, solid and satisfying. The practitioner of the first always tries to conceal his addiction, because it always rebounds to shame and reproach, while the cultivation of the second, both in antiquity and at almost all periods, has been the source of the highest renown and glory in the field of learning. No philosopher of any worth, eager in pursuit of the good arts, was ever a student of the former, but to learn the latter, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Plato and Democritus crossed the seas. Returning to their homes, they, in turn, taught it to others and considered it a treasure to be closely guarded. The former, since it is supported by no true arguments, is defended by no writers of reputation; the latter, honored, as it were, in its illustrious progenitors, counts two principal authors: Zamolxis, who was imitated by Abaris the Hyperborean, and Zoroaster; not, indeed, the Zoroaster who may immediately come to your minds, but that other Zoroaster, the son of Oromasius. If we should ask Plato the nature of each of these forms of magic, he will respond in the Alcibiades that the magic of Zoroaster is nothing else than that science of divine things in which the kings of the Persians had their sons educated to that they might learn to rule their commonwealth on the pattern of the commonwealth of the universe. In the Charmides he will answer that the magic of Zamolxis is the medicine of the soul, because it brings temperance to the soul as medicine brings health to the body. Later Charondas, Damigeron, Apollonius, Osthanes and Dardanus continued in their footsteps, as did Homer, of whom we shall sometime prove, in a ``poetic theology'' we propose to write, that he concealed this doctrine, symbolically, in the wanderings of his Ulysses, just as he did all other learned doctrines. They were also followed by Eudoxus and Hermippus, as well as by practically all those who studied the Pythagorean and Platonic mysteries. Of later philosophers, I find that three had ferreted it out: the Arabian, Al-Kindi, Roger Bacon, and William of Paris. Plotinus also gives signs that he was aware of it in the passage in which he shows that the magician is the minister of nature and not merely its artful imitator. This very wise man approves and maintains this magic, while so abhorring that other that once, when he was invited to to take part in rites of evil spirits, he said that they ought rather to come to him, than he to go to them; and he spoke well. Just as that first form of magic makes man a slave and pawn of evil powers, the latter makes him their lord and master. That first form of magic cannot justify any claim to being either an art or a science while the latter, filled as it is with mysteries, embraces the most profound contemplation of the deepest secrets of things and finally the knowledge of the whole of nature. This beneficent magic, in calling forth, as it were, from their hiding places into the light the powers which the largess of God has sown and planted in the world, does not itself work miracles, so much as sedulously serve nature as she works her wonders. Scrutinizing, with greater penetration, that harmony of the universe which the Greeks with greater aptness of terms called sympatheia and grasping the mutual affinity of things, she applies to each thing those inducements (called the iugges of the magicians), most suited to its nature. Thus it draws forth into public notice the miracles which lie hidden in the recesses of the world, in the womb of nature, in the storehouses and secret vaults of God, as though she herself were their artificer. As the farmer weds his elms to the vines, so the ``magus'' unites earth to heaven, that is, the lower orders to the endowments and powers of the higher. Hence it is that this latter magic appears the more divine and salutary, as the former presents a monstrous and destructive visage. But the deepest reason for the difference is the fact that that first magic, delivering man over to the enemies of God, alienates him from God, while the second, beneficent magic, excites in him an admiration for the works of God which flowers naturally into charity, faith and hope. For nothing so surely impels us to the worship of God than the assiduous contemplation of His miracles and when, by means of this natural magic, we shall have examined these wonders more deeply, we shall more ardently be moved to love and worship Him in his works, until finally we shall be compelled to burst into song: ``The heavens, all of the earth, is filled with the majesty of your glory.'' But enough about magic. I have been led to say even this much because I know that there are many persons who condemn and hate it, because they do not understand it, just as dogs always bay at strangers.

I come now to those matters which I have drawn from the ancient mysteries of the Hebrews and here adduce in confirmation of the inviolable Catholic faith. Lest these matters be thought, by those to whom they are unfamiliar, bubbles of the imagination and tales of charlatans, I want everyone to understand what they are and what their true character is; whence they are drawn and who are the illustrious writers who testifying to them; how mysterious they are, and divine and necessary to men of our faith for the propagation of our religion in the face of the persistent calumnies of the Hebrews. Not famous Hebrew teachers alone, but, from among those of our own persuasion, Esdras, Hilary and Origen all write that Moses, in addition to the law of the five books which he handed down to posterity, when on the mount, received from God a more secret and true explanation of the law. They also say that God commanded Moses to make the law known to the people, but not to write down its interpretation or to divulge it, but to communicate it only to Jesu Nave who, in turn, was to reveal it to succeeding high priests under a strict obligation of silence. It was enough to indicate, through simple historical narrative, the power of God, his wrath against the unjust, his mercy toward the good, his justice toward all and to educate the people, by divine and salutary commands, to live well and blessedly and to worship in the true religion. Openly to reveal to the people the hidden mysteries and the secret intentions of the highest divinity, which lay concealed under the hard shell of the law and the rough vesture of language, what else could this be but to throw holy things to dogs and to strew gems among swine? The decision, consequently, to keep such things hidden from the vulgar and to communicate them only to the initiate, among whom alone, as Paul says, wisdom speaks, was not a counsel of human prudence but a divine command. And the philosophers of antiquity scrupulously observed this caution. Pythagoras wrote nothing but a few trifles which he confided to his daughter Dama, on his deathbed. The Sphinxes, which are carved on the temples of the Egyptians, warned that the mystic doctrines must be kept inviolate from the profane multitude by means of riddles. Plato, writing certain things to Dionysius concerning the highest substances, explained that he had to write in riddles ``lest the letter fall into other hands and others come to know the things I have intended for you.'' Aristotle used to say that the books of the Metaphysics in which he treats of divine matters were both published and unpublished. Is there any need for further instances? Origen asserts that Jesus Christ, the Teacher of Life, revealed many things to His disciples which they in turn were unwilling to commit to writing lest they become the common possession of the crowd. Dionysius the Areopagite gives powerful confirmation to this assertion when he writes that the more secret mysteries were transmitted by the founders of our religion ek nou eis vouv dia mesov logov, that is, from mind to mind, without commitment to writing, through the medium of of the spoken word alone. Because the true interpretation of the law given to Moses was, by God's command, revealed in almost precisely this way, it was called ``Cabala,'' which in Hebrew means the same as our word ``reception.'' The precise point is, of course, that the doctrine was received by one man from another not through written documents but, as a hereditary right, through a regular succession of revelations.

After Cyrus had delivered the Hebrews from the Babylonian captivity, and the Temple had been restored under Zorobabel, the Hebrews bethought themselves of restoring the Law. Esdras, who was head of the church [sic!] at the time, amended the book of Moses. He readily realized, moreover, that because of the exiles, the massacres, the flights and the captivity of the people of Israel, the practice established by the ancients of handing down the doctrines by word of mouth could not be maintained. Unless they were committed to writing, the heavenly teachings divinely handed down must inevitably perish, for the memory of them would not long endure. He decided, consequently, that all of the wise men still alive should be convened and that each should communicate to the convention all that he remembered about the mysteries of the Law. Their communications were then to be collected by scribes into seventy volumes (approximately the same number as there were members of the Sanhedrin). So that you need not accept my testimony alone, O Fathers, hear Esdras himself speaking: ``After forty days had passed, the All-Highest spoke and said: The first things which you wrote publish openly so that the worthy and unworthy alike may read; but the last seventy books conserve so that you may hand them on to the wise men among your people, for in these reside the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom and the river of knowledge. And I did these things.'' These are the very words of Esdras. These are the books of cabalistic wisdom. In these books, as Esdras unmistakably states, resides the springs of understanding, that is, the ineffable theology of the supersubstantial deity; the fountain of wisdom, that is, the precise metaphysical doctrine concerning intelligible and angelic forms; and the stream of wisdom, that is, the best established philosophy concerning nature. Pope Sixtus the Fourth, the immediate predecessor of our present pope, Innocent the Eight, under whose happy reign we are living, took all possible measures to ensure that these books would be translated into Latin for the public benefit of our faith and at the time of his death, three of them had already appeared. The Hebrews hold these same books in such reverence that no one under forty years of age is permitted even to touch them. I acquired these books at considerable expense and, reading them from beginning to end with the greatest attention and with unrelenting toil, I discovered in them (as God is my witness) not so much the Mosaic as the Christian religion. There was to be found the mystery of the Trinity, the Incarnation of the Word, the divinity of the Messiah; there one might also read of original sin, of its expiation by the Christ, of the heavenly Jerusalem, of the fall of the demons, of the orders of the angels, of the pains of purgatory and of hell. There I read the same things which we read every day in the pages of Paul and of Dionysius, Jerome and Augustine. In philosophical matters, it were as though one were listening to Pythagoras and Plato, whose doctrines bear so close an affinity to the Christian faith that our Augustine offered endless thanks to God that the books of the Platonists had fallen into his hands. In a word, there is no point of controversy between the Hebrews and ourselves on which the Hebrews cannot be confuted and convinced out the cabalistic writings, so that no corner is left for them to hide in. On this point I can cite a witness of the very greatest authority, the most learned Antonius Chronicus; on the occasion of a banquet in his house, at which I was also present, with his own ears he heard the Hebrew, Dactylus, a profound scholar of this lore, come round completely to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

To return, however, to our review of the chief points of my disputation: I have also adduced my conception of the manner in which the poems of Orpheus and Zoroaster ought to be interpreted. Orpheus is read by the Greeks in a text which is practically complete; Zoroaster is known to them in a corrupt text, while in Chaldea he is read in a form more nearly complete. Both are considered as the authors and fathers of ancient wisdom. I shall say nothing about Zoroaster who is mentioned so frequently by the Platonists and always with the greatest respect. Of Pythagoras, however, Iamblicus the Chaldean writes that he took the Orphic theology as the model on which he shaped and formed his own philosophy. For this precise reason the sayings of Pythagoras are called sacred, because, and to the degree that, they derive from the Orphic teachings. For from this source that occult doctrine of numbers and everything else that was great and sublime in Greek philosophy flowed as from its primitive source. Orpheus, however (and this was the case with all the ancient theologians) so wove the mysteries of his doctrines into the fabric of myths and so wrapped them about in veils of poetry, that one reading his hymns might well believe that there was nothing in them but fables and the veriest commonplaces. I have said this so that it might be known what labor was mine, what difficulty was involved, in drawing out the secret meanings of the occult philosophy from the deliberate tangles of riddles and the recesses of fable in which they were hidden; difficulty made all the greater by the fact that in a matter so weighty, abstruse and unexplored, I could count on no help from the work and efforts of other interpreters. And still like dogs they have come barking after me, saying that I have brought together an accumulation of trifles in order to make a great display by their sheer number. As though all did not concern ambiguous questions, subjects of sharpest controversy, over which the most important schools confront each other like gladiators. As though I had not brought to light many things quite unknown and unsuspected by these very men who now carp at me while styling themselves the leaders of philosophy. As a matter of fact, I am so completely free of the fault they attribute to me that I have tried to confine the discussion to fewer points than I might have raised. Had I wished, (as others are wont) to divide these questions into their constituent parts, and to dismember them, their number might well have increased to a point past counting. To say nothing of other matters, who is unaware that one of these nine hundred theses, that, namely, concerning the reconciliation of the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle might have been developed, without arousing any suspicion that I was affecting mere number, into six hundred or more by enumerating in due order those points on which others think that these philosophies differ and I, that they agree? For a certainty I shall speak out (though in a manner which is neither modest in itself nor conformable to my character), I shall speak out because those who envy me and detract me, force me to speak out. I have wanted to make clear in disputation, not only that I know a great many things, but also that I know a great many things which others do not know.

And now, reverend Fathers, in order that this claim may be vindicated by the fact, and in order that my address may no longer delay the satisfaction of your desire --- for I see, reverend doctors, with the greatest pleasure that you are girded and ready for the contest --- let us now, with the prayer that the outcome may be fortunate and favorable, as to the sound of trumpets, join battle.
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