Re: What was the medieval view of the cosmos?

#31
Hi Marco,
marco wrote: PS: It is not clear to me what text contained in BnF Lat 3236a is illustrated by this illuminations. It seems to be an "Anonymous essay about the destiny of the soul". It would be interesting to be able to read some of it.
It's not Pseudo-Dionysius, but an anonymous text with this the only known exemplar (as far as I know).

Here is Marie-Thérèse Alverny's 1942 edition:


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/1a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/2a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/3a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/4a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/5a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/6a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/7a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/8a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/books/alverny/9a.jpg


http://www.rosscaldwell.com/images/book ... ny/10a.jpg
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Re: Cary Sheet

#32
Here is an article by Angus Braid (in English), which discusses the content of the book and diagrams -

"The Amalrician Heresy and Illuminist Mysticism in the Central Middle Ages"
http://theamalricianheresy.wordpress.co ... cal-group/

I have only skimmed it.

It is part of a book (a very interesting one it looks like)
http://www.amazon.fr/Mysticism-Heresy-S ... 1780185103

Among various Amazons (e.g. .fr, .com, .co.uk), I was able to see all the pages of his translation of the complete text (pages 348-364).

Happy reading!
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Re: Cary Sheet

#33
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Here is an article by Angus Braid (in English), which discusses the content of the book and diagrams -

"The Amalrician Heresy and Illuminist Mysticism in the Central Middle Ages"
http://theamalricianheresy.wordpress.co ... cal-group/

I have only skimmed it.

It is part of a book (a very interesting one it looks like)
http://www.amazon.fr/Mysticism-Heresy-S ... 1780185103

Among various Amazons (e.g. .fr, .com, .co.uk), I was able to see all the pages of his translation of the complete text (pages 348-364).

Happy reading!
Hello Ross, thank you very much for the Latin text and the article!
I just read Braid's article and I found it well written, serious and informative.
I also see that the full English translation is available on the site you linked:
http://theamalricianheresy.wordpress.co ... io-animae/

Braid says that the most accurate title for the manuscript is that proposed by M.D.Chenu: "De statibus hominis interioris" (The States of the Inner Man). The manuscript discusses the different degrees of happiness in this world and in the afterlife: a course, in 10 stages, of progressive spiritual enlightenment: how to attain felicity (i.e. spiritual fulfilment and mystical union in this life). It is then described again, in terms of the eternal rewards [...] (i.e. the 10 degrees of beatitude), which will be spent in the upper, spiritual circles of heaven near to the throne of God.

Braid notes that the figures in the ladder illustration are of increasing age: the lower are smaller, the upper are larger and have beards. From the top to the bottom, they have labels that seem to denote a religious hierarchy:

* “o mi magister” - “o my master”
* “ephebei” (?) - "young people" (?)
* “socii omnes” - “all the associates”
* “cetera turba” - "the rest of the crowd"

The older, wiser people above are helping those below by passing down their knowledge in the scrolls they hold in they hands. The smallest figure at the bottom is being pulled up by his hair by the figure above him.

So the illustration has some similarity with the pseudo-Dionysius’ "Celestial Hierarchy", in which men belonging to the highest ranks of the religious hierarchy are described as being in touch with the angelic hierarchy.

Re: Cary Sheet

#34
Thanks for the links, Ross, very helpful. I've read over it quickly, switching from the French to the American Amazon and back.

Yes, the book has some similarity with the "Celestial Hierarchy" as far as the upper levels. I didn't see any correspondence to the imagery of the tarot until I got to the lowest level, the elements. The description of life at that level (everything below the Moon, as in the "Aristotle" of Macrobius Ch. XI), called "the Abyss", is fairly similar to the tarot's Devil and Fire cards. The planetary levels, on the way up, are more reminiscent of those in the "Tower of Virtue", also 12th century in its formulation (13th century in its realization), e.g. http://brbl-archive.library.yale.edu/ex ... ted/1r.jpg, 10 levels, perhaps also related to the 10 commandments, if you exclude the two theological virtues at the top. It, too, was in the Visconti Library.

I of course find the Neopythagorean orientation of relevance to the tarot. And although the manuscript was untitled, according to Braid (p. 348 of the book, or 2nd paragraph of the extract), the title that d'Alverny gave it, Perigrinatio Animae (Journey of the Soul), certainly describes what the book recommends to its readers, and what is depicted in the illuminations, as Marco summarizes. I want, to be sure, to read the rest of the 2011 book, whatever of it is online, especially its discussions of alchemy. It unfortunately doesn't seem to be in many US libraries.

Marco wrote
Braid says that the most accurate title for the manuscript is that proposed by M.D.Chenu: "De statibus hominis interioris" (The States of the Inner Man).
I could not find where Braid says this. All I saw was, in his footnote 1, his explanation for his giving it two titles:
I have put in first place the title given to the work by its editor, but I have added the title suggested by M.D. Chenu (Chenu: Nature, Man and Society… (B.58) pp.89-90).
The "title given to the work by its editor", of course, was "Perigrinatio Animae", Journey of the Soul. Perhaps I am missing something.

In general, I think the account in Ch. 2 and 15 of "Celestial Hierarchy" is more relevant to the tarot, as I explained in my previous post, except perhaps for its illuminations. In my reading of and about Renaissance sources, I don't find the "Journey of the Soul/States of the Inner Man" manuscript cited at all, although the topic was certainly a live one. I don't think its text would have had any direct influence on the tarot, but perhaps some indirect influence on somebody (such as certain professors at Pavia, e.g. Filelfo or Giorgio Valla) in the sense of general orientation.

Re: Cary Sheet

#35
mikeh wrote: Marco wrote
Braid says that the most accurate title for the manuscript is that proposed by M.D.Chenu: "De statibus hominis interioris" (The States of the Inner Man).
I could not find where Braid says this. All I saw was, in his footnote 1, his explanation for his giving it two titles:
I have put in first place the title given to the work by its editor, but I have added the title suggested by M.D. Chenu (Chenu: Nature, Man and Society… (B.58) pp.89-90).
The "title given to the work by its editor", of course, was "Perigrinatio Animae", Journey of the Soul.
Hello Mike,
the passage I was referring to is in the page linked by Ross:
Braid wrote:a little-known, anonymous religious work, written in Latin and clearly influenced by Islamic and Jewish Avicennism, has been found: it has been edited by the historian, Marie-Thérèse d’Alverny.[1]  She called it the The Journey of the Soul (Peregrinatio Animae), although the historian, M.D.Chenu, gave it a more accurate title: The States of the Inner Man.[2] 
I guess the title is more appropriate because it corresponds to the actual content of the text, which never mentions a “peregrinatio animae” or “journey of the soul”, but speaks of “the states of the inner man” (dispositiones ad quas homines interiores perveniunt):
“Ad solum hominem interiore qui et occultus et divinus dicitur, nostram orationem dirigimud, stilumque nostre locutionis convertimus. Dicamus igitur dispositiones ad quas homines perveniunt interiores, quod est dicere quem statum anime nostre, postquam a corporibus exuunt, consequantur, et secundum quod apud philosophye peritissimos et prophetas et legis et ecclesie doctores invenitur.”

To the inner man alone, which could be called hidden and divine, shall we direct our attention.  This discourse will consider the different dispositions of the inner man.  We need to find out what states our souls may come to, when they are drawn out of the body, according to what can be read in the writings of the prophets, the most expert philosophers, the doctors of law and the teachers of the Church.
mikeh wrote:In general, I think the account in Ch. 2 and 15 of "Celestial Hierarchy" is more relevant to the tarot, as I explained in my previous post, except perhaps for its illuminations. In my reading of and about Renaissance sources, I don't find the "Journey of the Soul/States of the Inner Man" manuscript cited at all, although the topic was certainly a live one. I don't think its text would have had any direct influence on the tarot, but perhaps some indirect influence on somebody (such as certain professors at Pavia, e.g. Filelfo or Giorgio Valla) in the sense of general orientation.
I don't think that any of the two texts is particularly relevant to tarot. Certainly, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was well known, while this anonymous manuscript has survived in a single copy. But the idea that Paradise was located in the highest sphere was an integral part of Christian cosmology, so it is not necessary to think of any direct reference to “the Celestial Hierarchy” in order to understand, for instance, Piscina's interpretation of the last trumps.

Re: Cary Sheet

#36
Marco wrote.
I don't think that any of the two texts is particularly relevant to tarot. Certainly, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was well known, while this anonymous manuscript has survived in a single copy. But the idea that Paradise was located in the highest sphere was an integral part of Christian cosmology, so it is not necessary to think of any direct reference to “the Celestial Hierarchy” in order to understand, for instance, Piscina's interpretation of the last trumps.
I don't agree. Ps.-Dionysus's Celestial Hierarchy offers a closer match to the last section of the tarot sequence than anything in Revelation, in the passage I cited before (highlighting mine)
We shall find the Mystic Theologians enfolding these things not only around the illustrations of the Heavenly Orders, but also, sometimes, around the supremely Divine Revelations Themselves. At one time, indeed, they extol It under exalted imagery as Sun 39 of Righteousness, as Morning 40 Star rising divinely in the mind, and as Light 41 illuming without veil and for contemplation; and at other times, through things in our midst, as Fire 42, shedding its innocuous light; as Water 43, furnishing a fulness of life, and, to speak symbolically, flowing into a belly, and bubbling forth rivers flowing irresistibly; and at other times, from things most remote, as sweet-smelling ointment 44, as Head Corner-stone 45. But they also clothe It in forms of wild beasts, and attach to It identity with a Lion 46, and Panther 47, and say that it shall be a Leopard 48, and a rushing Bear 46.
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/areop ... rarchy.htm
Also, it is a text that was getting much special attention at that time. Traversari had just translated it, presumably from a new manuscript copy brought over from Greece, in 1436-37. I quoted Lackner as saying.
Lackner, "The Camaldolese Academy", on p. 21 of the same book on Ficino, this page also not in Google Books:
Between 1436 and 1437 Traversari completed his translations of Ps.-Dionysius's Mystical Theology, Divine Names, Ecclesiastical Hierarchies and Celestial Hierarchies.
.
Ficino consulted this translation, Lackner says. Pico quotes from Ps.-Dionysius, too, I presume from the same source.

You say that Ps.-Dionysius's text was well known, I assume you mean in 15th century Italy. I would like to think that, but I haven't found any verification, before Traversari's translation. Ps.-Dionysius's hierarchy of angels was well known, given its endorsement by Aquinas and Dante. That, to be sure, is not very relevant to the tarot. But the actual full text, especially in the paragraph I cited and Ch. 15, is a different matter. I would like very much to know the dissemination of that text, both before and after Traversari's translation, in 15th century Italy. If you can give me a reference, Marco or Ross, it would save me a lot of time digging. Online all I have found reference to is a ms. in Paris, translated by various people (Sarrazin, Grosseteste: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sarrazin); but I don't know in what form that text reached Italy, if any.

The other manuscript, with the interesting illuminations, even though it survives in only one copy, remains quite relevant to the tarot because of where it was, namely the Visconti Library at Pavia.

Re: Cary Sheet

#37
Mike -

The only thing that has crossed my path recently (today in fact, by coincidence) is a paper by Allie Terry, "Donatello's decapitations and the rhetoric of beheading in Medicean Florence (Renaissance Studies, 23:5 (2009), pp.609-638)
https://www.academia.edu/530268/Allie_T ... 09_609-638

For Pseudo-Dionysius in the West (very general, but bibliography should be helpful), Traversari, Florence and the Council of Union, see especially pages 618ff.

I'm with Marco, though, in not seeing this or the Peregrinatio Animae as informing Tarot. I differ in that I don't think anything but the rising light is needed to explain that part of the sequence. No story - neither Apocalypse nor journey of the soul -, just something easy to grasp and remember (so I'm with the Anonymous Discorso author here).
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Re: Ps.-Dionysius' "Celestial Hierarchy"

#38
Thanks, Ross. I looked at Allie, but all I saw there, regarding the text of "Celestial Hiearchy", was confirmation of what I had already said, that it was known through Traversari's translation of 1437. The article doesn't even say where his Greek text came from; but I presume it was part of the cache from 1424 deposited in San Marco. What I hadn't known, and which was valuable, was how important Pseudo-Dionysius was to the Medici and to the Western side of the debate at the debate in 1439, that his work supported their papal supremacy position, that Cosimo had funded the completion of the translations and the dissemination of the texts, and also that his likeness was part of the Fra Angelico fresco at San Marco. That was very interesting.

"Increasing light" certainly determines the order of the three celestials, and the two before and after. But it still seems to me that it would have been natural to attach some meaning to "increasing light"; "increasing enlightenment" seems to me the most straightforward and inclusive. Light is the means of vision, for both the physical and intellectual eye. Wind (Pagan Mysteries of the Renaissance has given numerous examples, e.g. Boroaldo in his Commentary on Apuleius (Wind p. 58f):
For Plato writes in the Symposium that the eyes of the mind begin to see clearly when the eyes of the body begin to fail.
And of course the Republic likened the Good to the Sun. I realize these examples make no difference to you, Ross, but perhaps they will to someone. Here are two more, the allegorization of Sun, Moon, and Stars in Genesis, both from Pico's Heptaplus of 1489. I do not cite these as sources, but rather as a typical humanist method of interpretation. First, in the Fourth Exposition, Fourth Chapter (pp. 66-67, McGaw translation):
This is when Moses writes that the sun, the moon, and the stars were placed in the firmament. Perhaps the more recent philosophers would, indeed interpret the sun as being intellect in actuality and the moon in potentiality. Whereas I am engaged in a great controversy with them, let me explain, meanwhile, that wherever the the soul turns toward the waters above, to the Spirit of the Lord, because it glows all over, let it be named sun; wherever it looks back upon the lower waters, that is toward the sensual potentiality, from which it contracts some stain of corruption, let it have the name of moon. In this sense the Greek Platonists might call, according to the docmas of their doctrines, the sun "dianoia" and the moon "doxa." However, while we wander far from our fatherland and live in this night and gloom of our present life, we especially use that part of ourselves which leans toward the senses, hence we conjecture more than we know. When the day of future life has dawned, alienated from our senses and directed toward divine things, we shall understand with our superior other part. Correctly it has been said that this sun of ours presides over the day and this moon of ours over the night.

Because after casting off this mortal coil, we shall contemplate solely by the light of the sun what, in this present very miserable night of the body, we try to see with all our strength and powers more than we seem to; for this reason the day shines with the sun alone. The night, in turn, assembles and gathers for the moon, somewhat weak in power, a great many stars, as auxiliaries, that is, the power of combining and dividing, and whatever remaining powers exist.
And then in the Sixth Exposition, Fourth Chapter (p. 98, McGaw translation)
And to the fullness of time! For if the number four is the fullness of numbers, in the world of numbers, will the fourth day not be the fullness of days?

See then what the fourth day brings us. On the second day the heavens were created, namely, the law, without sun and moon and stars, certainly capable of future light, but for the moment still dark and not illuminated by any remarkable light.

Then came the fourth day on which the sun, lord of the firmament, namely, Christ--Lord of the laws, and the lunar Church, Christ's consort and wife, similar to the moon, and the apostolic doctors, who would educate many to justice, as stars in the firmament--began to shine for eternity, calling the world to eternal life. The sun did not destroy the firmament, but fulfilled it, and Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.
Here Pico is using the reference to the sun, moon, and stars in Genesis to interpret the coming of Christ (in 3508 counting from the Creation, actually) and his ascension, later including his wife, to the heights, along with the "apostolic doctors" who are the stars. Given that the Woman Clothed with the Sun was taken as the Virgin (e.g. at Guadalupe, Mexico), a similar interpretation would apply to the End Times. But there is no restriction of the celestials to those times.

Added later: But why one big star surrounded by small ones? Why just these luminaries and not others? And why Fire, of all things, before them? Ps.-Dionysius has the answer in one sentence, bringing together a diversity of references (39. q Mal. iv. 2. 40. r. Num. xxiv. 17; 2 Pet. i. 19. 41. s John i. 5. 42. t Exod.iii. 2. 43. u John vii. 38; the numbers 39-43 correspond to the numbers in the quote I gave previously, its footnotes.)

Re: Ps.-Dionysius' "Celestial Hierarchy"

#39
mikeh wrote: And why Fire, of all things, before them? Ps.-Dionysius has the answer in one sentence, bringing together a diversity of references (39. q Mal. iv. 2. 40. r. Num. xxiv. 17; 2 Pet. i. 19. 41. s John i. 5. 42. t Exod.iii. 2. 43. u John vii. 38; the numbers 39-43 correspond to the numbers in the quote I gave previously, its footnotes.)
Alberti also has an answer, also in one sentence.

De Pictura (1435), l. I,11:

Sequitur de vi luminum. Lumina alia siderum ut solis et lunae et luciferae stellae, alia lampadum et ignis.

Now of the strength of lights. Some lights are from the stars such as the Sun and Moon and the Morning Star, others from lamps and fire.

Della pittura (1436):

Seguita de' lumi. Dico de' lumi alcuno essere dalle stelle, come dal sole, dalla luna e da quell'altra bella stella Venere. Altri lumi sono dai fuochi.

Following on light: I say of lights that some are of the stars, like that of the Sun, of the Moon and of that other beautiful star Venus. Other lights are from fires.

.......

That is just for illustration of the conventional nature of a hierarchy of lights; I'm not suggesting Alberti had anything to do with Tarot.
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Re: Cary Sheet

#40
It seems to me that the tarot card is referring to fire in the heavens, lightning or from the sphere of fire, or sent by angels, as in the case of Job's son's house. That's what ps-Dionysius's image is, too, something from Divine Revelations. Alberti is only referring to fires that one can use to paint by, in lamps or fireplaces: http://books.google.com/books?id=K3bCI- ... es&f=false

Also, Alberti is someone who might well have been involved in the early tarot or proto-tarot. 1434 is not too early, and his interests certainly fit its influences, as I see them. Perhaps you have somebody else, like a Dominican preacher, Bernardino, etc. Your point is not unreasonable. I just need examples, with fires from the heavens linked with star, moon, and sun, and also not otherwise suggesting borrowing from ps.-Dionysius.

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