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Introduction: Must we really re-appropriate magic?

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Chapter Summary

During the Renaissance the whole idea of nature changed, of its infinity and its limits, of man's dominion over the physical world both vegetables and animals, and of the regularity of physical and biological phenomena. This book explores certain philosophical theories which provided an interpretation of these ideas of nature, of its laws and exceptions and, lastly, of man's capacity to dominate the cosmos. The Neoplatonic and Hermetic theories of the two Florentines on the cosmos, the "spirit" and the forces of nature had given rise to a new idea of magic. The book ends with the burning of Giordano Bruno in 1600, shortly after he had written and read out his clandestine magical works to a small number of adepts. These reflect the conflicts that took place in the interpretation of the magic cosmos and the powers of those intending to operate in it.

Keywords: Giordano Bruno; Hermetic theories; magic cosmos; Neoplatonic theories; philosophical theories



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