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Scholastic and humanist views of hermetism. witchcraft, "natural magic", Trithemius' magic and Agrippa's critical turn of mind

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Chapter Summary

Hermetism and witchcraft, when considered from the point of view of intellectual and religious history, travel along paths that are almost parallel. They certainly are not absent in the Middle Ages, when they surface again and again. But it is particularly in the last decades of the fifteenth century that both undergo their decisive renewal and a kind of codification, in Italy as well as in Germany. Trithemius and Agrippa, who cooperated in the elaboration of the Hermetism and natural magic of the Florentines in Germany, both participated in the debate on witchcraft, but on opposite sides. Both were attached to Johannes Reuchlin and they had a frank discussion, which must have been an eye-opener to the younger one, in regard to a good many secrets and to the "two ways" of magic.

Keywords: Agrippa; Germany; Hermetism; Italy; natural magic; Trithemius; witchcraft



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