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John Dee’s Annotations To Ficino’s Translation Of Plato

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Chapter Summary

This chapter sketches the broad outlines of John Dee's interaction with Marsilio Ficino's Latin translation of the dialogues of Plato. It focuses on Dee's interactions with Ficino's supplementary texts-his prefatory materials, the short argumenta which he wrote as introductions to each dialogue, and his lengthier disquisitions such as his Compendium in Timaeum and his Commentarium in Convivium. This focus is particularly warranted in that in some cases, such as the Cratylus and the Statesman, Dee heavily annotates Ficino's argumentum but leaves the text of the translation itself unmarked. In Ficino's contents list Dee marks the titles of the Phaedo and the Timaeus with long dashes, and a cursory glance at the annotations to these two dialogues shows that he did expend a disproportionate amount of energy on Plato's doctrine of the soul and his account of the creation of the world.

Keywords: Cratylus; John Dee; Latin translation; Marsilio Ficino; Plato; Statesman



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