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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter of the book presents the importance of Marsilio Ficino's contribution to the development of ideas at the end of the fifteenth century and on through the sixteenth and beyond. This importance is recognized in many fields from philosophy and religious thought to new kinds of scientific thinking and literary endeavour. Ficino started to read systematically in the works of Plotinus and all the ancient commentators in the Greek philosophical tradition whose works he could obtain from the little-known Hermias to Theophrastus and Olympiodorus. The study of Plotinus certainly helped him to reach an understanding of Plato that met the questions uppermost in the minds of fifteenth-century Christian readers. John Dillon focuses on how Ficino used Plotinus and Proclus to delve deeply into the meaning of metaphysical concepts in their work, and then applied his findings feely to his own understanding of Christian theology.

Keywords: Christian theology; John Dillon; Marsilio Ficino; Plato; Plotinus

10.1163/ej.9789004188976.i-384.6
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