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"Dispersa Intentio." Alchemy, Magic and Scepticism in Agrippa

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The study of Agrippa's works confirms his constant interest in the theory and practice of alchemy. The apparent contradiction between De occulta philosophia, which uses alchemical doctrines, and De vanitate scientiarum, where alchemy is harshly criticized, is to be resolved in the light of a moral and cultural reform founded on a Hermetic-Christian perspective on the relationship between faith and reason. The analysis of the alchemic passages in De occulta philosophia proves that Agrippa's transmutatory operations have no secondary role in his 'restored' magic. Furthermore, these operations are oriented towards a utopia, where original unity is to be regained.

Affiliations: 1: University of Florence


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