Platonists, Theurgy, and Intellectual Difficulty in Lefèvre d’Étaples and Charles de Bovelles

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Oosterhoff, RJ 

In 1514 the learned physician Jerome of Pavia recalled long, difficult travels over the Alps to Paris to meet the French humanist Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples (c.1455-1536). He found him with Charles de Bovelles (1479-c.1567), “a young man … follower and former student of Lefèvre, whom you would suppose another Alcibiades to Socrates, Dion to Plato, or Theophrastus to Aristotle.” They talked, Jerome reported, of Lefèvre’s own travels to Italy, and Lefèvre told of meeting Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Ermolao Barbaro, Poliziano, and Marsilio Ficino, “the first right proponent of the Platonic philosophy among the Latins.” The conversation wound its way through natural philosophy, metaphysics, and ultimately theological questions, about which Lefèvre “put Aristotle in harmony with many of Plato’s teachings.”

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The Legacy of Plotinus
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Cambridge University Press
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European Research Council (617391)
The research leading to this paper has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no 617391