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A Report by Andrew Collins
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(VI.) HISTORY - The Coming of Christianity

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Author Topic: (VI.) HISTORY - The Coming of Christianity  (Read 280 times)
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« on: August 17, 2007, 06:55:27 pm »

The fact that some Christian astrologers were not deterred is illustrated by the work of Julius Firmicus Maternus, a contemporary who is likely to have read Augustine. His Matheseos of c 354 accepted the doctrine of free will, but found it odd that man should think the stars and planets mere decoration of the heavens.

Firmicus, whose mind seems to have been a great deal keener than Augustine's (if we are to judge from the organization of his book and the deployment of his arguments), produced one by one the chief anti-astrological arguments and demolished them with ease, demonstrating clearly that the critics had not for the most part bothered to understand the subject. He admits that some astrologers are rogues and others fools, he admits the difficulty of the subject - but claims that the human spirit is capable of coping with it, as it is capable of coping with the mapping of the heavens and the prediction of the planets' courses.

In a brilliantly presented and enormously complex argument, Firmicus in the second half of Matheseos scathingly demolishes superstition and its practitioners, the 'magicians' who 'stay in temples in an unkempt state and always walk abroad thus in order to frighten people. While he accepts that 'magic' is a powerful force, he is violently opposed to secrecy in regard to it, and demands that astrologers, rather than shrinking from public view as though ashamed, should place themselves under the protection of God, praying that He should grant them grace to attempt the explanation of the courses of the stars

Matheseos was an important book, a major work that accurately and persuasively quoted earlier sources, and was itself to be quoted for centuries by Christian astrologers and theologians who wished to assuage the fears of laymen at times when the Church seemed to be condemning the practice.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 07:49:57 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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