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Author Topic: (XII) HISTORY - 21ST CENTURY ASTROLOGY  (Read 1826 times)
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« Reply #120 on: September 26, 2007, 10:15:42 pm »

Translator's Note: In the interest of expediency, works originally published in English and used in French translation are cited in the language of the translation, without reference to the original English title. For the most part, texts from those works have been prepared on the basis of the translation rather than quoted from the English originals, which explains any possible divergence of the citations from the author's text. The translator hopes that this practice honors the content of the original completely, even if it diverges at points from literal transmission. (MSB)

[1]  Cf. Peter Jensen, Die Kosmologie der Babylonier, Strasbourg, 1890; Franz Boll, Studien über Claudius Ptolemäus, Leipzig, Teubner, 1894; the first volume of Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, Brussels, 1898; Auguste Bouché-Leclercq, L'astrologie grecque, Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1899 (of which certain chapters appeared separately from 1884 forward); and last but not least the first history of Babylonian astrology: Archibald Sayce, "The Astronomy and Astrology of the Babylonians," in: Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 3, 1874. « Text

[2]  Lynn Thorndike (born in Lynn, Mass. 24 July 1882, died in 1965), due to the enormous amount of work he did in the collection and presentation of medieval texts on astrology, and despite his allegations presented in the second volume of his History of Magic and Experimental Science (New York, Columbia University Press, 1923) can be considered a sympathizer of astrology. « Text

[3]  Cf. the medievalist Max Lejbowicz, author of an Introduction à l'astrologie conditionnelle (Autun [impr.], C.E.F.A., 1977), a textbook, along the lines of the treatises of Jean-Pierre Nicola, his former teacher, or also Jacques Hallbronn in his Clefs pour l'astrologie (rev. ed. Seghers, 1993). Also noteworthy is the existence of a puerile anti-astrological tactic (an amalgamation of astrology and extrinsic practices, outmoded problematics, truncated references ...), that sends "astrologers" back to their calculated ignorance in texts supposedly designed to instruct them and which, vis-à-vis the academic milieu, reserve for themselves any attenuating circumstances that compromise their interlocutors. « Text

[4]  cited in Thorndike, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 264. « Text

[5]  Bouché-Leclercq qualifies astrology as an "unsound system" in his Histoire de la divination dans l'Antiquité (Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1879, vol. 1, p. 257): "One ends up feeling a type of horror for this chaos in which misguided human intelligence has thrashed about for so long." (op. cit., p. 246) Relying on the documentation available to him during his lifetime, he denies the existence of a Chaldean horoscope (in: L'astrologie grecque, Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1899, pp. 50 and 83). « Text

[6]  in Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, Brussels, 1898, vol. 1, p. V. Cumont subsumes astrology under "mythology formulated in axioms" (in Lux perpetua, Paris, Geuthner, 1949, p. 312). « Text

[7]  in Le système du monde, Hermann, 1958, vol. 8, pp. 500-501. « Text

[8]  Jean-Charles Houzeau and Albert Lancaster, Bibliographie générale de l'astronomie, Académie Royale de Belgique, 1887, vol. 1, p. 31. « Text

[9]  The 310-page introduction to the Bibliographie on astronomy and on astrology constitues the first brief modern history of astrology written in the French language. The fact that the first historians of astrology at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century pilfered rather liberally from the secondary documentation of their elder rationalists, who were specialists in superstition and more than hostile to astrology, explains the perpetuation of clichés such as the suppression of astrology by Colbert in 1666, or the justification of Kepler's horoscopic activity by saying that he did it in order to earn money. « Text

[10]  The work is slapdash, confused, riddled with errors, contradictions and comical interpretations. For example, the agitation of patients in asylums on nights when the moon is full is explained by the moon's brightness (in: The Royal Art of Astrology, London, Herbert Joseph, 1946, p. 144.) The author neglects to mention whether or not the dormitories have drawn shades or are open to the sky ... « Text

[11]  George Sarton, A History of Science, Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard University Press, 1952, vol. 1, p. 120. « Text

[12]  The first journal of general scope on the history of science, founded in 1913. « Text

[13]  in "The Survival of Babylonian Methods in the Exact Sciences of Antiquity and the Middle Ages," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 107.6, 1963, p. 532. « Text

[14]  In The Stars Above Us, Freiberg, 1953, English translation published by Scribner, New York, 1957, p. 84. « Text

[15]  Gérard Simon (in: Kepler astronome astrologue, Paris, Gallimard, 1979), who ran into the brick wall of the Tertius interveniens, the principal astrological treatise of Kepler, denies to astrology the status of knowledge (p. 14), doubts the very usefulness of undertaking study of the subject and considers "incredible" the fact that Kepler could have shown interest in it (p. 83)! Hervé Drévillon (in: Lire et écrire l'avenir, Seyssel, (Ain), Champ Vallon, 1996) compares in a trivilializing sort of way science and astrology, reason and superstition, knowledge and belief, natal astrology and judiciary astrology, without ever really questioning the incertainties and the permeability of the borders between those fields in the mentality of the 17th century. He relies on ideological and moralistic discourse rather than on the men of science and the astrologers of that period. In the "psycho-socio-historical" approach of Georges Minois, astrology is labeled a superstition and assimilated into divinatory practices (in: Histoire de l'avenir, Fayard, 1996). This superficial and pretentious work by the master of "cross-disciplinary studies" speaks of "genethliologie"! (pp. 66 and 70) and cites Tester in abundance (pp. 23, 65, 178, 180 and 320), even to the point of borrowing his blunders (p. 359) with regard to Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche, whom he believes to have been born in Frankfurt am Rhein and to have died in 1659! « Text

[16]  It is still a frequent occurrence in research departments of French universities among historians of science and religion -- and not only among the junior staffers -- to mimic the skeptical, ironic and condescending tone of Bouché-Leclercq, quite without realizing the ridiculous anachronism of their posture that has already begun to become outmoded on the other side of the Atlantic and across the English Channel. "Incompetence" does not seem to hold anyone back from making categorical statements: "To explain by what stages, after having received Babylonian astrology, Hellenism modified it, would not only be fastidious and pointless, but lies outside the scope of my intents and my competencies." (Jean Bottéro, "L'astrologie est née en Mésopotamie," in L'Histoire 141, 1991, p. 29.) « Text

[17]  In Le Petit Robert 2, that mirror of official culture designed for the masses, most of the reknowned astrologers are thrown out like the baby with the bathwater: Berossus, Dorotheus of Sidon, Antiochus of Athens, Vettius Valens, Varaha Mihira, Albumasar, Lacabitius, Guido Bonatti, Jean-Baptiste Morin ... while on the other hand kings of little importance and politicians, obscure painters and insipid theologians abound. « Text

[18]  in: A History of Magic and Experimental Science, New York, Columbia University Press, 1941, vol. 6, p. 94; also vol. 5, p. 377. « Text

[19]  Cf. From Paracelsus to Newton, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK), 1982. « Text

[20]  For example, Pierre Duhem (in: Le système du monde, Hermann, 1913-17, 5 vols., and 1954-59, 5 vols.); Theodore Wedel (in: The Mediaeval Attitude Toward Astrology, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1920); Eugenio Garin, who speaks of the "mythico-religious fantasies of 'influences' and 'images'" (in: Le zodiaque de la vie, Roma, 1976, French translation published by Belles Lettres, 1991, p. 14); or Jim Tester (in: A History of Western Astrology, 1987; New York, Ballantine Books, 1989). This last work, riddled with errors of date and factual content (e.g. the birth of Jean-Baptiste Morin in Frankfurt am Main and his death in 1659!) reveals a superficial knowledge of its subject. The author confuses choices and questions, as well as the meaning of the Houses (cf. for example p. 240). « Text

[21]  This process is presented by Max Laistner as a major source of the misunderstanding of astrological reality (in: "The Western Church and Astrology During the Early Middle Ages," Harvard Theological Review, 34, 1941, p. 253.) It is used with especial gusto in some rare studies taking aim at contemporary astrology. « Text

[22]  L'astrologie by Will Erich Peuckert (Stuttgart, 1960; French translation published by Payot, 1965) remains to this day the best comprehensive introduction to the history of astrology. « Text

[23]  Bouché-Leclercq hones this practice to a fine art in his Astrologie grecque, believing that he thus refutes astrology. Ojalá! -- wishful thinking! He has yet to approach the history of the sciences! « Text

[24]  Astrology, which played a preponderant role in ancient cultures, has found no "section" in modern research institutes, as though it could be covered in a marginal way without altering the pertinence of analyses of those cultures. « Text

[25]  Hilary Carey criticizes the attitude of her elders (in: Courting Disaster, London, Macmillan, 1992, pp. 4-5) while at the same time distancing herself from modern astrology (pp. 168 and 259). Cf. also Ann Geneva, Astrology and the Seventeenth Century Mind, Manchester University Press, 1995, Chapter 1: "For astrology needs its history" (pp. 1-16). « Text

[26]  The distant precursor of anti-astrological historians is Claudius Salmasius, author of De annis climactericis et antiqua astrologia diatribae (Leyden, Elsevier, 1648). « Text

[27]  Robert Schmidt and Robert Hand have, since 1993, edited and translated classic texts of astrology: the Greek series includes Antiochus, Paul of Alexandria, Vettius Valens, Ptolemy, Hephaestion, Dorotheus ... (these texts appear within the framework of Project Hindsight, Berkeley Springs, The Golden Hind Press). Cf. also Robert Hand, Night & Day, Arhat/The Golden Hind Press, 1995. « Text

[28]  This edifying remark from Le Retour des astrologues (1971) is repeated in the new edition: La croyance astrologique moderne, Lausanne, L'Age de l'Homme, 1981, p. 33. « Text

[29]  which appeared between November 1952 and February 1953. « Text

[30]  "Theses Against Occultism" and "The Stars Down to Earth: the Los Angeles Times Astrology Column," republished in Telos 19, 1974. « Text

[31]  The first astrology columns in newspapers -- these new avatars of the popular almanacs and calendars of the Renaissance -- appeared in 1928 in the United States, in the Sunday Express, before being taken up in Europe a few years later. « Text

[32]  Adorno, op. cit., p. 36. « Text

[33]  in Mythologies, Paris, Le Seuil, 1957, p. 168. « Text

[34]  Cf. Martin Bauer and John Durant, "Belief in Astrology: a Social-Psychological Analysis" in Culture and Cosmos, 1, 1997. « Text

[35]  "Astrological knowledge, however, answers none of the admitted criteria of legitimacy." (Daniel Gros, in La croyance astrologique moderne, p. 192.) « Text

[36]  Cf. nonetheless the works of Bruno Latour on the microsociology of research laboratories (Paris, La Découverte). « Text

[37]  Adorno, op. cit., p. 86. « Text

[38]  Adorno, op. cit., p. 88. « Text

[39]  in: La profession d'astrologue, Thesis, E.H.E.S.S., 1984, directed by Edgar Morin, p. 183. « Text

[40]  Gros, op. cit., p. 144. « Text

[41]  in: La croyance astrologique moderne, p. 193. The argument has perhaps its bit of truth: in point of fact, following one's social milieu and educational level, one can become a salesman, someone who does horoscopes, or a sociologist, and still carry the same baggage of prejudices and end up saying the same thing! « Text

[42]  Gros, op. cit., p. 193. « Text

[43]  On the edict of the year 11 A.D., promulgated under Augustus, cf. Frederick Cramer, Astrology in Roman Law and Politics, Philadelphia, The American Philosophical Society, 1954, pp. 248-250. « Text

[44]  Cramer, ibid. « Text

[45]  Cramer, op. cit., pp. 174 and 279. « Text

[46]  Lynn Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science, New York, Columbia University Press, 1923, vol. 2, p. 814. « Text

[47]  In point of fact it is inconceivable that the holder of a first degree in science can qualify as a mathematician, even if he has behind him a dozen years of algebra and analytic mathematics. On the other hand, unfortunately, the neophyte in astrology tends to consider himself a legitimate astrologer after having perused a few book and attended a few workshops. The many astrological "cookbooks" content themselves to use material from a small number of original works, among them (in France), the Traité d'astrologie rationnelle of Dom Néroman (Paris, Sous Le Ciel, 1943), La condition solaire de Jean-Pierre Nicola (Paris, Editions Traditionnelles, 1965), Les astres et l'histoire of André Barbault (Paris, Pauvert, 1967), Fondements et avenir de l'astrologie of Daniel Verney (Paris, Fayard, 1974). « Text

[48]  Cf. quatrains 94 and 121, in Quatrains, French translation from the Persian by Charles Grolleau, 1902; Paris, 1001 Nuits, 1995, p. 38 and p. 47. « Text

[49]  Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, whose works attempt to discern how myth came to be the vehicle for a sophisticated body of knowledge -- especially astronomical knowledge -- underline the point: [by astrologers], "we mean not those who cast people's fortunes for pay, but those who speculated on the traditional system of the world, and made use of whatever there was of astronomy, geography, mythology, holy texts of the laws of time and change, to build up an ambitious system." (Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill, Boston, David Godine, 1977, p. 228.) « Text

[50]  Certain astrologers have called into question Ptolemy's status as a practitioner, without really taking any distance from his model, which is often identified as a supposed astrological "tradition." « Text

[51]  In this sense, the adversaries of astrology are one up on him. « Text

[52]  "No one disputes the value of the calculations in question and the horoscopes thus derived. What is much more questionable is the commentary (essential to astrology!) that accompanies the horoscope." (Jean-Claude Pecker, "L'astrologie et la science" in La Recherche 140, 1983, p. 121.) No requirement is made of an astronomer, who generally does not have any training in political philosophy or hermeneutics, to give his opinion on questions of interpretation. It would be advantageous, on the other hand, if astrologers gave technical information about the problems involved in their area of competence, e.g. those problems relative to the construction of the natal chart. Astronomers and biologists have no special competence where astrology is concerned, unless they rely on what is in their bag of technical tricks, which they have avoided doing up to this point. « Text

[53]  Eustache Lenoble, Uranie, ou les Tableaux des philosophes (1697), new edition, Paris, Pierre Ribou, 1718, p. 246. « Text

[54]  Astrology is held to be "the first doctrine of the traumatism of birth" (In Le traumatisme de la naissance, French ed. published by Payot, 1928; 1976, p. 125.) « Text

[55]  The majority of these objections are brought to light by Bouché-Leclercq in his Astrologie grecque. « Text

[56]  John Addey, Harmonics in Astrology, Romford, Fowler, 1976. « Text

[57]  The argument of the asteriods was used against astrology by T.H. Moody as early as 1838 (in A Complete Refutation of Astrology, Cheltenham, p. 73). « Text

[58]  in: Histoire générale de la nature et théorie du ciel, 1755; French translation published by Vrin, 1984, p. 98. « Text

[59]  In Eusebius Pamphilius, La préparation évangélique, VI 11, Paris, 1846, vol. 1, p. 314. « Text

[60]  Alexandre Tinelis, in: Le messager céleste, Paris, Claude Blageart & Laurent d'Houry, 1681, pp. 231-232 (cf. also p. 252). « Text

[61]  Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Disputationes adversus astrologiam divinatricem, 1494; Italian translation by Eugenio Garin, Firenze, Vallechi, 1946-52, 2 vols. For an exposé of Pico della Mirandola's theses and the responses of Lucio Bellanti and Giovanni Pontano, cf. Don Cameron Allen, The Star-Crossed Renaissance, Durham (North Carolina), Duke University Press, 1941, pp. 20-46, Benedetto Soldati, La poesia astrologica nel quattrocento, Firenze, Sansoni, 1906, and Eric Weil, Pic de la Mirandole et la critique de l'astrologie, Paris, Vrin, 1986. Thorndike notes that "the importance of Pico in the history of thought has often been grossly exaggerated" (in: A History of Magic and Experimental Science, New York, Columbia University Press, 1934, vol. 4, p. 485).« Text

To cite this page:
Patrice Guinard: Astrology: The Manifesto 4/4
(version 1.2 : 11.2004)
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