Plato’s Third Eye: Studies in Marsilio Ficino’s Metaphysics and its Sources, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Plato’s Third Eye

Studies in Marsilio Ficino’s Metaphysics and its Sources, 1st Edition

By Michael J.B. Allen


360 pages

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Hardback: 9780860784722
pub: 1995-04-06
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Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) was one of the luminaries of the Florentine Renaissance and the scholar responsible for the revival of Platonism. The translator and interpreter of the works of both Plato and Plotinus as well as of various Hermetic and Neoplatonic texts, Ficino was also a musician, priest, magus and psychotherapist, an original philosopher and the author of a vast and important correspondence with the intellectual figures of his day including Lorenzo the Magnificent. Professor Allen has become the foremost interpreter of Ficino’s metaphysics and mythology, and the ancient sources they draw upon; and this collection of essays assembles his work on Ficino’s complex interrogation of Platonic 'theology’ as not only a preparation for Christianity but as an enduring medium for intellectuals to explore and to express Christian truths.


'These articles represent Allen, the foremost student of Ficino in his generation, arguably at his best, certainly at his most original…Allen has a gift for sorting out long-standing problems. With his clear and often vivid style, he beckons the reader into Ficino’s thought-world. He has laid a reliable foundation on which succeeding scholars can build for a long time to come.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'Allen is one of the great masters of Fician studies' Neo Latin News 'Allen has devoted the best part of his scholarly endeavors to interpreting a great interpreter of Plato, Marsilio Ficino. No scholar has penetrated so deeply and so learnedly into Ficino’s vast project to revive the philosophy of Plato; no scholar has done so much to help us see Plato through Ficino’s eyes…. All display Allen's characteristic qualities of accurate scholarship, deep learning, literary elegance, and the occasional dash of controlled speculation.' Renaissance Quarterly

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The absent angel in Ficino’s philosophy; Ficino’s lecture on the Good?; The Sibyl in Ficino’s oaktree; Cosmogony and love: the role of Phaedrus in Ficino’s Symposium Commentary; Two commentaries on the Phaedrus: Ficino’s indebtedness to Hermias; Ficino’s Hermias translation and a new apologue (Co-authored with Roger A. White); Marsilio Ficino on Plato’s Pythagorean eye; Ficino’s theory of the five substances and the Neoplatonists’ Parmenides; Marsilio Ficino on Plato, the Neoplatonists and the Christian doctrine of the Trinity; The second Ficino-Pico controversy: Parmenidean poetry, eristic and the One; Marsilio Ficino’s interpretation of Plato’s Timaeus and its myth of the Demiurge; Marsilio Ficino, Hermes Trismegistus and the Corpus Hermeticum; Homo ad zodiacum: Marcilio Ficino and the Boethian Hercules; Summoning Plotinus: Ficino, smoke, and the strangled chickens; The soul as rhapsode: Marcilio Ficino’s interpretation of Plato’s Ion; Addenda & Corrigenda; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General