The Limits of Influence: Pico, Louvain, and the Crisis of Renaissance Astrology

By Steven Vanden Broecke | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
SOME PRELIMINARY REMARKS ON ASTROLOGY

This study traces changes in astrological practice in sixteenth-century Europe. When using the term “practice,” I refer to “the mutual adjustment of cultural elements.”1 These cultural elements belong to various types: things, ideas, data (e.g., birth chart, harmonic theory, inscribed positions of celestial bodies). In the case of astrology, their adjustment emerges in the prediction of future events on earth (e.g., the growth of crops, the success of marriages, the fate of dynasties). Astrology hardly monopolized the prediction of future events in the sixteenth century. Some of its most important contenders were Christian theology, popular proverbs, and medical prognosis. This means that a reliable definition of astrology must include a characterization of the things, ideas, and data that were specific to it. This characterization should also have sufficient spatio-temporal stability to be at least relevant to late medieval and Renaissance Europe. This chapter sets out to develop a reliable definition of astrology, and to explore some of its crucial ramifications.


l. The problem: “astronomy” and “astrology “

Dissolving the thorny semantics of “astrology” in a pre-modern context requires that we first expose the problem. This section does so through a historicizing look at the modern antagonism between “astronomy” and “astrology.”2

Addressing his fellow banqueteers in Plato’s Symposium, the stern Eryximachus describes astronomy as the study of love-connections. “Astronomy,” he explains, “investigates the movements of the stars and the seasons of the year.” It shows how celestial bodies exemplify both orderly and unruly “love,” thereby providing fertility and frost, or health and hail. In other words: Plato’s “astronomy” referred to

1 Pickering, “From Science as Knowledge to Science as Practice,” p. 10. Pickering
attributes this definition to Ian Hacking.

2 For an introduction, see Pines, “The Semantic Distinction,” pp. 343–344.

-7-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Limits of Influence: Pico, Louvain, and the Crisis of Renaissance Astrology
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 320

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.