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Magica vero sub philosophia non continetur : Statut des arts magiques et divinatoires dans les encyclopédies et leurs auctoritates (1225-1260)

Isabelle Draelants 1, 2, 3
3 Atelier Vincent de Beauvais
IRHT - Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes, LHSP - Laboratoire d'Histoire des Sciences et de Philosophie - Archives Henri Poincaré, Centre de Médiévistique Jean-Schneider
Abstract : This paper asks the question whether the various divinatory arts, or more specifically the magic arts, constituted part of the scholarly culture that the encyclopaedists of the second third of the thirteenth century intended to disseminate through their compilations (in particular, the Speculum doctrinale et naturale of Vincent of Beauvais, since these form two third of the biggest encyclopaedia of the time). A few years prior to the circulation of the Speculum astronomiae (c. 1255) which lists all astrological works as licit or illicit, this cultural part, although not abundant, is still significant and representative of the culture of the time, for three reasons reflecting three points of view. Firstly Encyclopaedia have as objective the transmission in the form of quotations (excerpta, flores) of any kind of authoritative works useful,be these ancient or modern, written in Latin or translated from Greek or Arabic, theological or philosophical. Secondly, Encyclopaedia perpetuate (through Hugh of Chartres, the Decretum Gratiani or Hugh and Richard of St-Victor, or contemporaneous legislators such as Raymund of Peñaforte), the Canon law judgements concerning former condemned divinatory practices. Thirdly, Aiming to explain the nature and properties of things, Encyclopaedia also convey the concept of “nigromancia” as a “science of [natural] properties”, according to scholars connected with Arabic medicine (such as Petrus Alfonsi or Michael Scot). In doing so, they opened the way towards consideration of works that collect “natural” properties – such as collections of Experimenta or astrological/magical virtues of the stones – as works of physics and as such, as having a certain degree of philosophical authority.
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Isabelle Draelants. Magica vero sub philosophia non continetur : Statut des arts magiques et divinatoires dans les encyclopédies et leurs auctoritates (1225-1260). éd. Irene Zavaterro – Alessandro Palazzo. Geomancy and Other Forms of Divination, Sismel - Edizioni del Galluzzo, pp.463-518, 2017, Micrologus' Library, 978-88-8450-842-3. ⟨halshs-01797560⟩

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