Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published by the Sophia Centre Press in partnership with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, Faculty of Humanitiies and the Performing Arts, at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David

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Volume 20

From the Margins to the Image of 'The Most Christian Science': Astrology and Theology from Albert the Great to Marsilio Ficino *

Scott Hendrix


In 1277 a committee headed by Stephen Tempier, the bishop of Paris, issued the famed Condemnations of 1277. Several propositions were aimed directly at astrological beliefs. Yet by the end of the fifteenth century, astrology was an accepted part of the intellectual landscape of Europe. This study argues that the thirteenth century saw tremendous controversy over the acceptance of astrology, but Albert the Great's writings set the terms for the debate in the following centuries. Albert's understanding of astrological forecasting and celestial influence played a key role in astrology's transition from being a marginal discipline, to one that European intellectuals and church leaders came to see not only as largely non-controversial but, in fact, as central to efforts to understand God's divine plan.

* I would like to express my gratitude both to the peer reviewers as well as to Nicholas Campion, whose comments and suggestions allowed me to improve this work.

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