Agrippa’s 1651 Epigraph: Pragmatick Schoolmen made of Pride

Pragmatick Schoolmen, men made up of pride,
And rayling Arguments, who truth deride,
And scorn all else but what your selves devise,
And think these high-learned Tracts to be but lies,
Do not presume, unless with hallowed hand
To touch these books who with the world shall stand;
They are indeed mysterious, rare and rich,
And far transcend the ordinary pitch.” (Io. Booker)

(The Epigraph from the 1651 English Translation of Cornelius Agrippa’s De Occulta Philosophia¹)

¹ Occultism [Lat. occultus] is a term that is used synonymously, with secret doctrine, or esoteric philosophy, though the former term is less used, because of the stigma of occult, as signifying “evil,” and heretodox “superstitions.” Occult Philosophy is a term, also used by Theosophists, as a synonym of the philosophy they promulgate, although Eastern; because occultism is “the science that deals with things hidden in nature.” The Mahatma Letters is subtitled: an “Exposition of Occult Philosophy”; and this has been the study from the Eastern schools, but is also the accumulated Wisdom of the ages and the Ancients. Even in Agrippa’s time, in 1650, there still existed many minds who were against any subject under the title of Occult Philosophy, or Magic, regarding it as arts of the forbidden, of dark things and heresies, signifier of sorcery and superstition.

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