The Sources of Occult Philosophy

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Welcome to the second part of our deep-dive into Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s hugely influential giant book, Three Books of Occult Philosophy. In this episode, we will be searching for the answer to a pressing question: how did Agrippa manage to write such an enormous book before he even turned 25?

Thanks to Eric Purdue’s long work on his translation of this book, we have a pretty good answer: plagiarism! Agrippa used material from over 200 sources to compile and assemble Occult Philosophy. In many cases, he simply lifted complete passages from some of these sources. However, in spite of the rampant plagiarism in the text, Agrippa was able to assemble quotes and passages from these sources—some of them quite mundane—to put forth an argument for his own definition of an occult philosophy that proved to be both remarkable and influential.

We will look at three of Agrippa’s sources:

  1. Johannes Trithemius
  2. Pliny the Elder
  3. Johann Reuchlin

This series of episodes about Occult Philosophy will most likely last until Summer. My Patreon supporters will be receiving each episode a week before the rest of the world, along with bonus materials such as full interviews, a glimpse at works in progress, and the opportunity to suggest further topics for this Agrippa deep dive.

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Credits

Pliny the Elder was played by Andrew B. Watt. The lyre music was performed by me, Reverend Erik! Pretty good stuff, huh? I used an Aklot 7-stringed lyre that I attempted to tune to something representing a Pythagorean scheme.

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