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Postel, Guillaume

(3,521 words)

Author(s): Brach, Jean-Pierre
Postel, Guillaume, * 1510 (La Dolerie), † 6 Sep 1581 (Paris) Born in Normandy, to a family of humble tillermen, he came to Paris early at his parents' death. Moved by a passionate desire to acquire instruction and learning, he began by mainly teaching himself in the Liberal Arts and oriental languages, while attending lessons at the Colleges of Sainte Barbe and Cardinal Lemoine; working there as a servant to pay for his education, he is likely to have met some of the foremost representatives of the so-called “Pré-Réforme catholique”, who were precisely teaching at these schools, the milieu o…

Viterbo, Egidio da

(1,469 words)

Author(s): Brach, Jean-Pierre
Viterbo, Egidio da (Egidio Antonini), * 1469 (Viterbo), † 12 Jan 1532 (Rome) Having entered the Order of Augustine Hermits (1488), where he rapidly became the secretary of Fra Mariano da Genazzano, Lorenzo de' Medici's favourite preacher and a well-known early opponent of Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498), Egidio Antonini acquired the elements of a complete humanistic education, including the study of several oriental languages: aramaic, hebrew and arabic. Gifted and hard-working, he achieved an enviable reput…

Charbonneau-Lassay, Louis

(889 words)

Author(s): Brach, Jean-Pierre
Charbonneau-Lassay, Louis, * 18 01 1871 (Loudun), † 26 Jan 1946 (Loudun) Born Louis Charbonneau (Lassay being a village near Loudun, wherefrom came several of his direct ancestors), he began his career as a member of a Roman Catholic congregation mostly dedicated to teaching, the “Frères de Saint Gabriel”. On his own, as well as in the company of some competent local scholars, he was to gain proficiency in the historical disciplines which were later to occupy most of his intellectual activity: archeology, n…

Number Symbolism

(7,407 words)

Author(s): Brach, Jean-Pierre
Number symbolism, also known as the qualitative approach to number and mathematical objects in general, constitutes a universal cultural phenomenon and has existed from time immemorial. As such, it must be envisaged strictly apart from the so-called “numerology” which has emerged as its contemporary offshoot and is really, at best, an illegitimate child and, moreover, a mere waste-product of post-modern consumerism. Within western culture, to which we shall naturally limit ourselves here, open considerations pertaining to “qualitative number” first appear…

Patrizi, Francesco

(1,771 words)

Author(s): Brach, Jean-Pierre
Patrizi, Francesco (Frane Petric'), * 25 04 1529 (Cherso d'Istria), † 6 02 1597 (Rome) An original case of a (partly self-taught) scholar, with an unconventional career and adventurous existence, Patrizi was born in the borderland between the Venetian Republic and what would nowadays be Croatia. During the first half of the 1550s, he studied at Ingolstadt and Padua and probably became acquainted there with both the peripatetic and neoplatonic philosophical traditions, including the writings of → Ficino. The en…


(3,251 words)

Author(s): Brach, Jean-Pierre | Hanegraaff, Wouter J.
1. Introduction The idea that reality consists of multiple “levels” which in some manner mirror one another is extremely widespread in all traditional societies: it is basic to the various → divinatory arts, → magic, and → astrology; but can also be found e.g. in the architectural design of premodern villages, cities, temples and court complexes; in the ways that the orders of gods, angels or demons are imagined; in systems of → number symbolism; and in various cosmologies, including notions of th…

Intermediary Beings

(12,281 words)

Author(s): Broek, Roelof van den | Fanger, Claire | Brach, Jean-Pierre | Hanegraaff, Wouter J.
Intermediary Beings I: Antiquity 1. Introduction The belief in angels, demons and other intermediary beings has become an important aspect of Western religious thought and imagination, in mainstream Christianity as well as in esoteric currents. Its emergence was mainly the result of the combination of Greek and Jewish ideas about good and evil spirits that have a direct influence on human life. Sometimes these beings are individually distinguished by name, but often they are thought to operate as name…


(22,787 words)

Author(s): Hanegraaff, Wouter J. | Graf, Fritz | Fanger, Claire | Klaassen, Frank | Brach, Jean-Pierre
Magic I: Introduction When contemporary academics discuss “magic”, in most cases the assumptions which guide their understanding of it are variations on a few influential theories. First, there is the “intellectualist” understanding of magic linked to the names of E.B. Tylor and J.G. Frazer. Tylor, in his foundational Primitive Culture of 1871, defined magic as based upon ‘the error of mistaking ideal analogy for real connexion’ (Tylor 1771, I, 116). Tylor's assumption was that primitive man, ‘having come to associate in thought those things w…