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Astrologers, Christianity, persecution ....
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granny_skot



Joined: 20 May 2004
Posts: 1634
Location: California, USA

Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cainers millions-

LOL, I dont believe I shall lose sleep over how cainer earns his millions. groan on occaision, but not lose sleep. =)

it would be nice to see a something a bit more ... relative? in the horriblescope section of the daily paper... you know something with a bit of meat to it...

Granny
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the Middle Ages, the issue about judicial astrology was not so much about the elements of paganism. But it was an issue in the earlier centuries of the Christian era. There was certainly a strong push from certain groups to move right away from paganism but, as Deb pointed out, this often came from some unlikely sources such as Firmicus and did not always relate specifically to astrology. But I agree that in the early centuries, the problem with astrology seems to be that it held on to pagan beliefs. This was a turn around for the Christian Church. After all, many of the Christian doctrines arose from pagan elements and there was a concerted effort in the early centuries of Christianity to syncretise aspects of the two. It was the best way the Church knew how to turn people away from such religions as Mithraism and towards Christianity. The two religions were remarkably similar. Mithraism originally developing out of star myths and astrological elements and there are still elements of this in Christianity today.

The one overriding factor that concerned Christians about certain elements of astrology, certainly in the theoretical sense, was the issue of free will. This was also connected with the concept of salvation. If the stars were responsible for the behaviour of people then the concept of salvation is meaningless. This concept was extremely important in the attempts by the Church to control its congregation. ‘If you do as we say (but not as we do Smile ) then you can be saved. If not, you will suffer eternal damnation.’ If it was the stars that controlled human behaviour then people had no control over the matter and the offer of salvation became meaningless.

The first person to differentiate between the terms astrologia and astronomia was Isidore of Seville. In short, he used astronomia for the movement of the heavens and astrologia for the interpretation of those movements. He further differentiated between natural astrology and ‘suspicious’ astrology. However, his definitions were largely ignored except that they were often used to manipulate what was acceptable and what wasn’t. Not all Church Fathers agreed with what was acceptable and what wasn’t.


Andrew said:
Quote:
But I have yet to encounter any patristic sources which make a case for the "Christian" elements of it. My immediate impression is that they regarded "judicial" astrology as synonymous with "pagan" astrology.


Albertus Magnus wrote at length in his book Speculum Astronomiae about the compatibility of free will and interrogations (horary). He argued that certain types of questions, e.g. a question of advice such as ‘what should I do?’, rather than destroying free will, actually enhances it. To have to take advice and negotiate is one of the most persuasive means by which it is demonstrated that everything does not happen due to necessity, but that some things happen by chance and the result could go either way. He argued that if it cannot be denied that divine providence co-exists with free will, it cannot be denied that the profession of interrogations co-exists with it as well. These sorts of debates went on openly between theologians during the Middle Ages. As well as the theoretical aspects of this debate, Albertus left detailed instructions about the practice of interrogations. Not only was Albertus not condemned, he was beatified be the Church – making him almost, but not quite, a saint.

The same goes for electional astrology. Some saw that electional charts could be seen as further proof that the concept of astrology was ludicrous. In City of God, Augustine ridiculed the art of electional astrology. He argued that, by creating an auspicious day for an event, the person electing a time is attempting to create a destiny which was not theirs before and something that is fated to happen which was not destined at birth. Augustine calls this ‘an extraordinary piece of nonsense.’ On the other hand, the records abound with examples of the Church using electional astrology for almost anything. Pope Julius II used electional astrology for the commencement of the reconstruction of St Peter’s Basilica and most other projects begun by the Church. In the Renaissance, in particular, electional astrology was used more often than not for these matters.

So, as Deb says, nothing is black and white. We have to be careful not to extrapolate from certain bits of information what it might mean without any clear evidence. A good example of this is a study that was done to determine the rise and fall of astrological almanacs in the 1500’s. In certain parts of Europe the figures increased. The number of authors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland increased from 17 in the early years to 62 in the latter part of that century. In the Italian peninsula they dropped from 17 to 2. At first glance, there may be an argument to suggest the enforcement of the bull of Pope Sixtus as the reason this happened. However, the bull specifically excluded the types of prognostications found in almanacs. The bull states that annual almanacs and ephemeredes, which limited themselves to predicting the weather and telling what days were favourable for planting and bleeding were predicting only in connection with agriculture, navigation or medicine. These predictions did not contravene the bull. So there had to be a reason other than adherence to the bull for this apparent drop. I’m not sure what that might be yet but it could include such reasons as the study being flawed in some way, that fewer specimens have survived in Italy or that the search was less thorough for that region than for Germany. Whatever the reason it is unlikely that it was because of the influence of the Church.
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bill,

I'd just like to say thanks for the link to Fr Cassidy's article. I have seen it referred to a number of times but have never had the chance to read it. It is interesting that he argues the point that there is nothing new in the catechism, just the same Church attitude towards astrology that has always been there. I find it interesting that the Catholic Church takes the catechism far more seriously than the bible. I went to Catholic schools so I am quite familiar with it and remember having to rote learn certain aspects of it.

I noticed a couple of days ago that the Catholics have abolished limbo from Church doctrine with Ratzinger arguing that it was never there in the first place and got inserted in the Middle Ages. Ratzinger is certainly not one for change and I have heard him argue for a very traditional interpretation of Church doctrine. I would be interested to hear what he would say about any form of astrology. Certainly some of the Church Fathers that Fr Cassidy mentions, such as Aquinas and Albertus, were very well respected even though their writings on astrology were well known.

And thanks for the information on Patrick Sinot too. I hadn't heard about him before. It would be good to hear more. The articles on the history of Irish astrology were very interesting. My paternal family comes from Galway.

Cheers
Sue
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Andrew



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
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Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sue wrote:
Albertus Magnus wrote at length in his book Speculum Astronomiae about the compatibility of free will and interrogations (horary).


Albertus Magnus was a Medieval German theologian, not a Father of the Undivided Church of the Patristic Era.

Quote:
I find it interesting that the Catholic Church takes the catechism far more seriously than the bible. I went to Catholic schools so I am quite familiar with it and remember having to rote learn certain aspects of it.)


In Catholicism, Tradition interprets Scripture and the Papal Magisterium interprets Tradition: this is a fundamental axiom of the Catholic Faith.

The catechism in question, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, was first published in English in 1994.
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Sue



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Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Albertus Magnus (Albert the Great) was a Dominican as was his student Thomas Aquinas. Albertus joined this order when he was only sixteen or thereabouts. He even became a bishop in 1260 but eventually resigned because he preferred to concentrate on his studies. The interesting question about Albertus and Thomas is the fact that the Dominicans were a very conservative order who were dedicated to maintaining a strict orthodoxy against heresy whereas their work shows thinking that many considered bordering on heresy. He was supposedly called upon by Pope Gregory X to get involved in the Council of Lyons but this is a disputed point. Lynn Thorndike said something along the lines that it is a credit to the medieval Church that these two men are so honoured. I said that he was beatified by the Church but I have been thinking about this and I am pretty sure the Catholic Church fully cannonised him in the early 1930's. Dante puts both Albertus and Thomas in the fourth sphere of Heaven of the Sun in The Divine Comedy.


As for the Catechism, the one I used at school was something called the Baltimore Catechism (in English). It was still produced by the Catholic Church. This was one that was widely used by the Catholic Church in Australian Catholic schools at least until the 70's.
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Bill



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:04 pm    Post subject: reply for Sue Reply with quote

Quote:
I'd just like to say thanks for the link to Fr Cassidy's article.


Hi Sue - Glad you found it interesting.

Quote:
I noticed a couple of days ago that the Catholics have abolished limbo from Church doctrine with Ratzinger arguing that it was never there in the first place and got inserted in the Middle Ages. Ratzinger is certainly not one for change and I have heard him argue for a very traditional interpretation of Church doctrine.


As regards Ratzinger being a traditionalist, prior to becoming the Pope he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is what the Holy Office of the Inquisition’s name was changed to in 1965. Whatever about his eradication of Limbo as a location in the geography of the Hereafter, it’s the recent prohibition on allowing gay men to join seminaries so that they can study for the priesthood which is making headlines. Scapegoats for the paedophilia scandals within the Church. Quite bizarre. As has been mentioned more than once on the letters' pages here, if priests are supposed to be celibate, what difference does their sexual orientation make? But apparently homosexuals are "objectively disordered" and therefore are unfit to act as servants of God.

I haven’t followed the whole of this thread, but as a general comment it seems clear to me that the attitude of the Catholic Church to astrology (whatever about the rest of the Christian denominations) has always been one of ambivalence. The evidence is overwhelming.

The tension between natural and judicial astrology has exercised the minds of Church folk as much as it has astrologers. It would seem that any hint of divination is anathema to the Church, it being implicitly contrary to the concept of Divine Providence, but in the end I think it all depends on one’s attitude as a diviner. Which is what Fr Cassidy was hinting at, even if he dismisses astrological divination in favour of a supposed rational astrology. Interestingly though, the Church Fathers did allow non-rational prediction of the future, but only for that special bunch of humans called prophets.

A similar ambivalence arises when Catholic theologians discuss the difference between worshipping idols - statues of gods, trees as gods, etc. - and praying in front of statues, wearing scapulas and blessed medals as spiritual protection, and so on. To me, there is not much difference - both scenarios entail engaging with fetish objects. But theologians would argue that the statues in a church or the holy medals merely represent the deity, while idolatrous worship entails believing that the statue itself is a god. Hmmmm …..so the host at communion represents the body of Christ or *is* the body of Christ ……?

Similarly one might question the ambivalence of a ‘monotheistic’ religion which maintains a belief in one God who exists in three forms, posits a miraculous Virgin mother figure, and casts a whole host of Angels with various functions, including that of personifying Evil, not to mention a winged messenger of God (the Angel Gabriel).

Religion and spiritual concerns do not generally lend themselves to literalism or clarity. To think otherwise leads to tragedy and a lot of suffering.

As someone who lives in a country steeped in Catholic religious tradition and moral authority (albeit one that has waned rapidly since Pluto moved in Sagittarius), I can’t say I’ve ever felt persecuted, criticised, vilified or rejected as an astrologer from religious quarters. Several of my clients are nuns, though the only priest client had already left the priesthood.

The same cannot be said for my experience of ‘humanists’ such as Richard Dawkins, who demanded that I/we be imprisoned for fraudulent practice. I also remember being asked by some final year school girls to give a talk on astrology at their convent school. The plug was pulled on the day, not because of any objections from the nuns, but because of the lay science teacher’s efforts.

All the best,

Bill
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Andrew



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Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sue wrote:
I said that he was beatified by the Church but I have been thinking about this and I am pretty sure the Catholic Church fully cannonised him in the early 1930's.


In 1931, to be precise.

A beatification or canonization is not a proclamation that a person never erred, but that their life or aspects thereof are generally worthy of emulation. Many saints and blesseds have "erred" in doctrinal matters.

I was an Augustinian religious: we were always on good terms with the Dominicans. In fact I considered becoming a Dominican before I joined the Augustinians: the Dominicans practise a form of body prayer which is similar in some respects to yoga . . .

Quote:
As for the Catechism, the one I used at school was something called the Baltimore Catechism (in English). It was still produced by the Catholic Church. This was one that was widely used by the Catholic Church in Australian Catholic schools at least until the 70's.


Uh-huh, yes, yes, I got that. But the article by Father Cassidy was written in response to the anathema against astrology in the Universal Catechism of 1994, not the Baltimore Catechism.
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Andrew



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Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject: Re: reply for Sue Reply with quote

Bill wrote:
It would seem that any hint of divination is anathema to the Church, it being implicitly contrary to the concept of Divine Providence.


To divine, perhaps to predict . . . aye, there's the rub.

Quote:
But theologians would argue that the statues in a church or the holy medals merely represent the deity, while idolatrous worship entails believing that the statue itself is a god.


To quote from Celsus, who was answering the Christian charge of idolatry, "Who but an utter infant imagines that these things are Gods, and not votive offerings and images of Gods?"

Quote:
The same cannot be said for my experience of ‘humanists’ such as Richard Dawkins, who demanded that I/we be imprisoned for fraudulent practice.


He must have been a Grand Inquisitor in a previous life, maybe even Torquemada himself.

In his next incarnation, the current Pope Benedict XVI will become the Right Eminent Grand Commander and Supreme and Visible Head of the Mugworts Society of Skeptics. Crimen Astralionis!
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Sue



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Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill said:
Quote:
A similar ambivalence arises when Catholic theologians discuss the difference between worshipping idols - statues of gods, trees as gods, etc. - and praying in front of statues, wearing scapulas and blessed medals as spiritual protection, and so on. To me, there is not much difference - both scenarios entail engaging with fetish objects. But theologians would argue that the statues in a church or the holy medals merely represent the deity, while idolatrous worship entails believing that the statue itself is a god. Hmmmm …..so the host at communion represents the body of Christ or *is* the body of Christ ……?

Yes, exactly. The whole Catholic philosophy is full of contradictions. So is astrology for that matter. I was just writing about the issue of astral magic and the magic to be found in the Catholic Mass a couple of nights ago. Behind astral magic lay the belief that the link between the celestial and material realms could be made to work in both directions. The stars could influence the affairs of humans, and humans, in turn, could influence the stars. The task for the magus was to learn how to bend the astral powers to his command. The most important of these sources, according to historian D.P. Walker, was the Mass, with its music, words of consecration, incense, lights, wine and supreme magical effect – transubstantiation. As far as I am aware, Catholics are still required to accept the literalness of this doctrine. Walker suggests that this had a fundamental influence on all mediaeval and Renaissance magic, and is a fundamental reason for the Church’s condemnation of all magical practices. The Church has her own magic; there is no room for any other.
As a priest, Ficino was well aware that by advocating the use of magic he was treading on explosive theological territory. He was at pains to point out that his magic was not demonic, but only evoked natural forces. When he is trying to defend his own use of astral magic, Ficino frequently cites Thomas Aquinas. According to Thomas natural substances, such as herbs and gems, may have certain powers connected with their astrological affinities, and it is legitimate to use these in medicine; but if letters or characters are engraved on the stones, or invocations and incantations used with the herbs, and resultant effect is the work of bad demons, and the operator has entered into an express or tacit pact with the Devil. However, even though Ficino often cites Thomas, it is clear that he would disapprove of Ficino’s version of magic, in particular his talismans and his astrological music. The concern for Thomas was that this type of magic necessitates cooperation with evil demons, something that Ficino denies.

Bill said:
Quote:
…and casts a whole host of Angels with various functions, including that of personifying Evil, not to mention a winged messenger of God (the Angel Gabriel).


Apparently we also have an anti-astrology angel. Smile I read something a couple of days ago which said that we all have an angel to help us counteract the effects of planetary influences suggesting, the author pointed out, that planetary influences are not only real but very hard to combat.

Andrew said:
Quote:
Albertus Magnus was a Medieval German theologian, not a Father of the Undivided Church of the Patristic Era.


This is the point I was responding to, and had nothing to do with whether Albertus should have been a saint although this does point to the ambivalence of the Church that Bill mentioned. I am not sure whether you are arguing that the Dominicans were not part of the ‘Patristic Era’ or something that I have misunderstood but Albertus, as a Dominican, was very much a part of the Church of the Patristic Era. The Dominicans were instrumental in so many areas. It was the Dominicans who led the charge against heresy and headed most Inquisitorial enquires. There have been popes who were Dominicans, the first being only about fifty years after the founder, St Dominic died, and, even now, it is tradition that the pope’s theologian is a Dominican. Both Albertus and Thomas were very well respected in the Church with Albertus becoming a bishop and Thomas being offered the position of Archbishop, which he refused. None of this happened outside the Church.
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Andrew



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
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Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sue wrote:
I am not sure whether you are arguing that the Dominicans were not part of the ‘Patristic Era’ or something that I have misunderstood but Albertus, as a Dominican, was very much a part of the Church of the Patristic Era.


As any ecclesiastical historian knows, this is incorrect: "Patristic" derives from the Latin word patres (Fathers), and is a term used historically to describe the time and writings of the Church Fathers. These were the early Christians who defended the Gospel against misunderstandings and rival doctrines, wrote sermons and extensive commentaries on the Bible, recorded relevant events into Church history, and brought together the best thought of their age with their own Christian faith. The Patristic era began sometime around the end of the 1st century (when the New Testament was almost completed), and ended towards the close of the 8th century. This is the generally accepted definition of the "Patristic Era."

The Dominicans were founded as a mendicant order in 1216 by Dominic de Gusman (1170-1221). The notion that "Albertus Magnus, as a Dominican, was very much a part of the Church of the Patristic Era," is absurd to the point of hilarity. If I had submitted this idea to any of my professors, I would have received a failing grade and a gale of laughter.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know so much about the definition of the 'patristic era' and its relevance within this thread so I did a google search on the term. The first link (at http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/theogloss/patrist-body.html ) defined it as you have above, but a second defined it as follows:

Quote:
Patristic Era
This is a period in the history of the Christian Church stretching from late antiquity through to the thirteenth century. It is so-named because the Fathers or ‘patres’ of the church wrote much of the theology in this period.

In its strictest use, it refers to those teachers who wrote between the end of the first century and the close of the eighth century. This period is known for controversies surrounding doctrinal and creedal formulations, the writing of extensive biblical commentaries and the exposition of the relations between Christian orthodoxy and the best philosophical thought of the period.


So surely this is not absurd to the point of hilarity, just a matter of whether it is being used in its strictest sense of not. Either way I hope we don't get arguing over more minor points. This is such a complex thread as it is, but there are some very interesting elements in it. I hope to get back to some points of discussion later in the week; for now I'm enjoying following the discussions (including yours of course!)
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Andrew



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Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
So surely this is not absurd to the point of hilarity, just a matter of whether it is being used in its strictest sense of not.


The highly idiosyncratic definition you provided was written by a research student, not by a recognised patristic scholar. St. Dominic lived during the High Middle Ages, not the Patristic Era. This so-called "strictest" sense is, in fact, the correct sense, as any reputable scholar of patristic studies will assure you. The Patristic Era ended in the fifth century and the Scholastic Era began in the West in the ninth century:

"Applied to philosophy, the word "Scholastic" is often used also, to designate a chronological division intervening between the end of the Patristic era in the fifth century and the beginning of the modern era, about 1450."

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13548a.htm

"In the West, some consider the end of the Patristic era to be with Gregory; others would extend it to Saint Isidore who died in Spain in 636; others would extend it to the great English author and historian, Saint Bede, who died in 735."

http://home.comcast.net/~icuweb/c01702.htm

Quote:
Either way I hope we don't get arguing over more minor points.


You're not serious, are you? Laughing

In the first place, we almost always argue over so-called minor points: after all, one person's minor points are another person's major topics. In the second place, if the most widely accepted definition of an historical period can be minimalised or dismissed as simply its "strictest sense," then it calls into question the value of any similar interpretations which might be placed on matters of historical significance. Indeed, it suggests that any similar interpretations would be at least as idiosyncratic and quite peculiar to the person making them.

Which was, I believe, the substance of the argument put forth by T.S. (Tumbling Sphinx), none of whose objections have ever been answered.
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Deb
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Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know you actually have me looking these things up! The definition of it applying loosely to the 8th -13th century seems to come from a research student in science and religion at Oxford University. I don’t doubt your word that its strict definition is more correct. But I think I’ve missed something – why is it so important that we get the terminology spot on with regards to this? This is an honest question, I’m trying to establish what points hinge on this.

Is it because you said this earlier:

Quote:
“What I have argued is that there has always been, from the very beginning of "orthodox" Christian belief and practise as articulated by the Fathers of the Church Eastern and Western (i.e., PATRISTIC THEOLOGY), a profound philosophical incompatibility between the astrological worldview and the Christian worldview, and consistent theological condemnation of the practise of genethliacal astrology, idiosyncratic exceptions to this condemnation notwithstanding.”


I’m also not clear about what points in TS’s arguments you feel have been ignored. Do you not consider Firmicus relevant? The copy of his book that I have is from a series dedicated to the works of the Fathers. http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content/241021228?page=320341&sp=1008

Elsewhere it is generally described as ‘patristic literature’:
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-67689
http://www.skypoint.com/~waltzmn/Fathers.html
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09023a.htm

Thorndike also refers to the astrologer Hephaestion of Thebes being Christian, to support the view that Firmicus was not an anomaly. And Origen who ‘grants reasoning faculties and a certain amount of prophetic power to the stars, but refuses to permit worship of them’ (A History of Magic and Experimental Science, v. 1, p. 535)

Ramesey, who I’ll come back to later, also felt that his astrological work was supported by the views of Eusebius and Josephus.

From later, you mention Isodore and Bede. Nicholas Whyte, in his Astronomy and Astrology in the 12th century, writes:

Quote:
Although Isidore condemned the use of astrology for augury, he was enthusiastic about medical astrology. Many Christian writers, including Bede, were willing to give the Moon a certain significance: medical and agricultural operations would be based on its phase. Comets and eclipses were also admitted by the Church to be harbingers of disaster.
It therefore seems likely that Arabic astrology was being specifically sought in the twelfth century as a means of reducing the influence of pagan folk-astrologers. The Church's sponsorship of the new Arabic teaching on astrology is better understood as an attempt to make the process of reading omens from the stars 'scientific', and therefore more closely under church control.

http://explorers.whyte.com/astrol.htm

I can’t see the ‘profound philosophical incompatibility between the astrological worldview and the Christian worldview’ that you refer to. As I mentioned earlier, Stoic philosophy is known to underpin both classical astrological philosophy and early Christian philosophy, and both of these also draw from or support Aristotelian philosophy, hence the division always seems to arise from pagan elements, the worship of stars, and the limits of what is appropriate in ‘prediction’.

It would be a very complex matter indeed for early or medieval Christianity to oppose astrology, because they both rested upon some fundamental principles that were shared between them. But it is much clearer that there was an opposition to the use of divination, so that judicial astrology was always in a sensitive position. But I’d be going around in circles to make that point again.

Did astrology conflict with Christianity? As Vicki Pollard might say “no… but, yeah … but, no but, yeah but, no but”

Going back to the point about Ramesey and his rejection of judicial astrology, in his introduction he refers to his work as ‘Natural Philosophy’ which is “vulgarly termed astrology”. He perceives astrology as a ‘liberal science’ forged by the merge of astronomy and natural philosophy. He mentions that through “the mercenary practises of some by setting of Nativities, and answering of Horary Questions (thus abusing the Art) the validity of this Science has been brought into question, reproach and contempt” and says we shouldn’t dismiss the value of his work because of this kind of abuse.

He also mentions here that this art received “so great an applause and credit among the Learned and Fathers of the Church”, specifying the works of Eusebius and Josephus.

His address to the Reader continues laboriously in the same vein. He attacks horary and I assume it is Lilly he refers to here:

Quote:
for some are so ambitious and selfended as well as conceited, that they would not have any other hand in the labour but their own, and pretend great forwardness and willingness to lay plain the whole body of the Art, but act nothing less; satisfying themselves that the particular and vain part or rather the abuse of this Art is a sufficient instruction to the whole


Later:

Quote:
for neither is the Judgement of Horary Questions, Ordinary Elections, Character Astrology, Nativities, or any other to be esteemed in comparison thereof, but as trifles, uncertainties, fallacies, illegalities, and abuses of the purity of the Art.


This does seem very hypocritical, when you consider the detail of the electional rules given in his 5th volume – when to engage in ‘venereal sports’, when to get dressed, etc., and that the style of astrology is indistinguishable from what you’d find in other works such as Lilly’s Christian Astrology.

But philosophically at least (if not in practice) he seems to view electional astrology as ‘natural’ – in the same way that you might want to check the weather forecast before planning to commence a garden party, you would want to check astrological signification before planning any important event. This is not predicting what the event will mean, but just improving the chances of a supportative celestial environment. But in all honesty his work is very predictive and a study of his electional rules will give anyone a good sense of horary technique. If you didn’t read the introduction to his work, you’d never realise he was actually opposed to judicial astrology!

People have mistook many negative references to judicial astrology as an indication that the whole of astrology was rejected. I’ve seen this done lately with Newton, but as Ramesey shows, it is possible to have a firm belief and commitment to astrology in general, whilst safely pouring scorn on the divinatory elements of it.
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Andrew



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Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
But I think I’ve missed something – why is it so important that we get the terminology spot on with regards to this? This is an honest question, I’m trying to establish what points hinge on this.


As I have stated before, the patristic rejection of judicial astrology is clear and unambiguous. I am sure the present pope would be delighted to learn that the Patristic Era extended well into the High Middle Ages of Western Europe, and that a Medieval German theologian is considered a Father of the Undivided Church; but regardless of his position on horary astrology, Albertus Magnus lived and worked largely within the context of scholastic philosophy, not patristic theology, so he cannot be invoked as a patristic witness who was favourable to the judgement of the stars.

Quote:
I’m also not clear about what points in TS’s arguments you feel have been ignored.


In his last post, TS wrote:

Quote:
If you re-read what I’ve written you’ll find those responses arguing identification have been addressed with additional questions raised – which remain unanswered. What has been ignored have been the questions and sources given in response to specific assertions made – either that, or they've been dismissed as irrelevant.


I will not make his arguments for him: he has already made them well enough for himself.

Quote:
I can’t see the ‘profound philosophical incompatibility between the astrological worldview and the Christian worldview’ that you refer to.


If you were to look through the lenses of patristic theology, you would be able to see what it would otherwise remain impossible for you to see. But don't take my word for it; read the essay on Hellenistic Astrology on this site:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/a/astr-hel.htm

"Three fourth century theologians, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzen, and Basil, known as the Cappadocians, rejected astrology as a part of an overall rejection of irrational Chance (Tukhê) and deterministic Necessity (Anankê) (see Pelikan, p. 154-157). Random chance had no place in the economy of God's universe, while blind necessity denies human free will. They differentiated astrology from astronomy, which was an appropriate study for admiration of creation. Unlike Origen and Plotinus, Gregory Nazianzen rejected the notion of that stars give signs for reading the future. He feared that those who interpret the biblical notion that the stars were created for giving signs (Genesis 1:14) would use this as justification for horoscopic astrology (Pelikan, p. 156)."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to 'unveil' the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone." (CCC 2116). This position does not represent a radical departure from previous eras, despite the astrological peccadillos of various popes or the theological speculations of various theologians who offer their opinions on everything under the sun (no pun intended); Orthodox doctrine has always rejected judicial astrology, and I wouldn't expect it to ever be otherwise.

William Ramesey must have been a conflicted character: he despises judicial astrology while simultaneously recommending its practise. It seems to me that electing a chart for having one's hair cut is itself an abuse of the Art, not to mention somewhat obsessive; but then again, since he seems to have identified the Jewish chronicler Josephus Flavius as a Father of the Church, I can understand that he might have been confused.

Thank goodness for Vivian Robson! Very Happy
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granny_skot



Joined: 20 May 2004
Posts: 1634
Location: California, USA

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Limbo - clarification - the church wants to find a better word to describe what they are discussing, not do away with the concept which comes from the OLD Testament and Judaism, aka Sheol, not the middle ages, the word Limbo comes from dante's inferno and it is the word they wish to change, not the doctrine. Unlike the King James Version with its many mistranslations, Sheol, does not mean hell. Sheol is where the dead wait.
Bad translation is the biggest problem in the bible. (I gotta learn aramaic next)

Abaddon is hell, where the Angel is king over the damned.

There is that little issue of the item "what is bound on earth shall be bound in heaven" Matthew 18:18 the church uses this like a sledge hammer.

Recovering Catholic,
Granny
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