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Mjacob



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
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Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Isaac Asimov said something to that effect. In a health crisis, whose opinion matters more, that of a physician or that of a bystander who saw someone collapse? It is more logical to give the physicians medical opinion more weight.


No it is not. If the patient is knocked out then the bystander knows more than the physician miles away in a hospital.

I am no defender of democracy but this is a typical denial of reality over theory that bedevils modern thought.

Matthew Gump
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mjacob wrote:
Quote:
Isaac Asimov said something to that effect. In a health crisis, whose opinion matters more, that of a physician or that of a bystander who saw someone collapse? It is more logical to give the physicians medical opinion more weight.


No it is not. If the patient is knocked out then the bystander knows more than the physician miles away in a hospital.

I am no defender of democracy but this is a typical denial of reality over theory that bedevils modern thought.

Matthew Gump


What is reality? As for the metaphor, this is a ridiculous stretch. By your logic the bystander should not bother to call the ambulance and just treat the patient on his own and can expect a better result.

But to be more direct and less ridiculous, without having read the texts in the original Greek we are dependent upon what others who do have said and until one has studied enough to be competent all one really accomplishes is a muddying of the field if we treat all opinions as equal. It will lead into error and away from truth insofar as what the original authors of those texts meant.
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Nixx



Joined: 10 Dec 2011
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Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waybread,
Quote:
Thanks, Nixx, but it doesn't "correct" my thoughts on the matter.

It does ''correct'' your erroneous postulation here which claimed he has (consistently) argued for a seamless overt narrative over the 6 centuries, or thereabouts, he has been looking at.
If it is the case he has suggested this elsewhere then please produce the evidence. I’m with Zoidsoft in suggesting this is a luminous case of au contraire.
Quote:
2. Schmidt wrote: "The mystery of its founding only grows deeper when we consider that it seems to have sprung forth virtually fully-formed in a singular act of autogenesis. The large majority of the concepts, techniques, and principles of interpretation that are the mainstay of Hellenistic astrology cannot be traced back to any earlier or contemporary source." I don't buy this at all. We can see fore-runners of the Hellenistic astrological tests in Aratus and Ovid, in the Babylonian cuniform horoscopes, and in some of the Egyptian cultural astronomy, as well.

Whether or not you buy it would involve an analysis of this ''fully formed'' Hellenistic astrology. Involving an identification of what components pre-dated it and then evidence how Schmidt’s large majority (above two thirds?) were found pre the Hellenistic period. I can post, if interested, a partial methodology bumped into some time ago, to give you a sense of the challenge ahead.
Quote:
6. Re: Schmidt's section: "Preliminary Survey of the Contents of the Hellenistic Astrological Corpus." I won't bore you with a repetition of my posts on historical methodology. They're up there. I repeat my comment, however, that attention to the guidelines of historiography would be extremely helpful for astrologers who want to write history

Isn’t this section bog standard historiography, and the kind of Overview one would find in a Standard Introduction to an academic book or paper. Were it presented as such then one would need to provide the references and footnotes, but it isn’t.
Quote:
7. The section on the philosophical underpinnings of western astrology seems out of touch with the scholarly publications on this point

If a philosopher had produced a paper in response to Schmidt’s Middle Platonism hypothesis I’d have thought it would have received more publicity. I will keep my credulity unstretched whilst you dig up a reference or two.
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curtis, I don't intend my comments about Robert Schmidt at all personally. I focus on what people write. I responded to a specific article recommended by Nixx. If it is an older article expressing views that RS no longer holds, he probably has the ability to revise it or give it a new preface. But the issue to me isn't whether RS does or does not hold a particular opinion now-- it is, rather, what he has written and kept posted that is my focus.

Frankly all of those "founders" of Hellenistic astrology mentioned in Schmidt's article (cited in Firmicus Maternus IV: preface) appear to have legendary or mythical origins. It was not at all uncommon for the authors of antiquity to ascribe origins of something to gods or reinvented heroes. I mean, there was no Romulus or Remus, and Jupiter's affairs with various women actually did not explain the origins of various ethnic groups in antiquity.

Here is where some sort of historical method or knowledge of mythology would come in handy, of the sort that Tamsyn Barton (Ancient Astrology, 1994) applied to stories that circulated in antiquity about several practicing astrologers. These narratives appeared several times with different figures, indicating that we are looking at "type scenes." The individuals may have existed, but the stories told about them are the stuff of legend.

What I think is telling about the references to Aesclepias, Orpheus et al. is something different than that these were real astrologers. It is that at least some of the practising astrologers of the early centuries CE saw a common astrological origin in gods, religious mystery cults, or mythological human heroes.

Some figures such as Aesclepias span the boundary between being described as a healing god (memorialized as the constellation Ophiuchus) in some sources, and as a supernatural mortal physician (who could raise the dead) in others. Possibly he was the Graeco-Roman version of the Egyptian Imhotep. Orpheus was the mythological hero of the Orphic mysteries. "Abram" is unclear, but Jewish tradition says that Abraham " (son of the wandering Aramean") was the founder of astrology. He was called Abram prior to his name change in Genesis. The god Hermes (Mercury,) going back through Thoth to the Sumerian prototype goddess Nisaba (Nidaba,) has been credited with the origins of astrology. Sometimes in the hermetic literature Hermes is given the name for the son; at other times, the teacher. This doesn't mean there was an actual Hermes who wrote material now attributed to multiple sources who wrote under this name.

The extensive Egyptian king lists mention no King Nechepso (as he was sometimes described.) Although kings with comparable names might have been the legendary Nechepso, there is no evidence such an individual practiced astrology. If Nechepso existed as an ordinary mortal, the "King" title was added by way of lending authority to him. Apparently there was a scribe Petosiris, but he didn't live at the same time as Nechepso. Other than the astrologers' texts themselves, we don't know what he taught, and the Nechepso/Petosiris techniques apparently are far more recent (perhaps 2nd century BC) than the mists of antiquity claimed for them. (Campion, Dawn of Astrology, 107.)

This leaves us with Hanubius and Critodemos. Hanubius might have been the Egyptian god Anubis: in the Greek magical papyri Anubis and astrological material both appear, notably in what seems to me to be black magic. Not exactly mainstream Hellenistic astrology today. This kind of leaves us with Critodemos as the last man standing-- if indeed, that was his mortal nature.

The Brown University mathematician and decipherer of ancient archaeological materials, Otto Neugebauer thought that there might be a prototype tradition going back into the 1st or second centuries BC for which the name "Nechepso" is probably as good as any, but that is far different than positing an actual human being who actually founded Hellenistic astrology in whole or in part.

Of course it is just possible that half-dozen actual men who practiced astrology coincidentally just happened to have the names of gods and mythical mortals. But all of them in FM's list of founders? This is highly unlikely; notably given naming practices in antiquity and the relationship of each god/hero cited by FM to the solar themes of death and return from the dead.

Hey, everyone-- have a great Christmas/Hannukah!
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure Nixx-- I have to break now, (hey, it's Christmas Eve,) but I'll line up some references, commin' right at ya.
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Nixx



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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waybread,

Quote:
Sure Nixx-- I have to break now, (hey, it's Christmas Eve,) but I'll line up some references, commin' right at ya.


Aged 6+ Xmas is an irrelevance, ..........so to enable you to frame your thoughts, and references, here is the ''challenge''. As I think I alluded to before source unknown, maybe the ACT forum where Schmidt has filled out his ideas in the past.

Middle Platonism has a bit of a span, and I do not know if Schmidt has been able to time this cohorts (and no they are not necessarily the names of the actual people imagined to be involved. I think you misconstrued Schmidt here with your ''type scenarios'') networking to within a few years or even decades. So shall we say your objective is to date the majority of these 'techniques', in a broad sense, to before 100BC?

''

Here is the content of the module relating to Hellenistic Predictive System.

INTRODUCTION :

Overview of the System of Hermes as It Survives in the Sources
The Three Grand Approaches to Chart Reading (the "Warp" of the System)
The Three Principal Subsystems (the "Woof" of the System)

PREDOMINATION:

According to Most Sovereign Place
According to Natural Hierarchy of Significators
According to Dignification

LORD OF NATIVITY:

Determination of Planet in Most Sovereign Place, having Most Rulerships over the Universal Significators, being Most Dignified in its Own Place
Planets Cooperating with the Lord by Co-Presence
The Events Ruled by the Lord and its Cooperating Planets
Timing of the Events by Ascensional Times or Planetary Periods
Lords by Succession

LORD OF A SPECIAL TOPIC:

"Possibility of Event" Assessed by Preponderance of Benefics or Malefics in Pertinent Place(s)
"Quality of Event" Assessed by Determination of Lord of Topic, the Planet in the Pertinent Place(s) that is Most Dignified

DISPOSITORS SUPPORTING THE NATIVITY:

"Possibility of Event" Assessed by Study of Significator
The Triplicity Lords of the Sect-Light
The Domicile Lord of the Ascendant
The Domicile Lord of the Lots of Fortune and Spirit
The Detailed Interpretation of these Dispositors and "Quality of Event" in terms of Configurations with Sun, Lunar Applications & Separations, Configurations & Co-Presences with other planets, their Domicile & Bound Rulers, and their Topical Places
Timing by Ascensional Times and/or Planetary Periods
The Relationship of these Dispositors to the Lord of the Nativity

DISPOSITOR OF THE VITAL TIMES:

Bound Ruler of the Predominating Universal Significator
Detailed Predomination Rules
Defaults
Primary Direction of the Predominator
Interpretation
Relationship to Lord of Nativity

DISPOSITORS SUPPORTING SPECIAL TOPICS:

The Triplicity & Domicile Lords of Paradigmatic Planetary Significator, of Relevant Lots, and of Paradigmatic Topical Place
Delineation of topic by Configurations with Sun, Lunar Applications & Separations, Configurations & Co-Presences with other planets, their Domicile & Bound Rulers, and their Topical Places
Timing by Ascensional Times and/or Planetary Periods
The Relationship of these Dispositors to the Lord of the Topic

ASSOCIATED TIME-LORD PROCEDURES:

Decennials
Established by Sequence of Planets from the Predominating Universal Significator
Length of Time-Lordship from Planetary Periods in Months
Detailed Interpretation of these Time-Lords
Quarters
Established by Sequence of Planets from Prenatal Lunation
Length of Time-Lordship by Quarters of the Planetary Periods
Interpretation of these Time-Lords
Circumambulations from Predominator
Through Bounds, with Successive Bound Rulers as Time-Lords
Planet Encountered Bodily or by Ray as CooperatingTime-Lord
Detailed Interpretation
Circumambulations from All Planets
Converting Ecliptic Intervals to Times Proportionate to Planetary Periods
Yielding Information Specific to Significations of Released Planet
Solar Returns
Yielding More Detailed Information within Context of Circumambulations from Predominator
Determination of Planetary Positions in Solar Return
Determination of Ascendant
Role of Transits
Rulers of the Year, Month, Day
As Established by Profections from Predominator, Activating Planets in these Signs
As Established by Profections from Ascendant, Taking Lord of the Sign of Profection
The "Busy" Sign Established by Synodic Lunar Cycle
Interpretation within Context of Solar Return
Annual Profections from Planets, Four Lots & Angles
Establishment of Topically Specific Time-Lords for the Issues Associated with each Significator
Zodiacal Releasing from Lots of Fortune & Spirit
Studying Issues Pertaining to the Body from Fortune
Issues Pertaining to Career & Action from Spirit

SOLUNAR CONSIDERATIONS:

The 1st, 7th & 40th Days of the Moon, their Universal & Topically Specific Import
The Prenatal Lunation as Universal and Topically Specific Significator
Topical Interpretation of Lunar Phases & Cooperating Planet
Spear-Bearers to the Lights
Topical Interpretation of Lunar Latitude, Speed, and Waxing/Waning
General & Topical Interpretation of Lunar Nodes
The Nine-Year Cycle of Zoroaster
Time-Lords Established by the Degree Ruler of Moon

THE ORIGINAL EGYPTIAN DECANIC SYSTEM:

The Rising Decan & the Biographical Profile of the Native
Bright Fixed Stars making a Phasis at the Nativity or Co-Rising with the Moon
Planets & other Significators in Full or Empty Degrees
Decanic Houses
Planets in Decans of other Planets ~ Constellations Co-Rising with the Decans
The Planets Going Around & Executing (Planetary Days & Hours)

EPILOGUE:

The Systematic Integration of the Various Universal Techniques, Topically Specific Methods, and Time-Lord Procedures of the System
Rules of Synthesis of the Various Subsystems
''
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:
Of course it is just possible that half-dozen actual men who practiced astrology coincidentally just happened to have the names of gods and mythical mortals. But all of them in FM's list of founders? This is highly unlikely; notably given naming practices in antiquity and the relationship of each god/hero cited by FM to the solar themes of death and return from the dead.!


I have never said that there was a one to one correspondence between authors and pseudonyms or that any of these were ever practicing astrologers.

The bold is indeed interesting, isn't it?
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Deb
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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread has wandered so far off its original theme that it's become unhelpful for anyone who spends time reading it in the hope of finding information on that point. Hence, the new point of discussion should not be developed further here, although it would probably make an interesting new discussion if Waybread feels inclined to develop that. The same applies to other points that have been introduced as part of a meandering discussion.

I suggest that this thread is now closed, and that any final posts are only to resolve or add information on points related to the original question.

It's early on Christmas morning, and although a little over 6, I don't share Nixx's view that Christmas is an irrelevance, so to all who have contributed, or check into the forum today:

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waybread



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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nixx, now that the house has quieted down in my time zone, and not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse, I have some time for what I really enjoy: discussing astrology's origins. But if I hear a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer on the roof, I will have to postpone the discussion. Since we have just a stovepipe, not a proper chimney; any jolly old elf up there may need some assistance.

If your taking me to task involves haggling over whether Robert Schmidt proposed an essentially unified astrology (as his article you linked surely suggests) or something more diverse-- I don't think this particular game is worth it. No doubt his views have changed over time. If you want to argue that he or the corps of neo-Hellenistic astrologers today acknowledge the diversity of Hellenistic astrology in antiquity, I am happy. I think it was diverse, too.

No, I don't think that Hellenistic astrology emerged fully formed, like Aphrodite on the half-shell. Few things do. Since this particular thread is about houses (ranging from whole signs vs. quadrant systems to thematic house contents) I will restrict most of my comments to houses.

Differences, if not actual contradictions, appear in the early itemization of topical house contents. I became intrigued by the question as to why this should be the case. For house #2, why should it simultaneously be the Gates of Hades and the house of provisionment? Why should the third be the house of the goddess, the moon, and brothers? We might see a goddess-moon connection and an opposition to the house of god in the 10th, but brothers? Then Egyptians, where some of the early astrologers worked, encoded the moon deity as male, not female. And these are just the simple ones.

And why the early attribution of astrological origins to Nechepso and Petosiris? Even if these were fictional people, does the text point us to a Hellenistic belief in mythical Egyptian origins?

Why should Maternus (IV:xxii) talk about decans as "fearful secrets which the revered ancients left wrapped in obscurity so that they should not come to the ears of the profane"? Why should he attribute "divine power" to them? This doesn't sound like a fully fledged Hellenistic astrology to me. It does sound like an Egyptian cultural astronomy with pretty ancient routes-- and roots-- in the matter of decans.

Why should a copyist/editor of Dorotheus (V:1) say that he is "following the tracks of the of the learned men... of Babylon and Egypt ... so that he might extract from their books..." if Hellenistic astrology emerged ex nihilo?

Why doesn't "scientist" Ptolemy name houses 2-6 at all? Is he avoiding something?

So what I am working on now is a theory that the content of astrological houses has a lot to do with Egyptian beliefs about the passage of the sun (as Deb has suggested), the deceased pharoah, and eventually the human soul through different specifically demarcated states in the underworld.

Shoot me and send me the reference, please, if you know someone who worked this out already.

We also have to think about the Graeco-Egyptian culture that existed in Egypt (including Alexandria) from about the 2nd century BC till late antiquity-- i.e., during the same time frame that Hellenistic astrology flourished. It shows up in the hermetic literature, in the Greek magical papyri, and actual horoscopes that have been uncovered in Egyptian archaeological finds (cf Otto Neugebauer's publications.) This was a real time and place of synthesis of Greek and Egyptian ideas; oftentimes with older Egyptian ideas merely being rescripted in Greek idioms.

And some of this material in Hans Dieter Betz, ed., The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, 2nd ed. vol. 1 (University of Chicago Press, 1992) shows syncretistic, magical uses for astrology that goes way beyond sober-sides Valens or Ptolemy. Ot look at Neugebauer, ("Demotic Horoscopes, J. of the American Oriental Society 63:115-127, 1943) who translated 1st century Graeco-Roman AD horoscopes that call the 4th house "the lake of Dwat"-- Dwat (duat, tuat) being the Egyptian underworld, with various water bodies therein. The 10th house ("lake of the sky") also refers to the northern heavens, probably around Orion.

Ptolemy himself talks about Egyptian and Babylonian terms. Alexander Jones and John M. Steele ("A New Discovery of a Component of Greek Astrology in Babylonian Tablets..." ISAW Paper 1 (2011) http://dlib.nyu.edu/awdl/isaw/isaw-papers/1/ think they've found evidence of the Babylonian terms in cuniform tablets that could date back several centuries BCE. See also F. Rochberg-Halton, "Elements of the Babylonian Contribution to Hellenistic Astrology," (1988) J. of the American Oriental Society (108:51-62) ( and her 2004 book, The Heavenly Writing.

On sources regarding philosophical underpinnings of Graeco-Roman astrology, surely you are familiar with Nicholas Campion, The Dawn of Astrology, chapters 9-13. Also: M. R. Right, Cosmology in Antiquity (Routledge, 1995). A recent source on ancient philosophers with relevance for astrology is Marilyn Lawrence, "Hellenistic Astrology," Internet Ecyclopedia of Philosophy (2010) http://www.iep.utm.edu. It goes some distance beyond Platonism. Mark T. Riley has written about Ptolemy's links to the "natural philosophy" of his day. These articles are linked on his website.

If you would be willing to link RS's article on middle Platonism, I would appreciate it.

Although RS talks about "universal astrology" I don't know how well the non-genethliacal branches of astrology are incorporated into contemporary Hellenistic astrology. Once we open them up, the case for the sudden emergence of a Hellenistic astrology diminishes even further.

I am puzzled by a kind of anti-intellectual current among some people interested in the history of astrology. We want to discover the past, but we don't want to cite our sources in self-published on-line articles? It doesn't compute for me.
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ours just crossed in the mail Deb-- and I am hearing reindeer on the roof just now, so "Merry Christimas to all, and to all a good night."

(Or one's holiday of choice.)
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:
Although RS talks about "universal astrology" I don't know how well the non-genethliacal branches of astrology are incorporated into contemporary Hellenistic astrology. Once we open them up, the case for the sudden emergence of a Hellenistic astrology diminishes even further.

I am puzzled by a kind of anti-intellectual current among some people interested in the history of astrology. We want to discover the past, but we don't want to cite our sources in self-published on-line articles? It doesn't compute for me.


It doesn't compute for me either. Please cite your sources / reasons for why you think what I've highlighted in bold is the case (i.e. - why a founding group could not have made a systematic effort at reworking the Mesopotamian concepts for example). I've never heard Schmidt say that the "founders" worked in a vacuum. It's easy to mistake "signal" for "noise" if one doesn't know what to look for, so please make it explicit with references so that I may be more convinced that your argument has sufficient intellectual merit.
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Deb
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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've already asked for everyone to make any further comments on matters not related to the opening topic their last one. So if Waybread does want to continue on this topic; it will have to be in a new thread. (See my note above - I'll repeat it below in case it gets overlooked).

-----------

This thread has wandered so far off its original theme that it's become unhelpful for anyone who spends time reading it in the hope of finding information on that point. Hence, the new point of discussion should not be developed further here, although it would probably make an interesting new discussion if Waybread feels inclined to develop that. The same applies to other points that have been introduced as part of a meandering discussion.

I suggest that this thread is now closed, and that any final posts are only to resolve or add information on points related to the original question.

It's early on Christmas morning, and although a little over 6, I don't share Nixx's view that Christmas is an irrelevance, so to all who have contributed, or check into the forum today:

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Nixx



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Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb,

Oekey dokey, I think we have reached a bit of an impasse here now anyway.

It was my niece who said (kind of) no Xmas aged 6+ she is 5. I put her right on it being 7+. Youth today, I ask you........


Waybread,

The article had 2005 at the end, and I think his ideas - re-DEFINITONS AND FOUNDATIONS - have solidified.

Bringing the discussion back to House division more directly. Schmidt's hypothesis would presumably be there was one , agreed and fully worked out, system but as to whether this was Whole and/or a Quadrant?
Even if you discovered a tablet dated 13,847bce with the inscription WHOLE SIGN IS GREAT (OR RUBBISH) this would not, in itself, unduly compromise Schmidt's perception. His theory appears to be, crudely, a bunch of ''Middle Platonists'' went on a weekend retreat, selected the (ir) best bits of - Time is the Mind of Space - discovered to date, brainstormed them and then constructed a system which was largely original.

You are, a little pedantically, going back to the - if so then how come this topic/theme/meaning was put in this house here and not there. To reiterate, various authors were not privy to, or misunderstood, or mistranslated, or failed to decrypt........ the ‘system’. Therefore arguably the only person in the world today who knows whether or not brothers, moon, goddess...were in this ‘’fully formed’’ Hellenistic system’s third house is Schmidt. (You may have noticed earlier these types of conundrums appeared to be outside of Hermes ‘’comfort zone’’).

I am familiar with some of your references, and would anticipate Schmidt being more familiar with them. I was requesting one which examined his recent theory directly, written by a Philosopher au fait with Middle Platonism. I do not know if he has written an article entitled ''Middle Platonism'' but wouldn't most of his publications pivot around this thought stream?

We have been instructed to call it a day on this thread. If you wish to undertake this list of predictive techniques challenge then I see you are instructed to start another thread? It may take you until next Christmas to cover the ground, and then some. Rather you than me. As someone who is superglued to the fence on this one, I would be most curious to see the results, if done properly.



Merry Xmas to all, may your parsnips be truly roasted.
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