Sep 16, 2020
Astrology and Magistrates in Early Modern France
- 15:00 to 16:30
- Dept. I
- Jean Sanchez
Astrology has been a major feature of the scientific culture of Renaissance. Reasons of its marginalization during the 17th century still remain unclear. Several historians have interpreted it as the consequence of the decline of Aristotelian-Ptolemaic cosmology and of the analogical and symbolical view of the world, associated with the slow mechanization of natural philosophy—i.e., a narrative essentially focusing on the perception of astrology among natural philosophers.
In this talk I would like to develop a more complex narrative to show how – at the beginning of 17th century—astrology has also become an important issue in politics and law, and its legitimacy analyzed through new prisms such as juridical humanism, historical scholarship and positive theology.
Through several anti-astrological treatises written by judges, lawyers or counselors between 1580 and 1630, I study how astrology was constructed as a threat against religious and political order in post-Religious-Wars France, and its supervision encouraged by local authorities. I also study how these officials used their own sources, inquiries and conceptual tools to develop new refutations of astrology mixing arguments taken from several disciplines such as philosophy, theology, history and law. In this context, the marginalisation of astrology appears like the achievement of a surprising consensus among intellectual communities which defend conflicting conceptions of science : each of them seeing in astrology the archetype of perverted knowledge.
Contact and Registration
Open to all at the Institute, no registration required. Please join the Zoom meeting here: https://zoom.us/j/93369294950