The great forward movements of the Renaissance all derive their vigor, their emotional impulse, from looking backwards. The cyclic view of time as a perpetual movement from pristine golden ages of purity truth through successive brazen and iron ages still held sway and the early search for truth was thus of necessity a search for the early, the ancient, the original gold from which the baser metals of the present and the immediate past were corrupt degenerations. Man's history was not an evolution from primitive animal origins through ever growing complexity and progress; the past was always better than the present, and progress was revival, rebirth, renaissance of antiquity. The classical humanist recovered the literature and the monuments of classical antiquity with a sense of return to the pure gold of a civilisation better and higher than his own. The religious reformer returned to the study of the Scriptures and the early Fathers with a sense of recovery of the pure gold of the Gospel, buried under later degenerations.
Theses are truisms, and it is also obvious that both these great returning movements were not mistaken as to the date of the earlier, better period to which they turned. The humanist knew the date of Cicero, knew the correct date of his golden age of classical culture; the reformer, even if not clear as to the date of the Gospels, knew that he was trying to return to the earliest centuries of Christianity. But the returning movement of the Renaissance with which this book will be concerned, the return to the pure golden age of magic, was based on a radical error in dating. The works which inspired t he Renaissance Magus, and which he believed to be of profound antiquity, were really written in the second and third centuries A.D. He was not returning to an Egyptian wisdom, not much later than the wisdom of the Hebrew patriarchs and prophets, and much earlier than Plato and the other philosophers of Greek antiquity, who had all- so the Renaissance Magus firmly believed- drunk from its sacred fountain. He is returning to the pagan background of early Christianity, to that religion of the world, strongly tinged with magic and oriental influences, which was the gnostic version of Greek philosophy, and the refuge of weary pagans seeking an answer to life's problems other than that offered by their contemporaries, the early Christians. "Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition" -- Frances A. Yates Ch. 1 pp. 1,2
With the recent blast of energy shifting from fire to earth, astrologically speaking......we stand on the cusp of another Renaissance, I believe. The publishing date on this book by Yates is 1964. The seeds planted then (rebellious '60's) have begun to sprout. Comments, criticisms, are welcome.