I have discovered a gold mine of information regarding Neoplatonism in the Renaissance in a collection of essays titled Marsilio Ficino: His Theology, His Philosophy, His Legacy.
Before I share one of them, I want to make a couple of quick statements. First of all, I have no specific evidence outside of rumor or hearsay that anyone involved in the dissemination of Neoplatonism in Europe in the 15th or 16th century (including the Medici in the picture above!) engaged in sodomy, pederasty or any other degenerate behavior outside of John Dee’s famous wife swap and rumors of Giordano Bruno’s visits to prostitutes.
As far as I can tell, all of them followed traditional Christian moral teaching in regard to sins of the flesh.
Secondly, on this blog, I am by no means suggesting that everyone who utilized Plato or Neoplatonic teaching was an occultist or a heretic. In fact, I think that much of what is said by Plato and the Neoplatonists in regard to metaphysics, ethics, and even some politics is basically correct in as much as it harmonizes with traditional Catholic teaching.
Nonetheless, it is my view that Neoplatonism also provides the basis for Gnosticism or intellectual Satanism and “high magic.”
Furthermore, one of the essential ingredients of this magic is pederasty and sodomy, which flourished at one time among Socrates and his fellows and was revived in the 19th century among Plato scholars and of course practiced by Aleister Crowley and later sexual degenerates and occultists.
It was thus of some interest when I read Arthur Field’s’ sarcastic comment in regard to James Hankins’s misreading of one of Marsilio Ficino’s letters: “I would conclude from Hankins’s argument that Ficino was running some pederastic club for visiting ambassadors.”
Again, I have absolutely no evidence that Ficino was a pedophile or sodomite, but Fields’s sarcastic comment is worth probing.
Florence was known for its degeneracy and the presence of pederasty long after Dante’s famous depiction of sodomites in hell in the fourteenth century.
Pederasty was also clearly one of the steps in the ascent of love in the Symposium and Phaedrus–especially in the esoteric readings of the works as magical ascents.
Are we to believe that the arrival of Plato was greeted with only intellectual admiration in the West, and no one attempted to imitate the degeneracy promoted in the “erotic dialogues”?
Were those who revived Gnosticism, Satanism, and Neoplatonic magic, and conversing with demons really living chaste lives?
I am not making any accusations, but this issue deserves further study.