Marsilio Ficino

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ficino, Marsilio


Born Oct. 19, 1433, in Figline, near Florence; died Oct. 1, 1499, in Careggi, near Florence. Italian humanist and Neoplatonic philosopher; founder of the Platonic Academy of Florence.

Ficino translated into Latin works of Plato (published 1484), Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, Porphyry, and Psellus, as well as some of the Areopagite’s works and treatises from the hermetic literature. In his commentaries on these works and in other works, such as Platonic Theology—On the Immortality of the Souls (1469–74, published 1482; latest edition, vols. 1–2, 1965) and On the Christian Religion (1476), he developed a philosophical system that constituted an original interpretation of Neoplatonism (including the concept of emanation) and the mystical teachings of late antiquity in a spirit of concordance with the major doctrines of Christianity. The true worth of man, endowed with the capacity for cognition and with free will, is in his divine origin, the immortality of the soul, and the ability for uniting with god at the highest level of contemplation (“divine madness”). Characteristic of Ficino is the importance given to earthly beauty, the contemplation of which he regarded as a step toward the highest mystical contemplation. Ficino considered the historically existing religions and religious philosophical doctrines as stages in the development of a universal religion.

Ficino furthered the revival of Platonism and the struggle against scholastic Aristotelianism and had a significant influence on the development of the philosophy of the Renaissance and the 17th and 18th centuries.


Opera, vols. 1–2. Basel, 1561.
Supplementum Ficinianum, vols. 1–2. Florence, 1937.
Commentaire sur le Banquet de Platon. Paris, 1955.


Puzino, I. V. “O religiozno-filosofskikh vozzreniiakh M. Fichino.” Istoricheskie izvestiia, 1917, no. 2. Pages 91–111.
Gukovskii, M. A. “Novye raboty po istorii platonizma ital’ianskogo Vozrozhdeniia.” Voprosy filosofii, 1958, no. 10. Pages 169–73.
Kristeller, P. O. Il pensiero filosofico di M. Ficino. Florence, 1953.
Saitta, G. Marsilio Ficino e la filosofia dell’ Umanesimo, 3rd ed. Bologna, 1954.
Marcel, R. Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499). Paris, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Marsilio Ficino (1433-99) was the leading Platonic philosopher of the Renaissance and is generally recognized as the greatest authority on ancient Platonism before modern times.
(12) Although Neoplatonists attempted to revise Platonic theory's celebration of male-male love by instead focusing on the spiritual possibilities of heterosexual relationships, writers such as Marsilio Ficino and Giordano Bruno still privileged non-sexual male friendships while warning readers of the dangers of physical desire.
The Platonism of Marsilio Ficino: A Study of His Phaedrus Commentary, Its Sources and Genesis.
Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) e Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) sono artefici e promotori di tale palingenesi filosofica: alla teoria della conoscenza da essi concepita Simone Fellina dedica un libro denso, documentato, frutto di un'indagine vigile e critica di alcune fondamentali opere dei due filosofi, cioe, soprattutto, El libro dell'amore (1468-1469) e la Theologia Platonica (edita nel 1482) del Ficino; il Commento sopra una canzona de amore composta da Girolamo Benivieni (1486) e le Conclusiones nongentae publice disputandae (1486) del Pico.
(13) Marsilio Ficino, Platonic Theology, eds James Hankins and William Bowen, trans.
I had written my dissertation for a PhD in religion on the work of a 15th-century philosopher, priest, and magus, Marsilio Ficino, who said that soul has to be in the center of life.
Between the chapters of this vast treatise in eight books, Lefevre placed his own commentary in the manner of Marsilio Ficino. Next came the Hecatonomiae (folios 135v-168r).
The renaissance figures, Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, are described as philosopher-mystics who were convinced that the wisdom of the prisca theologia and Jewish Kabbalah found its fulfillment in Jesus.