Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius

Born: 14 September 1486, Nettesheim (Cologne)
Died: 18 February 1535, Grenoble
  • Andrea StrazzoniEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_547-1


Agrippa was the main expounder of the occult philosophy, which is the knowledge of the hidden causes of things and is finalized to their manipulation by magic. Magic, in turn, is the highest form and the end of philosophy. According to his De occulta philosophia, magic is threefold: natural (concerning sublunar world), celestial (concerning stars and heavenly intelligences), and divine (concerning God and higher angels). It consists of the manipulation of concrete objects and of the summoning of intelligences and God, which is performed on the basis of the precepts of the Kabbalah. Agrippa’s overall aim was to purify magic from its necromantic and irrational components: this would enable the restoration of the prelapsarian condition of man (in accordance with the Hermetic ideal of deification) and a Christian reform of culture. The critique of philosophical knowledge and of every science, presented in Agrippa’s De vanitate, and his critique to the subordination of woman typical of Scholastic theology, contained in the De nobilitate foeminei sexus, are functional to these ends.


French Court Imperial Historiographer Canonical Interpretation Scholastic Philosophy Natural Magic 
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Primary Literature

  1. Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. 1529. De nobilitate et praecellentia foeminei sexus. Expostulatio cum Joanne Catilineti super expositione libri Joannis Capnionis de verbo mirifico. De sacramento matrimonii declamatio. De triplici ratione cognoscendi Deum liber unus. Dehortatio gentilis theologiae. De originali peccato disputabilis opinionis declamatio. Regimen adversus pestilentiam. Antwerp: Michael Hillenius Hoochstratanus.Google Scholar
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Secondary Literature

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Antichistica, Lingue, Educazione e Filosofia (A.L.E.F.)Università degli Studi di ParmaParmaItaly
  2. 2.National Research University Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia