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JOHN DEE ON ASTRONOMY - Propaedeumata Aphoristica (1558 and 1568), Latin and English (Berkeley, 1978)

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JOHN DEE ON ASTRONOMY - Propaedeumata Aphoristica (1558 and 1568), Latin and English (Berkeley, 1978)

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JOHN DEE ON ASTRONOMY - Propaedeumata Aphoristica (1558 and 1568), Latin and English (Berkeley, 1978)

100.00

Dee, John (edited and translated, with general notes by Wayne Shumaker, introductory essay by J.L. Heilbron. John Dee on Astronomy - Propaedeumata Aphoristica (1558 and 1568), Latin and English. Berkeley: University of California, [1978]. 

First Printing. Hardcover. Octavo. Blue cloth with dust jacket. 264 pages. Black and white illustrations and figures. A fine copy in a near fine, price-clipped dust jacket.

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Among the scientific revolutionaries of the late Renaissance were artist-engineers, surveyors, navigators, and other applied mathematicians - and Pythagoreans, Neoplatonists, numerologists and cabalists. The Elizabethan magus John Dee exemplifies both sorts of forerunners of modern science: an occultist who talked to angels, a mathematician consulted by navigators and geographers, a mystical alchemical adept, and a teacher of arithmetic. 

The long introduction here by Heilbron relates the Propaedeumata Aphoristica in detail to Dee’s career and to the history of science. Dee’s treatise is presented in the Latin text of 1568 with a facing English translation by Wayne Shumaker, whose notes on the text disclose occultist implications obscured by the tradition of “veiled utterance.” 

A key question in the history of science is to what extent numerology, alchemy, and the like contributed to the development of applied mathematics and the beginnings of the scientific revolution. Dee’s mathematical works, beginning with the Propaedeumata, did not grow out of or together with his occultism, but, rather, preceded it. Insofar as he devoted himself to occult studies he moved off the high road of the scientific revolution. Most likely, he knew what he was doing.