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COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course offers an introduction to two major medieval and early modern sciences: magic and alchemy. Focusing on their development in the Islamic world and Europe, the course will pay special attention to their projections as knowledge derived from the legendary father of the occult sciences, Hermes. Students will engage with major primary texts representing alchemical and magical practice, theory, and iconography. The course also aims to familiarise students with the scientific and philosophical foundations of the two sciences and their connection to one another and to other occult sciences such as astrology. 

The course will build upon the long Warburg tradition of investigating Hermeticism, natural magic, and occult philosophy in the Latin and Islamic worlds, as embodied by scholars like Frances A. Yates, D.P. Walker and Charles Burnett. 

COURSE TUTORS

Georgiana D. Hedesan is Lecturer in the History of Science at the University of Oxford, and is specialised in the field of early modern and Renaissance science and alchemy. She is a former short-term Frances A. Yates Fellow or the Warburg Institute (2013).

Liana Saif is Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam’s Centre for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents. She is a historian of medieval Islamicate occult sciences and esotericism with a special interest in their reception in medieval and early modern Europe. She is a former long-term Warburg Fellow (2018-2021).


PRE-REQUISITES AND WORK LOAD

The course is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students, independent researchers, academics at all levels of career, and members of the public. 

The course assumes no prior exposure to Hermetic scholarship or knowledge of the medieval and early modern Islam or Latin West. There is no language requirement apart from English (i.e. no Latin or Arabic knowledge is prerequisite). We will use published English translations or, in some cases, will translate certain passages ourselves.

Students will be expected to read the primary and secondary sources assigned for each class in advance in order to facilitate in-class participation and group-work.


COURSE SCHEDULE

ONLINE VIA ZOOM

Tuesday 25, Thursday 27 June & Tuesday 2, Thursday 4 July 2024
11.00am-1.00pm & 2.00-4.00pm [British Summer Time]
Total = 16 hours


COURSE FEES

  • £220: Standard
  • £200: Warburg Staff & Fellows/external students/unwaged 
  • £130: SAS & LAHP-funded students 
  • £110: Warburg students


COURSE NOW FULLY BOOKED. 

IF YOU HAVE SUBMITTED A BURSARY APPLICATION WE WILL CONTACT YOU IN THE WEEK BEGINNING 13TH MAY.

image: Hermes Trismegistus: floor inlay in the Cathedral of Siena, 1480s