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Scholars of hermeticism are quick to point out the complexities and enigmas of this tradition.
Although the intellectual currents of Habsburg learning provided the particular amalgam of mathematical calculation and Neoplatonic hermeticism of Siguenza's astronomy, these cannot account for the context of his attacks on astrology as epistemologically lacking and generally inaccurate.
While it is perhaps more difficult to say in precise terms what hermetic poetry was than to speak of what it rejected and defined itself against, to cite hermeticism's obsession with absence, its athematism, its anti-eloquence--that is, to establish, in Contini's words, a "negative poetics" for hermeticism (2)--is to do more than to dodge the issue.
In spite of the obvious seriousness and relative secretiveness invested in "authentic" esoteric practice, many people, whether or not they know anything, in the "academic" sense, about Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Kabbalah, and so forth, are profoundly affected by representations in art and literature that convey ideas about the unquantifiable aspects of the universe and, on this level at least, are ever ready to be entertained by and to indulge in "esoteric" concepts.
First, Yates speaks of hermeticism rather than hermetism, the latter dedicated solely to the influence of the Corpus hermeticum, whereas the former is a loose appropriation of the term "hermetism," allowing room for other branches of esotericism.
That is, though he does not take what I would call an "anticult" approach, Whitsel's history of the religious antecedents of the group (for example, Gnosticism, western hermeticism, Theosophy) is a somewhat superficial narrative drawn from a few general, introductory sources, and does not reveal much familiarity (nor concern) with the nuances of western esotericism.
Here one reads of this Florentine disciple of Giacomo Noventa during his early formation and resistance to various aspects of the dominant culture, from the coarsest squadrismo to the refined climate of hermeticism to the evasiveness of academic idealism.
He draws, for example, upon Frances Yates's seminal studies of the Renaissance occult and Hermeticism. He also makes good use of Tony Peake's Derek Jarman (2000), a thorough and valuable account of the artist's life and work.
Ionesco defines Ion Barbu's poetry as hermetical, and hermeticism as facile virtuosity: 'an accumulation of masks'.
Among the examples listed in a report on the problem were the Jewish kabbalah, the Enneagram personality-reading cull, ancient Egyptian occult practices, Sufism, Druid practices, Celtic Christianity, medieval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, yoga, and Zen Buddhism.
For Said, it was important for the interpreter to "understand the critical change--in time and place" (p.205) and do her/his job as a conscious intellectual without going down the road to nowhere of "limitless intertextuality" surrendering "critical consciousness for critical hermeticism" (Ibid.).
Yates, who in interpreting Bruno and Renaissance Hermeticism was not afraid of connecting theories and cultural expressions which on the surface are alien to philosophy.