Agrippa von Nettesheim´s influence on Sebastian Franck

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Sebastian Franck commented and translated parts of Agrippa´s De Vanitate Scientiarum, confirming that Franck knew at least some of this philosopher’s work. However, there is no detailed research on the influence Agrippa had on Franck—a gap this paper tries to fill. In a comparison of the metaphysical belief systems of both Franck and Agrippa, important parallels concerning the soul and Christology can be found. Notably, Agrippa and Franck were both believers in the Platonic doctrine of the tripartite soul. According to this doctrine, the human being consists of the mind, soul, and body, the spiritual mind being the part that never dies. However, one difference between Agrippa and Franck was that Agrippa had a cosmological perspective that was strongly influenced by Neoplatonism and Hermeticism. In contrast, the Neoplatonic concept of the world soul did not make sense in Franck’s philosophical system of beliefs because Franck denies the idea that the world is conducted by rationality. His pessimistic view of the world and the human being did not blend with this idea of the world soul. There were some similarities between Franck and Agrippa, but ultimately, this investigation shows that Franck only adopted the ideas of the wise “Agrippa” that were compatible with his own philosophy, but the metaphysical concept of both philosophers was still very similar.
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Archival date: 2020-09-17
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