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Ludovico Lazzarelli (1447-1500): 

The Hermetic Writings and Related Documents

with Ruud M. Bouthoorn

Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies: Tempe 2005. 356 pp.

ISBN: 0-86698-324-4

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This is the first complete edition and translation in any modern language of the Hermetic writings of Ludovico Lazzarelli, an Italian poet and mystical philosopher of the late 15th century. While recognised as a seminal figure by Italian scholars such as Kristeller and Garin, Lazzarelli's life and work have nevertheless been neglected by historians. This book's extensive Introduction challenges existing interpretations and presents a fresh perspective on Lazzarelli's work and significance. It also argues that the evidence about him and his spiritual master, the prophet Giovanni "Mercurio" da Correggio, forces scholars to rethink Frances Yates' concept of Renaissance Hermetism.

The volume contains a 100-page introduction, plus editions and translations of Lazzarelli's Epistola Enoch, Three Prefaces, his Crater Hermetis, and his alchemical writings; and in addition, of Filipo Lazzarelli's biography of his brother, Giovanni da Correggio's Sonetto and Oratio, and Johannes Trithemius' testimony about Correggio.

"... if Hanegraaff is right, Yates was wrong not just about Pico, Ficino, and Lazzarelli, as important as that may be, but also about something larger and deeply lodged in current scholarship: her application of the term "Hermetic" to the culture of post-medieval Europe. That there was such a thing as Yates's 'Hermetic tradition' in the Renaissance is a creed that still attracts new believers every year because so many people read her powerfully written and constantly reprinted Giordano Bruno. If we believe Hanegraaff, that view will be at least a distortion, if not an illusion. For people who care about the deep history of culture, this is big news. My opinion is that the news is true"

Brian P. Copenhaver, "A Grand End to a Grand Narrative", Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft (2009).

"A first rate study. The introductory monograph brings together well the known points about Ludovico Lazzarelli and Giovanni 'Mercurio' da Correggio, uncovers new links between them, and synthetically offers the first ever clear narrative account about them in any language, and certainly in English. The textual section makes a tremendous contribution to scholarship by not only offering editions but also translation of the main texts, notably the Epistola Enoch and the Crater Hermetis. IN the "Related Documents" section, a number of important pieces of evidence help to contextualise the whole set of episodes. The translations within the editions are sound and well-commented, and the running commentary is a great contribution".

Christopher Celenza (back cover).

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