Lodovico Lazzarelli (1447 - 1500): The Hermetic Writings and Related Documents
This is the first complete edition and translation in any modern language of the Hermetic writings of Lodovico Lazzarelli, an Italian poet and mystical philosopher from the late 15th century. Lazzarelli’s seminal importance for the history of Renaissance Hermetism was recognized by Paul Oskar Kristeller as early as 1938. While Marsilio Ficino had famously translated the Corpus Hermeticum into Latin, it was Lazzarelli who had first translated its final three tracts, that had been absent from the manuscript used by Ficino. Furthermore, with his Crater Hermetis Lazzarelli had produced a jewel of Christian Hermetic literature, which still remains one of the purest and most impressive examples of the genre, in addition to being one of the very earliest testimonies of Christian kabbalah as well. In recognition of these facts, Lazzarelli was given a central role in the first scholarly collection of Renaissance Hermetic texts, published by Eugenio Garin and others in 1955. However, in the wake of Frances Yates’ Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (1964), which brought the Hermetic Tradition to the attention of a large international audience, Lazzarelli was marginalized and forgotten. Only since the mid-1980s, Italian scholars like Claudio Moreschini and Maria Paola Saci have began once more to call attention to the poet from San Severino, but again their influence has remained restricted to the circles of Italian specialists.
“A first-rate study. The introductory monograph brings together well the known points about Lodovico 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 translations 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 contextualize 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, Michigan State University