UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

El carácter tradicionalista de la obra de Don Enrique de Villena (1384-1434) Segura, José


For almost five centuries Enrique de Villena (1384-1434) has been branded as a sorcerer and dismissed as both incredulous and superstitious because of his interest in the so-called "occult" sciences. Partly for this reason, until very recently, his writings have attracted little serious scholarly attention, and an edition of his complete works has only been available since 1994. The present thesis is an overall study of Villena's works within a conceptual framework which reflects the ideological bases wich served as Villena's own point of departure. Drawing on studies of traditional societies by specialists such as Ren6 Gu6non and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, we are able to formulate a well-defined paradigm that explains not just the philosophical foundations of Ancient and Medieval science and literature, but of all human activity in societies which regard their ultimate foundations as resting on a set of divinely-revealed precepts. Chapter 1 provides a critical review of the main contributions to Villena studies, and defines seven fundamental characteristics of traditionalism (also known as the Philosophia perennis) which, in Chapter 2, we are able to identify in Villena's works. Chapter 3 illustrates the existence in the works of Villena of the two classes of traditional authors, and eight of the most common synonyms for their cognitive organs. Chapter 4 presents the function of the restorer and eleven aspects of the traditional author's modus scribendi as found both in traditionalism and in Villena's works. Chapter 5 selects some distinctive notions which characterize five branches of traditional science so as to illustrate their presence in the scientific works of Villena. This thesis demonstrates that the works of Enrique de Villena can only be fully understood when read in the light of traditional philosophy. It also shows that Villena was attempting to revive this Philosophia perennis in the first half of the fifteenth century, a Philosophia which, because of its faith-based tenets and the need for a special intellectual initiation into the comprehension of its precepts, was being rejected by the increasing rationalism of the age.

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