Thursday, July 4, 2013

Culianu's interest in Renaissance Magic

The security police, known as Securitate, tried to recruit him. He won a scholarship to study in Italy but was turned down for an exit permit. Culianu took refuge from these stifling circumstances by studying Indian mysticism, astrology, the haunting stories of the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges and, most important, a few Renaissance philosophers of magic, eros and the occult whose works he pondered for the rest of his life. ''Here he found the possibility of meaningful rebellion for him -- not outward, but inward,'' Mr. Anton writes. ''Culianu found in magic a potential release from all forms of power, even the limit of time or identity.''