JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 652 Blog Bookstore
I suppose that one could write about virtually anything in terms of what that subject is not: everything that is tangibly matter or energy could be something else, and everything not (like shadows and thought) are the stuff of being what they are and aren’t at the same time.
In 1549 Augustinus Niphus wrote a beautiful, not-so-little
work on the subjects of beauty and love. Niphus (or Agostino Nifo,
or Niphus Suessanus, or Niphus and sometimes Nyphus) was born in the
around 1473, and was around 55 or so when he died in 1538-1540. He was a philosopher and historian of medicine in the high-Renaissance sense, was a great Aristotlean and Averroist, and proved to be an able antagonist to the Christian churches on the subject of the blessed interpretations of millennially-dead Aristotle. There are some who claim that Niphus was a little incoherent on the subject of Aristotle because, well, he taught the corpus aristotlelicum at university—but Aristotle at this point in the Renaissance was incredibly deeply ingrained in the curricula of all universities all across Europe, and was opne of the great basics of education. There was no escape.
But back to love. Niphus’ Libri duo, de pulchero liber primus, de amore liber secundus was a
277-page work printed at
The main contribution of
Niphus on love/sex was this—humans have a certain psychological and physiological
disposition to sex, and how sex could not be considered sinful. Not content with controlling the poor
believing people’s thoughts with fear of eternal damnation, the church reached
right into the very bedroom, specifying that sex was sinful, an abomination,
dirty, laced with the potential of Satan himself, if not used for the purposes
of procreation. All other fruit was
forbidden under dire threat of the
I found this illustration in an old E.P. Goldschmidt (bookseller) catalog, and the old bookseller recognized the medical value of the work and wondered aloud why it hasn't turned up in the major medical book collections. I wonder about that, too. Be that as it may, Niphus should really show up as one of the great educators on the function of sex, and to physiologically and psychologically announce that sex was not the sin the church would have you believe it was. Perhaps in a way, too, Niphus was among the earliest of those to release woman from thousands of years of blame as the proprietesse of selfish Satanic fornication--at least with Niphus, if sex were to be insisted upon as being a sin, there is the possibility of having two actors in the process, rather than having woman carry the blame for the entirety of the sin.