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Posted December 10, 2000
It is with a very heavy heart that I report that Charles Boer's translation of Marsilio Ficino's _Three Books of Life_ (De vita libri tres) is wretched indeed. Mr. Boer, famous for his 'modern' translations, has buggered poor Ficino's beautiful writing to the point where it is often nigh impossible to decipher the original meaning. He made no effort to learn or utilize even the basic terminology of astrology, rendering Ficino's clear astrological instruction into an incomprehensible muddle. Houses are referred to as 'places', degrees of the zodiac are referred to as 'grades', trines and sextiles become 'third places' and 'sixth places' respectively, and planets have 'coitus' with one another rather than simply being conjunct... O lucky planets! Their supposedly sexual union reflects in heaven what has happened on earth between Mr. Boer and this poor text. The lack of astrological comprehension is bad enough, but Mr. Boer also seems strangely ignorant of the Neoplatonist philosophy that informs all of Ficino's writings. Although interspersed with practical instructions on how to bring one's life and body into a more healthy alignment with the heavenly powers, this text contains long sections of philosophical theory to show the theoretical underpinnings of the practical work. These theoretical sections are completely incomprehensible; where is Thomas Taylor when we need him? He provided better explanatory notes in the early 1800's than Mr. Boer does in the latter part of the 20th century. All in all, this work is not for the weak of will; only the stalwart will want to brave the necessary interpretation to get information from this text. To those who are willing to translate the translation, however, this text is a jewel without price - let us hope that it will find a more deserving setting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.