Prisca theologia, also referred to as the ancient theology, entails a doctrine that promotes the existence of a single true theology. The argument suggests that theology is common in all the regions that initially originated from God. The term originates from the 15th century scholars. Marsilio Ficino coined it in the study of theology. Together with Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino sought to correct the teachings of the catholic church. The duo engaged in the writing of the Prisca Theologia as a way of facilitating the reflection in the Hermeticism, Chaldean oracles, Neoplatonism among other sources
Iamblichus is a Neoplatonist philosopher who addressed the subject of the Prisca theologia. The Arab philosopher addressed the topic from the perspective of the philosopher, Plato. The scholar, in his work, took an antichristian approach. He discussed the subject through the Hermetic Corpus and the Chaldean oracles approach. Despite his antichristian approach, most of the doctrines that he addressed were incorporated into early Christianity. He was the first scholar to endorse the Hermetic Corpus. His view of these writings was that they belonged to Egyptian philosophers (Mori 179). However, he also acknowledged that the Mosaic doctrines had adopted some of these doctrines. His perspective suggested that he agreed that the Hermetic Corpus integrated with the teachings and traditions of Moses. His belief consequently created a connection between the ancient Egyptian mysteries and Christianity.
The Italian priest and scholar, Marsilio Ficino, also addresses the subject of the Prisca theologia. He is thought to be the proponent of the topic during the Christian renaissance period. He presents two contradictory views on the aspect of the Prisca theologia. Although he is the founder of the Prisca theologia, the Judaism religion also influenced his thoughts. His first theory on the Prisca theologia is the existence of a single source of religious truth. He elaborates that most religions rose through the various means of transition of the doctrine (Coughlin 147). He argues that just as the mosaic tradition was handed down to religions, including Christianity, it was also passed to philosophers, such as Pythagoras and Plato. He also embraces the multilinear version of the Prisca theologia. This version suggests that there could have been more than a single source with various modes and means of translations. It goes against the assumption that the Greek philosophers, including Plato, generated their inspiration from the Hebrew prophets.
Della Mirandola used his work, Kabbalistic thesis, to analyze the aspect of the Prisca Theologia. In his thesis, he attempted to investigate the son of God through the analysis of at least six Prisci Theology. He related the various religions through the usage of multiple aspects from the different religions to justify numerous practices. In his thesis, he creates a justification for the usage of the horoscopes of Christ by the Arabs (Hanegraaff 98). In the elaboration of the Oratio de hominis dignitate, he comments on the central role played by humans in the universe, a subject in which the Persians, Hermes, biblical prophets are all in agreement. He also elaborates that various aspects of the doctrine of Moses, which form the basis of Christianity. The doctrines are also present in the Egyptian orientations, from which major philosophers arise. Through his writings, he suggests that all people and religions unanimously agree on the fundamental principles of religion.
Coughlin, Rebecca. “Uniting with Divine Wisdom: theurgic prayer and religious practice in Dionysius and Marsilio Ficino.” Dionysius 36 (2018): 142-155.
Hanegraaff, Wouter J. “Hermes Trismegistus and Hermetism.” SGARBI, M. Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy (2018).
Mori, Giuliano. “Ancient Theology and New Philosophies: Pierre-Daniel Huet against Descartes and Spinoza.” Erudition and the Republic of Letters 4.2 (2019): 167-198.