43 episodes

Ad Astra presents a series of academic conversations with researchers on the history of astrology. It offers to a wider audience the main academic debates and works on the historical role of astrology in culture, science, and society. While it focuses primarily the historical study of astrological practices and methodologies, it also addresses other topics, such as current research, challenges, findings, astrological documents, new publications, and conferences. 

The Ad Astra podcast is hosted by Helena Avelar and Luís Ribeiro, and is part of The Astra Project – http://theastraproject.org

ad Astra The Astra Project

    • Education
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Ad Astra presents a series of academic conversations with researchers on the history of astrology. It offers to a wider audience the main academic debates and works on the historical role of astrology in culture, science, and society. While it focuses primarily the historical study of astrological practices and methodologies, it also addresses other topics, such as current research, challenges, findings, astrological documents, new publications, and conferences. 

The Ad Astra podcast is hosted by Helena Avelar and Luís Ribeiro, and is part of The Astra Project – http://theastraproject.org

    Astrology in Cultural & Historical Context with Kocku von Stuckrad

    Astrology in Cultural & Historical Context with Kocku von Stuckrad

    In this episode we talk with Professor Kocku von Stuckrad, historian of religion and culture about the role of astrology and the ‘hybrid’ nature of “the science of the stars”, which has always combined rigorous empirical research and hermeneutical layers in its theory and activity. The podcast takes a look at what is accepted and what is fringe knowledge and how this concepts shift throughout time. It addresses the need to rethink the discourse of the past on science, philosophy and religion and to question binary assumptions such as science/magic, astronomy/astrology, chemistry/alchemy.


    Kocku von Stuckrad is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Groningen and is co-founder and co-director of the research center Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge.
    To know more about his work, see: https://www.kockuvonstuckrad.com
    The Counterpoint project can be found at: https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/
    He has written many papers and books on the history of astrology, among which:
    – With Günther Oestmann and H. Darrel Rutkin: Horoscopes and Public Spheres: Essays on the History of Astrology (Religion and Society 42). Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter 2005.
    – Geschichte der Astrologie: Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Munich: C. H. Beck, 2003. 413 pp. New, revised edition 2007 (translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Italian)
    – Die Seele im 20. Jahrhundert: Eine Kulturgeschichte. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink 2019. XI, 279 pp. Currently being translated as: The Soul in the Twentieth Century: Insights in Psychology, Science, Nature, Philosophy, Spirituality, and Politics from Europe and America (working title). New York: Columbia University Press (forthcoming fall 2020).

    • 46 min
    A Book of Knowledge from 13th Century Yemen with Petra Schmidl

    A Book of Knowledge from 13th Century Yemen with Petra Schmidl

    In this podcast we talk once more with researcher Petra Schmidl on her research on a thirteenth-century manuscript from Yemen. We talk on the constellation of practical or useful knowledges contained in this type of work, which range from the religious, to the geographical, and the astronomical and astrological material.
    For details on the project and more information about her work, see: https://tabsira.hypotheses.org

    • 47 min
    Prophecy & Astrology in the Medieval Period with Laura Ackerman Smoller

    Prophecy & Astrology in the Medieval Period with Laura Ackerman Smoller

    In this episode we talk with Laura Ackerman Smoller, a reference name in the history of astrology with her book History, Prophecy, and the Stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailly, 1350-1420. She is currently professor of History at the University of Rochester, New York. We address her research into prophecy in the Middle Ages and the role of astrology in this type of narrative.
    To know more on Professor Smoller’s work see: https://rochester.academia.edu/LauraSmoller
    History, Prophecy, and the Stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailly, 1350-1420 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994) – https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691654317/history-prophecy-and-the-stars

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Debating the Stars in the Italian Renaissance with Ovanes Akopyan

    Debating the Stars in the Italian Renaissance with Ovanes Akopyan

    DEBATING THE STARS IN THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE WITH OVANES AKOPYAN


    In this episode we talk with Ovanes Akopyan, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Innsbruck. He has recently published the book with his PhD research: Debating the Stars in the Italian Renaissance. Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola’s Disputationes Adversus Astrologiam Divinatricem and Its Reception (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2020). In the podcast we discuss his research into the role of Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola in the anti-astrological debate as well as other aspects of early modern history of science.
    For more information on Ovanes Akopyan’s work, see: https://uibk.academia.edu/OvanesAkopyan
    For his book see: https://brill.com/view/title/36397

    • 46 min
    Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola & Astrology with H Darrel Rutkin

    Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola & Astrology with H Darrel Rutkin

    In this episode we talk once more with researcher H Darrel Rutkin on one of the most, if not the most, relevant figures of early modern anti-astrological discourse: Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola (24 February 1463–17 November 1494). Published posthumously in 1496 his Disputationes adversus astrologiam divinatricem (Arguments Against Judicial Astrology) had a tremendous impact on astrological practice. Pico has been studied by several researchers, among them Darrel, who addressed his work and impact in this PhD thesis and in other publications. In this podcast we discuss some details of Giovanni Pico’s work and life.
    For an overview of H Darrel Rutkin’s work see: https://unive.academia.edu/HDarrelRutkin
    Our previous podcast with Darrel is available at: https://youtu.be/bwLMLYGWky8
    See also:
    Early Modern Cosmology: Institutions and Metaphysics – https://www.unive.it/pag/35129/
    Sapientia Astrologica: Astrology, Magic and Natural Knowledge, ca. 1250-1800, Vol. 1 (Springer, 2019) – https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030107789

    • 35 min
    Celestial Influence and Astrology in Debate with Maria Sorokina

    Celestial Influence and Astrology in Debate with Maria Sorokina

    In this episode we talk with researcher Maria Sorokina about her work on the medieval theological debates on astrology. Her PhD, “Les théologiens face à la question de l’influence céleste. Science et foi dans les commentaires des Sentences (v. 1220-v. 1340)”, studies the how astrology is dealt in the commentaries to the Sentences of Peter Lombard. This is a continuation of her MA research on these type debates in the “Summa de astris” of Gérard de Feltre.
    Maria’s research will be published soon in Les sphères, les astres et les théologiens L’influence céleste entre science et foi dans les commentaires des Sentences (v. 1220-v. 1340) (Brepols, 2020): http://www.brepols.net/Pages/ShowProduct.aspx?prod_id=IS-9782503590868-1
    For more information on her work see: https://kuleuven.academia.edu/MariaSorokina

    • 40 min

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