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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Astrology

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(ἀστρολογία , science of the stars), a pretended science, which was said to discover future events by means of the stars. Astrology (according to the old distinction) was of two kinds' natural and judicial. The former predicted certain :natural effects which appear to depend upon the influence of the stars, such as winds, rain, storms, etc. By the latter, it was pretended, could be predicted events which were de, pendent upon the human will, as particular actions, peace, war, etc. Astrology accords well with the predestinarian doctrines of Mohammedanism, and was accordingly cultivated with great ardor by the Arabs from the seventh to the thirteenth century. Some of the early Christian fathers argued against the doctrines of astrology; others received them in a modified form. In its public capacity the Roman Church several times condemned the system, but many zealous churchmen cultivated it. Cardinal D'Ailly, "the eagle of the doctors of France" (died 1420), is said to have calculated the horoscope of Jesus Christ, and maintained that the Deluge might have been predicted by astrology. Regiomontanus, the famous mathematician Cardan, even Tycho Brahe and Kepler could not shake off the fascination. Kepler saw the weakness of astrology as a science, but could not bring himself to deny a certain connection between the positions ("constellations") of the planets and the qualities of those born under them. The Copernican system gave the death-blow to astrology. Belief in astrology is not now ostensibly professed in any Christian country, though a few solitary advocates have from time to time appeared, as J. M. Pfaff in Germany, Astrologie (Nurnb. 1816). But it still holds sway in the East, and among Mohammedans wherever situated. Even in Europe the craving of the ignorant of all countries for divination is still gratified by the publication of multitudes of almanacs containing astrological predictions, though the writers no longer believe in them.

Many passages of our old writers are unintelligible without some knowledge of astrological terms. In the technical rules by which human destiny was foreseen, the heavenly houses played an important part. Astrologers were by no means at one as to the way of laying out those houses. A very general way was to draw great circles through the north and south points of the horizon as meridians pass through the poles, dividing the heavens, visible and invisible, into twelve equal parts-six above the horizon, and six below. These were the twelve houses, and were numbered onward, beginning with that which lay in the east immediately below the horizon. The first was called the house of life; the second, of fortune, or riches; the third, of brethren; the fourth, of relations; the fifth, of children; the sixth, of health; the seventh, of marriage; the eighth, of death, or the upper portal; the ninth, of religion; the tenth, of dignities; the eleventh, of friends and benefactors; the twelfth, of enemies, or of captivity. The position of the twelve houses for a given time and place-the instant of an individual's birth, for instance, was a theme. To construct such a plan was to cast the person's nativity. The houses had different powers, the strongest being the first; as it contained the part of the heavens about to rise, it was called the ascendant, and the point of the ecliptic cut by its upper boundary was the horoscope. Each house had one of the heavenly bodies as its lord, who was strongest in his own house. See Ptolemeei Opus quadripartitum de astrorum judiciis; Schoner, De nativitatibus (Nurnb. 1532); Kepler, Harmonia mundi (Linz. 1619); Prodromus, Diss. cosmograph. (Tub 1596); Pfaff, Astrologische Taschenbiccher for 1822 and 1823; Meyer's Blotter fir hahere Wahrheit, ii, 141; Quarterly Review, 26:180; Westminster Review, Jan. 1864. (See ASTRONOMY).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Astrology'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/a/astrology.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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