Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was born in Cologne on September 14th, 1486. After several years as a mercenary in Spain and France, Agrippa received the patronage of Margaret of Austria, among others, and became a lecturer at the University of Dôle. His interest in Jewish theology led to his giving a course on Johann Reuchlin’s De verbo mirifico, one sign of his interest in Christian cabalistic texts. These lectures led to his receiving a doctorate in Theology.
For this series, which concentrates on women writers, but includes a handful of entries of men who wrote on women, my interest in Agrippa’s academic career concentrates on a book he wrote while at Dôle. De nobilitate et praecellentia foeminae sexus (On the Nobility and Excellence of the Feminine Sex), is a work that tried to prove the theological and moral superiority of women using Christian cabalistic ideas, many based on Reuchlin’s work.
For further reading:
Agrippa von Nettesheim, Heinrich Cornelius, 1486?-1536. Declamation on the nobility and preeminence of the female sex, translated and edited with an introduction by Albert Rabil, Jr. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.