Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early Modern Science
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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The belief that Aristotle’s philosophy is incompatible with Christianity is hardly controversial today. The conviction that his views about religion and society might be best understood placed in the context of Greek pagan culture is not likely to evoke strong reactions. What is true today, however, was not always the...
1. Scholasticism, Appropriation, and Censure
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The introduction and integration of Aristotelian thought into the Latin West during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is among the most remarkable movements of European intellectual history. The success that Aristotelianism enjoyed for more than four centuries obscures the originality and determination of those...
2. Humanists’ Invectives and Aristotle’s Impiety
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Giles of Rome, Thomas Aquinas, Ramon Llull, and other ecclesiastical authorities critiqued Aristotelianism from within, believing that, if his texts were interpreted in the correct way, they were necessary for considerations of nature and theology. As a result, church decrees institutionalized Aristotelianism. The...
3. Renaissance Aristotle, Renaissance Averroes
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A number of fifteenth-century humanists reviled Aristotle; others, such as Bruni, prized at least portions of Aristotelian thought, valuing it as part of antiquity’s intellectual heritage. Just as Ficino and his circle sought out new texts to interpret Plato’s thought, Aristotelians influenced by humanism attempted to find more accurate...
4. Italian Aristotelianism after Pomponazzi
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Despite the Fifth Lateran Council and the controversy surrounding Pietro Pomponazzi, throughout the sixteenth century, Italian natural philosophers continued to attempt to uncover Aristotle’s true positions, regardless of their agreement or disagreement with Christian doctrines. Often appealing to Averroes’ or Alexander...
5. Religious Reform and the Reassessment of Aristotelianism
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A number of Italian natural philosophers prized Averroes or attempted to follow Aristotle’s principles without regard for their correspondence to Christian doctrine. Sixteenth-century Catholic authorities reacted by trying to establish orthodox ways of considering Aristotle and Aristotelian natural philosophy. The rapid...
6. Learned Anti-Aristotelianism
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Instruction in natural philosophy during the sixteenth century was overwhelmingly Aristotelian, in universities, in newly founded Jesuit colleges, and in other schools and religious institutions throughout Catholic and Protestant Europe. More commentaries on Aristotle were written between 1500 and 1650 than in the...
7. History, Erudition, and Aristotle’s Past
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By the late Middle Ages, some interpretations of Aristotle’s philosophy and its relation to Christianity depended on knowledge of the past and on conceptions of historical practice. Readings of Augustine and Cicero shaped Petrarch’s, Bruni’s, Ficino’s, and Valla’s depictions of Peripatetic philosophy. The discovery of the...
8. The New Sciences, Religion, and the Struggle over Aristotle
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In a 1647 treatise addressed to Mersenne, a Capuchin monk from Warsaw named Valeriano Magni stated, “Atheism [atheismus] is such a crime that no other one equally touches the anger of God. Atheism is such an evil that there is nothing more dangerous to the human race.”1 Despite writing this sentence before...
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As early as Petrus Ramus in the sixteenth century, Aristotle’s detractors labeled his followers as “atheists.” Atheism in early modern Europe is notoriously difficult to define as well as to detect. Since atheism was a crime punishable by death, extremely few publicly declared their lack of belief in the divine. The supposed...
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Several fellowships supported the research and writing of this book. A Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities funded my initial research at the History of Science Department at the University of Oklahoma. A Hanna Kiel Fellowship at Villa I Tatti gave me an additional year to investigate the Renaissance...
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Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2014