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Turning Traditions Upside Down

Rethinking Giordano Bruno's Enlightenmen

Edited by Henning Hufnagel and Anne Eusterschulte

Publication Year: 2013

A non-conformist at the dawn of an epoch, a martyr of modernity, or just a polemic controvert? Giordano Bruno is known today as an exceptional, yet ambivalent figure within the history of ideas. Some of the world’s most eminent researchers on Bruno offer an exhaustive overview of the state-of-theart research on his work, discussing Bruno’s methodological procedures, his epistemic and literary practices, his natural philosophy, or his role as theologian and metaphysic at the cutting-edge of their disciplines. Short texts by Bruno illustrate the reasoning of the contributions. The book also reflects aspects of Bruno’s reception in the past and today, inside and outside academia.

Published by: Central European University Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Page

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p. 5-5

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Giordano Bruno: A non-conformist at the dawn of an epoch, a martyr of modernity, or just a polemic controvert? Descriptions of this kind fall short of grasping the multifold character of the Nolan. Deconstructing the relationship between God and the outside world gave distinction to his life —and his refusal to recant when facing the stake somehow set him apart...

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pp. 1-10

Turning traditions upside down—this metaphor seems to be a good starting point for rethinking Giordano Bruno’s philosophy and his provocative aspirations in the world of letters. It certainly would have been to Bruno’s liking; someone who, in his writings, often presented himself as a Mercurian, larger-than-life figure who has come to put things straight: the Nolan,...

Part 1: Epistemic Practices of a Revolutionary:Bruno’s Methods and Thinking

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pp. 11-12

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Giordano Bruno’s Changing of Default Positions

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pp. 13-18

Ut Peripateticorum similiumque philosophantum sensus a principiis perinde se habeat atque puerorum: quos eodem instituendos ordine suscipimus, quo nos optima mater erudiit natura...

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The Measurement of the Immeasurable. Divine Mind and Mathematical Structures in Giordano Bruno’s De triplici minimo et mensura

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pp. 19-34

“A threefold gift produced out of the coffer of my poverty is offered here to you, thrice noble prince.”2 With these deferential words, Giordano Bruno dedicated his late Latin work, the so-called Frankfurt Trilogy published in 1591, to the Duke Heinrich Julius of Braunschweig and Lueneburg. At first glance, this may look like a rhetorically pleasing dedication to present a...

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“…per speculum et in aenigmate…”

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pp. 35-62

Thinking through images: this is, in every respect, the central theme in Giordano Bruno’s nova filosofia, running throughout his Latin as well as his Italian works. In Eroici furori, the last and in many ways the most fascinating of the Italian dialogues, the itinerarium mentis ad deum of the “furioso’’ is depicted by a magnificent gallery of images which are...

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Platonic Caverns and Epicurean Worlds

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pp. 63-88

“Like criminals accustomed to the darkness, who, when freed from some dark tower, go out into the light, many of those trained in the common philosophy, and others too, will become frightened and awestricken, and being unable to endure the new sunlight of your clear conceptions, will...

Part 2: Experience and Vision of a New Cosmic Order: Giordano Bruno’s Natural Philosophy

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pp. 89-90

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De immenso et innumerabilibus, I, 3 and the Concept of Planetary Systems in the Infinite Universe. A Commentary

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pp. 91-106

Dispositio synodorum ex mundis in universo. Distinctio inter astra lucentia per se et per aliud. Cur planetae, qui sunt circa alios soles, non videntur...

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Atom, Matter, and Monade

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pp. 107-120

Giordano Bruno’s view of matter has been studied by several scholars,2 and two significant views can be identified. One of these theses is stated, for instance, by Tocco,3 the other by Védrine.4 Tocco identifies a turn in Bruno’s view between his early works (De la causa, 1583) and his late work in Frankfurt (1591)—a turn from the conception of substance in the Italian work...

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Giordano Bruno and the Relativity of Time

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pp. 121-130

For me, reading Bruno’s thoughts about time was one of the most astonishing experiences. This is the reason I have chosen to present these excerpts here. Miguel Ángel Granada has written a wonderful paper on the concept of time in Giordano Bruno’s work.2 Milič Čapek has already translated into English some excerpts of Bruno’s Camoeracensis Acrotismus in...

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Giordano Bruno and the New Order of Nature between Copernicus and Galilei

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pp. 131-148

As Giovanni Aquilecchia reminds us, Bruno’s Ash Wednesday Supper takes place halfway between the publication of Nicolas Copernicus’s De revolutionibus (1543) and the beginning of the composition of Galileo Galilei’s Dialogue on the World Systems (1624). The Supper was, in fact, published in London in 1584.2 Comparison of the three texts shows a precise and rigorous correspondence between the latter two. Yet, Galilei...

Part 3: Forms of Non-Conformity: Bruno’s Works as Literary Texts

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pp. 149-150

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The Comic and Philosophy: Plato’s Philebus and Bruno’s Candle-bearer

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pp. 151-158

In Paris, Bruno launched the Italian phase of his literary career with a comedy. He wanted an explicitly comic register to govern the world’s first taste of his philosophy. It is an overture in every sense, which anticipates several key aspects of his thought and at the same time outlines the general principles of his poetics. The hermeneutics of Silenus, which characterize...

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The (In)discreet Presence of Machiavelli in Giordano Bruno’s Candelaio

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pp. 159-178

Giordano Bruno’s first Italian book purports not to be an erudite treatise on the intricacies of the philosophy of the infinite universe or of the primacy of matter over form; it seems to be just a facetious stage play. The Candelaio, the ‘candle-bearer’ (a derogatory word for a passive homosexual man), was published in 1582 in Paris, where Bruno had arrived the year...

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Bruno’s Cabala: Satire of Knowledge and the Uses of the Dialogue Form

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pp. 179-196

Giordano Bruno’s fifth and shortest dialogue—Cabala del cavallo pegaseo con l’aggiunta del asino cillenico—may be best understood if we begin with its end, putting the cart before the horse (or rather before the ass): The dialogue ends with the Asino cillenico, a short dialogue within the dialogue. In this text, an ass demands to be admitted to the Pythagorean...

Part 4: Reflections of an Intellectual Burning: Bruno’s Reception and Literary Afterlife

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pp. 197-198

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The Dialectic of the Absolute Beginning. On a Copper Engraving in Heinrich Khunrath’s Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae

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pp. 199-220

Bruno’s De la Causa is, in general terms, an explication of Liber de Causis, influenced by Proclus, in which the question about the first cause is answered by maintaining that the first cause is principally unknowable, since a cause is only conceivable as a cause in contrast to its effects. Since our thinking itself is dependent upon the first cause, we ourselves can only...

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A Catholic Reader of Giordano Bruno in Counter-Reformation Rome: Athanasius Kircher, SJ and Panspermia Rerum

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pp. 221-236

In 1601, the Roman Inquisition added “all the writings” of Giordano Bruno, omnia scripta, to its Index of Prohibited Books. Although the phrase omnia scripta sounded decisive, it also reflected an uncomfortable fact: the philosopher’s inquisitors were still uncertain about what, and how much, he had actually written in his troubled, well-traveled life. The search for his published...

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From Paris to Rome, Hamburg and London. Aspects of the Afterlife of Giordano Bruno in the Twentieth Century

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pp. 237-248

The excerpt selected for this volume comes from the second edition of the musical drama Giordano Bruno ou le Chevalier errant de la philosophie. The text and two of its copies are loquacious witnesses to the movements and migration of ideas surrounding the afterlife of Giordano Bruno. The changes from the first to the second edition result from the encounter of...

Part 5: Visibility of the Invisible: About the Sculpture Giordano Bruno by Alexander Polzin [2008]

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pp. 249-250

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Flame and Wood. A Speech on the Occasion of the Unveiling of a Giordano Bruno Monument in Berlin / Color plates of the statue follow page 256

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pp. 251-256

Mysterious are the ways of artists. What might make a young Berlin-based sculptor anno Domini 2008 honor the philosopher Giordano Bruno with a sculptural monument? You quickly realize, when talking to Alexander Polzin that this cannot just have been about commissioned art. The lonely Dominican monk must have pulled him in with a great force of attraction...

List of Contributors

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pp. 257-260

Index Nominum

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pp. 261-266

Back Cover

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p. 280-280

E-ISBN-13: 9786155053641
Print-ISBN-13: 9786155053634

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: first

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Subject Headings

  • Bruno, Giordano, 1548-1600.
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