the biographical sketches
Giordano Bruno, (1548?-1600), Italian Renaissance philosopher and poet. Bruno influenced subsequent intellectuals, who then nurtured modern science and the Reformation. Bruno was born at Nola, near Naples. His name was Filippo, but he took the name Giordano when he joined the Dominicans. They trained him in Aristotelian philosophy and Thomistic theology. He was an independent thinker with a tempestuous spirit. He fled in 1576 to avoid going to trial. He travelled to Geneva, Toulouse, Paris and London. He spent two years in London, from 1583 to 1585, under the protection of the French ambassador. He stayed in the social circle of an English poet, Sir Philip Sidney. He composed Ash Wednesday Supper (1584), On the Infinite Universe and Worlds (1584) and On the Cause, Principle and Unity (1584). Another poetic dialogue was, Gli Eroici Furori (1585). This book expressed his respect for the Platonic love that joins the soul to God through wisdom. Bruno advocated philosophical theories that were a blend of mystical neoplatonism and pantheism. He believed in an infinite universe. He thought of God as a universal soul that manifested itself as all material things. Bruno developed the philosophical implications of the Copernican theory. Bruno was a forerunner of modern philosophy. He influenced Spinoza. He anticipated the monism of the seventeenth century. In 1585, Bruno went to Paris, Marburg an der Lahn, Wittenberg, Prague, Helmstedt and Frankfurt. In Frankfurt, he arranged to print his manuscripts. Giovanni Mocenigo invited Bruno to be his tutor in Italy. He denounced Bruno in 1592. The Inquisition charged him with blasphemy, immoral conduct and heresy. He was imprisoned for eight years. He was immolated in Campo dei Fiori, on February 17, 1600. Almost three hundred years later, a statue was erected on this site. It is dedicated to the freedom of thought.
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation.All rights reserved.
Desmond J. Fitzgerald
Edited by Michael Hawes