Renaissance Philosopher Quotes

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I thought of the words of the Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne. "If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.
Josh Lanyon (The Dark Tide (The Adrien English Mysteries, #5))
Venetians prefer being merchants to philosophers.
Gina Buonaguro (The Virgins of Venice)
Not without deep pain do we admit to ourselves that the artists of all ages have in their highest flights carried to heavenly transfiguration precisely those conceptions that we now recognize as false: they are the glorifiers of the religious and philosophical errors of humanity, and they could not have done this without their belief in the absolute truth of these errors. Now if the belief in such truth generally diminishes, if the rainbow colors at the outermost ends of human knowing and imagining fade: then the species of art that, like the Divina commedia, Raphael's pictures, Michelangelo's frescoes, the Gothic cathedrals, presupposes not only a cosmic, but also a metaphysical significance for art objects can never blossom again. A touching tale will come of this, that there was once such an art, such belief by artists.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
Development of Western science is based on two great achievements: the invention of the formal logical system (in Euclidean geometry) by the Greek philosophers, and the discovery of the possibility to find out causal relationships by systematic experiment (during the Renaissance). In my opinion, one has not to be astonished that the Chinese sages have not made these steps. The astonishing thing is that these discoveries were made at all.
Albert Einstein
Renaissance philosophers often said that it is the soul that makes us human. We can turn that idea round and note that it is when we are most human that we have greatest access to the soul.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
..we have become wealthy, and wealth is the prelude to art. In every country where centuries of physical effort have accumulated the means for luxury and leisure, culture has followed as naturally as vegetation grows in a rich and watered soil. To have become wealthy was the first necessity; a people too must live before it can philosophize. No doubt we have grown faster than nations usually have grown; and the disorder of our souls is due to the rapidity of our development. We are like youths disturbed and unbalanced, for a time, by the sudden growth and experiences of puberty. But soon our maturity will come; our minds will catch up with our bodies, our culture with our possessions. Perhaps there are greater souls than Shakespeare's, and greater minds than Plato's, waiting to be born. When we have learned to reverence liberty as well as wealth, we too shall have our Renaissance.
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers)
The code is 0010110
Nameless Philosopher 1999 (0010110 & 1101001 THE PHILOSOPHY OF GOOD & EVIL IN THE DIGITAL AGE: 0010110 Digital Renaissance Vs. Digital Dark Ages 1101001 (TOTAL MIND 0010110))
It is certain that the labors of these early workers in the field of natural knowledge were brought to a standstill by the decay and disruption of the Roman Empire, the consequent disorganisation of society, and the diversion of men's thoughts from sublunary matters to the problems of the supernatural world suggested by Christian dogma in the Middle Ages. And, notwithstanding sporadic attempts to recall men to the investigation of nature, here and there, it was not until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that physical science made a new start, founding itself, at first, altogether upon that which had been done by the Greeks. Indeed, it must be admitted that the men of the Renaissance, though standing on the shoulders of the old philosophers, were a long time before they saw as much as their forerunners had done.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century, The)
It is disappointing how people tend not to read a broad range of material. When the poets only read poetry, the historians only read history, the theorists only read theory, and the philosophers only read philosophy, we experience a clear deficiency in poetry, history, theory, and philosophy. We are far away from Renaissance human beings sculpting themselves to be full and all encompassing in knowledge and life pursuits.
Anthony Leskov (Communicating Vessels Anthology)
From the Renaissance until today, Christianity, and also to some extent Judaism, in the West have had to carry out a constant battle against ideologies, philosophies, institutions and practices which are secular in nature and which challenge the authority of religion and in fact its very validity and legitimacy. These challenges to religion have varied from political ideas which are based on secularism to the denial of the religious foundation of morality and the philosophical denial of the reality of God and of the after life or of revelation and sacred scripture. The history of the West has been marked during the last few centuries by a constant battle between the forces of religion and secularism and in fact the gaining of the upper hand by secularism and consequently the denial of the reality of religion and its pertinence to various domains of life.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (A Young Muslim's Guide to the Modern World)
We deny the snobbish English assumption that the uneducated are the dangerous criminals. We remember the Roman Emperors. We remember the great poisoning princes of the Renaissance. We say that the dangerous criminal is the educated criminal.
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare)
Everywhere, on both sides, men were turning away from the civic virtues and the sensual pleasures to seek an inner purgation and a supernatural goal. The modern who dislikes the Christian Fathers would have disliked the Pagan philosophers equally, and for similar reasons.
C.S. Lewis (The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature)
In the Renaissance, Lucretius and his atomic theories were revolutionary. In Celsus’s time they were utterly unremarkable. It wasn’t just the fact that Christians were ignorant about philosophical theories that annoyed Celsus; it was that Christians actually reveled in their ignorance.
Catherine Nixey (The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World)
LEBEAU: Well I’m not a philosopher, but I know my mother, and that’s why I’m here. You’re like people who look at my paintings—“What does this mean, what does that mean?” Look at it, don’t ask what it means; you’re not God, you can’t tell what anything means. I’m walking down the street before, a car pulls up beside me, a man gets out and measures my nose, my ears, my mouth, the next thing I’m sitting in a police station—or whatever the hell this is here—and in the middle of Europe, the highest peak of civilization! And you know what it means? After the Romans and the Greeks and the Renaissance, and you know what this means?
Arthur Miller (The Penguin Arthur Miller: Collected Plays)
It was the Church, they told me, that had kept alive the Latin and Greek of the classical world in the benighted Middle Ages, until it could be picked up again by the wider world in the Renaissance. On holidays, we would visit museums and libraries where the same point was made. As a young child, I looked at the glowing gold of the illuminated manuscripts and believed in a more metaphorical illumination in ages of intellectual darkness. And, in a way, my parents were right to believe this, for it is true. Monasteries did preserve a lot of classical knowledge. But it is far from the whole truth. In fact, this appealing narrative has almost entirely obscured an earlier, less glorious story. For before it preserved, the Church destroyed. In a spasm of destruction never seen before—and one that appalled many non-Christians watching it—during the fourth and fifth centuries, the Christian Church demolished, vandalized and melted down a simply staggering quantity of art. Classical statues were knocked from their plinths, defaced, defiled and torn limb from limb. Temples were razed to their foundations and mutilated. A temple widely considered to be the most magnificent in the entire empire was leveled. Many of the Parthenon sculptures were attacked, faces were mutilated, hands and limbs were hacked off, and gods were decapitated. Some of the finest statues on the whole building were almost certainly smashed off then ground into rubble that was then used to build churches. Books—which were often stored in temples—suffered terribly. The remains of the greatest library in the ancient world, a library that had once held perhaps 700,000 volumes, were destroyed in this way by Christians. It was over a millennium before any other library would even come close to its holdings. Works by censured philosophers were forbidden and bonfires blazed across the empire as outlawed books went up in flames.
Catherine Nixey (The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World)
Many of the writers at the time were immersed not only in a contemporary fascination with esoteric and psychological themes but also reached farther back into pagan times for philosophical inspiration. Fowles wrote, We often forget to what an extent the Renaissance and all its achievements sprang from a reversion to the Greek system. The relationship between paganism and freedom of thought is too well established to need any proof; and all monotheistic religions are in a sense puritan in tone—inherently tyrannical and fascistic. The great scientific triumphs of the Greeks, their logic, their democracy, their arts, all were made possible by their loose, fluid concepts of divinity; and the same is true of the most recent hundred years of human history.2
Carl Abrahamsson (Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward)
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (May 3, 1469 – June 21, 1527) was an Italian political philosopher, musician, poet, and romantic comedic playwright. He is a figure of the Italian Renaissance and a central figure of its political component, most widely known for his treatises on realist political theory (The Prince) on the one hand and republicanism (Discourses on Livy) on the other. Source: Wikipedia
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
Renaissance Humanism, which under Petrarch’s formation and tutelage vindicated the importance of poetry and rhetoric as effectors of an intimate bond between reason and emotion, thought and action, intellect and will. Petrarchan Humanism became the historical force mobilizing thought and letters against the blind impulsiveness of an illusory popular culture and the elitism of the philosophical schools” (Trinkaus, 135).
Charles Edward Trinkaus
So here again we may clearly observe the contrast with the Enlightenment, with which individual commentators have tried to associate Nietzsche because of his atheism. In the Enlightenment, the idea was to prove that belief in God might not signify any kind of moral imperative for mankind, that the moral laws would operate in a society of atheists just as much as in one where religious patronage held sway. Nietzsche, on the contrary, wanted to show that the demise of the idea of God (or the death of God) would entail a moral renaissance in the sense we have noted above. Apart, therefore, from the other ethical contradictions in the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Enlightenment, about which we again already know Nietzsche’s opinion, we find another contrast here in respect of the socio-ethical role of religion. The ‘old’ Enlightenment regarded the religious concept as irrelevant to men’s morality, actions, views etc., which in reality were adequately determined by a combination of society and men’s reason. On the other hand, Nietzsche — and here he far exceeded all Feuerbach’s weaknesses in the realm of historico-philosophical idealism — regarded the switch to atheism as a turning point for morality. (At this point let us just briefly remark that here Nietzsche’s worldview is very close to certain tendencies in Dostoievsky.)
György Lukács (Destruction of Reason)
The Dark Ages gradually ended six centuries ago with the Renaissance, which seeded new ideas for a different world. The Renaissance ideal dominated our culture until three centuries ago, from the 14th to the 18th century, when it was superseded by modernism. Not surprisingly, this human ideal has almost been forgotten in our culture. The Renaissance, literally "re-birth", was a revival and rediscovery of classical Greek and Roman culture following the decline of culture, trade, and technology during the Dark Ages.
Jacob Lund Fisker
This is a game that has been played over and over—in fact, for twenty-four centuries—before audiences of almost infinite variety. At some point long ago, the game became a doubles match, for the two Greek philosophers were joined by two medieval Christian theologians: Plato by Augustine of Hippo, who could nearly equal him in style and seriousness; Aristotle by Thomas Aquinas, nearly as styleless as Aristotle but, though overweight, ungainly, and blinking in the sun, extremely thoughtful and genial—the sort of athlete who is always undervalued.
Thomas Cahill (Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World (Hinges of History Book 6))
Johnson continually sketched out ideas for books he hoped, aspired or intended to write. These included a history of criticism, a set of biographies of the great philosophers ‘written with a polite air’, a history of Venice, a prayer book, a dictionary of ancient mythology, editions of Chaucer and Bacon, a compendium of proverbs, a collection of epigrams, a history of the ‘revival of learning’ in Renaissance Europe, a cookbook laid out ‘upon philosophical principles’, a history of his melancholy, and an autobiography (these last two surely very much
Henry Hitchings (Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary)
The great scientists from Thales to Democritus and Anaxagoras have usually been described in history or philosophy books as “Presocratics,” as if their main function was to hold the philosophical fort until the advent of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle and perhaps influence them a little. Instead, the old Ionians represent a different and largely contradictory tradition, one in much better accord with modern science. That their influence was felt powerfully for only two or three centuries is an irreparable loss for all those human beings who lived between the Ionian Awakening and the Italian Renaissance.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
I have asserted that Hobbes's psychological analysis of the human mind has no rational connection with his theory of the State. But it has, of course, an emotional connection; one can say that both doctrines belong naturally to the same temperament. Materialistic determinism and absolutist government fit into the same scheme of life. And this theory of the State shows the same lack of balance which is a general characteristic of philosophers after the Renaissance. Hobbes merely exaggerates one aspect of the good State. In doing so he developed a particularly lamentable theory of the relation between Church and State.
T.S. Eliot (For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays Ancient & Modern)
What Kant took to be the necessary schemata of reality,' says a modern Freudian, 'are really only the necessary schemata of repression.' And an experimental psychologist adds that 'a sense of time can only exist where there is submission to reality.' To see everything as out of mere succession is to behave like a man drugged or insane. Literature and history, as we know them, are not like that; they must submit, be repressed. It is characteristic of the stage we are now at, I think, that the question of how far this submission ought to go--or, to put it the other way, how far one may cultivate fictional patterns or paradigms--is one which is debated, under various forms, by existentialist philosophers, by novelists and anti-novelists, by all who condemn the myths of historiography. It is a debate of fundamental interest, I think, and I shall discuss it in my fifth talk. Certainly, it seems, there must, even when we have achieved a modern degree of clerical scepticism, be some submission to the fictive patterns. For one thing, a systematic submission of this kind is almost another way of describing what we call 'form.' 'An inter-connexion of parts all mutually implied'; a duration (rather than a space) organizing the moment in terms of the end, giving meaning to the interval between tick and tock because we humanly do not want it to be an indeterminate interval between the tick of birth and the tock of death. That is a way of speaking in temporal terms of literary form. One thinks again of the Bible: of a beginning and an end (denied by the physicist Aristotle to the world) but humanly acceptable (and allowed by him to plots). Revelation, which epitomizes the Bible, puts our fate into a book, and calls it the book of life, which is the holy city. Revelation answers the command, 'write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter'--'what is past and passing and to come'--and the command to make these things interdependent. Our novels do likewise. Biology and cultural adaptation require it; the End is a fact of life and a fact of the imagination, working out from the middle, the human crisis. As the theologians say, we 'live from the End,' even if the world should be endless. We need ends and kairoi and the pleroma, even now when the history of the world has so terribly and so untidily expanded its endless successiveness. We re-create the horizons we have abolished, the structures that have collapsed; and we do so in terms of the old patterns, adapting them to our new worlds. Ends, for example, become a matter of images, figures for what does not exist except humanly. Our stories must recognize mere successiveness but not be merely successive; Ulysses, for example, may be said to unite the irreducible chronos of Dublin with the irreducible kairoi of Homer. In the middest, we look for a fullness of time, for beginning, middle, and end in concord. For concord or consonance really is the root of the matter, even in a world which thinks it can only be a fiction. The theologians revive typology, and are followed by the literary critics. We seek to repeat the performance of the New Testament, a book which rewrites and requites another book and achieves harmony with it rather than questioning its truth. One of the seminal remarks of modern literary thought was Eliot's observation that in the timeless order of literature this process is continued. Thus we secularize the principle which recurs from the New Testament through Alexandrian allegory and Renaissance Neo-Platonism to our own time. We achieve our secular concords of past and present and future, modifying the past and allowing for the future without falsifying our own moment of crisis. We need, and provide, fictions of concord.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
Italy had a Renaissance, and Germany had a Reformation, but France had Voltaire; he was for his country both Renaissance and Reformation, and half the Revolution. No, never has a writer had in his lifetime such influence. Despite exile, imprisonment, and the suppression of almost everyone of his books by the minions of church and state, he forged fiercely a path for his truth, until at last kings, popes and emperors catered to him, thrones trembled before him, and half the world listened to catch his every word. It was an age in which many things called for a destroyer. “Laughing lions must come,” said Nietzsche; well, Voltaire came, and “annihilated with laughter.
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers)
Literature before the Renaissance had frequently offered ideal patterns for living which were dominated by the ethos of the church, but after the Reformation the search for individual expression and meaning took over. Institutions were questioned and re-evaluated, often while being praised at the same time. But where there had been conventional modes of expression, reflecting ideal modes of behaviour - religious, heroic, or social - Renaissance writing explored the geography of the human soul, redefining its relationship with authority, history, science, and the future. This involved experimentation with form and genre, and an enormous variety of linguistic and literary innovations in a short period of time. Reason, rather than religion, was the driving force in this search for rules to govern human behaviour in the Renaissance world. The power and mystique of religion had been overthrown in one bold stroke: where the marvellous no longer holds sway, real life has to provide explanations. Man, and the use he makes of his powers, capabilities, and free will, is thus the subject matter of Renaissance literature, from the early sonnets modelled on Petrarch to the English epic which closes the period, Paradise Lost, published after the Restoration, when the Renaissance had long finished. The Reformation gave cultural, philosophical, and ideological impetus to English Renaissance writing. The writers in the century following the Reformation had to explore and redefine all the concerns of humanity. In a world where old assumptions were no longer valid, where scientific discoveries questioned age-old hypotheses, and where man rather than God was the central interest, it was the writers who reflected and attempted to respond to the disintegration of former certainties. For it is when the universe is out of control that it is at its most frightening - and its most stimulating. There would never again be such an atmosphere of creative tension in the country. What was created was a language, a literature, and a national and international identity.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Asking himself how this had happened and what could be done about it, Peter came to understand that the roots of Western technological achievement lay in the freeing of men’s minds. He grasped that it had been the Renaissance and the Reformation, neither of which had ever come to Russia, which had broken the bonds of the medieval church and created an environment where independent philosophical and scientific inquiry as well as wide-ranging commercial enterprise could flourish. He knew that these bonds of religious orthodoxy still existed in Russia, reinforced by peasant folkways and traditions which had endured for centuries. Grimly, Peter resolved to break these bonds on his return.
Robert K. Massie (Peter the Great: His Life and World)
for we have been deprived of all the people of knowledge save for a group, small in number, with many troubles, whose concern in life is to snatch the opportunity, when time is asleep, to devote themselves meanwhile to the investigation and perfection of a science; for the majority of people who imitate philosophers confuse the true with the false, and they do nothing but deceive and pretend knowledge, and they do not use what they know of the sciences except for base and material purposes; and if they see a certain person seeking for the right and preferring the truth, doing his best to refute the false and untrue and leaving aside hypocrisy and deceit, they make a fool of him and mock him.
Jim Al-Khalili (The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance)
SHAKESPEARE What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more (Hamlet) There is no one kind of Shakespearean hero, although in many ways Hamlet is the epitome of the Renaissance tragic hero, who reaches his perfection only to die. In Shakespeare's early plays, his heroes are mainly historical figures, kings of England, as he traces some of the historical background to the nation's glory. But character and motive are more vital to his work than praise for the dynasty, and Shakespeare's range expands considerably during the 1590s, as he and his company became the stars of London theatre. Although he never went to university, as Marlowe and Kyd had done, Shakespeare had a wider range of reference and allusion, theme and content than any of his contemporaries. His plays, written for performance rather than publication, were not only highly successful as entertainment, they were also at the cutting edge of the debate on a great many of the moral and philosophical issues of the time. Shakespeare's earliest concern was with kingship and history, with how 'this sceptr'd isle' came to its present glory. As his career progressed, the horizons of the world widened, and his explorations encompassed the geography of the human soul, just as the voyages of such travellers as Richard Hakluyt, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake expanded the horizons of the real world.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Most significantly, the Middle Ages laid the foundation for the greatest achievement of western civilisation, modern science. It is simply untrue to say that there was no science before the ‘Renaissance’. Once medieval scholars got their hands on the work of the classical Greeks, they developed systems of thought that allowed science to travel far further than it had in the ancient world. Universities, where academic freedom was guarded from royal interference, were first founded in the twelfth century. These institutions have always provided scientific research with a safe home. Even Christian theology turned out to be uniquely suited to encouraging the study of the natural world, because this was believed to be God’s creation.
James Hannam (God's Philosophers)
We have entered, almost without noticing, an age of exploration and discovery unparalleled since the Renaissance. It seems to me that the practical benefits of comparative planetology for Earthbound sciences; the sense of adventure imparted by the exploration of other worlds to a society that has almost lost the opportunity for adventure; the philosophical implications of the search for a cosmic perspective—these are what will in the long run mark our time. Centuries hence, when our very real political and social problems may be as remote as the very real problems of the War of the Austrian Succession seem to us, our time may be remembered chiefly for one fact: this was the age when the inhabitants of the Earth first made contact with the cosmos around them.
Carl Sagan (Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science)
The University of Pisa, whose scientific reputation throughout Italy was second only to that of Padua, was informed by official decree: 'His Highness [Cosimo III] will allow no professor ... to read or teach, in public or private, by writing or by voice, the philosophy of Democritus, or of atoms, or any saving that of Aristotle.' There was no avoiding this educational censorship, for at the same time a decree was issued forbidding citizens of Tuscany from attending any university beyond its borders, while philosophers and intellectuals who disobeyed this decree were liable to punitive fines or even imprisonment. Gone were the days when the Medici were the patrons of poets and scientists; Florence, once one of the great intellectual and cultural centres of Europe, now sank into repression and ignorance.
Paul Strathern (The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance)
The theme of tonight’s dinner is apotheosis. What does it mean to become God? If Father Francis has no problem with lesser mortals like ourselves bursting into kaleidoscopic rainbows after decades of intense meditation, then why not simply drink the sacred potion and cut to the chase? At the end of the day, aren’t we both talking about that cryptic promise from Eleusis: overcoming the limitations of the physical body and cheating death? That “moment of intense rapture” sought by the maenads of Dionysus, until they “became identified with the god himself.” And aren’t he and Ruck both committing the same arch-heresy by suggesting that the original, obscured truth of Christianity has nothing to do with worshipping Jesus, and everything to do with becoming Jesus? Aren’t we all just gods and goddesses in the making? Maybe the concept of apotheosis doesn’t sound particularly heretical today. But a few hundred years ago, it got the likes of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola into a load of trouble. In 1484 the upstart Italian was only twenty-one years old when he met Lorenzo de’ Medici, who promptly invited him into the Florentine Academy that was about to punch the Renaissance into high gear. Already a student of Greek, as well as Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic, the newest Florentine got to work writing Oratio de hominis dignitate (Oration on the Dignity of Man): the so-called Manifesto of the Renaissance. He wanted to publicly debut the Oratio, together with his 900 Theses, in Rome on the Epiphany of 1487, the God’s Gift Day. But Pope Innocent VIII was not impressed. He put a halt to the spectacle and condemned every one of Pico della Mirandola’s theses for “renovating the errors of pagan philosophers.
Brian C. Muraresku (The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name)
I tell you I am sometimes sick of my trade when I see how perpetually it means merely a war upon the ignorant and the desperate. But this new movement of ours is a very different affair. We deny the snobbish English assumption that the uneducated are the dangerous criminals. We remember the Roman Emperors. We remember the great poisoning princes of the Renaissance. We say that the dangerous criminal is the educated criminal. We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men; my heart goes out to them. They accept the essential ideal of man; they merely seek it wrongly. Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. But philosophers dislike property as property; they wish to destroy the very idea of personal possession. Bigamists respect marriage, or they would not go through the highly ceremonial and even ritualistic formality of bigamy. But philosophers despise marriage as marriage. Murderers respect human life; they merely wish to attain a greater fulness of human life in themselves by the sacrifice of what seems to them to be lesser lives. But philosophers hate life itself, their own as much as other people's.
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday)
The Renaissance was the culture of a wealthy and powerful upper class, on the crest of the wave which was whipped up by the storm of new economic forces. The masses who did not share the wealth and power of the ruling group had lost the security of their former status and had become a shapeless mass, to be flattered or to be threatened—but always to be manipulated and exploited by those in power. A new despotism arose side by side with the new individualism. Freedom and tyranny, individually and disorder, were inextricably interwoven. The Renaissance was not a culture of small shopkeepers and petty bourgeois but of wealthy nobles and burghers. Their economic activity and their wealth gave them a feeling of freedom and a sense of individually. But at the same time, these same people had lost something: the security and feeling of belonging which the medieval social structure had offered. They were more free, but they were also more alone. They used their power and wealth to squeeze the last ounce of pleasure out of life; but in doing so, they had to use ruthlessly every means, from physical torture to psychological manipulation, to rule over the masses and to check their competitors within their own class. All human relationships were poisoned by this fierce life-and-death struggle for the maintenance of power and wealth. Solidarity with one's fellow man—or at least with the members of one's own class—was replaced by a cynical detached attitude; other individuals were looked upon as "objects" to be used and manipulated, or they were ruthlessly destroyed if it suited one's own ends. The individual was absorbed by a passionate egocentricity, an insatiable greed for power and wealth. As a result of all this, the successful individual's relation to his own self, his sense of security and confidence were poisoned too. His own self became as much an object of manipulation to him as other persons had become. We have reasons to doubt whether the powerful masters of Renaissance capitalism were as happy and as secure as they are often portrayed. It seems that the new freedom brought two things to them: an increased feeling of strength and at the same time an increased isolation, doubt, scepticism, and—resulting from all these—anxiety. It is the same contradiction that we find in the philosophical writings of the humanists. Side by side with their emphasis on human dignity, individuality, and strength, they exhibited insecurity and despair in their philosophy.
Erich Fromm (Escape from Freedom)
Chapter 1, “Esoteric Antiquarianism,” situates Egyptian Oedipus in its most important literary contexts: Renaissance Egyptology, including philosophical and archeological traditions, and early modern scholarship on paganism and mythology. It argues that Kircher’s hieroglyphic studies are better understood as an antiquarian rather than philosophical enterprise, and it shows how much he shared with other seventeenth-century scholars who used symbolism and allegory to explain ancient imagery. The next two chapters chronicle the evolution of Kircher’s hieroglyphic studies, including his pioneering publications on Coptic. Chapter 2, “How to Get Ahead in the Republic of Letters,” treats the period from 1632 until 1637 and tells the story of young Kircher’s decisive encounter with the arch-antiquary Peiresc, which revolved around the study of Arabic and Coptic manuscripts. Chapter 3, “Oedipus in Rome,” continues the narrative until 1655, emphasizing the networks and institutions, especially in Rome, that were essential to Kircher’s enterprise. Using correspondence and archival documents, this pair of chapters reconstructs the social world in which Kircher’s studies were conceived, executed, and consumed, showing how he forged his career by establishing a reputation as an Oriental philologist. The next four chapters examine Egyptian Oedipus and Pamphilian Obelisk through a series of thematic case studies. Chapter 4, “Ancient Theology and the Antiquarian,” shows in detail how Kircher turned Renaissance occult philosophy, especially the doctrine of the prisca theologia, into a historical framework for explaining antiquities. Chapter 5, “The Discovery of Oriental Antiquity,” looks at his use of Oriental sources, focusing on Arabic texts related to Egypt and Hebrew kabbalistic literature. It provides an in-depth look at the modus operandi behind Kircher’s imposing edifice of erudition, which combined bogus and genuine learning. Chapter 6, “Erudition and Censorship,” draws on archival evidence to document how the pressures of ecclesiastical censorship shaped Kircher’s hieroglyphic studies. Readers curious about how Kircher actually produced his astonishing translations of hieroglyphic inscriptions will find a detailed discussion in chapter 7, “Symbolic Wisdom in an Age of Criticism,” which also examines his desperate effort to defend their reliability. This chapter brings into sharp focus the central irony of Kircher’s project: his unyielding antiquarian passion to explain hieroglyphic inscriptions and discover new historical sources led him to disregard the critical standards that defined erudite scholarship at its best. The book’s final chapter, “Oedipus at Large,” examines the reception of Kircher’s hieroglyphic studies through the eighteenth century in relation to changing ideas about the history of civilization.
Daniel Stolzenberg (Egyptian Oedipus: Athanasius Kircher and the Secrets of Antiquity)
Many philosophers and historians of culture have come to the conclusion that the western world is entering a new epoch of history. The changes that are sweeping the westernised cultures are similar to those which swept across it with the coming of Christianity and the onset of the Middle Ages (in the early part of the first millenium CE), or the triumph of Scientism following the Renaissance (around 1500 CE). This later development led to what we call the Modern world today. More recent changes, mainly in the 20th century, have laid the groundwork for another epochal change, another "paradigm shift." In fact worlds come to an end, and worlds are generated constantly. "Bubba theologians" who watch the skies for signs of the coming apocalypse are wasting their time grasping at shadows. In reality the apocalypse is an ongoing phenomenon. In fact we are in the midst of a major apocalyptic event at the present "moment in history." Changes which have occurred in the western world over the last half of the 20th century point to an epochal shift. One of the current names for this shift is "postmodernism." Postmodernism is characterized by freedom from the oppressive modern myth of progress- the idea that as time goes on, by applying ever increasing rationality and scientific methodology the problems of the world will universally evaporate in the light of pure reason. The Magian Tarok:The Key Linking the Mithraic, Greek, Roman, Hebrew and Runic Traditions with that of the Tarot, p.ix
Stephen Flowers
The study of numbers is ancient and respected. Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, who is often considered to be the father of numerology, felt “numbers to be the ultimate elements of the universe.” Even as late as the Renaissance, churches were constructed using mystical number systems that the architects believed enhanced an experience of God while within their walls. Colors and numbers both have significance. In this book they are used together, as numerology teaches us that each number has an associated color; and that each month, each day, the vibrations change. As the number vibrations change, so do the colors.
Louise L. Hay (Colors & Numbers: Your Personal Guide to Positive Vibrations in Daily Life)
Banks listed the conventional-wisdom explanations for the Renaissance: Prosperity, which provided money and markets to support art Peace, which provided the stability to seek artistic and philosophical progress Freedom, which liberated artists from state or religious control Social mobility, which allowed talented poor people to enter the arts The paradigm thing, which brought new perspectives and mediums that created a wave of originality and expression.
Daniel Coyle (The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else)
Now, I happen to be an Ayn Rand enthusiast, the philosopher-author whose caustic but penetrating eye espied some factors in society normally overlooked by a lot of people. In her philosophical tracts and in her best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged,
Ingo Swann (Psychic Literacy: & the Coming Psychic Renaissance)
In practice, the wet nurses did not have to be free women or of Christian upbringing; it was enough if they were fair-skinned, like the slaves from the east. 15 The idea that it could be otherwise, that breastfeeding was close to a mother’s heart and important for the child’s development, was professed by Renaissance philosophers such as Leon Battista Alberti, and later Erasmus of Rotterdam and Michel de Montaigne, who were looking back to Plutarch and other writers from classical antiquity.
Kia Vahland (The Da Vinci Women: The Untold Feminist Power of Leonardo's Art)
Reflection does not coincide with what is constituted but grasps only the essence of does not take the place of inten tional life in an act of pure production but only reproduces the outline of it. Husserl always presents the "return to absolute consciousness" as a title for a multitude of operations which are learned, gradually effected, and never completed. We are never wholly one with constitutive genesis; we barely manage to accompany it for short segments. What is it then which responds to our reconstitution from (if these words have a meaning ) the other side of things? From our own side, there is nothing but convergent but discontinuous intentions, moments of clarity. We constitute constituting consciousness by dint of rare and difficult efforts. It is the presumptive or alleged subject of our attempts. The author, Valery said, is the instantaneous thinker of works which were slow and laborious—and this thinker is nowhere. As the author is for VaIery the impostor of the writer, constituting consciousness is the philosopher's professional impostor. In any case, for Husserl it is the artifact the teleology of intentional life ends up at—and not the Spinozist attribute of Thought. Originally a project to gain intellectual possession of the world, constitution becomes increasingly, as Husserl's thought matures, a means of unveiling a back side of things that we have not constituted. This senseless effort to submit everything to the proprieties of "consciousness" (to the limpid play of its attitudes, intentions, and impositions of meaning) was necessary—the picture of a well-behaved World left to us by classical philosophy had to be pushed to the limit--in order to reveal all that was left over: these beings beneath our idealizations and objectifications which secretly nourish them and in which we have difficulty recognizing noema... Willy-nilly, against his plans and according to his essential audacity, Husserl awakens a wild-flowering world and mind. Things are no longer there simply according to their projective appearances and the requirements of the panorama, as in Renaissance perspective; but on the contrary upright, insistent, flaying our glance with their edges, each thing claiming an absolute presence which is not compossible with the absolute presence of other things, and which they nevertheless have all together by virtue of a configurational meaning which is in no way indicated by its 'theoretical meaning.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Signs)
But I believe that the Industrial Revolution, including developments leading to this revolution, barely capture what was unique about Western culture. While other cultures were unique in their own customs, languages, beliefs, and historical experiences, the West was uniquely exceptional in exhibiting in a continuous way the greatest degree of creativity, novelty, and expansionary dynamics. I trace the uniqueness of the West back to the aristocratic warlike culture of Indo-European speakers as early as the 4th millennium BC. Their aristocratic libertarian culture was already unique and quite innovative in initiating the most mobile way of life in prehistoric times, starting with the domestication and riding of horses and the invention of chariot warfare. So were the ancient Greeks in their discovery of logos and its link with the order of the world, dialectical reason, the invention of prose, tragedy, citizen politics, and face-to-face infantry battle. The Roman creation of a secular system of republican governance anchored on autonomous principles of judicial reasoning was in and of itself unique. The incessant wars and conquests of the Roman legions, together with their many military innovations and engineering skills, were one of the most vital illustrations of spatial expansionism in history. The fusion of Christianity and the Greco-Roman intellectual and administrative heritage, coupled with the cultivation of Catholicism (the first rational theology in history), was a unique phenomenon. The medieval invention of universities — in which a secular education could flourish and even articles of faith were open to criticism and rational analysis, in an effort to arrive at the truth — was exceptional. The list of epoch-making transformation in Europe is endless: the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Scientific Revolution(s), the Military Revolution(s), the Cartographic Revolution, the Spanish Golden Age, the Printing Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Romantic Era, the German Philosophical Revolutions from Kant to Hegel to Nietzsche to Heidegger.
Ricardo Duchesne (Faustian Man in a Multicultural Age)
THE ARRIVAL OF DEVIL, DEMONS, HELL, RESURRECTION AND ARMAGEDDON WERE FOREIGN TO Judaism. With the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon, (539 BCE) came many other diverse ideas about god and goddesses and sex. The philosophers and rabbis brought back a recharged and unified religious idea of one god and his power. But instead of bringing back a purer religion they brought back one filled with non-Jewish baggage. The Babylonian group returned with many diverse ideas that did not fit well with this scheme. Most biblical scholars agree that Jews brought back from Babylon numerous concepts garnered from Persian Zoroastrianism, such as a devil, demons, hell, resurrection, afterlife and Armageddon. All of these ideas entered Judaism deeply and surfaced with fantastic aberrations in Christianity and Islam. Augustine’s teaching made it clear that Christians should realize erections were a disease caused by the original sin of lust. This one man, more than any other Christian, set the Church on a path of denying the body and denying sex and sensuality, and condemning women as instrument of the devil. “...everyone is evil and carnal because of Adam,” Augustine wrote. ‘every human has been contaminated”. He declared that semen was the agent transferring this pollution from one generation to the next. Pagans had been mocking Christian celibates as being unmanly according to the Roman tradition. Augustine said no; men who had sex conquered only weak women. At this point in time, the great phallus of creation, worshiped for millennia became the organ of uncontrollable lust to be suppressed in all of Europe. Augustine’s proclamations would proliferate all over Europe, self- loathing expanding like a plague across the continent. Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant religions all inherited this lasting legacy for Western culture, enduring even after the partial eclipse of Catholic Church ideology in the Renaissance.
John R Gregg
sapphire and inherited, at length, by King Solomon. The philosophical cipher of the Table become known as Ha Qabala (The QBL tradition of light and knowledge) and it was said that he who possessed Qabala also possessed Ram, the highest expression of cosmic knowingness.45
Joseph Farrell (Thrice Great Hermetica and the Janus Age: Hermetic Cosmology, Finance, Politics and Culture in the Middle Ages through the Late Renaissance)
People often think of Narcissus as the symbol of excessive self-regard, but in fact, he exemplifies the opposite. As the Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino observed in the 1500s, Narcissus did not suffer from an overabundance of self-love, but rather from its deficiency. The myth is a parable about paralysis. The youth, who first appears in restless motion, is suddenly rooted to one spot, unable to leave the elusive spirit. As Ficino remarked, if Narcissus had possessed real self-love, he would have been able to leave his fascination. The curse of Narcissus is immobilization, not out of love for himself, but out of dependency upon his image.
Chuck DeGroat (When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community From Emotional and Spiritual Abuse)
But humanistic learning is also an end in itself. It is simply better to have escaped one’s narrow, petty self and entered minds far more subtle and vast than one’s own than never to have done so. The Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino said that a man lives as many millennia as are embraced by his knowledge of history. One could add: A man lives as many different lives as are embraced by his encounters with literature, music, and all the humanities and arts. These forms of expression allow us to see and feel things that we would otherwise never experience—society on a nineteenth-century Russian feudal estate, for example, or the perfect crystalline brooks and mossy shades of pastoral poetry, or the exquisite languor of a Chopin nocturne. Ultimately, humanistic study is the loving duty we owe those artists and thinkers whose works so transform us. It keeps them alive, as well as us, as Petrarch and Poggio Bracciolini understood. The academic narcissist, insensate to beauty and nobility, trapped in the diversity delusion, knows none of this. And as politics in Washington and elsewhere grows increasingly unmoored from reality, humanist wisdom provides us with one final consolation: There is no greater lesson from the past than the intractability of human folly.
Heather Mac Donald (The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture)
Okay, judged on raw brain power, humans do no better than our hairier cousins. So, then, what are we using our great big brains for? Maybe we’re more cunning. That’s the crux of the ‘Machiavellian intelligence’ hypothesis, named after the Italian Renaissance philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, author of The Prince (1513). In this handbook for rulers, Machiavelli counsels weaving a web of lies and deception to stay in power. According to adherents of this hypothesis, that’s precisely what we’ve been doing for millions of years: devising ever more inventive ways to swindle one another. And because telling lies takes more cognitive energy than being truthful, our brains grew like the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the US during the Cold War. The result of this mental arms race is the sapien superbrain. If this hypothesis were true, you’d expect humans to beat other primates handily in games that hinge on conning your opponent. But no such luck. Numerous studies show that chimps outscore us on these tests and that humans are lousy liars.9 Not only that, we’re predisposed to trust others, which explains how con artists can fool their marks.10 This brings me to another odd quirk of Homo sapiens. Machiavelli, in his classic book, advises never revealing your emotions. Work on your poker face, he urges; shame serves no purpose. The object is to win, by fair means or foul. But if only the shameless win, why are humans one of the only species in the whole animal kingdom to blush?
Rutger Bregman (Humankind: A Hopeful History)
It needs only to be pointed out that religious speculation could be nothing alien to a country that has produced the Buddha, Vardharmana Mahavira, Nagarjuna, Kabir and Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, to name but the best known of the spiritual figures. The Hindu world with all its rigid taboos was strangely flexible. It was in part this heritage of flexibility which enabled the Indian Renaissance thinkers to meet the challenge of British rule in intellectual and philosophical terms. Nirad
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
You know what I love about Cookie Crisp cereal?” He’s staring at his spoon. I’ve never seen one person ingest so much cereal. I swear, if I didn’t cook, it’s all he would eat. I swallow a mouthful of yogurt—Dannon Light & Fit. The commercials don’t lie; it’s really delicious. Strawberry banana is the best. “What’s that?” “It’s shaped like cookies. So, not only is it awesome, but I feel like I’m getting revenge on my parents for making me eat frigging oatmeal the first half of my life.” A poet and a philosopher, Drew is truly a Renaissance man.
Emma Chase (Twisted (Tangled, #2))
The power of the mind over reality was expressed in a different way by Oscar Wilde, who called Pater's Studies in the Renaissance his 'golden book' and yet did not himself write poetic art criticism. Wilde is deceptive: his gifts for paradox and aphorism and the absence of philosophical reference points mask the radicality of his thought. Wilde identified the destination of Fiedler's and Hildebrand's doctrines, for once art is no longer evaluated by comparison to nature, there are no limits to the critic's power to shape the evolution of art. In Wilde's dialogue of 1890, 'The True Function and Value of Criticism,' the straight man Ernest contends that 'the Greeks had no art-critics': 'By the Ilyssus, my dear Gilbert, there were no silly art congresses, bringing provincialism to the provinces and teaching the mediocrity how to mouth. By the Ilyssus there were no tedious magazines about art, in which the industrious prattle of what they do not understand.' The ironist Gilbert, who speaks for Wilde, contradicts him: I assure you, my dear Ernest, that the Greeks chattered about painters quite as much as people do now-adays, and Arts and Crafts guilds, and Pre-Raphaelite movements, and movements towards realism, and lectured about art, and wrote essays on art, and produced their art-historians, and their archæologists, and all the rest of it. According to Gilbert, the Greeks were in fact 'a nation of art-critics.' The critic is the one who filters art and literature through a sensibility and a prose style. The critic, for Gilbert and Wilde (and Pater), is anything but a parasite on art. The critic only completes the work of repetition and combination begun by the artist: 'I would call criticism a creation within a creation. For just as the great artists, from Homer to Æschylus, down to Shakespeare and Keats, did not go directly to life for their subject-matter, but sought for it in myth, and legend, and ancient tale, so the critic deals with materials that others have, as it were, purified for him, and to which imaginative form and colour have been already added.' Art is secondary from the start. The artist is a critic, for does he not also dominate nature with his subjectivity, which has already been shaped by art? 'The very landscape that Corot looked at was, as he said himself, but a mood of his own mind.
Christopher S. Wood (A History of Art History)
Consider education not as the painful accumulation of facts and dates and reigns, nor merely the necessary preparation of the individual to earn his keep in the world, but as the transmission of our mental, moral, technical, and aesthetic heritage as fully as possible to as many as possible, for the enlargement of man's understanding, control, embellishment, and enjoyment of life. The heritage that we can now more fully transmit is richer than ever before. It is richer than that of Pericles, for it includes all the Greek flowering that followed him; richer than Leonardo's, for it includes him and the Italian Renaissance; richer than Voltaire's, for it embraces all the French Enlightenment and its ecumenical dissemination. If progress is real despite our whining, it is not because we are born any healthier, better, or wiser than infants were in the past, but because we are born to a richer heritage, born on a higher level of that pedestal which the accumulation of knowledge and art raises as the ground and support of our being. The heritage rises, and man rises in proportion as he receives it. History is, above all else, the creation and recording of that heritage; progress is its increasing abundance, preservation, transmission, and use. To those of us who study history not merely as a warning reminder of man's follies and crimes, but also as an encouraging remembrance of generative souls, the past ceases to be a depressing chamber of horrors; it becomes a celestial city, a spacious country of the mind, wherein a thousand saints, statesmen, inventors, scientists, poets, artists, musicians, lovers, and philosophers still live and speak, teach and carve and sing. The historian will not mourn because he can see no meaning in human existence except that which man puts into it; let it be our pride that we ourselves may put meaning into our lives, and sometimes a significance that transcends death. If a man is fortunate he will, before he dies, gather up as much as he can of his civilized heritage and transmit it to his children. And to his final breath he will be grateful for this inexhaustible legacy, knowing that it is our nourishing mother and our lasting life.
Will Durant (The Lessons of History)
It is often said that philosophy makes no progress, but to a large extent the creation of autonomous disciplines is how philosophy progresses. Mathematics in antiquity; physics in the Renaissance; biology after Darwin; logic in the early 20th century; computer science in mid-20th century; cognitive science still more recently; in each case, so much progress was made, so many controversies resolved, so many confusions clarified, that a self-contained subject was created and equipped to progress further. The philosopher Daniel Dennett defines philosophy as what we do when we don’t know what questions to ask; when we understand enough to work out what the questions are and can start answering them, a new science buds off from philosophy.
David Wallace (Philosophy of Physics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
Of further interest is the fact that both men were products of the Judeo-Spanish traditions of their respective times. Maimonides was heavily influenced by the philosophical renaissance that was reflective of the last states of the Golden Age of Muslim rule in Spain. Spinoza, on the other hand, was the product of the Converso experience which created a generation of Sephardic Jews that ultimately impacted the rise of secularism and modernity in Europe. The
Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez (Maimonides and Spinoza Come to Dinner: A Hypothetical Conversation)
In about 1305, Dante called him the “supreme philosopher” who “holds universal sway in teaching everywhere” and whose doctrines “may almost be called universal opinion.
Ross King (The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance)
Pletho, a neo-pagan, had an ulterior motive in pitting Plato against Aristotle. As an opponent of the proposed union between the Latins and the Greeks, he hoped to demolish the intellectual edifice of the Roman Catholic Church, which he quite rightly recognized had been raised, thanks to Aquinas and others, on Aristotelian foundations. Upending the traditional philosophical hierarchy, he depicted Aristotle as an atheist while stressing Plato’s piety. He pointed out that for Aristotle the Prime Mover—the primary cause of all motion in the universe—existed in only one celestial sphere, which undermined the Christian idea of a god who dwells in all things. He rebutted Aristotle’s attack on Forms by saying it was tantamount to denying the existence of eternal substances. Finally, Aristotle may have paid lip service to various divinities, but, Pletho claimed, he was ultimately an atheist. Plato, on the other hand, understood God as “the universal sovereign existing over all things … the originator of originators, the creator of creators.
Ross King (The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance)
Although philosophers generally consider Gottlob Frege to have dealt the death blow to a conceptualist form of realism, Frege’s objections to human psychologism—such as the intersubjectivity, necessity, and plenitude of mathematical objects—do not touch divine psychologism. That Frege could simply overlook what has historically been the mainstream theistic position with respect to putative abstract objects is perhaps testimony to how utterly detached 19th century philosophical thinking had become from the historic Christian tradition. With the late twentieth century renaissance of Christian philosophy divine conceptualism is once more finding articulate defenders.
William Lane Craig
Although philosophers generally consider Gottlob Frege to have dealt the death blow to a conceptualist form of realism, Frege’s objections to human psychologism—such as the intersubjectivity, necessity, and plenitude of mathematical objects—do not touch divine psychologism. That Frege could simply overlook what has historically been the mainstream theistic position with respect to putative abstract objects is perhaps testimony to how utterly detached 19th century philosophical thinking had become from the historic Christian tradition. With the late twentieth century renaissance of Christian philosophy divine conceptualism is once more finding articulate defenders.
William Lane Craig
Florence was celebrated in those days for its writers, especially for its literary scholars and philosophers (from philosophos, “lover of wisdom”): men who expertly sifted and scrutinized the accumulated wisdom of the ages, especially the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Many of these texts, lost for centuries, had recently been rediscovered by Florentines such as Poggio Bracciolini, who, amid much rejoicing, had recovered long-lost works by Roman writers such as Cicero and Lucretius.
Ross King (The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance)
The billows and swells of the Platonic revival generated in Florence soon became a deluge that washed across the European intellectual landscape. Plato would so dominate the Western philosophical tradition for the next half-millennium that in 1927 the British philosopher A. N. Whitehead could famously declare in a lecture in Edinburgh: “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.
Ross King (The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance)
Michel de Montaigne (1553-1592), also known as the Lord of Montaigne, was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance. He is known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with intellectual insight. Montaigne had a direct influence on numerous Western writers; his massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written.
Roger Macdonald Andrew (Forgive: Finding Inner Peace Through Words of Wisdom)
Scientists, according to [Francis] Bacon, should not be like ants, busy doing mindless practical tasks, nor like spiders, weaving tenuous philosophical webs, but like bees, mining nature for her goodness and using it to make useful things.
Philip Ball (The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science)
Peter came to understand that the roots of Western technological achievement lay in the freeing of men’s minds. He grasped that it had been the Renaissance and the Reformation, neither of which had ever come to Russia, which had broken the bonds of the medieval church and created an environment where independent philosophical and scientific inquiry as well as wide-ranging commercial enterprise could flourish.
Robert K. Massie (Peter the Great: His Life and World)
Most readers of this section of the book will smile at this point, realising that a seemingly sophisticated philosophical argument is clearly invalidated by the context within which Lewis sets it. Yet Lewis has borrowed this from Plato—while using Anselm of Canterbury and René Descartes as intermediaries—thus allowing classical wisdom to make an essentially Christian point. Lewis is clearly aware that Plato has been viewed through a series of interpretative lenses—those of Plotinus, Augustine, and the Renaissance being particularly familiar to him. Readers of Lewis’s Allegory of Love, The Discarded Image, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, and Spenser’s Images of Life will be aware that Lewis frequently highlights how extensively Plato and later Neoplatonists influenced Christian literary writers of both the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Lewis’s achievement is to work Platonic themes and images into children’s literature in such a natural way that few, if any, of its young readers are aware of Narnia’s implicit philosophical tutorials, or its grounding in an earlier world of thought. It is all part of Lewis’s tactic of expanding minds by exposing them to such ideas in a highly accessible and imaginative form.
Alister E. McGrath (C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet)
Emboldened by the new atmosphere of hostility to occult practices, the Kentish magistrate Reginald Scot published his avowedly sceptical Discoverie of Witchcraft in 1584, which took aim at Leicester and, without naming him, at Dee as well.174 However, the change in atmosphere meant that not only the overt practice of magic but also the ‘prophetic politics’ beloved of Dee and sustained by astrology came under attack.175 Even the use of occult imagery in Elizabeth’s cult of personality met with a frosty reception. In 1590, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, a wide-ranging mythological epic poem directed at Elizabeth and suffused with alchemical, Neoplatonic and Hermetic symbolism, gained the poet little favour. It has been suggested that the poem’s heady mix of patriotic imagery and prophetic enthusiasm may have been linked to Dee’s Arthurian theories about the ‘British empire’,176 but publication came at the wrong time. In England in the 1590s ‘the spirit of reaction’ prevailed against ‘the daring spiritual adventures of the Renaissance’.177 Nevertheless, in spite of official hostility to magic, Elizabeth remained fascinated by alchemy and continued to hope for the Philosophers’ Stone, employing Dee in alchemical experiments from July 1590. Elizabeth also began her own personal correspondence with Edward Kelley, promising him incentives to return to England as her personal alchemist.178 However, by May 1591 Burghley had lost patience with Kelley’s claims. Meanwhile, the alchemist was imprisoned in Bohemia by Rudolf II for killing another man in a duel.179 Dee may have temporarily won his way back into Elizabeth’s favour in June by claiming occult knowledge of a Spanish invasion,180 but the subsequent discovery of threats to the queen’s life that summer by William Hacket and other messianic Protestant sectaries did not shed a very flattering light on Dee’s style of political prophecy.181
Francis Young (Magic in Merlin's Realm: A History of Occult Politics in Britain)
Certainly she can't and won't measure what is measureless, what neither terminates nor repeats, what is beyond even the transcendental of π - though HE doesn't think so - what is beyond polynomials and quadratic formulas, beyond the rational and irrational, the humanist and the logical, beyond the minds of the Cantors and the Dedekinds, the Renaissance philosophers and the Indian Tantrists, what falls instead into the realm of gods and kinds, of myth, of dawn of man, of the mystery of mankind - that there is a space inside her designed solely for him and despite clear Euclidian impossibilities not only does everything, in plenary excess, cleave like it's meant to, but it makes her feel what math cannot explain, what science cannot explain. What nothing can explain.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
Throughout history we witness continual cycles of rising and falling levels of the irrational. The great golden age of Pericles, with its philosophers and its first stirrings of the scientific spirit, was followed by an age of superstition, cults, and intolerance. This same phenomenon happened after the Italian Renaissance. That this cycle is bound to recur again and again is part of human nature.
Robert Greene (The Laws of Human Nature: Robert Greene)
On the Nature of Things. Indeed, the wealthy patron with philosophical interests could have wished to meet the author in person. It would have been a small matter to send a few slaves and a litter to carry Lucretius to Herculaneum to join the guests. And therefore it is even remotely possible that, reclining on a couch, Lucretius himself read aloud from the very manuscript whose fragments survive.
Stephen Greenblatt (The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began)
most influential philosopher of all time? At least in the Western tradition, there’s a clear victor in the race for this title: Aristotle. Although his works did not dominate the philosophical scene in the centuries immediately following his death, once they caught on, they caught on in a big way. For well over a thousand years Aristotle was not just the most widely read and significant philosopher. He was philosophy, in the sense that the study of philosophy was often simply the study of Aristotle’s works. In medieval times it was possible simply to say “the Philosopher,” and everyone would know who you meant. Only after the Renaissance would Aristotle’s total dominance of philosophy and science be questioned, and even since then Aristotle has never gone away. Current views in contemporary metaphysics and, especially, ethics, are explicitly presented as expansions on Aristotle’s ideas.
Peter Adamson (Classical Philosophy (A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps #1))
The Islamic world had transmitted much of Greek science to medieval Europe, and Aristotle in particular was greatly admired by Muslim scholars as “The Philosopher”. But under the influence of the clerics Islam eventually turned against reason and science as dangerous to religion, and this renaissance died out. In rather similar fashion, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian closed the philosophy schools of Athens in 529 AD because he considered them dangerous to Christianity. But while in the thirteenth century several Popes, for the same reason, tried to forbid the study of Aristotle in the universities, they were ignored and in fact by the end of the century Aquinas had been able to publish his synthesis of Aristotelian philosophy and Christian theology in the Summa Theologica.
C.R. Hallpike (Ship of Fools: An Anthology of Learned Nonsense about Primitive Society)
Even though Vasari listed herbs and their properties as one of Leonardo’s areas of interest, this is one of those subjects that has been taboo around Renaissance studies. But the use of herbs for artistic and philosophical purposes was old when the ancient Greeks discovered it two thousand years before. In a rule-breaking and innovative time such as the Florentine Renaissance, inhaling a little canapa might’ve helped with the night’s entertainment, especially if you played the lira and improvised a lot. We know it was around. After all, Pope Innocent VIII had banned the practice as sacrament during mass in 1484. How bad did the practice have to get before the Pope himself had to step in? Perhaps the reason the subject remains untouched is because Leonardo Studies arose with Italian Renaissance Studies in Victorian England, where some subjects were allowed and others weren’t. Cannabis was one. Homosexuality another.
Mike Lankford (Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci)
The European intellectual renaissance preceded the translations from the Arabic. The latter were not the cause, but the effect of that renaissance. Like all historical events, it had economic aspects (lands newly under cultivation, new agricultural techniques) and social aspects (the rise of free cities). On the level of intellectual life, it can be understood as arising from a movement that began in the eleventh century, probably launched by the Gregorian reform of the Church.…That conflict bears witness to a reorientation of Christianity toward a transformation of the temporal world, up to that point more or less left to its own devices, with the Church taking refuge in an apocalyptical attitude that said since the world was about to end, there was little need to transform it. The Church’s effort to become an autonomous entity by drawing up a law that would be exclusive to it – Canon Law – prompted an intense need for intellectual tools. More refined concepts were called for than those available at the time. Hence the appeal to the logical works of Aristotle, who was translated from Greek to Latin, either through Arabic or directly from the Greek, and the Aristotelian heritage was recovered.
Rémi Brague (The Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam)
I tell you I am sometimes sick of my trade when I see how perpetually it means merely a war upon the ignorant and the desperate. But this new movement of ours is a very different affair. We deny the snobbish English assumption that the uneducated are the dangerous criminals. We remember the Roman Emperors. We remember the great poisoning princes of the Renaissance. We say that the dangerous criminal is the educated criminal. We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men; my heart goes out to them. They accept the essential ideal of man; they merely seek it wrongly. Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. But philosophers dislike property as property; they wish to destroy the very idea of personal possession. Bigamists respect marriage, or they would not go through the highly ceremonial and even ritualistic formality of bigamy. But philosophers despise marriage as marriage. Murderers respect human life; they merely wish to attain a greater fulness of human life in themselves by the sacrifice of what seems to them to be lesser lives. But philosophers hate life itself, their own as much as other people’s.” Syme
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday)
If Jesus Himself gives me the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit as I enter this battle to fight for HIs honor, how can we not expect to win the victory? Just as David used his enemy's own sword to kill him, and as Jonathan forced his adversaries to turn their swords against themselves, so I hope in part to slay these gentiles, the philosophers, and in part to rouse them to an internecine war and their self-destruction, by the power of our faith, such as it is, and of God's word
Lorenzo Valla ("De vero falsoque bono")
I consider Greek morality to be the supreme morality up to now; what this consideration shows me is that its bodily expression made (it) the supreme morality up to now. Yet by that I mean the actual people's morality — not the one espoused by the philosophers: the decline of morals begins with Socrates: there are exclusively one-sided elements in the different systems that in earlier times were parts of a whole — it is the disintegrated older ideal. In addition there is the predominantly plebeian character, there are people without power, marginalized, oppressed etc. In more recent times the Italian Renaissance brought human beings to their highest level: "the Florentines" — for similar reasons. Isolated conditions are also evident there alongside perfect and whole human beings, like fragments: e.g., "the tyrant" is such a fragment: the art aficionado. Perhaps the Provençal had already achieved such an apogee in Europe — very rich, multifaceted, and yet self-possessed human beings, who were not ashamed of their drives.
Friedrich Nietzsche