ITALG018 - Giordano Bruno

Value: 30 credits
Tutor: Dr Dilwyn Knox
Teaching structure:
One-three hour examination in the Summer Term.

Module Description:

Giordano Bruno was burned alive at the stake on 17 February 1600 for heresy. Most of the records of his trial before the Roman Inquisition have been destroyed, so we no longer know exactly what heretical ideas Bruno refused to renounce. His works, however, make it abundantly clear that, as a philosopher, he upheld ideas that the Roman Church, and indeed all other contemporary Christian churches, considered highly suspect or heretical. Bruno set out a pantheistic philosophy, drawing on Copernicus's heliocentric hypothesis, Renaissance Platonism, and, despite himself, scholasticism. The module considers the sources and implications of his philosophy, placing it in its historical and intellectual context. This module focuses on La cena de le ceneri, published in 1584 when Bruno was in London, with supplementary readings from other works by Bruno and works by other authors.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

For this module this coming academic year you will need to buy a copy of Bruno's La cenere de le ceneri in the edition published by Les Belles Lettres. The module notes are keyed to this edition. You should read this together with the module handbooks, available from the Italian Department. A reliable introduction to Bruno's life and works is Giovanni Aquilecchia's entry 'Bruno, Giordano' in the Dizionario biografico degli italiani, which is available in good research libraries (e.g. the British Library, the Warburg Institute, the UCL Library). There are many popularized accounts in Italian and English; they tend to be unreliable. A complete collection of Bruno's works is available on the website of the Scuola Normale di Pisa; search for 'La biblioteca ideale di Giordano Bruno'.