Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Acocella, Joan. "The Forbidden World." NEW YORKER August 25, 2008.
Rowland, Ingrid. Giordano Bruno: Philosopher/Heretic. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008. San Domenico was a conservative institution. It taught Scholastic philosophy—the world of Aristotle, revived and Catholicized by St. Thomas Aquinas and other scholars of the Middle Ages—as if no other philosophies existed. They did exist. From the early Renaissance onward, that world picture—limited, tidy, and comforting—had been challenged by a rebirth of the ideas of Plato, who had a very different slant on things: visionary, poetic. After Bruno’s Scholastic training at San Domenico, Rowland says, he encountered Neoplatonism, and it transformed his thinking. She gives this a lot of space. . . . She sees Neoplatonism as his beacon, but she is glad for him that, before he stuck his head up among the stars, his feet had been planted on the ground by Aristotle and Aquinas. That dichotomy becomes the basis of her portrait of Bruno. . . . Read the whole review here: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2008/08/25/080825crbo_books_acocella.