We continue our coverage of philosophy in the 15th and 16th centuries, looking beyond the Italian Renaissance to explore the Northern Renaissance and the shattering events of the Reformation, which radically changed political and cultural life in Europe, including for philosophers. In this first batch of episodes we look at the Low Countries and Germany, with occasional forays further East (including, at one point, Croatia!). We examine the phenomenon of northern humanism, with special attention to Erasmus and Nicholas of Cusa, and the way that humanism fed into the thought of Reformation figures like Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin. Another major theme in this season is the political impact of the Reformation, including the peasants' revolt and debates over religious tolerance. Lipsius' revival of Stoicism can also be understood, in part, as a reaction to the religious upheaval and violence in his native land. Finally, we look at numerous topics in science, especially Paracelsus' new chemical and medical theories and the sequence of innovators in astronomy that concludes the season: Copernicus, Brahe, and Kepler.
Along the way we're joined by several wonderful interview guests: Paul Blum, Lorraine Daston, Helen Hattab, Lyndal Roper, and John Sellars.
• J. Bossy, Christianity in the West: 1400-1700 (Oxford: 1985).
• M.A. Gillespie, The Theological Origins of Modernity (Chicago: 2008).
• C. Kooi, Reformation in the Low Countries, 1500-1620 (Cambridge: 2022).
• C. Lindberg, The Reformation Theologians: An Introduction to the Theology of the Early Modern Period (Oxford: 2002).
• M. Massing, Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind (New York: 2018).
• H.A. Oberman, Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism (Cambridge MA: 1963).
• J.H. Overfeld, Humanism and Scholasticism in Late Medieval Germany (Princeton: 1984).
• J.H. Overfeld, Protestantism: the Birth of a Revolution (New York: 1992).
• G. Remer, Humanism and the Rhetoric of Toleration (University Park: 1996).
• E. Rummel, The Humanist-Scholastic Debate in the Renaissance and Reformation (Cambridge MA: 1995).
• L.W. Spitz, The Protestant Reformation 1517-1559 (New York: 1986).
Posted on 25 April 2021
How humanism and scholasticism came together with the Protestant Reformation to create the philosophy of 15 - 16th century Europe.6 comments
Posted on 23 May 2021
Rudolph Agricola, Juan Luis Vives and other humanist scholars spread the study of classical antiquity across Europe and mock the technicalities of scholastic philosophy.8 comments
Posted on 20 June 2021
Learned ignorance, coincidence of opposites and religious peace: Paul Richard Blum discusses the central ideas of Nicholas Cusanus.0 comments
Posted on 18 July 2021
Trends in Aristotelian philosophy in northern and eastern Europe in the fifteenth century, featuring discussion of the “Wegestreit” and the nominalist theology of Gabriel Biel.0 comments
Posted on 12 September 2021
How radical was Luther? We find out from Lyndal Roper, who also discusses Luther and the Peasants' War, sexuality, anti-semitism, and the visual arts.9 comments
Posted on 10 October 2021
Luther’s close ally Melanchthon uses his knowledge of ancient philosophy and rhetoric in the service of the Reformation.4 comments
Posted on 24 October 2021
Faced with massive political upheaval and the rise of the Anabaptists, Luther argues for a socially conservative version of the Reformation.4 comments
Posted on 7 November 2021
The Swiss theologian Zwingli launches the Reformation in Switzerland, but clashes with Luther and more radical Protestants.2 comments
Posted on 5 December 2021
In a surprise twist, some Protestant thinkers embrace the methods of scholasticism, and even find something to admire in the work of Catholic authors like Aquinas.3 comments
Posted on 16 January 2022
Paracelsus adapts the tradition of alchemical science for use in medicine, and in the process overturns the scientific theories of Aristotle and Galen.5 comments
Posted on 30 January 2022
Schegk, Taurellus, Gorlaeus, and Sennert revive atomism to explain chemical reactions, the composition of bodies, and the generation of organisms.2 comments
Posted on 13 February 2022
Amidst religious conflict in the Netherlands, Dirck Coornhert pleads for religious toleration and freedom of expression.6 comments
Posted on 27 February 2022
Justus Lipsius draws on Seneca and other Stoics to counsel peace of mind in the face of political chaos, but also writes a work on how such chaos can be avoided.3 comments
Posted on 12 March 2022
John Sellars returns to the podcast to discuss Lipsius' work on Seneca and the early modern Neo-Stoic movement.1 comments
Posted on 8 May 2022
Comets! Magnets! Armadillos! In this wide-ranging interview Lorraine Daston tells us how Renaissance and early modern scientists dealt with the extraordinary events they called "wonders".6 comments