Chapter 3 Tommaso Campanella on the Bible

Ontology, Epistemology and Political Philosophy

In: The Philosophers and the Bible
Guido Giglioni
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In Campanella’s philosophy, the Bible serves a variety of functions: it works as an ontological template (in which the notions of code and encoding play a crucial role), an epistemological canon (centred on the concept of historia as direct testimonium and demonstratio through the senses) and a heuristic outline of natural philosophical investigations (based on the mirroring of scripture and nature). It doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, therefore, if the great fault lines of Campanella’s metaphysics run through a philosophical landscape that is constantly punctuated by countless biblical references and reminiscences. The sacred book, which he knew from end to end, is the matrix of the inner book of his memory, whose power – trained by the celebrated Dominican arts of recollection – managed to build a monumental edifice that was in his mind before finding expression in his astounding feats of reading, writing and knowledge retrieval. Finally, the principal divisions of Campanella’s philosophical experience – prophecy, poetry and politics – are interwoven with narrative elements that derive directly from the staggering epic of salvation recounted in the holy book.

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The Philosophers and the Bible

The Debate on Sacred Scripture in Early Modern Thought

Series:  Brill's Studies in Intellectual History, Volume: 333