Nicholas of Cusa and the Making of the Early Modern World


List of Illustrations Abbreviations Notes on Contributors Nicholas of Cusa: The Life of a Reformer Simon J.G. Burton, Joshua Hollmann, and Eric M. Parker Introduction: Nicholas of Cusa and Early Modern Reform: towards a Reassessment Simon J.G. Burton, Joshua Hollmann, and Eric M. Parker Part 1 Reformatio Generalis: Ecclesiastical Reform 1 A Difficult Pope: Eugenius IV and the Men around Him Thomas M. Izbicki and Luke Bancroft 2 The Reform of Space for Prayer: Ecclesia primitiva in Nicholas of Cusa and Leon Battista Alberti Il Kim 3 “ Papista Insanissima”: Papacy and Reform in Nicholas of Cusa’s Reformatio Generalis (1459) and the Early Martin Luther (1517–19) Richard J. Serina, Jr. 4 Nicholas of Cusa and Paolo Sarpi: Copernicanism and Conciliarism in Early Modern Venice Alberto Clerici Part 2 Coincidentia Oppositorum: Theological Reform 5 Nicholas of Cusa and Martin Luther on Christ and the Coincidence of Opposites Joshua Hollmann 6 Ignorantia Non Docta: John Calvin and Nicholas of Cusa’s Neglected Trinitarian Legacy Gary W. Jenkins 7 Nicholas of Cusa and Pantheism in Early Modern Catholic Theology Matthew T. Gaetano Part 3 Explicatio Visionis: Reform of Perspective 8 The Notion of Faith in the Works of Nicholas Cusanus and Giordano Bruno Luisa Brotto 9 “The Sacred Circle of All- Being”: Cusanus, Lord Brooke, and Peter Sterry Eric M. Parker 10 Varieties of Spiritual Sense: Cusanus and John Smith Derek Michaud 11 Motion, Space, and Early Modern Re-formations of the Cosmos: Nicholas of Cusa’s Anima Mundi and Henry More’s Spirit of Nature Nathan R. Strunk Part 4 Mathesis Universalis: Reform of Method 12 Cusanus and Boethian Theology in the Early French Reform Richard J. Oosterhoff 13 Nicholas Cusanus and Guillaume Postel on Learning and Docta Ignorantia Roberta Giubilini 14 The Book Metaphor Triadized: the Layman’s Bible and God’s Books in Raymond of Sabunde, Nicholas of Cusa and Jan Amos Comenius Petr Pavlas 15 “Squaring the Circle”: Cusan Metaphysics and the Pansophic Vision of Jan Amos Comenius Simon J.G. Burton 16 Cusanus and Leibniz: Symbolic Explorations of Infinity as a Ladder to God Jan Makovský Epilogue: Ernst Cassirer and Renaissance Cultural Studies: the Figure of Nicholas of Cusa Michael Edward Moore Index

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Biographical Note

Simon J. G. Burton is John Laing Senior Lecturer in Reformation History at the University of Edinburgh. He works on late medieval and early modern theology, with a particular focus on universal reform, and has published widely in this area. Joshua Hollmann (PhD, McGill University) is Associate Professor of Theology and Chair of the Theology Department at Concordia College-New York. He is the author of The Religious Concordance: Nicholas of Cusa and Christian-Muslim Dialogue (Brill, 2017). Eric M. Parker received his PhD from the School of Religious Studies, McGill University. His dissertation focused on the moral theology of the Cambridge Platonist, Peter Sterry, noting his use of Nicholas of Cusa’s method of coincidence as a means of shaping human character.


All interested in reformation studies and early modern reform, as well as Nicholas of Cusa studies and early modern studies. This volume is aimed at scholars working in the field of late medieval and early modern philosophy, theology, and history of science. Keywords: Reformation, Early Modern Conciliarism, Renaissance Cultural Studies, Modernity, Metaphysics, Cambridge Platonists, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Leibnitz, Late Medieval Papacy, 1400-1700, Germany, France, England.

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