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Johann Albrecht Widmanstetter (1506–1557), humanist and privy councillor to popes and kings, has remained an enigmatic figure among Christian Hebraists whose views were little understood. This study leverages Widmanstetter's remarkable collection consisting of hundreds of Jewish manuscripts and printed books, most of which survive to this day. Explore in the first half the story of Jewish book production and collecting in sixteenth-century Europe through Widmanstetter's book acquisitions, librarianship, and correspondence. Delve into his unique perspective on Jewish literature and Kabbalah as the latter half of the study contextualizes the marginal notes in his library with his published works.
Leibniz’s correspondence from his years spent in Paris (1672-1676) reflects his growth to mathematical maturity whereas that from the years 1676-1701 reveals his growth to maturity in science, technology and medicine in the course of which more than 2000 letters were exchanged with more than 200 correspondents. The remaining years until his death in 1716 witnessed above all the appearance of his major philosophical works.

The focus of the present work is Leibniz's middle period and the core themes and core texts from his multilingual correspondence are presented in English from the following subject areas: mathematics, natural philosophy, physics (and cosmology), power technology (including mining and transport), engineering and engineering science, projects (scientific, technological and economic projects), alchemy and chemistry, geology, biology and medicine.
The present volume contains articles based on papers delivered at the two international conferences organized as part of the Between Two Worlds research project in 2017 and 2019. Obadiah Sforno was an influential Jewish thinker of sixteenth-century Italian Renaissance, whose religious and exegetical authority has had an enduring legacy. The collected essays offer an unprecedented and much desired overview of his life and thought with an emphasis on the neglected philosophical dimension of his oeuvre, as seen in both his biblical commentaries and his sole philosophical treatise Light of the Nations.
This is a critical edition of Nikola Vitov Gučetić’s (1549–1610) Commentary on the First Book of Aristotle’s ‘Rhetoric’, with an introductory study and supplementary materials. The purpose of the edition is to provide a clear Latin text for scholars and students of the humanities, especially researchers in Renaissance rhetoric and philosophy. The book will be of particular interest to scholars of the history and culture of Dubrovnik.

Gučetić’s Commentary gives a precious glimpse into the transformative character of Aristotle’s Rhetoric in the Renaissance, demonstrating the profound influence this ancient text had not only on leading Humanist scholars and renowned Renaissance philosophers, but also on lesser-known thinkers who depended on the art of persuasion in their political and judicial careers.
Mystical Theology and Platonism in the Time of Cusanus engages with the history of mystical theology and Neoplatonic philosophy through the lens of the 15th century philosopher and theologian, Nicholas of Cusa. The volume comprises nineteen essays that break down the barriers between medieval and Renaissance studies, reinterpreting Cusanus’ place in the history of thought by exploring the archive that informed his thinking, while also interrogating his works by exploring them from the standpoint of their later reception by modern philosophers and theologians. The volume also offers tribute to the career of Donald F. Duclow, a leading scholar in the field of Cusanus studies in particular and of the history of mystical theology and Neoplatonic philosophy more generally.
In his renowned collection Philosophy as a Way of Life, Pierre Hadot suggests that the original aspect of philosophy as a method by which one exercises oneself to achieve a new way of living and seeing the world fails with the rise of modernity. In that period, philosophy becomes increasingly theoretical, tending toward a system. However, Hadot himself glimpses at the dawn of modernity some instances of the original aspect of philosophy still very much present, and in his wake, Michel Foucault warns that between the late 16th and early 17th centuries the philosophical question of the reform of the mind attests to a still very close link between asceticism and access to truth.

This book aims to develop just such an idea by thoroughly analyzing the most representative works of the reform of the mind in the early modern period: Francis Bacon’s New Organon (1620), René Descartes’ Discourse on the Method (1637), and Baruch Spinoza’s Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect (1677). From this analysis it will emerge that these modern works fully deserve to be counted among the tradition of philosophy as way of life. On closer inspection, the inquiries about method elaborated in these works are fully understandable only when read in the light of a broader and more complex philosophical need: to establish the spiritual conditions for accessing truth and aspiring to full self-realization.


Following Hadot and Foucault, philosophy seems to arise from a question that drives personal self-examination: Can I change? This equally embraces the epistemic question of the necessary conditions to access true knowledge; the practical question of the rules of life that must be assumed to effectively appropriate this knowledge; and the soteriological question of the highest expectations for said process of self-transformation. From these three issues, it is possible to do an interwoven reading of the early modern works analyzed in the previous chapters of the book, to compare their different positions. From this reading, we might say that it is time to stop understanding the analyzed early modern works just as specific theories dedicated to scientific method, and instead read them in a considerably more complex way, as “philosophical investigations,” in the Hadotian sense, i.e., as projects of self-reformation. For this reason, each of the three theories of self-reformation developed by these works becomes hardly comprehendible if the essentially practical aspect grounding them is not considered.

In: Spiritual Exercises and Early Modern Philosophy


In the Discourse on the Method Descartes calls us to free ourselves from subjection to external and internal preceptors, to become true subjects of knowledge and of action. The Discourse is sustained by an underlying conviction: we can and, to some extent, should, change. The intricate composition of appetitive, rational, sensory, and intellectual powers, which makes up every real human being, does not constitute a fixed but a dynamic structure. By practicing adequate discipline, we can acquire new habits, emending our previous ones. Towards this goal we are guided by rules, those from method and those from morality. However, the condition of possibility to change one’s own judgements and have different attitudes towards one’s appetites is found in the fact that there is something in us that transcends our sensory limits. This self-transcendency is discovered in the provisional moral code, where we experience the properly metaphysical dimension of our freedom. Such an experience is further substantiated by the ontological independence of the mind from the body, appearing with the cogito, and is finally founded upon the existence of God, which warrants our effective knowledge of the world.